Balkan Studies

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Balkan Studies


the comprehensive scientific discipline that deals with the languages, literature, history, culture, and other problems and phenomena of social life common to the peoples of the Balkan Peninsula; it is also concerned with the contemporary situation of the Balkan states. Balkan studies first emerged in Austria-Hungary as a product of the interest in the Balkan countries evidenced there. The Slovenian philologists V. Kopitar and F. Mikloŝič initiated the development of the issues and problems of Balkan studies in the 19th century. The problems were then elaborated in the works of the Serbian geographer J. Cvijić, the Czech historian K. Jireček, the German linguist G. Weigand, the Danish linguist K. Sandfeld, and the German linguist H. Meier. The major Balkanologists of the 20th century have included the Croatian scholar P. Skok, A. M. Selishchev (Russia), H. Pedersen (Denmark), N. Jokl (Austria), and T. Capidan (Rumania).

Balkan studies took shape initially in the areas of linguistics and cultural history; it posed as one of its main tasks the study of Balkanisms—common phenomena in the language and culture of the Balkan peoples. The postpositive article, the absence of the infinitive, the common pattern of tenses and moods, and common phenomena in phonetics and vocabulary are linguistic Balkanisms. Cultural-historical Balkanisms include community of folklore motifs (in epos and tales) and similarity of musical culture, design, dress, and certain ancient customs. Later on in its development, Balkan studies embraced other areas of the humanities as well, coming to occupy an independent place among the group of analogous comprehensive disciplines (Oriental studies, Slavic studies, African studies, and so on). An international scientific organization for Balkan studies was formed in 1963 (the International Association for the Study of the Countries of Southeast Europe). Under its direction, the first International Congress for Balkan and Southeast European Studies was held in Sofia in 1966. Scientific research centers for Balkan studies have been established in Bulgaria, Rumania, and other countries both in and outside of the Balkans: the Institute of Balkan Studies in Bulgaria, the Institute for Southeast European Studies in Rumania, the Institute for Balkan Studies in Thessaloniki (Greece), and others. In 1968 the Institute of Slavic Studies of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR was changed to the Institute of Slavic and Balkan Studies. The major journals of Balkan studies are Etudes Balkaniques (Sofia, 1964—), Revue des Etudes Sud-Est Européennes (Bucharest, 1963—), and Balkan Studies (Thessaloniki, 1960—).


Miller, A. F. “Balkanistika: problemy i perspektivy (kongress v Sofii).” Vestnik AN SSSR,1966, no. 12.
Balkanskii istoricheskii sbornik, issue 1. Kishinev, 1968.
Jorga, N. Histoire des états balkaniques jusqu’à 1924. Paris, 1925.
Sandfeld, K. La linguistique balkanique. Paris, 1930.
Balkansko ezikoznanie, vols. 1–12. Sofia, 1959–67.
Zur Kunde der Balkanhalbinsel, vols. 1–17. Vienna-Leipzig, 1904–19.
Balkan Review, vols. 1–6. London, 1919–22.
Balkan-Archiv, vols. 1–4. Leipzig, 1925–28.
Revue Internationale des études balkaniques. Belgrade, 1934–39.
Balcania, vols. 1–2. Bucharest, 1938–45.
Zeitschrifl fü r Balkanologie. Wiesbaden, 1962–67.
Les études balkaniques et sud-est européennes en Bulgarie: Guide de documentation. Sofia, 1966.
Congrés international des études balkaniques et sud-est européennes. Actes. Sofia, 1966.
Bibliographie d’études balkaniques. Sofia, 1968.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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