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Interethnic marriage -- Bulgaria -- 19th century, Nationalism -- Bulgaria -- History, Balkan Peninsula--Social conditions


This article employs Greek-Bulgarian interethnic marriage as a category of analysis to contextualize the intersection of language, class, gender, and nationalism. Such marriages reveal pragmatic practices of auto-hellenization as expressions of eclectic urban lifestyles that flourished in the Ottoman era up to the 1830s, a process interrupted by the emergence of nation-states and the Tanzimat that led to intra-millet conflicts in which the groups caught in-between became scapegoats. Also, Greek language (enriched with a Turkish and Slav mix), a blend that can be called Balkan commercial koinē, which played a cohesive role similar to its Hellenistic predecessor, became a target of linguistic nationalism. Thus, a natural demographic process was ideologized, entered national discourses, and eroded the Ottoman cosmopolitan life in which mixed marriages often united local versions of high and low cultures. Intermarriages captured the “convergence-divergence dialectic” of the nineteenth-century Balkan transitions -- from auto-hellenization to de-hellenization, de-ottomanization and nationalization.


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