Masha Gessen: “Where the Jews aren’t”


Agustín Cosovschi is a Ph.D. candidate at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (Paris) and the University of San Martín (Buenos Aires). His interests include Eastern European history and culture, intellectual history and political theory.





Masha Gessen
Where the Jews Aren’t: The Sad and Absurd Story of BirobidzhanRussia’s Jewish Autonomous Region
New York: Penguin Random House (Nextbook/Schocken), 2016

Drawing from biographies, memories and works of Russian history, the authors reconstructs the history of the Jewish Autonomous Oblast of Birobidzhan,  a far East administrative unit of the Russian Federation. This project, which was originally supposed to offer a socialist alternative to deal with the Jewish national question in the USSR, turned ended up becoming a memorial of Stalinist repression and censorship. Through the history of Birobidzhan, Gessen has managed to show some of the central dilemmas of Jewish identity in modern times and to shed light on an aspect of Soviet history very often overlooked.



“Kallarash Freylekhs” – Recklez, the Harvard Klezmer Band
“Sketches of Freylekhland” – Recklez, the Harvard Klezmer Band

Released under a Creative Commons 3.0 license


#026 – The Making of Orientalism and Turkish Studies in Italy 1861-1911

With Marie Bossaert


Portrait of an old Turk. Photograph by the Italian geographer Lamberto Vannutelli, 1904. (source Società Geografica Italiana)  

In this episode, we discuss the emergence and the development of Oriental and Turkish studies in post-unification Italy. Studying this process requires a reflection on State and nation-building through the construction of the infrastructure necessary for the production and the circulation of a “national” knowledge. A transnational perspective allows to understand the complexity of a discipline in flux, focusing on contacts of Italian scholars with Western European and Ottoman actors. In the framework of a broader Orientalist discourse in 19th and early 20th century Europe, the Italian case shows some peculiarities due to the proximity of pre-unitary Italian and Ottoman history in the Early Modern Mediterranean. Another important factor is Italy’s late but decisive imperialist turn, which resulted into the Italian-Ottoman war of 1911-1912. This event marked the beginning of a decade of conflicts in the region, it mobilized the Orientalists’ competences and irreversibly changed the field of Turkish Studies toward a more general nationalization of the discipline. 


Marie Bossaert is a member of the École Française de Rome. She obtained her Ph.D. in history at the École Pratique des Hautes études (Paris) and the Istituto italiano di Scienze Umane-Scuola normale di Pisa (Florence). She is interested in the political, social and cultural history of the Mediterranean and in Italo-Ottoman/Turkish relationships, which enables her to travel between Rome and Istanbul. She is co-editing a forthcoming issue of the European Journal of Turkish Studies entitled “Transturcology. Towards a transnational history of Turkish Studies (18th c. – 20th c.)”.

To cite this episode: Bossaert, Marie; Guidi, Andreas (2017): The making of Orientalism and Turkish Studies in Italy, 1861-1911 The Southeast Passage #026, 12.10.2017,


“A Tripoli, bel suol d’amore”

This “patriotic” song became popular during the Italo-Ottoman War in 1911 thanks to the interpretation of the singer Gea della Garisenda. Later on, in became associated with the Fascist musical repertoire.

/// ITA

…Al vento africano che Tripoli assal
già squillan le trombe,
la marcia real.
A Tripoli i turchi non regnano più:
già il nostro vessillo issato è lassù…

Tripoli, bel suol d’amore,
ti giunga dolce questa mia canzon!
Sventoli il tricolore
sulle tue torri al rombo del cannon!
Naviga, o corazzata:
benigno è il vento e dolce la stagion.
Tripoli, terra incantata,
sarai italiana al rombo del cannon!

/// ENG

…the trumpets, the Royal March
ring already in the African wind
that attacks Tripoli
In Tripoli, the Turks reign no more
our flag is already waving down there…

Tripoli, beautiful land of love
may this song of mine sweetly reach you
may the tricolore wave
on your towers, as the cannons rumble!
Sail, oh battleship
the wind is gentle, and sweet is the season.
Tripoli, enchanted land
you will be Italian as the cannons rumble!

Further reading:

Bossaert, Marie (2016): Connaître les Turcs et l’Empire ottoman en Italie. Constructions et usages des savoirs sur l’Orient de l’Unité à la guerre italo-turque. Unpublished Ph.D. dissertation. EPHE, SUM-SNS, Paris, Florence.

Bossaert, Marie; Szurek, Emmanuel (Eds.) (2017): Transturcology. Towards a transnational history of Turkish Studies (18th c. – 20th c.). European Journal of Turkish Studies 24.

Copeaux, Étienne (1997): Espaces et temps de la nation turque. Analyse d’une historiographie nationaliste, 1931 – 1993. Paris: CNRS éditions (Méditerranée).

Dünyada Türk Tarihçiliği (2010). Türkiye Araştırmaları Literatür Dergisi 8 (15).

Georgeon, François (2015): Turcologie. In François Georgeon, Nicolas Vatin, Gilles Veinstein (Eds.): Dictionnaire de l’empire Ottoman. With assistance of Elisabetta Borromeo. Paris: Fayard, pp. 1176–1177.

Irwin, Robert (2007): For lust of knowing. The orientalists and their enemies. London: Penguin Books.

Kapıcı, Özhan (Ed.) (2014): Osmanlı’ya Komşu Dünyada Dil Okulları ve Oryantalizmin Doğusu. Toplumsal tarihi (247).

Messaoudi, Alain (2015): Les arabisants et la France coloniale. Savants, conseillers, médiateurs (1780 – 1930). Lyon: ENS Éditions (Sociétés, espaces, temps).

Porciani, Ilaria (2001): Università e scienza nazionale. Napoli: Jovene (Biblioteca di Unistoria, 3).

Pouillon, François; Vatin, Jean-Claude (2011): Après l’orientalisme. L’orient crée par l’orient. Paris: IISMM-Karthala.

Stouraiti, Anastasia (2004): Costruendo un luogo della memoria. Lepanto. In Matteo Sbalchiero (Ed.): Meditando sull’evento di Lepanto. Odierne interpretazioni e memorie. Venezia: Corbo e Fiore, pp. 33–52.

Szurek, Emmanuel (2014): Les Langues orientales, Jean Deny, les Turks et la Turquie nouvelle. Une histoire croisée de la turcologie française (XIXe-XXe siècles). In Güneş Işıksel, Emmanuel Szurek (Eds.): Turcs et Français. Une histoire culturelle, 1860 – 1960. Rennes: Presses Universitaires de Rennes (Collection Histoire), pp. 327–352.

Valensi, Lucette (2008): Mardochée Naggiar. Enquête sur un inconnu. Paris: Stock (Un ordre d’idées).

Zekiyan, Boghos Levon (Ed.) (1990): Gli Armeni in Italia. Associazione Gaudium et Spes; Gli Armeni in Italia. Roma: De Luca Edizioni d’Arte.

A view of the Island of St. Lazarus of the Armenians, in the Venice Lagoon.  The island hosts the Congregation of the Mekhitarists and is until today an important centre for Armenian intellectual heritage (source Wikimedia commons)

Caricature of the Italian turkologist Luigi Bonelli from the journal Albania, 1921.
“At the café Umberto I in Galleria in Naples, prof. BONELLI looking for the Turk”.
Luigi Bonelli was used to wander around the gallery Umberto I, a public shopping galley located in the center of Naples near the harbour, hoping to meet people from the Ottoman empire in order to make conversation and to keep informed about the Empire

Cover of the 1922 printed edition of “Nu turco napulitano”, a vernacular comedy written by Eduardo Scarpetta  in 1888 (source Wikimedia commons)

Antonio de Curtis “Totò” in the movie based on the same pièce, “Un Turco Napoletano” directed in 1953 by Mario Mattoli (source Wikimedia commons)

#025 – Discussing Corruption in Yugoslavia, 1918-2000

with Klaus Buchenau


The building of the Ministry of Justice, Terazije Square, Belgrade (source Wikimedia commons)

Historians can offer a perspective on corruption that goes beyond a normative and simplistic dimension. Approaching past discourses and events related to corruption allows to underline the transformation of its connotation through different periods and different socio-political systems. The Kingdom of Yugoslavia (1918-1941) offers a particularly interesting case study for reflecting on how debates on corruption intersected with the process of state formation, itself consisting of a centralist pattern on the basis of Ottoman and Habsburg imperial legacy. After 1945, the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia redefined power and property relations with a clearly different ideological repertoire. However, corruption remained a relevant element for negotiation of power, elite circulation and generational dynamics until its dissolution and beyond.


Klaus Buchenau is Professor of History of Southeast Europe at the University of Regensburg. His main areas of research are the religious history of Southeastern Europe and the history of corruption. He loves interdisciplinarity, but only if it is grounded in a thorough knowledge of the research techniques particular to each discipline; he believes that the most interesting information is usually hidden and does not disclose at first sight.

To cite this episode: Buchenau, Klaus; Guidi, Andreas(2017): Discussing corruption in Yugoslavia, 1918-1990, The Southeast Passage #025, 14.09.2017,


Further Reading:

Aleksić, Vesna (2012): Sprega države i privatnih akcionarskih banaka u Srbiji do Drugog Svetskog Rata. Primer Beogradskog Kreditnog Zavoda a.d. In Bankarstvo 41 (5), pp. 56–73.

Boestfleisch, Hans-Michael (1987): Modernisierungsprobleme und Entwicklungskrisen. Die Auseinandersetzung um die Bürokratie in Serbien 1839 – 1858. Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang.

Bogdanović, Dušan; Kovačević-Vučo, Biljana (2011): Zloupotrebljene institucije. Ko je bio ko u Srbiji 1987-2000. Beograd: Biljana Kovačević-Vučo Fund.

Buchenau, Klaus (2013): Korruption im ersten Jugoslawien (1918-1941). Eine Skizze zu Diskurs und Praxis. In Südost-Forschungen (72), pp. 98–132.

Buchenau, Klaus (2018 – forthcoming): Historicizing Corruption. The Example of Serbia (1817-2000). In Klaus Roth, Johannis Zelepos (Eds.): Klientelismus in Südosteuropa. Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang.

Bulatović, Aleksandra; Korać, Srđan (2006): Korupcija i razvoj moderne srpske države. Beograd: Centar za menadžment.

Engels, Jens Ivo (2014): Die Geschichte der Korruption. Von der frühen Neuzeit bis ins 20. Jahrhundert. Frankfurt am Main: Fischer.

Kulundžić, Zvonimir (1968): Politika i korupcija u kraljevskoj Jugoslaviji. Zagreb: Stvarnost.

Miljkovic, Maja; Hoare, Marko Attila (2005): Crime and the economy under Milosevic and his successors. In Sabrina P. Ramet, Vjeran

Pavlaković (Eds.): Serbia since 1989. Politics and society under Milošević and after. Seattle: University of Washington Press, pp. 192–226.

Minović, Živorad (2008): Politička palanka. Oblici političkog grupašenja u Srbiji 1965-1971. Čačak: Alef trojni.

Mungiu-Pippidi, Alina (2013): Becoming Denmark. Historical designs of corruption control. In Social Research: An International Quarterly 80 (4), pp. 1259–1286.

Šuvaković, Uroš(2011): Korupcija i političke stranke u Kraljevini Srba, Hrvata i Slovenaca. In Nauka, bezbednost, policija 16 (1), pp. 57–68. 


In 1926, the Belgrade newspaper Politika reported widely on a corruption scandal about prime minister Nikola Pašić’s son Radomir and the cabinet crisis that followed, 25.03.1926


An article about debates on corruption within the Communist Party of Yugoslavia from the British newspaper “The Observer”, 09.03.1958 

In 1987, the “Agrokomerc Affair”, involving one of the biggest Yugoslav enterprises, was highly debated in domestic and foreign press. One of his protagonists, Fikret Abdić, is still a very influential political figure in Bosnia and Hercegovina. The Guardian, 14.09.1987



#024 – Kemalism and the Making of Modern Turkey

With Erik-Jan Zürcher



Cover of the revue published in French“La Turquie Kamaliste” used in 1935 and 1936

In this episode, we discuss the emergence of the Turkish nationalist movement under the leadership of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk and the establishment of a sovereign Republic of Turkey in 1923. As our guest Prof. Erik-Jan Zürcher notes, Kemalism can be studied both as a political transformation from armed struggle to a one-party state administration system and as a repertoire of discursive symbols based on the imaginary of nation, civilization, and modernity. This installment is structured along a series of lectures that Prof. Zürcher has given at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales in Paris, in which he has framed Kemalism’s activism and worldview within its contemporary international context as well as along a broader chronological axis continuing into the 1950s.


Erik Jan Zürcher is Professor of Turkish Studies at the University of Leiden. He has published widely on the period of transition from the Ottoman Empire to the Republic of Turkey from the point of view of social, economic, and political history. Professor Zürcher is also a member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Hosted by Andreas Guidi and Elif Becan.

To cite this episode: Zürcher, Erik Jan; Guidi, Andreas; Becan, Elif (2017): Kemalism and the making of modern Turkey, The Southeast Passage #024, 06.07.2017,



Turku, Nomads of the Silk Road – Ah bir ataş ver (Creative Commons)


Further reading:

Georgeon, François (1995): Des Ottomans aux Turcs. Naissance d’une nation. Istanbul: Éd. Isis.

Gingeras, Ryan (2016): The fall of the Sultanate. The Great War and the end of the Ottoman Empire 1908-1922. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Hanioglu, M. Sukru (2011): Ataturk. An intellectual biography. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Meeker, Michael E. (2002): A nation of empire. The Ottoman legacy of Turkish modernity. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Robinson, Richard D. (1963): The First Turkish Republic. A Case Study in National Development. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Rostow, Walt W. (1959): The stages of economic growth. A non-communist manifesto. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Yilmaz, Hale (2013): Becoming turkish. Nationalist reforms and cultural negotiations in Early Republican Turkey 1923-1945. Syracuse: Syracuse University Press.

Zürcher, Erik Jan (1984): The Unionist factor. The rôle of the Committee of Union and Progress in the Turkish National Movement, 1905 – 1926. Leiden: Brill.

Zürcher, Erik Jan (2003): The Young Turks – Children of the borderlands? In International Journal of Turkish Studies 9 (1-2), pp. 275–286.

Zürcher, Erik Jan (2010): The Young Turk legacy and nation building. From the Ottoman Empire to Atatürk’s Turkey. London: I.B. Tauris.

Zürcher, Erik Jan (2017): Turkey. A modern history. Fourth edition, new paperback edition. London, New York: I. B. Tauris.


Mustafa Kemal Atatürk delivers a speech for the 10th anniversary of the foundation of the Turkish Republic (October 1933)

Mustafa Kemal meets Henry Franklin-Bouillon, 1921. The French diplomat signed a treaty with the emerging Ankara government which marked the first prominent act of international recognition of the Turkish Nationalist institutions

Peasants waiting for the arrival of Kemalist troops in Edirne, 1923



#023 – Turkish Labor Unions under AKP Rule

with İşil Erdinç


Workers of the DİSK Confederation at the Gezi Park protests. The tag says “Tayyip, this is the beginning of the end”

Since 2002, when the Party of Development and Justice (AKP) seized power in Turkey, the relationship between state institutions and unions has changed toward polarization and fragmentation. The increasing interference of the government in unions’ internal affairs, explicit favoring the pro-AKP unions, has marginalised dissident confederations of workers, while former trans-union shared initiatives and platforms for defending workers’ rights have faded. In this episode, we approach the historical background of this setting in terms of economic and social transformation of Turkey during the last decades. Secondly, some patterns of union activism and the profiles of the actors involved are discussed. Thirdly, we provide an insight into some local configuration that show a limited, yet existing room for resistance against the AKP policies and state interference.


Işıl Erdinç is a post-doctoral researcher at Paris Dauphine University. She is one of the coordinators of the research project “Spaces, networks and transfers. The reconfiguration of politics in Turkey”, based at the Institut of Interdisciplinary Research in Social Sciences (IRISSO). She obtained her PhD in political science in Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne University in October 2016. Currently, Her research interests include sociology of political regimes, labour studies, industrial relations, and public policy.

Hosted by Andreas Guidi and Elif Becan.

To cite this episode: Erdinç, Işıl ; Guidi, Andreas, Becan, Elif (2017): Turkish labor unions under AKP rule, The Southeast Passage #023, 22.06.2017,


Cem Karaca – “İşçi Marşı” (The worker’s march, words by Can Yücel)

Hava döndü işçiden esiyor yel 
Dumanı dağıtacak yıldız poyraz başladı 
Bu fırtına varın ki süt limanlığa bedel 
Bahar yakın demek ki mevsim böyle kışladı 
Hava döndü işçiden ediyor yel 
Tekliyor işte çağın çarkına okuyan çark 
Ve durdu muydu bir gün bu kör avara kasnak 
Bir zinciri yitirenler bir dünya kazanacak 
Sen de o dünyadansın sınıfım insafa gel 
Hava döndü işçiden esiyor yel 
Köylüler uykusunda döndü dönüyor sola 
Güne bakıyor bebek büyüyen yumruğuyla 
Başaklar geberdi baş baş koydular bu yola 
Şaltere uzanıyor tanrıya uzanmış el 
Hava döndü işçiden esiyor yel 
Senlik benlik bitip de kuruldu muydu bizlik 
Asgari ücret değil, hür ve günlük güneşlik 
Bir Türkiye olacak aldığım son gündelik 
Kalıp kalkacak yine de bilince zalim sen 
Hava döndü işçiden esiyor yel 
Tarihle yürüyenler tarihle adım adım 
Safları sıklaştırın tarihle hırslanalım 
Lakin hızlandık derken komuta atma sakın 
Başları bozuklar var şimdi bize tek engel 
Hava döndü işçiden esiyor yel 
Sanki Ferhat’ sın işçi günün senin gelecek 
İndir külüngün indir de şu karanlığı del 
Del ki dağlar ardından önümüze bir çiçek gibi açsın 
Aydınlık tekmil olunca tünel 
Hava döndü işçiden esiyor yel

/// ENG
Times have changed, the wind blows from the workers,
The Eastern Wind that will scatter the mist has risen,
This storm, as strong as a millstone.
Spring is close, it means that the season had wintered so much,
Times have changed, the wind blows from the workers,
The cogwheel of time chugs, 
And one day, once this blind idler stops,
Those who have lost a chain will conquer a world,
You too, you are from that world. My class, come to reason!
Times have changed, the wind blows from the workers,
The villagers are about to turn to the left in their sleep,
The baby is watching the new day with his growing rising fist,
The anthers have bloomed, they point to this path with their heads,
The hand that once reached to God, now reaches to the power switch.
Times have changed, the wind blows from the workers,
Once “you” and “me” come to an end, “we” will be established,
Not a minimum wage, but free and daily sunshine,
Turkey would be my final daily wage,
You will petrify, when you hear this, you tyrant!
Times have changed, the wind blows from the workers,
Those who walk through history, step by step,
Close the ranks! Let’s be furious with this historyin mind!
Though, do not give up the command when you speed up,
The Başıbozuks are there now, as the only obstacle to us. 
Times have changed, the wind blows from the workers,
As if you were Ferhat, worker, your day shall come,
Bring down your pick, bring it down to pierce this darkness,
Pierce so the mountains may then blossom like a flower,
When light shines out in the tunnel.
Times have changed, the wind blows from the workers

Further reading:

Akdemir, Nevra; Odman, Aslı (2008): Tuzla Tersaneler bölgesinde örülen ve üstü örtülen sınıfsallıklar [Les relations de classe cachées et masquées dans la zone de construction navale de Tuzla]. In Toplum ve bilim 113, pp. 49–89.

Bourdieu, Pierre (1984): Distinction. A social critique of the judgement of taste. London: Routledge.

Çelik, Aziz (2010): Vesayetten siyasete Türkiye’de sendikacılık. 1946-1967. İstanbul: İletişim (Araştırma – inceleme dizisi, 254).

Durak, Yasin (2011): Emeğin tevekkülü. Konya’da işçi-işveren ilişkileri ve dindarlık [La résignation au travail. Relations employeur-ouvrier et la religiosité à Konya]. İstanbul: İletişim.

Erdinç, Isil (2016): ‪Discrimination syndicale en Turquie‪. In Travail et emploi n° 146 (2), pp. 101–123.

Erdinç, Isil (2017): Le pouvoir de l’AKP et les relations au travail. L’adhésion syndicale sous contrôle. In Mouvements 90 (2), pp. 48–53.

Güler, Hasan (2014): Patron baba ve işçileri. Işçi sınıfı, köylülük ve paternalizm [Le patron, le père et ses ouvriers. Classe ouvrière, paysannerie et paternalisme].  İstanbul: İletişim.

Güzel, M. Şehmus (2007): İşçi tarihine bakmak [Analyser l’histoire des travailleurs]. İstanbul: Türkiye Sosyal Tarih Araştırma Vakfı.

Koç, Yıldırım (2010,): Türkiye işçi sınıfı tarihi. Osmanlı’dan 2010’a [L’histoire de la classe ouvrière turque de l’Etat Ottoman à 2010]. Ankara: Epos.

Koç, Yıldırım (2012): AKP ve emekçiler (2002 – 2012) [L’AKP et les travailleurs]. Ankara: Epos.

Koray, Meryem; Çelik, Aziz (2015): Himmet, fıtrat, piyasa. AKP döneminde sosyal politika [Le don, le destin, le marché. La politique sociale sous le gouvernement AKP].  İstanbul: İletişim.

Öngel, F. Serkan (2012): Kapitalizmin kıskacında kent ve emek. Gebze Bölgesi ve otomotiv sanayi üzerine bir inceleme [La ville et le travail à l’épreuve du capitalisme. Une étude sur la région de Gebze et l’industrie d’automobile]. Çankaya, Ankara: NotaBene.

Quataert, Donald; Zürcher, Erik Jan (Eds.) (1995): Workers and the working class in the Ottoman Empire and the Turkish Republic 1839 – 1950. London: Tauris.

Sülker, Kemal (2004): Türkiye sendikacılık tarihi [L’histoire du syndicalisme en Turquie]. İstanbul: Tüstav.


Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan at the 13th general congress of the Hak-İş confederation, 2015


Confederation of Turkish Trade Unions, founded in 1952
Confederation of Progressive Trade Unions, founded in 1967, closed down in 1980, reopened in 1992
Confederation of Real Trade union, founded in 1976, closed down in 1980, reopened in 1981

#022 – A Look at Vučić’s Serbia and the Emergence of New Social Movements

with Milica Popović and Jovana Papović


Street protests in Belgrade, April 2017 (Photo: Ne Davimo Beograd, Facebook) 

On 2 April 2017 Alexander Vučić became President of Serbia, winning the first round of the elections, obtaining a score of 55%, and leading in all districts of the country. The public perception and representation of Vučić within Serbia is biased by wide constraints on mainstream media, whereas foreign commentators have difficulties in defining his profile in between his former far-right party affiliation, his being “pro-European”, and the concerns about an authoritarian drift in the country. In this episode, we approach the background and the output of this event. By expanding the discussion beyond the domain of party politics and voting tendencies, we explore some aspects of Serbia’s economic landscape after the fall of Yugoslavia and embed more recent trends in a regional context. Most important, we discuss some emerging forms of social movements and their claims by introducing the impact of some factors such as the attitude of the youth, the perspective of the diaspora and the role that “Yugonostalgia” plays in contemporary politics.

Milica Popović is a PhD student in Comparative Political Sociology at Sciences Po Paris and in Balkan Studies at the University of Ljubljana. She has obtained a master degree in political science at the University Paris 2 Pantheon-Assas in Paris and a bachelor degree at the Faculty of Law in Belgrade. The focus of her research is within memory studies, issues of (Yugo)nostalgia and (post)Yugoslav societies. Milica published articles on the Balkans for different journals such as Družboslovne razprave, Etudes Balkaniques, and Život umjetnosti. She also works as a freelance consultant and expert in higher education and education field, leading her own research and consulting agency “Nomade”.



Jovana Papović is a graduate student at EHESS Paris, translator and journalist for the web media Le Courrier des Balkans. She is interested in exploring the political dimension of cultural practices in the Balkans, focusing on youth, popular culture and political activism. She is currently co-directing with Astrea Pejović the documentary film “Non-Working Class Hero”, a picture of the youth in Serbia based on the hip-hop collective Bombe Devedesetih.


To cite this episode: Popović, Milica; Papović, Jovana; Guidi, Andreas (2017): A look at Vučić’s Serbia and the emergence of new social movements, The Southeast Passage #022, 08.06.2017,


Newsfeed of Le Courrier des Balkans about the protests in Serbia after the elections (in French)

Reportage by the France International Radio (RFI) on the “Trap” music genre in today’s Serbia (in French)

Portrait of Ljubiša Preletačević ‘Beli’the sensational “parody candidate” gaining the third place with almost 10% of the votes (Reuters).

Article on the Belgrade Waterfront project and the Ne da(vi)mo Beograd campaign (OBC Transeuropa).

Gudroslav feat. Mimi Mercedez – “Bratstvo sestrintsvo” (Brotherhood and Sisterhood)

Original lyrics:

Ne diraj lava dok spava
Ne diraj Mimi dok dimi
Ne diraj Gudrija dok ubija
Te Žaretove matre? dopiru iz studija

Ribe sve su debele, odbijaju posni obrok
Likovi rade na ulici, nemaju topli obrok
Ako bi velike pare, plati nov nos i botoks
Reperi nas smaraju, idu na Goli otok
Bratstvo sestrinstvo, bratstvo sestrinstvo
Brat i sestra – to je isto, brate, bratstvo sestrinstvo
Ne može ništa na pola i keš ne zna za dva pola
Svi se borimo za isto, bratstvo sestrinstvo

Stil je sve i sve je u stilu
A moj stil je predebeo i kad smršam koju kilu
Moje debelo dupe zaslužilo je vilu
I udobno sedište u skupom automobilu
Tu si Mimi i Gudri i Žartikal ludi
Bitno je šta kažu ljudi, dokaži nam da smo tvrdi
Ti kad uđeš u lovu, planiraš da središ život
A ja da budem još veći idiot
Granice se lako prelaze kad shvatiš da ih nema
Ljudi se jako preneraze, al’ ja nemam dilema
Što sam potrošila, opet zaradiću

Što sam propustila, lako nadoknadiću
Gde je laka lova, gde je brz keš?
Prečicom do snova nikad ne stigneš
Torba je u ruci, glava je u torbi
Prečicom do snova, sreća je u borbi
Gde su lake žene, gde je brz seks?
Da degustiram znam samo na eks
Put do trona me loži, a ne tron
Ako je glava u torbi nek je torba Louis Vuitton

Reperi se krevelje i mlataraju rukama
Ja mlataram parama i baratam nulama
Iako publika su ribe, neću da se udvaram
Dobio sam nadimak jer se po nosu udaram
Samo pun gas i debele cave
Kad je udarim po dupetu, da se trese salce
Ove rime nisu pisane u sobi
Ove rime pisane su kod Branke Black Rose
Ortaci su u kraju, bleje bez ideje
Nijedan od njih nema razloga da se smeje
Sjebu pare koje ni ne zarade
Njih deset tali se za vutru, pa se ni ne navare
Imam praznu gajbu, to prenesi svima
Preko dana supa, porodica, noću je kriminal
Keva prvu radi, keva drugu radi
Keva treću radi, Drajzerova je na gajbi


Further reading:

Buden, Boris (2012): Zona prelaska. O kraju postkummunizma. Beograd: Fabrika knjiga.

Duda, Igor (2015): Danas kada postajem pionir. Djetinjstvo i ideologija jugoslovenskoga socijalizma. Zagreb, Pula: Sveučilište Jurja Dobrile.

Gilbert, Andrew; Greenberg, Jessica; Helms, Elissa; Jansen, Stef (2008): Reconsidering Postsocialism from the Margins of Europe. Hope, Time and Normalcy in Post-Yugoslav Societies. In Anthropology News 49 (8), pp. 10–11.

Greenberg, Jessica (2010): “There’s Nothing Anyone Can Do About It“. Participation, Apathy, and “Successful” Democratic Transition in Postsocialist Serbia. In Slavic rev. 69 (01), pp. 41–64.

Greenberg, Jessica (2011): On the Road to Normal. Negotiating Agency and State Sovereignty in Postsocialist Serbia. In American Anthropologist 113 (1), pp. 88–100.

Greenberg, Jessica (2014): After the Revolution. Youth, Democracy, and the Politics of Disappointment in Serbia. Stanford: Stanford University Press.

Horvat, Srecko; Stiks, Igor (Eds.) (2015): Welcome to the desert of post-socialism. Radical politics after Yugoslavia. London: Verso.

Jansen, Stef (2005): Antinacionalizam. Etnografija otpora u Beogradu i Zagrebu. Beograd: Biblioteka XX vek.

Kirn, Gal (2014): Transnationalism in Reverse. From Yugoslav to Post-Yugoslav Memorial Sites. In Chiara de Cesari, Ann Rigney (Eds.): Transnational memory. Circulation, articulation, scales. Berlin: De Gruyter, pp. 313–338.

Markovina, Dragan (2015): Jugoslavenstvo poslije svega. Beograd: Mostart.

Petrovic, Tanja (2012): Yuropa. Jugoslovensko naslede i politike buducnosti u postjugoslovenskim drustvima. Beograd: Fabrika knjiga.

Popović, Milica (2016): Exhibiting Yugoslavia. In Družboslovne razprave 32 (81), pp. 7–24.

Spasić, Ivana (2013): Kultura na delu. Društvena transformacija Srbije iz burdijeovske perspektive. Beograd: Fabrika knjiga.

Velikonja, Mitja (2008): Titostalgia. A Study of Nostalgia for Josip Broz. Ljubljana: Mediawatch, Peace Institute.

#021 – On the Road with Romanian Migrants and Traders

with Norah Benarrosh-Orsoni


Travellers and drivers during a break on the road from Montreuil to Arad 

After 1989, Romania’s economy and its labor market experienced dramatic changes. One of the most common strategies to survive in a state of precariousness was emigration abroad. In this episode, we discuss two case studies based on based on transnational migration and cross-border informal trade. Firstly, we look at the Parisian suburb of Montreuil, where Roma families have settled in squats in different moments since the late 1990s, and from where they still often travel to Arad, in Transylvania, using mini-busses provided by informal travel agencies. Secondly, we move to the Laleli neighborhood in Istanbul to discuss suitcase trade mostly practiced by Romanian women.

Norah Benarrosh-Orsoni is a postdoctoral fellow at the CETOBAC – EHESS. She obtained her PhD in social anthropology at the Université Paris Ouest in september 2015. Her research interests focus on transnational mobility, material culture in and around domestic spaces, and transportation studies. Born and raised in Paris from Moroccan and Corsican origins, she is also an engraving artist and one of the co-founder of the independant journal Panthère Première, whose first issue will be published in September 2017.


To cite this episode: Benarrosh-Orsoni, Norah; Guidi, Andreas (2017): On the road with Romanian labor migrants, The Southeast Passage #021, 19.05.2017,


Cântecul înstrăinatului” (The Expatriate Song), folk song from Transylvania recorded in 1928 (Bibliothèque Nationale de France – Enregistrements sonores)

Further reading:

Basu, Paul; Coleman, Simon (Eds.) (2008): Migrant worlds, material cultures. Special issue of the journal “Mobilities” 3 (3).

Benarrosh-Orsoni, Norah (2015a): Des maisonnées transnationales. Une migration rom dans ses routes, lieux et objets entre la Roumanie et la France. Université Paris Ouest Nanterre, Paris.

Benarrosh-Orsoni, Norah (2015b): Prendre la route à bord du microbus. Mobilités, ancrages et territorialités chez les Roms roumains entre Arad et Montreuil. In Michèle Baussant, Irène Dos Santos, Evelyne Ribert (Eds.): Logiques mémorielles et temporalités migratoires. Nanterre: PU Paris 10, pp. 295–324.

Boccagni, Paolo (2013): What’s in a (migrant) house? Changing domestic spaces, the negotiation of belonging and home-making in Ecuadorian migration. In Housing, Theory and Society 31 (3), pp. 277–293.

Borgel, Céline; Pérouse, Jean-François (2004): La gare routière du « Grand Istanbul », une étourdissante plaque tournante. In Autrepart 32 (4), pp. 51–73.

Chelcea, Liviu (2002): The culture of shortage during state-socialism. Consumption practices in a Romanian village in the 1980s. In Cultural Studies 16 (1), pp. 16–43.

Dalakoglou, Dimitris (2010): The road. An ethnography of the Albanian-Greek cross-border motorway. In American Ethnologist 37 (1), pp. 132–149.

Olivera, Martin (2009): Les Roms comme “minorité ethnique”? Un questionnement roumain. In Etudes tsiganes (39-40), pp. 128–150.

Pérouse, Jean-François (2002): Laleli, giga-bazar d’Istanbul ? Appréhender les caractéristiques et les mutations d’une place commerciale internationale. In Michel Peraldi (Ed.): La fin des norias? Réseaux migrants dans les économies marchandes en Méditerranée. Paris: Maisonneuve et Larose, pp. 307–333.

Yukseker, Deniz (2004): Trust and Gender in a Transnational Market. The Public Culture of Laleli, Istanbul. In Public Culture 16 (1), pp. 47–66.

The interior of a Roma migrant’s village house in Romania, May 2011

A suitcase shop next to the international bus station in Laleli, Istanbul, March 2017

Leaving Istanbul on the suitcase traders bus, Emniyet bus station, February 2016

#020 – Space, Wealth, and Power in the Ottoman Empire

with Ali Yaycioglu


Fethiye Mosque and Ali Pasha’s tomb, Ioannina (Greece)

Ottoman Studies offer several unexplored fields of research for the perspectives introduced by the so called “spatial turn” in historiography. “Space” can be investigated as a constituive element in an abstract imaginary of power and agency, but also as a repository which engenders diverse, more directly experienced “places” where knowledge is produced and power structures become visible. After some theorietical remarks, in this episode we discuss some ongoing projects focused on the spatiality of the Ottoman Empire in the early modern era. Secondly, we introduce some concrete example of how actors moved through space in configurations which included state structures and translocal networks, increasingly integrated into the Ottoman polity. This complex interplay is an occasion to reflect on some dynamics of accumulation of power and wealth through loyalty building, and how this accumulation was characterised by high volatility.

Ali Yaycioglu is assistant professor at the History Department of Stanford University. His main field of interest is the study of transformations and crises of the Ottoman Empire in the 18th and early 19th centuries in the broader context of transition from early-modern to modern world. Ali is the author of a monograph on this topic entitled Partners of the Empire: Crisis of the Ottoman Order in the Age of Revolutions (Stanford University Press, 2016). In this and in further works and projects, his research has focused on the restructring of economic and political institutions and ideas, changes in social and religious life, Ottoman spatial imaginations of life, nature and power, cultural and environmental history of Modern Turkey. He is currently working on a second monograph with the tentative title “Order of Volatility: Wealth, Power and Death in the Ottoman Empire”.

To cite this episode: Yaycioglu, Ali; Guidi, Andreas (2017): Space, wealth, and power in the Ottoman Empire, The Southeast Passage #020, 03.05.2017,



“Ottoman topologies: Spatial Experience in an Early Modern Empire and Beyond” conference programme (Stanford, 2014)

“Mapping Ottoman Epirus: Region, Power and Empire”, digital project coordinated by Ali Yaycioglu and Antonis Hadjikyriacou

Ali Yaycioglu’s interview for the Ottoman History Podcast (no.275)

Bouluo“, folk song from Epirus recorded in 1930 (Bibliothèque Nationale de France – Enregistrements sonores)

Further reading:

Bourdieu, Pierre (2014): On the state. Lectures at the Collège de France, 1989-1992. Cambridge: Polity.

Brenner, Neil (2004): New state spaces. Urban governance and the rescaling of statehood. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Dankoff, Robert; Kim, Sooyong (Eds.) (2011): An Ottoman traveller. Selections from the Book of travels of Evliya Çelebi. London: Eland.

Graeber, David (2011): Debt. The first 5,000 years. Brooklyn, NY: Melville House.

Lefebvre, Henri (1974): La production de l’espace. In L’Homme et la société 31 (1), pp. 15–32.

Salzmann, Ariel (1993): An Ancien Regime Revisited. “Privatization” and Political Economy in the Eighteenth-Century Ottoman Empire. In Politics & Society 21 (4), pp. 393–423.

Spang, Rebecca L. (2015): Stuff and money in the time of the French Revolution. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

Yaycioglu, Ali (2016): Partners of the Empire. The Crisis of the Ottoman Order in the Age of Revolutions. Redwood City: Stanford University Press.

Muhallefat Defter (records of properties left behind) of Mustafa Bayraktar (d. 1808). BOA MAD 9726

#019 – A New Town in Socialist Yugoslavia in Comparative Perspective

with Ana Kladnik


The new town center of Velenje, early 1960s (Velenje Museum)

After 1945, Yugoslavia aimed at fostering its industrial infrastructure by bringing factories closer to the sites where natural resources were abundant. The “new town” of Velenje in Slovenia was planned in this context in order to provide good housing for the coal miners previously living in surrounding villages. In this episode, we discuss the impact of this urban experiment in the socialization of its inhabitants, the decision making process in its planning, mobilization in form of voluntary work, and the exposure of an urban model to foreign visitors. All these topics are examined in a comparative perspective, focused on another “new town”, Havířov in nowadays Czech Republic, but expanding to a transnational framework beyond the socialist bloc.


Ana Kladnik obtained her Ph.D. in history at the University of Ljubljana. She is currently research associate at the Centre for Contemporary History in Potsdam and working on a project related to voluntary work and voluntarism in East Central Europe in the last two decades of the 20th century.  Ana is also co-editing a forthcoming collective volume tentatively entitled  “Socialism as Sinnwelt. Representations of Social Order and Transformation of Authority in East Central Europe after 1945”.

To cite this episode: Kladnik, Ana; Guidi, Andreas (2017): A New Town in Socialist Yugoslavia in a comparative perspective, The Southeast Passage #019, 06.04.2017,



Further reading:

Bren, Paulina (2010): The greengrocer and his TV. The culture of communism after the 1968 Prague Spring. Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press.

Brunnbauer, Ulf (2007): “Die sozialistische Lebensweise”. Ideologie, Gesellschaft, Familie und Politik in Bulgarien (1944-1989). Wien, Köln, Weimar: Böhlau Verlag.

Horváth, Sándor (2017): Stalinism reloaded. Everyday life in Stalin-City, Hungary, 1950-1961. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.

Jarausch, Konrad Hugo; Duffy, Eve (Eds.) (1999): Dictatorship as experience. Towards a socio-cultural history of the GDR. Oxford: Berghahn Books.

Kladnik, Ana (2013): A quest for new paradigms and the use of different methodologies in the case of new towns and settlements in socialist Slovenia. In lada Duraković, Andrea Matošević (Eds.): Socialism on the bench. Cultural and historical interpretations of Yugoslav and Post-Yugoslav societies. Pula, Zagreb: Srednja Europa, pp. 214–236.

Kotkin, Stephen (1997): Magnetic mountain. Stalinism as a civilization. Berkeley, Calif.: University of California Press.

Kulić, Vladimir; Mrduljaš, Maroje; Thaler, Wolfgang (Eds.) (2012): Modernism in-between. The mediatory architectures of socialist Yugoslavia. Berlin: Jovis.

Lebow, Katherine Anne (2013): Unfinished utopia. Nowa Huta, Stalinism, and Polish society, 1949 – 56. Ithaca, NY: Cornell Univ. Press.

Lindenberger, Thomas (Ed.) (1999): Herrschaft und Eigen-Sinn in der Diktatur. Studien zur Gesellschaftsgeschichte der DDR. Köln, Wien u.a.: Böhlau.

Lüdtke, Alf (Ed.) (1995): The history of everyday life. Reconstructing historical experiences and ways of life. Princeton, N.J: Princeton University Press.

Ludwig, Andreas (2000): Eisenhüttenstadt. Wandel einer industriellen Gründungsstadt in fünfzig Jahren. Potsdam: Brandenburgische Landeszentrale für Politische Bildung.

Mercina, Andrej (2006): Arhitekt Ilija Arnautović. Socializem v slovenski arhitekturi. Ljubljana: Viharnik.

Salecl, Renata (1993): Zakaj ubogamo oblast? Nadzorovanje, ideologija in ideološke fantazme. Ljubljana: Državna založba Slovenije.

Wakeman, Rosemary (2016): Practicing Utopia. An intellectual history of the New Town Movement. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Zarecor, Kimberly E. (2011): Manufacturing a socialist modernity. Housing in Czechoslovakia, 1945 – 1960. Pittsburgh Pa.: University of Pittsburgh Press.

Austrian gardener Filipsky in People’s Park with the family houses settlement in the background, mid-1950s (Velenje Museum)

View of Havířov late 1950s (Tesinska Museum)






Lyrics of the anthem dedicated to the Builders of Velenje:

There, where yesterday
a farmer still plowed with his bulls,
where there were many puddles and floods,

a miracle happened overnight:
all the old is gone and
Paka is now subdued, burbling
the song of the future.

To our pride
the town already shines in the sun,
this is our contribution
to all our community.
Velenje you are beautiful,
like a real Paradise

#018 – Les Jeunes Turcs: Sauver l’Empire et créer la Nation

Hosted by Andreas Guidi and Aurélie Perrier, edited by Chris Gratien



“The Rebirth of the Ottoman Empire”, litograph by Sotirios Christidis, ca. 1909 (Source: Wikimedia Commons) 

ENG: By reframing the discourse on history and identity, the Revolution of 1908 and the Young Turk movement radically transformed the multi-confessional and multiethnic system of the Ottoman empire.  In this episode, François Georgeon discusses the origins of the Young Turks, their intellectual legacies and social background, along with their perception of the Ottoman past and their relationship to central authority.  The episode also explores the way in which the movement reshaped relationships with minority communities in the late Ottoman era.

FR: Le mouvement des Jeunes Turcs et la Révolution de 1908 bouleversent profondément le système multiethnique et multiconfessionnel de l’Empire Ottoman en établissant un nouveau cadre politique pour les identifications concernant l’ État et la Nation. Dans cet épisode, François Georgeon explore avec nous les origines et les principales transformations du mouvement Jeune Turc: qui sont ces révolutionnaires ? Sont-ils des libéraux ou des réactionnaires, et comment caractériser leur rapport au passé ottoman, aux institutions ottomanes et à la modernité ? Enfin, comment s’articulent les identités nationalistes et impérialistes qu’ils invoquent et quelles conséquences pour la notion du vivre ensemble au sein de l’Empire Ottoman et dont la République Turque hérite ?

ENG: François Georgeon is director of research emeritus at the CNRS and member of the Center for Turkish, Ottoman, Balkan and Central Asian Studies (CETOBaC) at the EHESS in Paris.  A specialist of late Ottoman and early Turkish Republican history, he has published a biography of Sultan Abdülhamid II and authored numerous books and articles on Ottoman and Turkish nationalism.

FR: François Georgeon est directeur de recherche émérite au CNRS et membre titulaire du Centre d’Études Turques, Ottomanes, Balkaniques et Centrasiatiques (CETOBaC) de l’EHESS à Paris.  Spécialiste de l’Empire Ottoman au XIXe et XXe siècles, il est l’auteur d’une biographie d’Abdülhamid II et de nombreux ouvrages sur les nationalismes ottomans et turcs.


To cite this episode: Georgeon, François; Guidi, Andreas; Perrier, Aurelie (2017): Les Jeunes Turcs: Sauver l’empire et créer la Nation, The Southeast Passage #018, 23.03.2017,


Further Reading:

Çetinkaya, Doğan Y. The Young Turks and the boycott movement: Nationalism, protest and the working classes in the formation of modern Turkey. London: I.B. Tauris, 2014.

Der Matossian, Bedross. Shattered dreams of revolution: From liberty to violence in the late Ottoman Empire. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2014.

Fortna, Benjamin C. Imperial classroom: Islam, the state, and education in the late Ottoman Empire. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002.

Georgeon, François. “Les Jeunes Turcs étaient-ils jeunes ? Sur le phénomène des générations, de l’Empire ottoman à la République turque.” In: Enfance et jeunesse dans le monde musulman. Edited by François Georgeon and Klaus Kreiser. Paris: Maisonneuve & Larose, 2007, pp. 146–73.

Georgeon, François.  ed. “L’ivresse de la liberté”: La révolution de 1908 dans l’Empire ottoman. Leuven: Peeters, 2012.

Georgeon, François and Klaus Kreiser, eds. Enfance et jeunesse dans le monde musulman. Paris: Maisonneuve & Larose, 2007.

Georgeon, François, Nicolas Vatin, and Gilles Veinstein, eds. Dictionnaire de l’empire Ottoman. Paris: Fayard, 2015.

Hanioğlu, Şükrü M. The Young Turks in opposition. New York: Oxford University Press, 1995.

Hanioğlu, Şükrü M.  . Preparation for a revolution: The Young Turks, 1902-1908. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001.

Kayalı, Hasan. Arabs and Young Turks: Ottomanism, Arabism, and Islamism in the Ottoman Empire, 1908-1918. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1997.

Lévy-Aksu, Noémi and François Georgeon, eds. The Young Turk revolution and the Ottoman Empire: The aftermath of 1908. London: I.B. Tauris, 2017.

Taglia, Stefano. Intellectuals and reform in the Ottoman Empire: The Young Turks on the challenges of modernity. New York: Routledge, 2015.

Zürcher, Erik J.. “The Young Turks – Children of the borderlands?” International Journal of Turkish Studies 9/1-2, 2003, pp. 275–286.

Zürcher, Erik J.. The Young Turk legacy and nation building: From the Ottoman Empire to Atatürk’s Turkey. London: I.B. Tauris, 2010.

Cover of the Ottoman journal Şehbāl on the celebrations for the 1st anniversary of the Ottoman Constitution, August 1909 (Source: University of Bonn, Digital Magazines Collection)

Ottoman satyrical cartoon, undated: “Dad, who is that old man?” “He’s a Young Turk, son”