July 15, 2017
2 maps, 2 tables, 2 figures
9.21 Inches (US)
6.26 Inches (US)
1.18 Pounds (US)
$85.00 USD
v2.1 Reference

Muslim Land, Christian Labor

Transforming Ottoman Imperial Subjects into Bulgarian National Citizens, c. 1878-1939

Focusing upon a region in Southern Bulgaria, a region that has been the crossroads between Europe and Asia for many centuries, this book describes how former Ottoman Empire Muslims were transformed into citizens of Balkan nation-states. This is a region marked by shifting borders, competing Turkish and Bulgarian sovereignties, rival nationalisms, and migration. Problems such as these were ultimately responsible for the disintegration of the dynastic empires into nation-states.

Land that had traditionally belonged to Muslims—individually or communally—became a symbolic and material resource for Bulgarian state building and was the terrain upon which rival Bulgarian and Turkish nationalisms developed in the wake of the dissolution of the late Ottoman Empire and the birth of early republican Turkey and the introduction of capitalism.

By the outbreak of World War II, Turkish Muslims had become a polarized national minority. Their conflicting efforts to adapt to post-Ottoman Bulgaria brought attention to the increasingly limited availability of citizenship rights, not only to Turkish Muslims, but to Bulgarian Christians as well.

About the Author

Anna M. Mirkova is Assistant Professor of History at the Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia.


"The author focuses on the judicial issues concerning land holdings and transference during the period of the revived Bulgarian state, especially in the ephemeral region of Eastern Rumelia, which is now the southern area of Bulgaria. As a part of the issues of land ownership transference, the author also examines the wider consequences of the emigration of the Turkish and other Muslim minorities of Bulgaria to Turkey. This is an excellent study for those who wish to understand the legal processes by which the Bulgarian nationalist order replaced the imperial Ottoman establishment in the agricultural economy. Overall Mirkova demonstrates the determination of the revived Bulgarian state to maintain its authority over a system of land ownership based upon law and to use this authority to develop or modernize the agricultural segment of the economy, even if this law was not always exercised fairly to Bulgaria's Muslim minorities."—Slavic Review


"Mirkova's book provides a truly significant and original contribution to late Ottoman and early post-Ottoman Bulgarian (and, by extension, Balkan) history. It carries the reader through this transition, covering the before, the after, and offering rich detail on the very understudied province of Eastern Rumelia—which was a multi-ethnic and autonomous province that became part of the Bulgarian principality after 1885. This work makes a compelling case for the fact that land should be a central trope and subject for understanding changing identities (and Muslim Christian relations) in this period. While most works on national identity focus on language and religion, Muslim Land, Christian Labor looks at how momentous changes in land use/ownership contributed to the formation of identities in modern Bulgaria. While territory is often cited as central to identity, here it is land use, ownership, appropriation, re-allocation that are explored as ways in which a variety of actors—from Bulgarian regimes to specific social groups—shaped or expressed identity in this period. Mirkova does an excellent job of integrating the voices and struggles of the Muslims of Bulgaria themselves (so often left out) into this complex story in which there are so many key actors."—Mary Neuburger
Central European University Press

9789633861615 : muslim-land-christian-labor-mirkova
304 Pages
$85.00 USD

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