Historiography in FYROM – Nationalism, Myth creations and Nation-Building

 

FYROM’s academic historiography has traditionally embraced the extreme nationalist view which characterised Slavomacedonian historians since 40’s. In fact today we can state safely that Stefan Troebst’s description in his “Die bulgarisch-jugoslawische Kontroverse um Makedonien” not only is still applying, but it has became worst during the last years. Troebst had wrote in 1983 :

 “Historical research in the SR [Socialist Republic of] Macedonia is not a humanist, civilizing end in itself, but is direct political action.

 

 

   

One of the best studies of Slavomacedonian historiography comes from the work of  Ulf Brunnbauer. In a 22 paged essay entitled “Serving the Nation: Historiography in the Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) after Socialism“, Brunnbauer goes in great length describing  the emergence and structure of Slavomacedonian historiography. He concludes that it is characterized more by continuity than by change. This is obvious since neither the methodological paradigm nor the institutional structure of Slavomacedonian historiography has been changed.


There is no room of Diverging approaches for two primary reasons:

(a) Economic limitations and because,

(b) Young historians who dare to question the already established National myths  put their academic careers at risk, or  in worst cases, found themselves in the unpleasant situation to carry the label of “Traitor”.

 

 

 

This way the highly centralized structure of Slavomacedonian historiography manages to prevent defections and innovation.

Analytically Brunnbauer mentions:

 

[…]By calling upon certain past events perceived as traumatic and mobilizing deep-rooted stereotypes and prejudices against the country’s largest minority, these historians sought to manipulate public opinion and shape political responses to the security crisis.

 […] Events were perceived and explained in such a way that they became part of a mythological narration of victimization. The future of the nation was portrayed as being at stake unless the nation learned the proper lessons from history and lived up to the virtues of its founding fathers.

[…]By calling upon certain past events perceived as traumatic and mobilizing deep-rooted stereotypes and prejudices against the country’s largest minority, these historians sought to manipulate public opinion and shape political responses to the security crisis.

  

[…] Events were perceived and explained in such a way that they became part of a mythological narration of victimization. The future of the nation was portrayed as being at stake unless the nation learned the proper lessons from history and lived up to the virtues of its founding fathers.

 

[..] History was seen as an essential means of nation-building in the new Macedonian Republic established within the framework of Tito’sYugoslavia in 1944. The Macedonian Republic was presumed to be the national state of the Macedonian nation, a nation that first had to be created. Macedonian historians first had to write a myth of descent because, to quote Anthony D. Smith, nationalist historians have to “date the community’s origins, and so locate it in time and in relation to other relevant communities.”

[…]Old historians are thought to know more than young ones, and any challenge of an old historian by a young one would be perceived as a challenge to the institute as a whole. The institute’s personnel has remained unchanged after the end of socialism. The generation of Macedonian historians closely associated with the Yugoslav period of the Macedonian Republic who worked on the pertinent national myths of that time are still largely in charge of the institute.

[…]The vigorous Bulgarian campaign denying the existence of a separate Macedonian language and nation, which began in 1958, intensified the efforts of Macedonian historians to disconnect Macedonian from Bulgarian history. Now the medieval empire of Tsar Samuel and his successors (969-1018), whose capital was Ochrid, was re-evaluated as a Macedonian state although existing scholarship had regarded it as Bulgarian.

 

 

[…]From its very beginning in the late 1940s, Macedonian historiography has had and continues to have an explicitly national perspective.

[…] The jubilee year 1993 (the founding of VMRO in 1893 and the Ilinden Rising of 1903) once again increased historiographic writing on these two events, which hold important positions in the historical imagination of the Macedonian nation. as national-Macedonian in nature, although in Ottoman and European sources the Rising of 1903 was usually called “Bulgarian.”

 
 […]Furthermore, in many documents on Macedonia, especially of the late 19th and 20th centuries, the local population is not referred to as “Macedonian.” Macedonian historians – as do their colleagues in Bulgaria, Greece, and Serbia – therefore go to great lengths to argue that the Slavic Orthodox population of the region was Macedonian, regardless of what is written in the records. For example, one historian explains that the author of a source saying that the Slavs of Macedonia spoke Bulgarian was “unable to distinguish between the Bulgarian and the Macedonian language. 

 

 


 



 


 

[…]The young age of the Macedonian nation is compensated for with retrospective nationalism.” While Macedonian historians almost constantly deal with the nation, they do so from a theoretically hollow position. Recent major works by internationally prominent historians on the construction and essence of nations are not used for the analysis of the Macedonian nation, or are not even known.

 


 


 


 


 

 

 


 


 


 


 


 

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  2. NATION BUILDING- VICTIMS AND DEMONS – THE MEDIA LIES – THE LIARS AND MACEDONIA
  3. Skopje conference on building bridges between Greece, fYRoM
  4. The Evolution of FYROMian Historiography
  5. FYROM tends to create a Unique Myth in Sporting Events by not complying with the International Regulations and cry when they are applied!!!
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