Announcements Conference Event

SAS at ASEEES 2017 in Chicago

Below is a list of SAS-sponsored and Albanian Studies related events at the 2017 ASEEES Annual Convention, to be held at the Chicago Marriott Downtown Magnificent Mile, November 9-12, 2017.

Society for Albanian Studies Business Meeting

Fri, November 10, 1:45 to 3:30pm, Marriott Downtown Chicago, 4th, Halsted

Save the date for our official annual business meeting! All past, current and future members are invited to attend. In addition to our regular meeting, we will be recognizing the winners of the 2017 Stavro Skendi Book Prize for Achievement in Albanian Studies and the 2017 Arshi Pipa Best Graduate Student Paper Award.

From the Sublime Porte to Mother Teresa: Advancing Historical Research in Albanian Studies

Sat, November 11, 8:00 to 9:45am, Marriott Downtown Chicago, 3rd, Dupage

Roundtable sponsored by the Society for Albanian Studies

Historical research in Albanian Studies has faced a long crisis given sparse new research in US academia, Albanian-speaking countries, and internationally. This panel will present recent research by both junior and senior historical scholars in Albanian Studies, covering issues from the late Ottoman era to World War II and more recent biographies. The panel will review these recent works in light of existing historiographies and raise new questions for research by historical scholars.

Chair: Besnik Pula, Virginia Tech


The Development of Guerilla Warfare in Kosovo during 1943 – Mrika Limani, ‘Ali Hadri’ Institute of History (Kosovo)

Albanian Associations and the Struggle for Civil Society in the Late Ottoman Empire, 1880-1912 – Lejnar Mitrojorgji, U of Maryland, College Park

Mother Teresa: The Saint of the Peripheries who Became Catholicism’s Center Piece – Ines Murzaku, Seton Hall U

Discussant: Elidor Mehilli, Hunter College, City University of New York

Stepping Forward or Moving Backward?: Albania’s 2017 Parliamentary Elections

Sat, November 11, 8:00 to 9:45am, Marriott Downtown Chicago, 5th, Chicago Ballroom H

This year marked another round of parliamentary elections in Albania after the country’s four year rule by a Socialist Party majority under prime minister Edi Rama. Albania’s democratic institutions and political stability survived the challenges posed by corruption scandals and policy controversies that plagued the country during the period of Rama’s governance. Rama’s government also saw the passing of a comprehensive package of judiciary reforms. Do developments of the recent period indicate signs of Albania’s maturing democracy, as indicated by country’s improved scores of nations in Transit and Bertelsmann Transformation Index? Or have Rama’s policies, as critics claim, strengthened his party’s hand in the control of the media and the economy in line with authoritarian tendencies emerging across the Balkans and Eastern Europe? This roundtable will consider these questions and Albania’s prospects after the 2017 elections.

Chair: Nicholas C. Pano, Western Illinois U

Roundtable Members:

Elez Biberaj, Voice of America

Lejnar Mitrojorgji, U of Maryland, College Park

Elton Skendaj, Manchester U

Social Issues in the Balkans: Education, Family, and Community in Albania and Kosovo

Sun, November 12, 8:00 to 9:45am, Marriott Downtown Chicago, 5th, Chicago Ballroom D

Three papers on this panel on social issues in the Balkans focus on education policy, inter-ethnic relations, and the role of the family in business enterprise, with a particular focus on Kosovo and Albania. The first paper explores issues of community coherence in post-conflict Kosovo, based on survey data with Albanian and Serbian adults. A second study investigates the impact of recent education policies on students’ academic performance in Kosovo. A third paper examines the evolving reliance of small business enterprise in Albania on community and informal family networks. The papers highlight the evolving relationships between state, community, and family in the southern Balkans.

Chair: Anna Di Lellio, The New School


The Impact of Education Policies on Student Performance in Kosovo – Jeta Rudi, California State Polytechnic U; Egzon Bajrami, U of Pristina (Kosovo)

In Business Matters, is Family More Important than Community?: The Case of Non-Agricultural Firms in Albania – Esmeralda Gassie-Falzone, National Conservatory of Arts and Crafts (France)

Discussant: Arjada Bardhi, Northwestern U

Beyond Nationalism: Religion, Migration, and Hybridity in Southeastern Europe

Sun, November 12, 12:00 to 1:45pm, Marriott Downtown Chicago, 2nd, Streeterville

Chair: Elidor Mehilli, Hunter College, CUNY


The ‘Orthodox Commonwealth’: A Russo-Hellenic Utopia for the Balkans, 1815-1856 – Stella Ghervas, U of Alabama at Birmingham

Struggling with Empire and Independence: Albanians and Hyphenated Identities – James N. Tallon, Lewis U

Muslims and Christians in a Contested Area: Dobrudja, 1877-2017 – Tobias Weger, Federal Institute for Culture and History of the Germans in Eastern Europe (Germany)

Discussant: Mate Rigo, Yale-NUS College

Politics and Society in the Balkans: from Internal Modernization to Great Power Intervention

Sat, November 11, 1:45 to 3:30pm, Marriott Downtown Chicago, 3rd, Dupage

Chair: Alexander Markovic, U of Illinois at Chicago


Transgressing Modernization: the Taming of Nature and Rural Responses in the Albanian Countryside during the Interwar Era – Artan Hoxha, U of Pittsburgh

The ‘British Track’ and Ethnic Cleansing in the Balkans – Julian A Brooks, Douglas College (Canada)

Yugoslavia and US Foreign Policy in the 1960-1970s of the 20th Century – Alena N Eskridge-Kosmach, Francis Marion U

Discussant: Jelena Batinic, Stanford U

Reform of Higher Education in Macedonia – A Case Study

Thu, November 9, 1:00 to 2:45pm, Marriott Downtown Chicago, 5th, Chicago Ballroom C

South East European University (SEEU) was founded in 2001 in Tetovo, Macedonia by a group of local educators who sought to address the needs of the Albanian-speaking students access to higher education in Albanian. The US and European governments initially funded the university with over forty million dollars and additional resources during the next decade of its existence. This panel will bring together leading researchers and senior university administrators in higher education and development to examine the important role that SEEU played in the reform of higher education in Macedonia and South East Europe, some of which were truly revolutionary. Innovations in higher education (credit transfer system, multi-lingual instruction, student mobility, curricula) have continued to play an important role in the region and have tied into larger reforms across Europe (Bologna Process), while other reforms (private institutions, open access admissions, hyper production of graduates at all levels, tuition charges, quality assurance, etc.) have been co-opted by both local and national governments and a wave of private universities in emerging market-based economies. This panel will examine the uneven results of these reform processes and analyze the large-scale government interventions in education in the post-socialist and pre-authoritarian period of Macedonia.

Chair: Paul Milan Foster Jr, Montana State U Billings


SEEU and the Management of Higher Education – Abdulmenaf Bexheti, South East European U (Macedonia)

Indiana University’s Support for South East European University – Charles Reafsnyder, Indiana U

International Development in Higher Education: Stakeholder Challenges to Institutional Capacity Building – Leah Peck, Indiana U

Discussant: Elena Petroska, Independent Scholar

Gendered Globalism in Russia and Europe

Sat, November 11, 1:45 to 3:30pm, Marriott Downtown Chicago, 5th, Denver

Chair: Elizabeth Ann Skomp, Sewanee: The U of the South


Beyond the Gay Divide: Russian Sexual Politics and the Everyday Bordering of Europe – Emil Edenborg, Södertörn U (Sweden)

Russian Masculinities and Cultural Construction of Whiteness: Gendering Race, Religion and Citizenship – Marina Yusupova, Samara State Technical U (Russia)

Transgressing EU Borders: Converging Solidarities along the Balkan Route – Piro Rexhepi, Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity (Germany)

Discussant: Tamara Martsenyuk, National U of “Kyiv-Mohyla Academy” (Ukraine)