New Books Network

Ana Foteva

Do the Balkans Begin in Vienna?

The Geopolitical and Imaginary Borders Between the Balkans and Europe

Peter Lang 2014

New Books in Eastern European StudiesNew Books in European StudiesNew Books in GeographyNew Books in Literary StudiesNew Books Network June 19, 2016 Amanda Swain

Starting with Metternich’s declaration that the Balkans begin at Rennweg (a street in the Third District of Vienna), Ana Foteva draws on novels, plays,...

Starting with Metternich’s declaration that the Balkans begin at Rennweg (a street in the Third District of Vienna), Ana Foteva draws on novels, plays, librettos and travelogues from the 19th through the 21st century to explore the various forms the Balkan region has taken in Europe’s political and cultural imagination. Her analysis of these literary works reveals concepts of belonging, multi-belonging and unbelonging among Serbians, Bosnians, Croatians, Slovenes and even Austrians. Ana Foteva applies postmodern geography, literary, and colonial theories to demonstrate the relationship between the development of national identity, the pull of Habsburg imperial identity, the shaping of Yugoslav identity, and the fracturing of the Balkans in the 1990s. In our podcast conversation, she discusses and challenges stereotypes of the Balkans as a region of perpetual conflict. Do the Balkans Begin in Vienna? The Geopolitical and Imaginary Borders Between the Balkans and Europe (Peter Lang, 20speaks to complex identities in the region rarely seen in contemporary media accounts.

Ana Foteva received her PhD in German literature at Purdue University. Currently she holds the position of Visiting Assistant Professor in German Studies at St. Lawrence University.


Amanda Jeanne Swain is executive director of the Humanities Commons at the University of California, Irvine. She received her PhD in Russian and East European history at the University of Washington. Her research interests include the intersections of national, Soviet and European identities in the Baltic countries. Recent publications include articles in Ab Imperio and Cahiers du Monde Russe.