BIBLIOGRAPHY
Title "The Past in Question. Modern Macedonia and the Uncertainties of Nation"
Author Brown, Keith
Publisher Princeton: Princeton University Press
Annotation Undoubtedly the most competent in history anthropological monograph on former Yugoslav Macedonia focusing on the local memories and experience of ethnicity and of national identity in the small town of Kruševo – center of the Ilinden uprising in 1903 and one of the most important lieux de mémoire of the modern Macedonian nationalism. Contrary to the perspective analyzing the development of Macedonian national identity as a process directed exclusively ‘from above’, in his ‘ethnography of history’, Brown tries to understand the same identity as a result of interaction of individuals, institutions, memories and ideologies. However, despite his disdain for the ‘zero-sum nature’ of the historiographic interpretation, Brown deals with his subject much more as a historian than as an anthropologist: this the case of at least four chapters of the study (two to five) that analyze the past of Macedonia and not the contemporary perception of the past. From this point of view, Brown could be also accused of insufficient knowledge of certain details that are presented by him without any questioning: for instance, Dimo Hadžidimov was never an activist of a left-wing organization headquartered in Vienna and never wrote a text bearing the title ‘The Macedonian National Question’ (p. 43) etc. The penetrating analysis of the Interwar ‘evolution’ of local identities in Kruševo nevertheless contrasts with the lack of a real corpus of sources. Although Brown’s study of the Ilinden pension scheme (chapter six) is particularly insightful, his emphasis on the short-lived cooperatives of Soviet type (SRZ) as a long-term factor of Macedonian national construction is inexplicable. Even though his main pathos is directed against scientists deconstructing the Macedonian identity as a Yugoslav state product, ironically, Brown’s own constructivist approach seems sometimes even more denying the historical continuity claimed by contemporary Macedonians. (also relevant to sub-fields 1, 2, 11)
Author of Annotation Tchavdar Marinov
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