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Fellow Seminar

21 November 2019

Dr. Stoyan Shivarov will present his research proposal on the topic: "Lost Pages: (Ottoman) Turkish Language Periodicals in Bulgaria (1878 - 1944). Muslim Tradition versus Nationalism" on 21 November 2019 (Thursday) at 16:30h at CAS conference hall.

Abstract:

The Ottoman Turkish language periodicals, published in Bulgaria in the 1878 - 1944 period, were a unique phenomenon within the post Ottoman Balkans. Not only for the significant number of newspapers and magazines published, but also because many among them continued to be printed in Arabic script years after 1928, when Turkey adopted its variant of the Latin alphabet.

The newly reestablished Bulgarian state was in reality not a model unitary state, but a multiethnic country with significant minority populations. Bulgarian authorities recognized this and printed the „Bulgarian State Gazette" in both Ottoman Turkish and Bulgarian for the first two years of its run. However, the majority of the (Ottoman) Turkish periodicals were private enterprises. It is also worth mentioning that not all of their owners were of Turkish descent. There were also Bulgarian publishers who sought wider readership and even Europeans who experimented with such publications.

The language of the periodicals evolved over time as new and modern words were entering directly from Bulgarian, making it especially unique. In the 1930s a new phenomenon emerged - certain periodicals started experimenting with Latin script. At first they were quite cautious in their use and the new script articles often coexisted on the same page as those in Arabic script.

The main goal of the project is to utilize the publications in the those periodicals to reconstruct the image of the Turkish speaking minority population in Bulgaria, which was far from the homogeneous entity it is often deemed to have been. While earlier special case periodicals will be also considered, the temporal focus of the research would be the 1923 - 1944 period when the internal division within the ummah reached its peak. The latter is related to the varied opinions about the reforms of Mustafa Kemal (Atatürk) and especially the polemics on the introduction of the new Latin script, which one could speculate literally led to an Alphabet war. An important subtopic are the official political party newspapers, mainly those of the Bulgarian Communist Party and the Bulgarian Agrarian National Union. Publications in these will be analyzed in the context of the segregation within the Muslim ummah as well as the distinction between their Bulgarian and (Ottoman) Turkish version.

Stoyan Shivarov is an Ottomanist and archivist. His research focuses on ethnic, religious and cultural minorities in the Balkans and in Asia Minor with an emphasis on Anatolian Bulgarians and Muslim minorities in the post Ottoman Balkans. He is also interested in the attitudes of the Ottoman state towards the Orthodox Church and the restrictions forced upon non Muslim Ottoman subjects. He is also actively working on publishing Ottoman archival sources. Stoyan Shivarov holds BA degree in Turkology as well as a MA in History. In 2018 he received his PhD in History from Sofia University "St. Kliment Ohridski".

 

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