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September 20, 2023

Balkan Periodicals Trajectory of Islamic Thought 1918-2018

GENERAL INFORMATION ABOUT THE PROJECT

The Balkan Periodicals Project aims to examine contemporary (Bosniak, Turkish, and Albanian) thought in the Balkans (Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Croatia, Serbia, North Macedonia, Albania, Kosovo, Greece, Bulgaria, and Romania) through periodicals (magazines and newspapers) (weekly). This legacy will be studied in three different periods: 1918–1945, 1946–1990, and 1990–2018, and the periodicals in which Islamic thought was expressed, produced, and discussed in these periods will be analyzed in detail. The first part of the project will focus on the period between 1918, when the Ottoman Empire completely withdrew from the region, and 1945, at the end of the Second World War. The other periods will be the socialist period (1945–1990) and the democratization (Europeanization) period (1991–2018). (At the end of these three periods, the period 1878–1918, which is different from the other periods in terms of its conditions, will be planned as a different project area at the end of 3 years.) The project consists of five stages. First of all, it is to reveal the inventory of all periodicals in which thought has found a channel within 100 years, to catalog all this inventory, to digitize all periodicals in this inventory as much as possible, to protect the heritage of thought and culture, to prepare the ground for current researchers and future generations to conduct research under the most favorable conditions, and finally to record the formation, development, and breakage stages of these channels by conducting oral history studies with the owners, chief writers, managers, and writers of periodicals. Although there have been recent studies on contemporary thought in the Balkans, this study, which will be realized through periodicals, will produce great momentum and ground. The Balkans are a laboratory that includes the periods of many ideologies and political regimes in the last century. During these periods, Muslims became a minority, Muslim identity went through nation-building processes, was fragmented, started to take place in public life again after the 90s, and produced many sub-identities and cultures by interacting with the EU and the Islamic world in the 2000s. In this context, in the period between 1918 and 2018, it succeeded in producing thought on issues such as state, society, politics, Islam, nationalism, nation, law, women, etc. It is clear that these ideas were reflected in periodicals. Analyzing the writings, articles, notes, etc. in all periodicals will reveal the topics, concepts, and subjects discussed by Islamic thought in the Balkans in a comprehensive manner and will also open important doors in terms of the development and course of Islamic thought in the Balkans in the contemporary period.

GOALS OF THE PROJECT 

  • to reveal the effects of the outputs of the domestic politics of the period and the post-colonial awakening and developments in the Islamic World on the course of current Islamic thought in the Balkans and the consequences of these effects.
  • to reveal the political, economic, social, and cultural conceptual vocabulary of Muslims in the period 1918–2018, the context in which they use these concepts, and what is produced.
  • to record the journals in which contemporary thought in the Balkans and Islamic thought, which is its sub-fraction, find and open channels, and bring them together in a center.
  • to produce a ground for Islamic thought in the contemporary period in the Balkans.
  • to make an inventory of all periodicals that emerged in 10 countries of the Balkans for 100 years through the inventory process.
  • to build a great ground for the studies of researchers by making a detailed catalog of all periodicals that emerged in 10 countries of the Balkans for 100 years.
  • to carry out the digitization process of all periodicals that have emerged in the 10 countries of the Balkans for 100 years, to protect this large inventory, and to create a great ground for researchers from all over the world to work on the website.
  • It also aims to lay the groundwork for the work of researchers by recording the formation, development, breakage, and prominent processes of these media by conducting oral history studies with the owners, editors-in-chief, managers, and writers of periodicals that emerged in 10 countries of the Balkans for 100 years.

MAIN PARTS OF THE PROJECT 

The project will be implemented from July 2023 to July 2026. The project consists of 3 main activity periods and 5 main activity areas.

Project Periods:

July 2023–June 2024: Periodicals in the Balkans: The Venture of Islamic Thought, 1918–1945

July 2024–June 2025: Periodicals in the Balkans: The Venture of Islamic Thought, 1945–1990

July 2025–June 2026: Periodicals in the Balkans: The Vventure of Islamic Thought, 1990–2018

  1.  Inventory Process

  This process, which will continue throughout the project, starting with the preliminary inventory process, constitutes one of the main activity areas of the project. It will be carried out in the form of service procurement, consisting of processes such as identifying periodicals published in the regions determined within the scope of the project, determining the libraries, private archives, or catalogs where they are located, and providing these publications within the scope of the project. It refers to the process of identifying the periodicals of Muslim thought published in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, North Macedonia, Bulgaria, Greece, Serbia, Croatia, Montenegro, Romania, and Albania, taking into account the periods of the project, that is, the process of making an inventory. In each country, journals and other periodicals published between 1918–1945, 1945–1990, and 1990–2018 will be identified; the number of issues, the number of pages, the publishers, and their locations will be determined. The process will be carried out by researchers. The preliminary inventory process will take place in the 1st and 2nd months of the overall project work. The field inventory process consists of raw cataloging of the material identified in the preliminary inventory process, identification of the imprint and other content information of the journals, and the registration and identification of the material in private archives, bookstores, and other places in the relevant region. This work will be carried out with the participation of the researcher and project assistants and will begin in the third month of the project after the preliminary inventory. The process will be followed according to the nature and diversity of the material, and an intensified work process will be applied, taking into account cost and efficiency.

  1.  Cataloging Process 

  This process, which consists of determining and processing the copyright page information (publication name, period, year of publication, number of issues, region, language, etc.) of the periodicals identified at the beginning of the inventory work of the project, will begin with the preliminary inventory process. The preliminary cataloging process, which will be carried out under the responsibility of the researchers, will provide information on how the work will be carried out in the later stages of the project. The periodicals whose preliminary cataloging is completed will be cataloged in detail. In this process, the contents of the articles in the publications (approximately 140 types of articles such as news, poems, articles, advertisements, interviews, book introductions, congratulations, obituaries, etc.), their authors, if any, and the page numbers on which they are located will be identified and recorded; keywords will also be extracted. The process will start in the fourth month of the project and continue until the end of the project in coordination with other processes. The detailed cataloging process will be carried out by project assistants to be employed in the project under the supervision of the researchers.

  1.  Digitalization Process

  Digitization is one of the important outputs of the project. In addition to the inventory of periodicals identified in seven different regions where the project will be carried out, these publications will be digitized and made available to researchers at the local or international level. At the end of this work process, which will be carried out within the legal permissions and regulations, it is also planned to establish a physical library/research center within the BSF where the physical and digital records of the publications will be kept. The digitization process is planned in six stages: completion of identification and procedures, procurement of publications, on-site and central digitization, storage, data entry, and publication in a digital environment. The process will start simultaneously with field inventory studies. Under the coordination of a deputy coordinator, relevant regional researchers and digitization experts will work throughout the process.

  1.  Oral History

  Oral history studies will be carried out under the headings of preparing the subject, identifying the people to be interviewed, conducting preliminary interviews with the identified people, conducting oral history interviews with the people with whom preliminary interviews were conducted, and classifying, storing, and analyzing the content of the records resulting from the interviews. Although the periods of the project are taken into consideration, due to the structure of the oral history practice, the period 1918–2018 will be considered and acted upon as a whole in the studies. It aims to conduct oral history interviews with a total of 100 people from all periods and regions. In this regard, 1 video recording assistant, project researchers and assistants for each region, 1 editing assistant, and 1 project technical assistant will be assigned throughout the process.  Oral history interviews will start in the 6th month of the project. Considering the workflow and costs due to working in different regions and countries, the interviews will not be spread over the entire project period, but a compressed schedule will be followed in certain periods.

  1.  Research, Publication, and Publicity Process

  Research and publication activities consist of tangible outputs such as books, special issue journals, and documentaries, as well as academic events such as symposiums and workshops; promotional activities consist of special launch meetings, use of social media, press releases, and media activities to promote the project internationally. At least one general symposium will be organized in each project period for both the promotion of the project and the qualitative and quantitative analysis of the material resulting from the inventory and other processes. Considering the inventory, cataloging, oral history, and digitization processes, it is foreseen that the symposium will be held between 5-8 months for the relevant periods of the project. The symposia will be held in one of the seven regions where the project is carried out. One of the outputs of the project is an edition books. At the end of the work to be carried out in workshops and reading groups on the material that emerged as a result of the inventory and cataloging stages, the edition book(s) will be published with the support of the researchers in the project team and experts in the field. A comprehensive database of existing publications will also be prepared within the project. Development and improvement work will continue throughout the project in order to make the database systematically accessible, manageable, updateable, and portable, with defined relationships between each other. The infrastructure of the project website will be designed as a platform that provides easy access to the database module, allows for periodicals, catalogs, digital archives, and oral history records, and includes news, information, and current developments. The project will meet the target groups and final beneficiaries through the website. The website interface, which features a functional design, will offer an interactive user interface. This website will play a primary role in increasing the visibility of the project. Since two servers will be procured for the project for the website, catalog, and digitization software, the installation and management of this entire structure and its smooth operation, reporting, and implementation activities will be carried out efficiently and quickly.

POSSIBLE EXPECTATIONS AND OUTCOMES OF THE PROJECT

  • Inventory of all periodicals (magazines, weekly newspapers) in 10 countries of the Balkans where Islamic thought found a channel in the period 1918–2018.
  • Making basic and detailed catalog of the periodicals inventoried
  • Digitization of digitized and cataloged periodicals,
  • Publishing periodicals whose processes have been completed (inventory, cataloging, digitization) on the website.
  • Conducting professional oral history interviews with people identified in 10 countries based on periodicals,
  • To organize international symposiums with detailed studies in certain periods through periodical publications.
  • To publish thematic or general themed edition books with the participation of experts in their fields through periodicals,
  • Establishing a BSF Periodicals Center within the BSF, which will house periodicals whose processes have been completed (inventory, cataloging, digitization) and facilitate the use of researchers in the coming years,
  • To employ academicians and researchers who will work on contemporary thought in the Balkans in the following periods within the Balkan Studies Foundation.
  • At the end of the whole project process, obtain outputs that will serve as an example for future studies.

To access Balkan Periodicals website, click here  https://balkanperiodicals.com/

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