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Title: The debated lands : British travel writing and the construction of the Balkans
Author: Hammond, Andrew
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2002
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Surveying an extensive range of British travel texts, the thesis explores the manner in which the Balkans have been viewed as a significant `other' of British civilisation over the last one hundred and fifty years, particularly from 1989 to 2001, between the demise of the communist adversary and the rise of `global terrorism'. The thesis pursues three major objectives, all of which advance upon previous studies of cross-cultural representation and travel writing. Firstly, I argue that despite its heterogeneous nature, balkanist discourse has passed through three distinct paradigms. These are denigration before 1914, romanticisation in the inter-war years, and, after an ambivalent mixture of sympathy and disappointment during the Cold War, a return to denigration in the 1990s. Secondly, I contend that such paradigms are dependent not on conditions within the Balkans, but on the forms and transformations of the travellers' own cultural background. Most importantly, I explore the links between the three paradigms and the cultural moments of imperialism, modernity and poshnodernity. I examine, for example, how pre-1914 denigration reveals close similarities to colonial discourse, how inter-war romanticism reflects the modernist quest for exoticism and psychological escape, and how the reappearance of denigration coincides with the advent of postmodern scepticism. As a central component of such study, I explore how the changing identity positions of British travellers since 1850, shifting from the imperial subjects of the Victorian age to today's postromantic generation, have impacted on balkanist representation. The third major objective is to analyse how these constructions have served economic and political power. Making use of that Foucauldian strand of poststructuralism common in postcolonial studies of cultural discourse, I examine the way in which British support for Ottoman hegemony in the Balkans in the nineteenth century, which denigratory representation helped to vindicate, found its equivalents in the shifting patterns of western influence and conquest that the Balkans have been subject to in the twentieth century.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: British Academy (BA)
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: DR Balkan Peninsula