Balkan Idols: Religion and Nationalism in Yugoslav States / Edition 1by Vjekoslav Perica
Reporting from the heartland of Yugoslavia in the 1970s, Washington Post correspondent Dusko Doder described "a landscape of Gothic spires, Islamic mosques, and Byzantine domes." A quarter century later, this landscape lay in ruins. In addition to claiming tens of thousands of lives, the former Yugoslavia's four wars ravaged over a thousand religious… See more details below
Reporting from the heartland of Yugoslavia in the 1970s, Washington Post correspondent Dusko Doder described "a landscape of Gothic spires, Islamic mosques, and Byzantine domes." A quarter century later, this landscape lay in ruins. In addition to claiming tens of thousands of lives, the former Yugoslavia's four wars ravaged over a thousand religious buildings, many purposefully destroyed by Serbs, Albanians, and Croats alike, providing an apt architectural metaphor for the region's recent history.
Rarely has the human impulse toward monocausalitythe need for a single explanationbeen in greater evidence than in Western attempts to make sense of the country's bloody dissolution. From Robert Kaplan's controversial Balkan Ghosts, which identified entrenched ethnic hatreds as the driving force behind Yugoslavia's demise to NATO's dogged pursuit and arrest of Slobodan Milosevic, the quest for easy answers has frequently served to obscure the Balkans' complex history. Perhaps most surprisingly, no book has focused explicitly on the role religion has played in the conflicts that continue to torment southeastern Europe.
Based on a wide range of South Slav sources and previously unpublished, often confidential documents from communist state archives, as well as on the author's own on-the-ground experience, Balkan Idols explores the political role and influence of Serbian Orthodox, Croatian Catholic, and Yugoslav Muslim religious organizations over the course of the last century. Vjekoslav Perica emphatically rejects the notion that a "clash of civilizations" has played a central role in fomenting aggression. He finds no compelling evidence of an upsurge in religious fervor among the general population. Rather, he concludes, the primary religious players in the conflicts have been activist clergy. This activism, Perica argues, allowed the clergy to assume political power without the accountability faced by democratically-elected officials.
What emerges from Perica's account is a deeply nuanced understanding of the history and troubled future of one of Europes most volatile regions.
Table of Contents
|Note on Pronunciation and Foreign Language Terms|
|1||Religion, Ethnicity, and Nationhood||3|
|2||The First Strife: The Crisis of the 1930s, War, and the Cease-Fire of the 1960||17|
|3||The Other Serbia: The Serbian Church in the Communist Federation||43|
|4||The Catholic Church and the Making of the Croatian Nation, 1970-1984||56|
|5||The Bosnian Ulema and Muslim Nationalism||74|
|6||United We Stand, Divided We Fall: The Civil Religion of Brotherhood and Unity||89|
|7||Mary-making in Herzegovina: From Apparitions to Partitions||109|
|8||Flames and Shrines: The Serbian Church and Serbian Nationalist Movement in the 1980s||123|
|9||The Second Strife: Religion as the Catalyst of the Crisis in the 1980s and 1990s||133|
|10||Religion as Hallmark of Nationhood||165|
|11||The Twilight of Balkan Idols||186|
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