The Bulgarian Studies Association awarded its 2018 John D. Bell Memorial Book Prize to
Anna Mirkova’s book:
Muslim land, Christian labor : Transforming Ottoman imperial Subjects Into Bulgarian National Citizens, 1878-1939. Budapest: Central European University Press, 2017.
In argument of their decision, the Book Prize committee states:
What makes this book important is its conceptual approach to look at Bulgaria and in particular at Eastern Rumelia as an area of nation building. Mirkova does this by providing a combined analysis of Ottoman-Muslim structures, war caused migration, land ownership and economic modernization policies. What adds to this approach is the fact that she puts her story into a broader Balkan respectively Ottoman imperial context.
Using this concept, Mirkova offers a fresh look at the fluid and negotiable character of national identities in post-Ottoman Bulgaria up until World War II. She shows the high degree to which „Bulgarianness“, i.e. the common contemporary understanding of what Bulgaria and being Bulgarian means, is the result of - in historical terms - recent policy making based on ethnocentric as well as territory-bound concepts of nationhood. Mirkova pays special attention to the „creation“ of national minorities as another result of these developments. She emphasizes, how these minority groups were forced to redefine their position and identity within the context of Bulgarian nation building in the direct neighborhood of the emerging Turkish nation state.
The value of this book lies in the fact that it raises questions that reach far beyond its scope. Such questions could address issues within the context of the „constructedness“ of Bulgarian/Balkan national identities, the degree to which these identities were still fluid and moldable when the communist regime took power, the constructed character of „traditions“ (folklore, cuisine etc.) in this context and, therefore, the communist contribution to nation and identity building.
- Written by: Sanja Ivanov
Bulgarian Studies (ISSN 2638-9754) is an annual online peer-edited journal that includes content related to the study of Bulgaria and its culture.
For the next issue, we welcome contributions that focus on any aspects related to Bulgarian history, culture, and literature, from the perspectives of the humanities, arts, and social sciences.
Book reviews and review articles of newer publications related to Bulgaria are also welcome.
We especially encourage manuscripts that engage with comparative analysis of Bulgaria and other countries from the region and the world.
Manuscripts should be sent in Word document (.doc or .docx) to
Please contact the Editor, Sanja Ivanov at
- Written by: Markus Wien
The Eleventh Conference of the Bulgarian Studies Association
Bulgaria: Thirty Years after the Fall of Communism
Library of Congress,
Washington DC, June 11-12, 2020.
The Bulgarian Studies Association welcomes abstracts from BSA members in good standing.
Individuals wishing to submit an abstract who are not BSA members may register for membership before submitting an abstract.
The deadline for submission of paper abstracts is November 15, 2019. Papers may be in any discipline and on any topic related to Bulgaria or the Bulgarian language. The abstract must not be longer than 300 words. It is to be submitted in PDF form, attached to a cover e-mail giving the abstract title and the applicant's full name, institutional affiliation and email address. The e-mail should be sent to Markus Wien, BSA President and Chair of the program committee.
Applicants will receive an acknowledgement of their submissions once they are received and will be informed of the decisions regarding their abstracts by mid December. Principally, the number of participants is limited to 40. Papers will be selected on the basis of compatibility and relevance to the conference topic.
Scholars based in Bulgaria should indicate their need for financial support when submitting their paper abstract. Travel expenses up to 700 USD can be reimbursed for up to 10 selected conference participants who are based in Bulgaria. To select these 10 participants, the program committee will rank the applicants’ abstracts based on academic quality and compatibility with the rest of the submissions.
A refereed web-published volume of conference proceedings is being planned.
Whether you are a student, professional, or lifelong learner, American Councils offers opportunities to develop Bulgarian language skills, gain experience in a Bulgarian work environment, and conduct fully-funded independent research in the country.
Balkan Language Initiative (BLI)
Location: Sofia, Bulgaria
Terms: Summer, Fall, Spring, Academic Year
Combining highly-individualized academic programming with structured overseas immersion, BLI enables participants to make rapid gains in Bulgarian language proficiency and cultural knowledge while living and studying in Sofia. Through homestays, conversation partners, in-class instruction, and a wide range of extracurricular activities, participants enjoy an unprecedented opportunity to immerse themselves in daily local life. Spring 2020 applications are due October 15.
Title VIII Research Scholar Program
Location: Bulgaria and 21 other countries throughout Eastern Europe, Russia, and Eurasia
Term: 3-9 consecutive months between June 2020 and August 2021
Designed to expand the accessibility of overseas research while increasing U.S. knowledge and expertise on the region, the Research Scholar Program supports fellows seeking to complete overseas, policy-relevant research. Fellowships include round-trip international travel; housing and living stipends; visa support; overseas health, accident, and evacuation insurance; archive access; and logistical support. Following the completion of the research term, fellows will return to the U.S. and share their findings through presentations, articles, and lectures in order to strengthen and broaden current scholarship on the region. For those interested in studying Bulgarian language alongside their research the Title VIII Combined Research and Language Training fellowship is available. Applications for the fellowship period beginning in June 2020 are due October 1, 2019.
Overseas Professional and Intercultural Training Program (OPIT)
Location: Sofia, Bulgaria
OPIT gives students the substantive overseas professional experience and intercultural skills demanded by today's global market. English-language internships are available in a wide range of fields, including business, humanities, social sciences, innovation, and STEM. Bulgarian language instruction is available at all levels for an additional fee. Summer 2020 applications are due February 15, 2020.
Questions? Contact us at
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