RESETTLERS AND MIGRANTS ON THE TWO SIDES
OF BULGARIAN-TURKISH BORDER:
Heritage, Identity, Intercultural Interactions
During the period between 15th and 21st December 2009 Nikolay Vukov and Lina Gergova undertook a field research visit in Edirne, Turkey, in which the leading topics were local history and identity in official representations of the city, urban environment from the perspective of cultural communities and historical strata, Bulgarian traces and their use by local authorities and by communities in Turkey and Bulgaria. Meetings with municipality experts and university specialists in the sphere of cultural heritage and international dialogue in local, national and international aspect took place. (read more)
A scientific conference dedicated to the 20th anniversary of the expatriation of the Bulgarian Turks to Turkey took place in Istanbul on 7th and 8th December 2009. Magdalena Elchinova participated with a report on the topic of Migration and Affiliation Among the Turks from North-Eastern Bulgaria. Specialists from different scientific spheres – historians, philologists, sociologists, anthropologists – took part in the conference. Most of the reporters were young representatives of the expatriate community, having graduated and teaching at different universities in Turkey. Ayshe Parla, a participant in the team of the project “Migrants and Expatriates on Both Sides of the Bulgarian-Turkish Border” on the Turkish part also presented a report. There were representatives of the academic society among the audience – Turkish professors, students from the university hosting the event – as well as members of the expatriate community in Istanbul and other cities. The reports presented were thoroughly discussed by this diverse audience.
During her stay in Istanbul Magdalena Elchinova met representatives of several organizations of expatriates in Istanbul and established contacts for her future research among their expatriate community from Bulgaria. She established also contacts with Turkish scientists, studying the same community, extending the sphere of partners and consultants on the project.
A theoretical interdisciplinary seminar "Borders and Identities" has been taking place since 1st December 2009. The seminar is intended for students of Ethnology and Sociology of the Faculty of Philosophy and History at the Plovdiv University "Paisiy Hilendarsky".
The seminar is part of the project "Resettlers and Migrants on the Two Sides of the Bulgarian-Turkish Border: Heritage, Identity, Cultural Interactions" and puts to discussion specific emphasis of the issues of the research work, theoretical problems related to "contradictions of heritage", generations of migrants, names and naming etc.
Some of the students, participating in the seminar, took part also in the field research carried out within the project scheme. (read more)
International Scientific Conference on the topic "Border Cities: Creative Topographies" took place from 1st till 4th December 2009 in Vilnius. It was organized together with the Institute of Lithuanian Literature and Folklore and Lithuanian Scientific Foundation. Lina Gergova presented her individual report "Three Friends and Edirne", discussing the relation between the cultural events in the city and the intercultural dialogue between local Turks, immigrants from Bulgaria and Bulgarians.
On 9th October 2009 Assoc. Prof. Magdalena Elchinova PhD, took part with a report at the National meeting on the topic Migration and Civic Society – Local and National Solutions, which took part in Vihren Hall of Hilton Hotel, Sofia. The event was organized within the scope of the project Public Squares on the Move – Connecting the Public Spaces in Bulgaria, funded by the Trust for Civic Society in Central and Eastern Europe and headed by Prof. D.Sc. Ivaylo Ditchev from the Sofia University. The project aims at facilitating the sharing of civic experience in migration practices through the mediation of the state governments, the local authorities, the academic community and the citizens in a couple of cities in Bulgaria. The meeting was attended by representatives of Ministries, regional administrations, scientists, journalists, teachers and members of non-governmental organizations in Burgas, Vidin, Shumen, Kardzhaly and Blagoevgrad.
In front of this broad audience M. Elchinova presented the aims and nature of the project Immigrants and Resettlers from Both Sides of the Borderline between Bulgaria and Turkey: Heritage, Identity, Intercultural Interactions, funded by National Science Fund at the Ministry of Education, Youth and Science. Her report outlined the significance of the so called marginal studies in contemporary social sciences. Some basic concepts and categories part of the fundamental theoretical foundation of the project were defined and interpreted, such as typological characteristics of the migration flows, migrant/resettlers’ communities and their inner dynamic, the borderline and its adoption in the everyday practice. Some examples of the field work on the project were commented.
From 10th till 14th September 2009 a field research was accomplished in the towns of Tsarevo, Ahtopol, Kiten and the village of Varvara. The research was done by a work group – Meglena Zlatkova and Stoyka Penkova. (read more)
During the period from 31st August till 6th September 2009 Magdalena Elchinova and Aishe Parla accomplished field research in the town of Zavet, North-Western Bulgaria. The observations include to a lesser extend the towns of Razgrad and Isperih too. (read more)
On the occasion of the 165 Anniversary from the birth of Captain Petko the Chieftain from 2nd till 5th September 2009 a national celebration took place in Varna, being organized by the Union of Thrace Associations, the Varna Municipality, the Thrace Association “Captain Petko the Chieftain” – Varna, the Ministry of Culture and others. Central place in the diversity of events had the Third National Folk Festival “Songs about Captain Petko the Chieftain” and the scientific Conference, organized by the Institute for Thrace Studies. Natalia Rashkova was member of the Jury of the Festival and took part in the Conference with scientific report on the topic Captian Petko the Chieftain in the Folk Songs of Bulgarians – Interpretations in the Past and the Present.
These events and some others such as the Documental Exhibition “Captain Petko the Chieftain – a Life Devoted to Bulgaria” in the State Archives – Varna; laying wreaths before the monument of Captain Petko the Chieftain; performance of music and dance “Chieftain Forever” in the Summer Theatre, were documented for the project on photos, video and audio records.
On 22nd and 23rd August 2009 Natalia Rashkova and Lina Gergova made observations and documentation on the celebrations for the 106th Anniversary of the Illinden-Preobrazhenie Rebellion at the locality of Petrova Niva and the attending events – the Thrace Fair, folk program, fireworks and illumination. (read more)
During the period 6th – 10th August 2009 Lina Gergova carried on a field research in the village of Brodilovo, Tsarevo municipality. The villagers are resettlers from the surrounding villages of Strandzha, nowadays being left on the other side of the Bulgarian-Turkish border. (read more)
The second seminar on the project on the topic of "Field Research – First Reflections and Steps in Perspective" took place on 27th and 28th June 2009 in Novi Izvor, Assenovgrad Municipality. The sessions proceeded in two panels of discussion: "Field Research among the Descendants of the Bulgarian Refugees and Immigrants from Eastern Thracia", "Field Research among the Turkish Resettlers and Migrants from Bulgaria", "Methodology and Management of the Project".
The participants discussed about the accomplished intentions of the first scientific trips, the omissions made and ideas about further research. Problem fields were specified according to the specialization of the team members. Discussions took place on the main concepts and terms and the methods of field research as well as on the grounds of of comparison between the two instances of tans-border migration. The survey elaborated by M. Zlatkova and S. Penkova, which targeted students, descendants of immigrants from Bulgaria, was put to discussion. The members came to decisions concerning the better planning of the work and popularization of the project.
In his expert assessment Assoc. Prof. P. Bochkov outlined the significance of the first results from the pilot research in Edirne, the debated concepts (borderline, community), certain problems such as the role of associations and cultural activities for the identification and continuity of the migrant communities etc. He observed that the team has evaluated and specified the research tasks in theoretical perspective. The research context of the project presents solid grounds for studying of migrations. In conclusion the expert emphasized that "at this stage the team has accomplished the tasks of the project successfully and before the deadlines of the working schedule. The first field research was valuable and added new perspectives to the program of research".
In the period between 3rd and 9th May 2009 the first field research took place in the city of Edirne, the Republic of Turkey. Official meetings took place in the General Consulate of the Republic of Bulgaria in the city, in the Department of Euro-Integration and International Cooperation in Edirne municipality, and in the Trakya University. (read more)
In Stara Zagora there was unveiled a monument dedicated to the "Edirne Epic" (1913). The event is documented. (more photos)
Today the first work meeting of the project team was carried out. The work programme and the first field research were discussed and planned.