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Cultural politics, nation building, and literary imagery: towards a post-colonial reading of the literature(s) of Bosnia-Herzegovina 1878-1918

Stijn Vervaet (UGent)
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Abstract
Departing from two examples that illustrate the interconnectedness of Habsburg cultural politics and (the development of) Bosnian literature as well as their role in and impact on the construction of national identities in Bosnia and Herzegovina (1878-1918), this article examines to what extent the insights of post-colonial studies can be useful for the study of the cultural and literary life in Bosnia under Austro-Hungarian rule. The first case focuses on the canonization of Bosnian folk songs and the foundation of the literary periodical Nada by the Austro-Hungarian authorities and their respective reception at the time in the broader South-Slav context. The second case briefly analyzes the prevailing images of the Dual Monarchy in the daily press and in poetry and prose by prominent Bosnian authors of the time. Both cases demonstrate that whereas the Habsburg cultural politics in Bosnia can be read as an example of “colonizing by way of text”, the different reactions to and images of Austro-Hungarian rule in Bosnian literature can be best understood in the light of the competing Serbian, Bosniak and Croatian national projects. It is suggested, then, that a post-colonial approach to the Habsburg experience of Bosnia and Herzegovina makes sense (only) if the specific historical context receives due attention and if “centre” and “periphery” are understood not as monolithic categories but as imaginary geographies with their own internal dynamics.

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Chicago
Vervaet, Stijn. 2009. “Cultural Politics, Nation Building, and Literary Imagery: Towards a Post-colonial Reading of the Literature(s) of Bosnia-Herzegovina 1878-1918.” Kakanien Revisited (28/12): 1–15.
APA
Vervaet, Stijn. (2009). Cultural politics, nation building, and literary imagery: towards a post-colonial reading of the literature(s) of Bosnia-Herzegovina 1878-1918. KAKANIEN REVISITED, (28/12), 1–15.
Vancouver
1.
Vervaet S. Cultural politics, nation building, and literary imagery: towards a post-colonial reading of the literature(s) of Bosnia-Herzegovina 1878-1918. KAKANIEN REVISITED. Wien, Austria: Kakanien Revisited; 2009;(28/12):1–15.
MLA
Vervaet, Stijn. “Cultural Politics, Nation Building, and Literary Imagery: Towards a Post-colonial Reading of the Literature(s) of Bosnia-Herzegovina 1878-1918.” KAKANIEN REVISITED 28/12 (2009): 1–15. Print.
@article{1092891,
  abstract     = {Departing from two examples that illustrate the interconnectedness of Habsburg cultural politics and (the development of) Bosnian literature as well as their role in and impact on the construction of national identities in Bosnia and Herzegovina (1878-1918), this article examines to what extent the insights of post-colonial studies can be useful for the study of the cultural and literary life in Bosnia under Austro-Hungarian rule. The first case focuses on the canonization of Bosnian folk songs and the foundation of the literary periodical Nada by the Austro-Hungarian authorities and their respective reception at the time in the broader South-Slav context. The second case briefly analyzes the prevailing images of the Dual Monarchy in the daily press and in poetry and prose by prominent Bosnian authors of the time. Both cases demonstrate that whereas the Habsburg cultural politics in Bosnia can be read as an example of {\textquotedblleft}colonizing by way of text{\textquotedblright}, the different reactions to and images of Austro-Hungarian rule in Bosnian literature can be best understood in the light of the competing Serbian, Bosniak and Croatian national projects. It is suggested, then, that a post-colonial approach to the Habsburg experience of Bosnia and Herzegovina makes sense (only) if the specific historical context receives due attention and if {\textquotedblleft}centre{\textquotedblright} and {\textquotedblleft}periphery{\textquotedblright} are understood not as monolithic categories but as imaginary geographies with their own internal dynamics.},
  author       = {Vervaet, Stijn},
  journal      = {KAKANIEN REVISITED},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {28/12},
  pages        = {1--15},
  publisher    = {Kakanien Revisited},
  title        = {Cultural politics, nation building, and literary imagery: towards a post-colonial reading of the literature(s) of Bosnia-Herzegovina 1878-1918},
  year         = {2009},
}