12 December 2017

Studying the Land, Contesting the Land: A Select Historiographic Guide to Modern Bukovina


Abstract: This guide surveys the historiography of Bukovina, a region adjacent to the slopes of the outer, eastern Carpathians in East Central Europe. This work is intended as an introductory guide to the historical literature on Bukovina, which is voluminous but not easily accessible to readers who are not familiar with Eastern European languages. Another purpose of this guide is to demonstrate how historiography became a tool for political and cultural controversy in a borderland region. The discourse about Bukovina’s past, or rather the multiple controversial interpretations that tend to ignore each other, suggest that ideas of nationalism and territoriality, which have provided the major framework for conceptualizing of Europe’s past and present since the late eighteenth century, continue to dominate historical writings about the region. A (linguistically equipped) student of Bukovina would be looking at a large variety of general studies and an even more striking number of period- and theme-specific studies, published at different times and in various places. The naive researcher might be surprised to find quite divergent stories about the same region: many historical studies of Bukovina illustrate what might be called the borderland syndrome of contesting shared land-different ethnic communities produce quite separate historical narratives.

Courtesy: The Carl Beck Papers in Russian and East European Studies

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