Accepted Paper:

Mountains, valleys and other divisions in Bosnia and Hercegovina  

Author:

Cathie Carmichael (University of East Anglia)

Paper short abstract:

Bosnia and Hercegovina has been divided and united as a historic region by theories that have stressed the difference as well as similarities of its peoples. Here I discuss the impact of these theories suggesting why it might be instructive to remember how important topography is for human settlement.

Paper long abstract:

During the last hundred or so years, Bosnia and Hercegovina has been subjected to a number of influential geographical and anthropological theories. Jovan Cvijić placed the area within a 'patriarchal' order or regime, which had been influenced by other civilizations, especially the 'Turco-Oriental'. He wrote extensively about the 'Dinaric' characteristics within this region. Later writers continued with Cvijić' speculation about the 'Dinaric' character including Dinko Tomašić and Stjepan Meštrović. More recently, the geneticist Damir Marjanović (Annals of Human Genetics (69) (6) 2005) has cooperated with other scientists to discuss the composition of the region, concluding that 'the three main groups of Bosnia-Herzegovina...share a large fraction of the same ancient gene pool distinctive for the Balkan area'. Marjanović et al (Documenta Praehistorica XXXIII, 2006) have also discussed the problems associated with of 'nationalistic manipulations and distortions of the facts'. In this paper I will discuss some of the ways in which non-scientific agendas have continued to direct the study of people and communities in this region. In particular, I stress the continued importance of understanding Bosnia and Hercegovina in terms of micro-regions and the geography of the Dinaric Karst, as well as rivers and towns.

Panel W100
Peripheral Europe as moralized landscapes