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Concentrating on the politics of the Habsburg Monarchy's self-proclaimed 'cultural mission' in occupied Bosnia in the period from 1878 to the outbreak of war in 1914, Taming Balkan Nationalism addresses two related issues: the impact of 'Europeanization' in a backward society and the crystallization of the identities which have since dominated Bosnian life. On the basis of wide reading in the Austrian, Hungarian, and south Slav sources, including the Hungarian-language papers of the two leading administrators of Bosnia, Benjamin von Kallay and Istvan Burian, Robin Okey provides fresh and wide-ranging perspectives on a whole range of issues, including the 'Orientalist' assumptions of Austrian policy, the struggle of administrators for the moral high ground with nascent Serb and Croat intelligentsias, Kallay's controversial policy of the 'Bosnian nation', and the strategy and personality of the intriguing Burian. He also opens up the hitherto unexplored background to student terrorism in the secondary schools of pre-1914 Bosnia, from which the assassin of Archduke Franz Ferdinand was to emerge.
Beyond this immediate historical context, the book also sheds much light on wider issues such as the construction of Serb and Croat nationhood in Bosnia, the beginnings of the Europeanization of Bosnian Muslims, and the new divisions created by the rapid pace of social, economic, and intellectual change as the nineteenth turned into the twentieth century.
Robin Okey is Professor of History at the University of Warwick and has published widely on Habsburg, Balkan, and east European history.