Isa BlumiAssociate professor, docent
Isa Blumi is Docent/Associate Professor of Turkish and Middle Eastern Studies at Stockholm University within the Department of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies. He holds a PhD in History and Middle Eastern/Islamic Studies from New York University (NYU-2005) and a Master of Political Science and Historical Studies (1995) from The New School for Social Research, New York.
Dr. Isa Blumi joined Stockholm University in late 2015 after spending the previous 12 years teaching and researching at universities located in Germany, Belgium, Turkey, the USA, United Arab Emirates, Switzerland, and Albania/Kosovo. Over these years, Dr. Blumi has mentored students and directed MA and PhD projects. Several of these former students who finished their PhDs currently teach at Spelman College, UC-Davis, Princeton, Yeshiva, and the Universities of Utah and Amsterdam. Since joining Stockholm University, Dr. Blumi has mentored PhD students who have successfully defended their PhDs at the Universities of Geneva, UCLA, Copenhagen, Amsterdam, Leuven, and Antwerp. Currently, Dr. Blumi is supervising the PhD projects of students attending the Departments of History at UC-Davis, Gender Studies at SOAS, along with MA students at Stockholm University's Middle Eastern Studies program. Former students at the Department of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies under Isa Blumi's supervision have since moved into PhD programs in Social Anthropology at Stockholm University, Arab History at the American University of Beirut, and Anthropology and Sociology at the Graduate Institute in Geneva. Here is a list of student supervision and their current positions:
PhD/MA Supervision and/or Committee Member (in progress):
• “Constructing U.S. Foreign Policy in the Middle East: Washington-Baghdad, a One-Sided Friendship during the Baghdad Pact Years, 1955-59.” Department of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies (Stockholm University) MA Supervisor, in progress.
• “Al-Shabaab and Civility: Ideological Dynamics in Violence against Civilians in the Somalia Conflict,” Department of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies (Stockholm University) MA Supervisor, in progress.
• “The US in the Middle East during the Cold War: Ba‘athist and Pan-Arab Resistance Stories,” Department of History (University of California-Davis) PhD Co-Supervisor, in progress.
• “Syrian Refugee (im)mobility: Jordan and Europe” Anthropology and Sociology Department, Graduate Institute, Geneva, external member of PhD dissertation committee directed by Riccardo Bocco, in progress.
PhD Supervision and/or Committee Member (defended):
• “Late Ottoman Bureaucratic Reforms: The Case of Libya,” Department of Middle Eastern Studies (University of California, Los Angeles-UCLA), member of PhD dissertation committee directed by James Gelvin, (Defended May 15, 2022).
• “Staging Violence, Singing Hope: Trauma, Memory, and Affect in Three Musical and Dance Performances by North Korean Migrants in South Korea,” Department of Asian, Middle East and Turkish Studies (Stockholm University) Examination Committee (defended December 11, 2021).
• “Structured Agencies of the Paramilitaries in the Turkish-Kurdish Conflict,” Department of Cross-Cultural and Regional Studies, (Copenhagen University) Co-Supervisor, (defended June 2021).
• “Navigating Access, Aspiring Privilege. A Critical Anthropology of Maghreb-Muslim Mobilities in between the EU and UAE,” Department of Social Anthropology (Universities of Leuven and Amsterdam), secondary supervisor, directed by Annelies Moors, defended June 2021. Awarded post-doc fellowship NTU-Singapore, Visiting Faculty Georgetown University-Doha and Post-Doc fellow University of Ghent.
• “Social Movements in Kosova (1968-1997),” Department of History (University of Ghent, Belgium) secondary supervisor, defended 2019. Employed by University of Prishtina (Kosovo), Department of Anthropology.
• “The Presence of the Other in Iranian Novels and Films on the Subject of the Iran-Iraq War,” (Department of Arts, University of AlZahra, Teheran, Iran), external member of committee, defended, May 2018. Currently Post-doc fellow, University of Teheran.
• “Belgium’s Conflicted Relationship with the Ottoman Empire, 1850-1918,” (History Department, University of Antwerp, Belgium), co-supervisor, (Defended June 2017). Currently Assistant Professor, Department of History, University of Amsterdam.
• “Kemalism and the Soviet Union: Ideological Transformations in Turkey and Problems of Interpretation, 1920-1970s,” Department of Archaeology, History, Cultural Studies and Religion, University of Bergen, external member of committee, directed by Anne K. Bang, (Defended September 2017). Currently Associate Professor of Political Science, American University of Armenia.
• “South Asians in Kenya: Losing Independence, 1935-1968,” (defended, 2017). History Dept. GSU, Currently Lecturer, History Department, Spelman College.
• “Trial by Fire: Ottoman Nationalism in Transition from Empire to Republic, 1908-1926,” Department of Cross-Cultural and Regional Studies, University of Copenhagen, (Defended September 2016).
• “The Paradox of Virtue: Helsinki Human Rights Activism during the Cold War (1975-1995),” (History Department, University of Antwerp) Member of Defence Committee directed by Maarten van Ginderachter, defended April 2015. Post-doc Fellow, Ghent University.
MA Supervision/Committee Member (Completed):
• “Fashion without Prejudice: A Case Study of Sweden's Modest Fashion Influencer," Department of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies (Stockholm University) MA Supervisor, Defended December 2022.
• “The Tourist Industry's Role in Shaping the Israeli Illegal Settlements in the West Bank,” Department of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies (Stockholm University) MA Supervisor, Defended June 2022.
• “NGOs and Armenian Diasporas: A Post Ottoman Story,” Middle East Studies Department, University of Georgia, USA, defended November, 2019. Currently PhD Candidate, University of Georgia.
• “We Are Not Going Anywhere: An Ethnographic Field Study of Syrian Refugee (im)mobility,” Middle East Studies Department, Stockholm University, Completed (August 2018) Currently PhD candidate at Graduate Institute, Geneva.
• “Late Ottoman Perspectives on the South African War (1899-1902): The Work of Ismail Kemal Vlora,” Historical Studies, University of Cape Town, South Africa, defended (May 2018). Member of faculty review committee, invited by supervisor, Dr. Shamil Jeppie.
• “A Peace Work: Swedish Involvement in the Mosul-Question, 1924-1925,” Middle East Studies Department, Stockholm University, completed (July 2018). Currently employed at SIDA.
• “City Margins and Exclusionary Space in Contemporary Egypt: An Urban Ethnography of a Syrian Refugee Community in a Remote Low-Income Cairo Neighborhood,” Asian and Middle East Studies Department, Stockholm University, Completed (September 2017). Currently PhD candidate, Social Anthropology, Stockholm University.
• “NGO Work and Syrian Refugees: Lebanon’s Bekka Valley,” Middle East Studies Department, Stockholm University Completed (September 2017).
• “Saudi-Iranian Geopolitical Rivalry in Syria,” Political Science Department, Western Sydney University, Completed (October 2016). Currently director, Center for Syncretic Studies.
• “Under the Moon and the Stars: The Impact of the First World War on the Eastern Sephardic Community in Antwerp (1879-1930),” (Department of History, University of Antwerp and Poshumus Institute Leiden), Supervisor, defended May 2015. Currently PhD-Candidate, Urban Studies, University of Antwerp.
• “Placing Identities? Socio-Spatial Relations in Shkoder in the Fourteenth Century,” (Department of Medieval Studies, Central European University, Budapest Hungary), Committee Member, defended May 2015. Currently PhD Candidate, CEU.
• "La tribu est devenu virtuelle. Discours, pratiques culturelles et identites collectives sur les forums internet tribaux: les ‘Awaliq de Shabwa, Yemen." Graduate Institute-Geneva (MA, Department of Anthropology, second reader, directed by Riccardo Bocco). Defended June 2014. Currently works in Oil Industry as security consultant.
• “Producing Nostalgia: Maintaining the German Divide through Emotion since 1989,” Georgia State University, Department of Political Science (Second Advisor: MA by 2014). Employed at Georgia State University.
• “With Vietnam we are Bound as Brothers:” Theorizing Socialism, Internationalism and the Politics of Public Agency among Vietnamese Contract Workers in the German Democratic Republic, Georgia State University, History Department (Second Advisor: MA by 2012). Winner: John M. Matthews Distinguished Thesis Annual Award.
• “Sit In, Stand Up and Sing Out! Black Gospel Music and the Civil Rights Movement,” Georgia State University, History Department (Second Advisor: MA 2012). Has been download more than 15,000 times.
• “American Power in the post WWII world, Political Science Department, Georgia State University” (Supervised: MA, 2012). Currently working in US Army Intelligence.
• “New Custom for the Old Village: Interpreting History through Turkish Village Web-Sites,” Middle East Studies Department, Georgia State University (Supervised: MA 2011). Currently PhD Candidate, Anthropology Department, UC Berkeley.
• “Through the Roof and Underground: Translocal Hardcore Punk in Los Angeles and Ljubljana” Georgia State University, History Department (Second Advisor: MA by 2010). Currently PhD Candidate, History Department, Georgia State University.
• “The Making of an Image: The Narrative Form of Ibn Ishaq’s Sirat Rasul Allah,” Georgia State University, Political Science Department, (Supervised: MA by 2008).
Dr. Blumi teaches courses in the Department of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies. Courses include
Middle East: Religions and Early History
Early Modern History of the Middle East, 1500-1920
Contemporary History of the Middle East, 1820-2020
Middle East Studies: Sources
Politics and Development of the Middle East
Perspectives of Middle Eastern Studies
An Introduction to the Middle East
Human Rights in the Middle East
• “Turkish Studies Network-ACMES PhD Day” Discussant, University of Amsterdam, 13 April 2022 (The Netherlands).
• Discussant, "Migration Making the History of Architecture: The Balkans and the Middle East Sharing Material Worlds,” Professional Workshop Organized by the Yalla Project, Bizeit University and KUMA International, Sarajevo University, 10 April 2022 (Sarajevo/Nablus Palestine). https://kumainternational.org/migration-making-the-history-of-architecture/.
INVITED LECTURES (Since joining Stockholm University)
• “The War in Yemen,” Invited Lecture, The Foreign Policy Association, University of Karlstad, 7 December 2022 (Karlstad, Sweden).
• “Cultivating Fraud: How Imperial Agents Harvested Anti-Ottoman Knowledge and its Consequences on the Islamic World,” Invited Lecture, Global Intellectual History Series Lectures, The Groningen University Research Institute for the Study of Culture, 24 November 2022 (Groningen, The Netherlands).
• “Ethnologies of Jihad in the Balkans: Albanian Mistaken Identities,” Invited Lecture, Department of Islam Studies, Radboud University, 17 November 2022 (Nijmegen, Netherlands).
• “A War on Yemen that Never Ends: A Genealogy of the World’s Forgotten Disaster,” Invited Lecture, Department of Peace and Conflict Research, University of Uppsala, 12 October 2022 (Uppsala, Sweden).
• “Cultivating Defection: How European Imperial Agents Harvested Anti-Ottoman Allies in the Arab World, and its Postwar Consequences” The First World War in the Middle East: Aftermath and Legacies, Flanders Fields Museum, 15 September 2022 (Ypres, Belgium).
• Keynote Address: “Fraudulent Imperialists: An Ottoman Foundation to Modern Capitalism,” Transnational ‘Missionaries’ of Liberalism/Capitalism, 1810s-1900s: Adventurers, Merchants, Bankers, Technicians, and Political Agitators, Campus de Cantoblanco, Madrid, 26 May 2022 (Madrid, Spain).
• “Stages of Global Migration: Ottoman Refugees and the World they Helped to Make, 1870-1970,” ACMES Annual Lecture, University of Amsterdam, 12 April 2022 (The Netherlands). https://acmes.uva.nl/events/acmes-annual-lecture/annual-lecture-2022.html?cb.
• “Modernity in the Balkans and Migration to the Middle East,” The Yalla Project, Kuma International, and the Universities of Leuven and Sarajevo: Migration Making the History of Architecture: The Balkans and the Middle East Sharing Material Words, 27 March 2022 (Sarajevo, Bosnia).
• “Militarizing the Seven Seas: Imperial Business Models,” Department of Political Studies and Public Administration, American University of Beirut, 17 March 2022 (Beirut, Lebanon).
• “Stages of Global Migration: Refugees and the Europe they Helped Make,” Edges of Europe Series, Faculty of Philosophy, Theology, and Religious Studies, Radboud University, 2 March 2022 (Nijmegen, The Netherlands).
• “Integrating World Revolution into the Story of (Post) Ottoman Contexts: Albania, Turkey, and Yemen, 1908-1924,” National Liberation, World Revolution: Anti-Colonial Networks and the Origins of Global Communism, 1914-24,” Institute of Contemporary History, NOVA University, 26 November 2021 (Lisbon, Portugal).
• “Awaiting their Turn: Ottoman Europe’s Çam/Çamë and the Delusions of Transitional Order, 1910-1923,” Narrating Exile in and Between Europe and the Ottoman Empire/Modern Europe, University of Amsterdam, 12 November 2021 (The Netherlands).
• “Dangerous Gifts: Imperialism, Security, and Civil Wars in the Levant, 1798-1864,” Invited Comments on released book by Dr. Ozan Ozavci, University of Utrecht, 9 Sept. 2021 (The Netherlands)
• “Lost in Transition: Obscuring the Arab Caliph and its Consequences after Lausanne,” Workshop: The Forgotten Peace? The Lausanne Conference and the New Middle East, 1922-23 funded by University of Southampton and University of Utrecht, 30 June 2021 (Paris, France).
• “Albanian Christians: 20th Century Sagas of Transition,” for Series: Reconstructions of Southeast European Space, CSEES, University of Graz, 16 June 2021 (Graz, Austria).
• “The Betrayal of Europe’s Çam/Çamë (Her/Their Tragic Modern Story),” The Cham Albanians of Greece: 77 Years of Denial Hosted by Harvard College Albanian Students’ Association, Harvard University, 16 May 2021 (Cambridge, MA, USA). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pV-lFGBc2Js.
• “Post-Imperial Equivocations: Turkey's Temperamental Mobilization of the Caliphate,” TSN Lecture Series, University of Utrecht, 13 May 2021 (Utrecht, Netherlands) https://www.uu.nl/en/events/post-imperial-equivocations-turkeys-temperamental-mobilization-of-the-caliphate
• “An Ottoman Story Until the End: Reading Fan Noli’s Post-Mediterranean Struggle in America, 1900-1922,” Balkan Circle, Department of Slavic Studies, University of Texas-Austin, 26 February 2021. (Austin, Texas, USA). https://liberalarts.utexas.edu/slavic/events/balkan-circle-isa-blumi.
• “Assessing Kosovo’s Election Results: What to Expect Next?” at SETA, 25 Feb. 2021 (Ankara, Turkey). https://www.setav.org/en/events/web-panel-assessing-kosovos-election-results-what-to-expect-next/.
• “Unsettling the Rewriting of History: An Exercise in Unreading History,” presented for seminary series “Unsettling Knowledge” within the Decolonization Group at Utrecht University, 4 February 2021 (Utrecht, The Netherlands).https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YdhCE58DK-4&ab_channel=DecolonisationGroup.
• “Cultivating Knowledge, Sowing Destruction: North Atlantic Scholarship during the Cold War, the cases of the Balkans and South Arabia” presented to US Think Tanks and Foundations in World Politics: The Nexus of Knowledge and Power webinar, Department of International Studies, City University of London, 4 December 2020 (London, UK).
• “Pay to Play: Imperial Adventure Literature on Ottoman Albania and Arabia, 1800‐1933” AIS Workshop: Travelogues of the Ottoman Empire in the Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Centuries, organized by Friedrich-Schiller University of Jena, 27 November 2020 (Jena, Germany).
• “Identifying the Proximate Diaspora Experience in the long 20th century American Industrial City” lecture hosted by Center for Study of Migration, University of Toronto at Mississauga, 29 October 2020 (Toronto, Canada).
• “Putting Yemen’s War in a Global Context: AnsarAllah’s Resistance to the Business of Empire,” lecture commissioned by MA Peace Action, University of Mass-Boston, 20 August 2020 (Boston, USA).
• “The Lens of Modernity: Rethinking Europe’s Engagement with Muslims in the Balkans,” invited lecture hosted by Center of Global Studies, Philosophy Institute of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, 30 June 2020 (Prague, Czech Republic).
• “Istanbul: The East Mediterranean’s Conduit of Arab/Balkan Emigrational Exchange,” Arabicities of Istanbul: Setting the Research Agenda, 14 February 2020 (Istanbul, Turkey).
• “Albanians’ Slide” The Balkans at a Crossroads, SETA Roundtable, October 24, 2019 (Ankara, Turkey).
• “Defining Empire: The Commodification of Borderland Nature in Albania and Yemen “Global Environmental Borderlands in the Age of Empire” workshop organized by Stanford University and SMU, first meeting: October 12-13, 2019 (Taos, New Mexico, USA).
• Keynote Address: “Reading between the Lines: The Balkan Borderlands as History of the Modern World,” Borders in Southeast Europe, Akademie für Politische Bildung, September 30, 2019 (Tutzing, Bavaria, Germany).
• “Contextualizing Fan Noli: Dispersal, Diaspora, Nation and the Historic Roots of Modernity,” Global Biographies: A Writers’ Workshop, Centre for Modern European Studies, University of Copenhagen, August 29, 2019 (Copenhagen, Denmark).
• “Ruptures in the Generational Transmission of Bridal Wear in Kosovo/Albania,” International ERC MusMar Workshop/The Multiple Materialities of Muslim Marriages, Department of Anthropology, University of Amsterdam, June 14, 2019 (Amsterdam, The Netherlands).
• “An Environmental Account of Ottoman Borderlands: The Balkan and Arabian Frontiers,” Higher Seminar Series, Insitutionen för Asien-,Mellanöstern-och Turkietstudier, May 29, 2019 (Stockholm).
• “Transitional Boundaries: Balkan/Middle Eastern Post-State Refugees and a New Regime of Plunder,” Center for Arts and Humanities, American University of Beirut, May 15, 2019 (Beirut, Lebanon).
• “Imperial Hinterlands: The Commodification of Borderland Nature in the Adriatic and Red Seas, 1878-1920,” Arab Crossroads Studies Lecture Series, NYU-Abu Dhabi, April 17, 2019 (Abu Dhabi, UAE).
• “Rewriting History: A Guiding Warning to Students of International Studies” Seminar Lecture, American University of Sharjah Student “Model United Nations”, February 12, 2019 (Sharjah, UAE).
• “Infringements of History: Borders and the International Regime of Regulated Mobility: The Cases of Yemen and Albania,” Institut d’Histoire, University of Neuchâtel, December 12, 2018 (Neuchâtel, Switzerland).
• “Fan Noli: Albanian State-building, culture and networks in interwar Balkans,” The Last Ottoman Generation and Interwar Europe, CEMES/SAXO, Copenhagen University, December 6, 2018 (Copenhagen, Denmark).
• “Yemen: Uncovering the Forgotten War,” in Conversation with Maria-Louise Clausen, Malmö University, December 4, 2018 (Malmö, Sweden).
• “Destroying Yemen: What Violence in South Arabia Tells Us about the World,” Presented to Commonwealth Club, November 16, 2018 (San Francisco, Ca USA).
• “The Ottoman Refugee and Euro-American Colonial Terror: A Global Story,” Department of History and Global History Center, UC Santa Cruz, November 14, 2018 (Santa Cruz, Ca. USA).
• “Why Yemen’s Ruin: How to Study Capitalism’s Artifices of History,” presented at UC Davis, Department of Religious Studies and History Department “Notes from the Field” series, November 13, 2018 (Davis, Ca. USA).
• “Mobilizing Ottoman Multinationalism: A Global Story about the Modern World,” Presented at Seminar Viribus Unitis: Myths and Narratives of Habsburg and Ottoman Multinationalism, 1848-1918, November 3, 2018 (Copenhagen, Denmark).
• “Narrating Global Transition: Challenges to Analyzing the Collapse,” Presented to National Defense University, October 31, 2018 (Islamabad, Pakistan).
• “Reclaiming Purity: The Interminable Concern about Sexual Violence in Postwar Ottoman Lands,” Presented to Working Group: “Thinking Sex after the Great War,” October 18, 2018 (Brussels, Belgium).
• “Leaving Europe to Get In: Lessons from Balkan Muslim Journeys,” Presented at Seminar: Leaving Europe: Alternative Routes Out/Upward Mobility, Anthropology Department, Catholic University of Leuven, September 13, 2018 (Leuven, Belgium).
• “Krigen i Yemen,” Public Lecture at Arabian Nights Film Festival, Cinemateket, August 25, 2018 (Copenhagen, Denmark).
• “Unsettled History: Recovering the Ottoman Context in World War I Migration Patterns,” Presented at TEAW Symposium: To End All Wars? Geopolitical Aftermath and Commemorative Legacies of the First World War, CC Perron, Ypres, August 23, 2018 (Ypres, Belgium).
• “Violence, Memory and Cinema in the MEM Region: Soft Power and the Investment in Memory,” Presented to the Seminar Middle East Mediterranean Region: Narratives, Representations, Images organized by Prof. Riccardo Bocco at The Middle East Mediterranean Summer Summit, August 22, 2018 (Lugano, Switzerland). https://www.mem-summersummit.ch/
• “Barely Home: Marriage Politics among Balkan Migrants since 1968,” Presented at Graduate Student Development Seminar on Marriage among Muslims in Europe, Department of Social Anthropology, University of Amsterdam, June 18, 2018 (Amsterdam, Netherlands).
• “Why Destroy Yemen?: Roots to the World’s Greatest Humanitarian Catastrophe,” Middle East Studies and History Departments, UCSD, June 5, 2018 (San Diego, USA).
• “Yemen’s Destruction: A Globalist Artifice” Centre for Near Eastern Studies, UCLA, June 4, 2018 (Los Angeles, USA).
• “Global Migration: Modernity and the Liberal Social Order,” History Department, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, May 9 (Brussels, Belgium)
• “Thinking about the Forgotten: Yemen and a World Catastrophe,” South Campus Lecture, Copenhagen University, April 20 (Denmark)
• “Yemen’s Ruination: Preempting Capitalism’s Artifices of History,” ANSO Seminar Series, Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, April 10 (Geneva, Switzerland).
• “The Global Regime of Migration: Understanding the Logistics of Historical Refugees” Centre for Advanced Studies, January 30 (Munich, Germany).
• “Settling Globally: The Logistics of History and the Consequences of Refugees” Higher Seminar, Department of Asian, Middle Eastern and Turkish Studies, Stockholm University, December 6 (Stockholm, Sweden).
• “Adapting to Global Transformations: Finance Capitalism and Balkan Muslim Migrations to the Larger World, 1900-1919,” Faculty of Arts, Middle Eastern Lecture Series, Charles University, 21 November 2017 (Prague, Czech Republic).
• “War in the Larger Region and the Future of Arabia: Making Sense of the Chaos,” Orientální ústav, Institute Seminar Series, 21 November 2017 (Prague, Czech Republic).
• “Osmanları Küreselleştirmek: Yemen ve Emperyalist Mirası,” Department of History, Istanbul University, 18 November 2017 (Istanbul, Turkey).
• “Arabian Spillage: Chaos in Arabia and its Impact on the Larger Region,” PRIO Cyprus Centre and the Friedrick-Ebert-Stiftun Cyprus sponsored roundtable- “National, International and Human Security in the Eastern Mediterranean,” 16 November 2017 (Nicosia, Cyprus).
• “Global Migration: Modernity, and the Neoliberal Social Order,” Department of International Studies, American University of Sharjah, 12 November 2017 (Sharjah, United Arab Emirates).
• “Transitional Borderlands: Ottoman Migrants and the New World Order of Plunder,” Department of Byzantine and Balkan History at the Faculty of History, Sofia University, 30 October 2017 (Sofia, Bulgaria).
• “Transitional Regimes and the Staggered Rise of the Ethno-national/Sectarian Citizen in Arabia and the Balkans, 1900-1939,” Department of History, Oslo University, 30 August 2017 (Oslo, Norway).
• “Settling Globally: The Logistics of History and the Consequences of Refugees,” Department of Sociology, Corvinus University, 1 September 2017 (Budapest, Hungary).
• “Pluralism on Whose Terms? The Dangers of Post-Ottoman Regimes of Religious Tolerance in the Balkans and Turkey,” Recreating Pluralism: Socio-Religious Continuity in Post-Ottoman Societies, Inaugural Workshop Focused on Shrines: Places of Inter-Communal Connection, Swedish Research Institute, 21 June 2017 (Istanbul, Turkey).
• “Terms and Concepts in Historical Perspective for the MENA Region,” Lecture to Working Group on Regional (Dis)order in the Middle East: Historical Legacies and Current Shifts, hosted by Istituto Affari Internazionali, 11 April 2017 (Bologna, Italy).
• “War in Yemen: A Genealogy of a Human Catastrophe,” RE: Orient, Fokus Mellanöstern, Lund University, 14 February 2017 (Stockholm, Sweden).
• "Nothing New: Islamophobia by Default in Postwar Migration of Turkish and Balkan Muslims to Germany,” Yildiz Technical University, 13 January 2017 (Istanbul, Turkey).
• “A Genealogy of War and the Future of Arabia,” CMES Seminar, Lund University, 7 December 2016 (Lund, Sweden).
• “Ottoman Refugees: 1878-1939,” Invited Lecture, Department of History, Stockholm University, 23 November 2016, (Stockholm, Sweden).
• “Reorientating European Imperialism: How Ottomanism went Global,” Seminar in Ottoman & Turkish Studies, Departments of History and Near & Middle Eastern Civilizations, University of Toronto, 16 November 2016 (Toronto, Canada).
• “The Fine Line between Genocide and Defeat: The Forgotten Roles of Smugglers in the Demographic Regime of World War I-Ottomans, the Arabian and Albanian Fronts,” Demographic Concepts, Population Policy, Genocide-The First World War as a Caesure?” Lepsiuhaus, Potsdam University 29 September 2016 (Potsdam, Germany).
• “’Don’t We Have Enough Problems?’ When Kosovo Exports its Crisis” Presented to The Many Roads in Modernity Series, Copenhagen University, 25 August 2016 (Copenhagen, Denmark).
• “Transitional Resistance: The Global Ottoman Refugee and Colonial Terror,” Resistance and Empire: New Approaches and Comparisons hosted by ICS-ULisboa Research Group ‘Empires, Colonialism, and Post-Colonial Studies’ 26 June 2016 (Lisboa, Portugal).
• Concluding Remarks for Balkan Research Symposium: Balkan Cities during Ottoman Rule and the Land Registry System, University of Tuzla, 5 June 2016 (Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina).
• “Chaotic Thresholds: The Socio-Economic Impact of Refugee Settlement in late Ottoman Balkan Cities,” Balkan Research Symposium: Balkan Cities during Ottoman Rule and the Land Registry System, University of Tuzla, 4 June 2016 (Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina).
• “Itinerate Spiritualties: Albanians' Role in Mediating the post-Cold War Transformations in the Islamic World” Department of Islamic Studies, Marburg University, 27 May 2016 (Marburg, Germany).
• “Ottoman Arab Province Municipalities” Invited lecture, sponsored by Minister of Municipalities and Interior, Turkey, 26 May 2016 (Ankara, Turkey).
• “Return to the Land: Identifying the Origins of the Modern Gulf from its Ottoman Hinterland,” New York University-Abu Dhabi, Department of International Studies, 7 May 2016 (Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates).
• “Exploiter la transformation économique du monde: l’essor de la finance capitaliste et le rôle émergent des musulmans balkaniques dans le monde islamique élargi, 1900-1919,” Collège Belgique (Académie Royale de Belgique) and the University of Utah roundtable, 24 March 2016 (Brussels, Belgium).
• “What is Happening in Yemen?” Open Talk hosted by The Student Council at the Department of Asian, Middle Eastern and Turkish Studies, Swedish MENA Association and MENA Magazine, Stockholm University, 18 March 2016 (Stockholm, Sweden).
• “The Global Ottoman Refugee: Thinking Anew about who Shapes the Modern World,” Public Lecture, Institute of Turkish Studies, Stockholm University, 25 February 2016 (Stockholm, Sweden).
• “Le Moyen-Orient entre Islams et Christianismes” participant in Colloque International Yves Oltramare 2015, Des empire aux États-nations: religion et citoyenneté en Méditerranée orientale (19e-21e siècle), Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, 8 December 2015 (Geneva, Switzerland).
• “Muslims in a Global Struggle; Albanians and the Global Jihad,” guest lecture in Trials of the Ummah-Muslims in the Balkans Today Series, 3 December 2015, Centre for Southeast European Studies, University of Graz (Graz, Austria).
• “Zionism, Israel and the Modern Middle East: A History in Context” guest lecture, 24 November 2015, University of Antwerp (Antwerp, Belgium).
• “The Global Ottoman Refugee and Colonial Terror,” guest lecture, 18 November 2015, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, Department of Religious Studies (Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA).
• “Harnessing the World’s Economic Transformation: The Rise of Finance Capitalism and the Role of Local Government in Regulating its Impact on Late Ottoman Cities,” Workshop Participant: Ottoman Municipalities and Governing the Late Ottoman City, 6 November 2015, Istanbul Şehir University (Istanbul, Turkey).
• “Yemen, War and the Future of Arabia,” Guest Public Lecture, Department of Anthropology and Sociology of Development, Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, 9 October 2015 (Geneva, Switzerland).
• “Withholding Evidence: Turkey’s Investment into the Past” Higher Seminar Presentation, 18 June 2015, Stockholm University (Stockholm, Sweden).
• Invited Discussant: Urban Agency? Towards a New Urban History of Europe since 1500, 28 May 2015, University of Antwerp, (Antwerp, Belgium).
• “Seas of Transition: Post-Ottoman Transformations in the Red and Mediterranean Worlds, 1918-1930,” Invited Lecture, Bochum University 11 May 2015 (Bochum, Germany).
• “Lost in Translation: Polyglot Armies and the Dangers of Fighting an Insurgency in Ottoman Yemen,” Workshop: Enmity, Loyalty, Empire and Nation: Languages in the Great War, Centre for War Studies, Trinity College, 26 March 2015 (Dublin, Ireland).
• “The Role of Film Directors as Social Actors: Perspectives from History,” Workshop: Violence, Memory and Cinema, held between 12-13 February 2015 at Graduate Institute (Geneva, Switzerland).
• “Productive Violence: The Transitional Histories of Western Balkan Komitadji Resistance to the State: 1878-1930,” Round-table: The Age of the Komitadji, held between 22-24 January, 2015, at University of Basel (Switzerland).
• Keynote Address: “The Occupation Effect: The Consequences of Occupation Regimes in the Balkan Territories of both the Habsburg and Ottoman Empires, 1916-1925,” for Conference: The Collapse of Ottoman and Austria-Hungarian Empires: Patterns and Legacies, Ludwig Boltzmann-Institute for Social Science History and the Institute for East European History at the University of Vienna, 16 January 2014 (Vienna, Austria).
• Keynote Lecture, “Recovering Human Agency from the Tyranny of the Arab Spring,” at International Middle East Studies Conference, hosted by American University of Sharjah, United Arab Emirates, 9 December 2012 (Sharjah, United Arab Emirates).
CONFERENCES CO-ORGANIZED (Since joining Stockholm University)
• Chair and Organizer of “Movement and Gender in Late Ottoman Contexts,” Public Panel Debate with guests: Carole Woodall (University of Colorado) and Stacy Fahrenthold (UC Davis), December 9, 2019 (Copenhagen, Denmark).
• Co-organizer of International Workshop “The Last Ottoman Generation and Interwar Europe,” CEMES/SAXO, Copenhagen University, December 5 and 6, 2018 (Copenhagen, Denmark).
• Co-organizer of International Workshop “Representing Migration: The Legacy of Post-Imperial Migrations from World War I to the Cold War,” Ludwig Maximilians University, January 29 and 30 (Munich, Germany).
• Co-organizer of International Symposium “Islamophobia in Europe,” funded jointly by the Center for Balkan and Black Sea Studies (BALKAR) of Yıldız Technical University and IRCICA, January 13 and 14, 2017 (Istanbul, Turkey).
• Workshop Director: “The Future of Yemen’s Unity” Organized and Directed Workshop for Gulf Research Meeting, August 24-27, Cambridge University and Gulf Research Centre (Cambridge, United Kingdom).
• Workshop Director: A Modern World in Flux: Studying Migration, Refugees, and Settlement Regimes from the Middle East and Beyond, Third Annual MUBIT Doctoral Workshop in Late and Post-Ottoman Studies, 29-30 May 2015, Basel University (Basel, Switzerland).
• Workshop Co-Director: “Heritage and (social) media” International Expert Meeting, UNESCO Netherlands, 7 May 2015 (Leiden, Netherlands).
• Co-director/organizer of conference: The First World War and its Heritage held between November 6-8 at Çanakkale March 18 University, (Çanakkale, Turkey).
• Co-organizer of Conference entitled: “Lasting Socio-Political Impacts of the Balkan Wars,” 4-7 May 2011 (Salt Lake City, University of Utah).
• Chair and Discussant: Panel “Appropriating Space in Contested Borderlands, 1919-1989,” Association for Borderlands Studies 2nd World Conference July 13 (Budapest)
• “Transitional Borderlands: Ottoman Migrants and the New World Order of Plunder,” Association for Borderlands Studies 2nd World Conference, July 11 (Vienna).
• “The Rise of Finance Capitalism and Role of Balkan Muslims in the Arabic-Speaking World’s Absorption of Euro-American Power,” American Historical Association annual conference, 9 January 2016 (Atlanta, USA).
• Chair and Discussant: Panel “Hydroelectric Development in Mexico, Palestine, and the US South: Three Cases of Modern State Coproduction,” American Historical Association annual conference, 3 January 2015 (New York, USA).
Isa Blumi researches societies in the throes of social, economic, and political transformation. In the past, he compared how Austro-Hungarian, Russian, Italian, British, Dutch, Spanish, and French imperialist projects in the Islamic world intersected with, and were thus informed by, events within the Ottoman Empire. His latest work covers the late Ottoman period and successor regimes, arguing that events in the Balkans and Middle East are the engines of change in the larger world. In this respect, he explores in a comparative, integrated manner how (post-)Ottoman societies found in, for instance, Albania/Yugoslavia, Turkey, the Gulf, and Yemen fit into what is a global story of transition. This in turn informs the story of the Atlantic world, especially the emergence of modern European imperialism and the Americas.
As he expands his work to include more of the 20th century, Blumi explores processes of change induced by Muslim refugees/migrants who settle throughout the world. These diasporas from the (post-)Ottoman world prove instrumental to the kinds of imperialist projects emerging by the 20th century. His recent publications reveal such complex interactions between Albanians, Armenians, Arabs, Turks, Greeks and, be they Dutch/French/Spanish/American administrations in the South China Sea, or the British and Italian colonial regimes in Eastern Africa.
One of his current research projects investigates how Muslims and Christians of the former Ottoman Empire navigated the processes by which the Caliphate is ultimately eliminated in 1924 under European (Dutch, British, French, and Italian) imperial pressure. Blumi is also exploring how unsettled peoples in the Horn of Africa, Arabia, and the Balkans shaped the policies of managing nature along borders separating competing imperial polities (Italian, English, and French) throughout the 19th and 20th centuries. A third project explores how subsequent generations of refugees assimilated into their new host environments in the Americas, especially the industrial cities of Detroit, Veracruz, Buenos Aires, and Boston prior to World War II.
Finally, reflecting an interest in the Cold War, Blumi is additionally working on understanding how Muslims from throughout the world contributed to the Cold War with special focus on the interactions between the Lusophone World (in the context of the anti-colonial wars in Mozambique, Angola, Guinea-Bissau, Timor, and Cabo Verde) and communist parties in Portugal, Italy, Brazil, Turkey, Syria, Yemen, Albania, and Yugoslavia.
Exploring such interactions through this global perspective helps us question how we understand modern identity and social organization, themes Blumi focuses on in the courses he teaches. In addition to his historical research, Blumi also regularly writes and lectures on contemporary Balkan and Middle Eastern politics (especially Kosovo, Turkey and Yemen) and political Islam in relation to Europe.
Reseach Collaboration (Since Joining Stockholm University)
Dr. Blumi is currently collaborating on a number of international, interdisiplinary research projects:
"The Lausanne Project" (Jointly organized by Departments of Modern History, University of Southampton and Utrecht University) Multi-year project funded by Ginko and Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation (see link provided).
“Decolonizing Hellas: Imperial Pasts, Contested Presents, Emancipated Futures, 1821-2021” (Jointly organized with Anthropology Department, American University of Beirut, The Decolonizing Initiative, Brown University, and the Social Anthropology Department, University of Thessaly) (see link provided).
"Many Roads in Modernity: The Transformation of South-East Europe and the Ottoman Heritage from 1870 to the Twenty-first Century," (Funded by the Carlsberg Foundation and hosted by the Department of Cross-Cultural and Regional Studies, University of Copenhagen) (see link provided).
“Global Environmental Borderlands in the Age of Empire,” Jointly Sponsored by the William P. Clements Center for Southwest Studies at Southern Methodist University and Stanford University.
Dr. Blumi has also been previously involved in the following completed research projects while a member of Stockholm University's Faculty:
Project Coordinator with Professor Dr. Christoph Neumann, “Representing Migration.” Conference organized from project was titled "Legacies of Post-Imperial Migrations from World War I to the Cold War," for the Center for Advanced Studies, LMU-Munich (Germany 2018) (see link provided).
Project Coordinator with Professor Dr. Mehmet Hacısalihoğlu, “Islamophobia in Europe: Past and Present,” funded jointly by the Center for Balkan and Black Sea Studies (BALKAR) of Yıldız Technical University and IRCICA, (Turkey, 2017).
Books and Monographs
- Destroying Yemen: What Chaos in Arabia tells us About the World (University of California Press, 2018). https://www.ucpress.edu/book/9780520296145/destroying-yemen
- Co-editor (with Mehmet Hacısalihoğlu) Special Issue: Islamophobia in Europe, IRCICA Journal vol.6 (February 2018), 208 pages. http://www.balkar.yildiz.edu.tr/sayfa/5/IRCICA-Journal/159
- Yavuz, M. Hakan, and Isa Blumi (eds). War and Nationalism: the Balkan wars, 1912–1913, and their sociopolitical implications. (University of Utah Press, 2013). https://uofupress.lib.utah.edu/war-and-nationalism/
- Ottoman Refugees, 1878-1939: Migration in a Post-Imperial World. (Bloomsbury Academic, 2013). https://www.bloomsbury.com/us/ottoman-refugees-18781939-9781472515384/
- Foundations of Modernity: Human Agency and the Imperial State. (Routledge, 2012). https://www.routledge.com/Foundations-of-Modernity-Human-Agency-and-the-Imperial-State/Blumi/p/book/9781138306974
- Reinstating the Ottomans: Alternative Balkan Modernities, 1800-1912. (Palgrave-Springer, 2011). https://link.springer.com/book/10.1057/9780230119086
- Chaos in Yemen: Societal Collapse and the New Authoritarianism. Vol. 19. (Routledge, 2010). https://www.routledge.com/Chaos-in-Yemen-Societal-Collapse-and-the-New-Authoritarianism/Blumi/p/book/9780415625753
- Rethinking the Late Ottoman Empire: A Comparative Social and Political History of Albania and Yemen, 1878-1918. Vol. 67. (Isis Press, 2003). (Reprinted in 2010 by Gorgias Press). https://www.gorgiaspress.com/rethinking-the-late-ottoman-empire
- "Iraqi Ties to Yemen's Demise: Complicating the 'Arab Cold War' in South Arabia," Journal of Contemporary Iraq and the Arab World 16:3 (December 2022), 235-254.
- "Imperial Equivocations: Britain’s Temperamental Mobilization of the Caliphate, 1912-1924." Rivista italiana di storia internazionale 4, no. 1 (2021): 149-173.
- “Speaking Above Yemenis: A Reading Beyond the Tyranny of Experts, Tribes, and Politics in Yemen, ” Global Intellectual History Vol. 6. Issue 6. (November, 2021), 990-1014.
- “An Ottoman Story Until the End: Reading Fan Noli’s Post-Mediterranean Struggle in America, 1906-1922,” Journal of Balkans and Black Sea Studies Vol. 3 Issue 5 (December 2020): 121-144.
- “Balkanlar Kültürel Elitinin Paradoksal Dağılışı: Bir Osmanlı Arnavut Hikayesi,” Kebikeç (Special Issue on Ottoman Newspapers) Vol. 50 (2020): 261-284.
- “The Albanian Question Looms over the Balkans Again" Current History (Special Issue: Europe) Vol. 119 Issue 815 (2020), 95-100.
- "War and Peace in Somalia: National Grievances, Local Conflict and Al-Shabaab," ed. by Michael Keating and Matt Waldman. Northeast African Studies 20, no. 1 (2020): 169-173.
- “Albanian Slide: The Roots to NATO’s Pending Lost Balkan Enterprise.” Insight Turkey (Special Issue: The Balkans at a Crossroads) Spring Vol. 21. No. 2 (2019): 149-170.
- “Introduction: Islamophobia in Europe,” IRCICA Journal, 6/1 (February 2018): 1-28. http://www.balkar.yildiz.edu.tr/sayfa/5/IRCICA-Journal/159
- “Nothing New: Islamophobia by Default in Postwar Europe,” IRCICA Journal, 6/1 (February 2018): 29-65.
Chapters in Edited Volumes
- “Exceptionally Normal (post)Ottomans: The Paradoxical Dispersal of the Balkans’ Cultural Elite,” in Laura Almagor. Gunvor Simonsen, and Haakon A. Ikonomou (eds.) Global Biographies: Lived History as Method (Manchester University Press, 2022), 124-142.
- "Ottoman Albanians in an Era of Transition: An Engagement with a Fluid Modern World." Narrated Empires: Perceptions of Late Habsburg and Ottoman Multinationalism. (Palgrave Macmillan, Cham, 2021), 191-212.
- “Yemen, Imperialism in,” in Ness I., Cope Z. (eds.) The Palgrave Encyclopedia of Imperialism and Anti-Imperialism (Cham-Palgrave-Macmillan, 2020), 2905-2915.
- “Navigating the Challenge of Liberalism: The Albanian Orthodox Church’s Century,” in Sabrina P. Ramet (ed.) Orthodox Churches and Politics in Southeastern Europe (Palgrave Macmillan, 2019), 197-222.
- “Battles of Nostalgic Proportion: The Transformations of Islam-as-Historical-Force in Western Balkan Reconstitutions of the Past,” in Catharina Raudvere (ed.) Nostalgia, Loss & Creativity in South-East Europe: Political and Cultural Representations of the Past (Palgrave, 2018): 37-71.
A selection from Stockholm University publication database
Imperial Equivocations: Britain's Temperamental Mobilization of the Caliphate, 1912-1924
2021. Isa Blumi. Rivista italiana di storia internazionale 4 (1), 149-173Article
The British Empire adopted an array of contradictory policies towards Muslim subjects scattered throughout the world. As it managed its post-World War I goal of dominating the former Ottoman territories, London-based policies considered varying policies. Since the British Empire managed its affairs with different Muslim subjects through different administrations based in Cairo, Bombay, and occupied Istanbul after 1918, such policies clashed, reflecting the distinctive issues facing administrators of these unique regions. This article makes the observation that there proved to be a range of policies adopted by competing entities of «His Majesty’s Government» (HMG) toward the Caliphate, requiring a rethinking of British imperialism vis-à-vis the Muslim world. Seeking to use the Caliphate from 1912 to 1924 for different objectives, the following reads these policies within the larger context of an empire facing disparate and contradictory challenges from different Muslims demands. In the process, this chapter asks why local events regularly upset such schemes that sought to mobilize the Caliphate, questions answered by returning focus to a multiplicity of factors contributing to the modern world’s (dis)order
Ottoman Albanians in an era of Transition: An Engagement with a Fluid Modern World
2021. Isa Blumi. Narrated empires, 191-212Chapter
During a critical period of transformation prior to World War I, a generation of Ottoman-Albanian activists whose engagements with ‘modernization’ not so much marked an end of the Ottoman Empire but a phase of its more complicated adaptation. Known in subsequent generations as heroes of Albanian nationalism, the Ottoman-Southern Albanian (Tosk) activists studied here demonstrate how a self-selective constituency challenged the Ottoman government to adapt to a changing world. In the end, the Frashëri family (Sami, Abdyl, and Naim Frashëri) mobilized the ecumenical possibilities embedded in the era’s iteration of ‘nationalism’ and expected the Ottoman state to do the same. In this respect, Ottoman subjects like the Frashëris instrumentalized the empire’s diverse cultural, political, and socio-economic heritage to support their political and economic aims to save the empire from the ethno-nationalism awaiting it from 1900 onwards.
Speaking above Yemenis: a reading beyond the tyranny of experts
2021. Isa Blumi. Global Intellectual History 6 (6), 990-1014Article
Although rarely making the headlines, concerned employees of international organizations privately admit that since March 2015, Yemen has been the world’s worst humanitarian disaster.1 Year by year the situation gets worse as a coalition of financially-strapped regional powers and their US and UK facilitators continue a siege of the entirety of the North of the country while fighting it out among themselves over control of the resource-rich South. The result of this multipolar war of attrition is that upwards of 18 million Yemenis face starvation and disease.
Yemen, Imperialism in
2021. Isa Blumi. The Palgrave Encyclopedia of Imperialism and Anti-Imperialism, 2905-2915Chapter
To better appreciate modern imperialism inYemen, the following charts how relations withEurasian powers like the Ottomans and Britainshifted from humble alliance making to outright(almost always failed) attempts at military conquest. As argued, it is crucial to reflect moreclosely on the manner Eurasian agents securedtheir initial foothold in the Western Indian Oceanworld by way of such alliances. By the time Ottoman surrogates like Muhammad Ali and crewslinked to venture capitalists in London establisheda presence in the Red Sea, the political orientations of a growing set of new political-spiritualmovements were on the rise. The subsequentadaptations by Ottoman and British officerswould directly impact how their respectiveempires evolved over the following nineteenthand twentieth centuries.
An Ottoman Story Until the End: Reading Fan Noli’s Post-Mediterranean Struggle in America, 1906-1922
2020. Isa Blumi. Journal of Balkans and Black Sea Studies 3 (5), 121-144Article
As the lives of so many men and women in the late nineteenth century Ottoman Balkans collapsed, many began to invest in ways to circumvent the accompanying powers of the modern state. An equal number attempted to manage the changes by availing themselves to the evolving Ottoman state with the hope of fusing efforts of reform with the emerging political-cultural structures of the larger world that was explicitly geared to tear the multi-ethnic Ottoman Balkans apart. By exploring the manner in which some members of the Balkans’ cultural elite adapted as their worlds transformed, this article introduces new methods of interpreting and narrating transitional periods such as those impacting men like Fan S. Noli. His itinerary itself reveals just how complex life in the Balkans and Black Sea would be during the 1878-1922 period, but not one entirely subordinate to the ethno-nationalist agenda so often associated with him.
The Albanian Question Looms Over the Balkans Again
2020. Isa Blumi. Current history (1941) 119 (815), 95-100Article
Brussels and Washington had imposed a regime that subordinated the long-term goals of Albanians to the economic and political agendas of the Western powers.
Albanian Slide: The Roots to NATO's Pending Lost Balkan Enterprise
2019. Isa Blumi. Insight Turkey 21 (2), 149-170Article
Since the end of the 1990s, Albanians in North Macedonia, Albania, Kosovo, Montenegro, and Serbia have submitted to a regime of political and economic austerity in return for access to the European Union. The heavy costs, from economic decline, deadly pollution, and political corruption have translated into years of frustrations. These frustrations have exposed a political failure that extends from the region to the United States and Brussels. The resulting political turmoil will soon turn violent as the global economic downturn puts strains on Albanians sliding further away from their untrustworthy EU/U.S. allies. These afflicted relations may also highlight enduring tensions within the larger NATO alliance as American unilateralism continues to strain the divergent interests of key European partners.
Navigating the Challenge of Liberalism: The Resurrection of the Orthodox Church in Post-Communist Albania
2019. Isa Blumi. Orthodox Churches and Politics in Southeastern Europe Nationalism, 197-222Chapter
Surviving the Balkans’ twentieth century was no simple task for Albanian Christians. Facing a regime of capitalism that absorbed the socialist Balkans in the 1990s, the efforts of Albanian Orthodox Christians to adapt seem inadequate. This chapter explores how one may read the struggles of the post-communist Albanian Autocephalous Orthodox Church that confronted the “universal” liberal enterprise in the context of the concurrent tensions within Albanian circles seeking the reaffirmation of ethno-nationalist concerns. In questioning how the rebuilding of the Church reflected an aggressive missionary approach led by Greek-born Archbishop Anastasios Yannoulatos, it will become clear how necessary it is to read this ongoing process of rebuilding on several institutional and ideological/spiritual planes.
Destroying Yemen: What Chaos in Arabia Tells Us About the World
2018. Isa Blumi.Book
Since March 2015, a Saudi-led international coalition of forces—supported by Britain and the United States—has waged devastating war in Yemen. Largely ignored by the world’s media, the resulting humanitarian disaster and full-scale famine threatens millions. Destroying Yemen offers the first in-depth historical account of the transnational origins of this war, placing it in the illuminating context of Yemen’s relationship with major powers since the Cold War. Bringing new sources and a deep understanding to bear on Yemen’s profound, unwitting implication in international affairs, this explosive book ultimately tells an even larger story of today’s political economy of global capitalism, development, and the war on terror as disparate actors intersect in Arabia.
Battles of Nostalgic Proportion: The Transformations of Islam-as-Historical-Force in Western Balkan Reconstitutions of the Past
2018. Isa Blumi. Nostalgia, Loss and Creativity in South-East Europe, 37-71Chapter
Islamophobia in Europe: Special Issue
2018. .Book (ed)
Battles of Nostalgic Proportion: The Transformations of Islam-as-Historical-Force in the Ideological Matrix of a Self-Affirming ‘West’
2016. Isa Blumi. Althusser and Theology, 182-197Chapter
Reorientating European Imperialism: How Ottomanism Went Global
2016. Isa Blumi. Die Welt des Islams 56 (3-4), 290-316Article
Scholars have long studied Western imperialism through the prism of pre-World War I literature and journalism. Characterizing this literature as Orientalist has become programmatic and predictable. The sometimes rigid analysis of this literature often misses, however, the contested dynamics within. This is especially the case with analyses of Ottoman contributions to the rise of a Western colonialist ethos – orientalism, imperialism, and racism – reflecting the political, structural, and economic changes that directly impacted the world. Essentially, colonial pretensions – servicing the ambitions of European imperialism at the expense of peoples in the ‘Orient’ – were articulated at a time when patriotic Ottomans, among others, were pushing back against colonialism. This article explores the possibility that such a response, usefully framed as Ottomanism, contributed regularly to the way peoples interacted in the larger context of a contentious exchange between rival imperialist projects. What is different here is that some articulations of Ottomanism were proactive rather than reactive. In turn, some of the Orientalism that has become synonymous with studies about the relationship between Europe, the Americas, and the peoples “East of the Urals” may have been a response to these Ottomanist gestures.
Introduction to the Special Issue: Islamophobia in Europe
2015. Isa Blumi, Mehmet Hacısalihoğlu. IRCICA Journal 3 (6), 13-28Article
Nothing New: Islamophobia by Default in Postwar Europe
2015. Isa Blumi. IRCICA Journal 3 (6), 29-64Article
Special Issue: Islamophobia in Europe
2015. .Book (ed)
In an age of extreme atrocities and breaches of fundamental human rights and liberties across the globe, one of the most adversely affected social groups is constituted by the Muslims. From Myanmar to Palestine, from East and Southeast Asia to Central and Western Europe Muslims face various forms of violence, bigotry, hatred, stereotyping and discrimination today informed by anti-Muslim extremism. In this context, it is pertinent that ircica presents the Special Issue of ircica Journal on issues of Anti-Muslim Extremism and Islamophobia in Europe to the attention of scholarly community.
The Transformation of Islam in Kosovo and its Impact on Albanian Politics
2015. Isa Blumi. Religion in the Post-Yugoslav Context , 173-196Chapter
Ottoman Refugees, 1878-1939: Migration in a Post-Imperial World
2013. Isa Blumi.Book
In the first half of the 20th century, throughout the Balkans and Middle East, a familiar story of destroyed communities forced to flee war or economic crisis unfolded. Often, these refugees of the Ottoman Empire - Christians, Muslims and Jews - found their way to new continents, forming an Ottoman diaspora that had a remarkable ability to reconstitute, and even expand, the ethnic, religious, and ideological diversity of their homelands.
Ottoman Refugees, 1878-1939 offers a unique study of a transitional period in world history experienced through these refugees living in the Middle East, the Americas, South-East Asia, East Africa and Europe. Isa Blumi explores the tensions emerging between those trying to preserve a world almost entirely destroyed by both the nation-state and global capitalism and the agents of the so-called Modern era.READ AN EXTRACT
War & Nationalism: The Balkan Wars (1912-1913) and Socio-Political Implications
2013. .Book (ed)
War and Nationalism presents thorough up-to-date scholarship on the often misunderstood and neglected Balkan Wars of 1912 to 1913, which contributed to the outbreak of World War I. The essays contain critical inquiries into the diverse and interconnected processes of social, economic, and political exchange that escalated into conflict. The wars represented a pivotal moment that had a long-lasting impact on the regional state system and fundamentally transformed the beleaguered Ottoman Empire in the process.
This interdisciplinary volume stands as a critique of the standard discourse regarding the Balkan Wars and effectively questions many of the assumptions of prevailing modern nation-state histories, which have long privileged the ethno-religious dimensions present in the Balkans. The authors go to great lengths in demonstrating the fluidity of social, geographical, and cultural boundaries before 1912 and call into question the “nationalist watershed” notion that was artificially imposed by manipulative historiography and political machinations following the end of fighting in 1913.
War and Nationalism will be of interest to scholars looking to enrich their own understanding of an overshadowed historical event and will serve as a valuable contribution to courses on Ottoman and European history.
Foundations of Modernity: Human Agency and the Imperial State
2012. Isa Blumi.Book
Investigating how a number of modern empires transform over the long 19th century (1789-1914) as a consequence of their struggle for ascendancy in the Eastern Mediterranean and Middle East, Foundations of Modernity: Human Agency and the Imperial State moves the study of the modern empire towards a comparative, trans-regional analysis of events along the Ottoman frontiers: Western Balkans, the Persian Gulf and Yemen. This inter-disciplinary approach of studying events at different ends of the Ottoman Empire challenges previous emphasis on Europe as the only source of change and highlights the progression of modern imperial states.
The book introduces an entirely new analytical approach to the study of modern state power and the social consequences to the interaction between long-ignored "historical agents" like pirates, smugglers, refugees, and the rural poor. In this respect, the roots of the most fundamental institutions and bureaucratic practices associated with the modern state prove to be the by-products of certain kinds of productive exchange long categorized in negative terms in post-colonial and mainstream scholarship. Such a challenge to conventional methods of historical and social scientific analysis is reinforced by the novel use of the work of Louis Althusser, Talal Asad, William Connolly and Frederick Cooper, whose challenges to scholarly conventions will prove helpful in changing how we understand the origins of our modern world and thus talk about Modernity. This book offers a methodological and historiographic intervention meant to challenge conventional studies of the modern era.
Reinstating the Ottomans: Alternative Balkan Modernities, 1800-1912
2011. Isa Blumi.Book
This book focuses on the western Balkans in the period 1820-1912, in particular on the peoples and social groups that the later national history would claim to have been Albanians, providing a revisionist exploration of national identity prior to the establishment of the nation-state.
Chaos in Yemen: Societal Collapse and the New Authoritarianism
2010. Isa Blumi.Book
Chaos in Yemen challenges recent interpretations of Yemen’s complex social, political and economic transformations since unification in 1990. By offering a new perspective to the violence afflicting the larger region, it explains why the ‘Abdullah ‘Ali Salih regime has become the principal beneficiary of these conflicts.
Adopting an inter-disciplinary approach, the author offers an alternative understanding of what is creating discord in the Red Sea region by integrating the region’s history to an interpretation of current events. In turn, by refusing to solely link Yemen to the "global struggle against Islamists," this work sheds new light on the issues policy-makers are facing in the larger Middle East. As such, this study offers an alternative perspective to Yemen’s complex domestic affairs that challenge the over-emphasis on the tribe and sectarianism.
Offering an alternative set of approaches to studying societies facing new forms of state authoritarianism, this timely contribution will be of great relevance to students and scholars of the Middle East and the larger Islamic world, Conflict Resolution, Comparative Politics, and International Relations.
Rethinking the Late Ottoman Empire: A Comparative Social and Political History of Albania and Yemen, 1878-1918
2010. Isa Blumi.Book
In this collection of essays, Isa Blumi seeks to reassess some common misconceptions about the history of the Ottoman Empire. Blumi, an expert on the Empire’s Albanians, takes up the question of communities on the periphery of Ottoman society, be they Albanian or Yemeni. However, Blumi still sees such people as being part of the greater Ottoman society and shows that studies of the provinces can provide valuable insights for historians. The essays of the book are tied together by Blumi’s reflections on being a history writer, but each individual essay touches on some unique and almost forgotten aspect of Ottoman history.
Exceptionally normal (post-)Ottomans: How failure shaped the futures of Balkan heroes
2022. Isa Blumi. Global Biographies, 124-142Chapter
Isa Blumi provides us with a sort of anti-biography of Fan S. Noli, a praised national hero in Albanian historiography. Blumi demonstrates that Noli was in fact the result of Tosk-Albanian elite networks, supportive of the Ottoman Empire. This is an insight that Blumi obtains by tracing Noli’s trajectory beyond Albania to Cairo, Alexandria and Boston in the United States. By dislocating Noli, and paying close attention to those around him, Blumi demonstrates that Noli was – as Blumi also puts it – exceptionally normal. He is better understood, so to speak, as a fairly normal member of networks whose representatives were by no means as sure of their support of and membership in future nations as historians would like them to have been.
2022. Isa Blumi.Other
It seemed as if Çamëria was yet another post-Ottoman community doomed to be “unmixed” via population exchanges. As Isa Blumi shows, however, Çamërians resisted, defending a community experts dismissed as chimerical.
Amerika'da Balkanlar'ın Kültürel Elitinin Paradoksal Dağılımı: Sona Kadar Bir Osmanlı Arnavut Hikayesi
2020. Isa Blumi. Kebikeç 50, 261-284Article
As the lives of so many men and women in the late nineteenth century Ottoman Balkans collapsed, many began to invest in ways to circumvent the accompanying powers of the modern state. An equal number attempted to manage the changes by availing themselves to the evolving Ottoman state with the hope of fusing efforts of reform with the emerging political-cultural structures of the larger world that was explicitly geared to tear the multiethnic Ottoman Balkans apart. By exploring the manner in which some members of the Balkans' cultural elite adapted as their worlds transformed, this article introduces new methods of interpreting and narrating transitional periods such as those impacting men like Fan S. Noli. His itinerary itself reveals just how complex life in the Balkans and Black Sea would be during the 1878-1922 period, but not one entirely subordinate to the ethno-nationalist agenda so often associated with him.
Iraqi ties to Yemen’s demise: Complicating the ‘Arab Cold War’ in South Arabia
2022. Isa Blumi. Journal of Contemporary Iraq & the Arab World 16 (3), 235-254Article
The Cold War justifiably receives attention from scholars exploring interstate relations in the Middle East. While competition between the major nuclear powersinvariably contributed to how regional politics transpired in the twentieth century,there may be much that is missing from the narrative adapting such a focus onexternal factors. This article provides a detailed analysis of intraregional relationsthat are informed by domestic, intra-Arab concerns. With special focus on theevolving relations between Iraq and Yemen over the course of the 1920–90 period,it is possible to argue for a new approach to the study of the Middle East and itsrelationship to the larger world during the Cold War. Domestic concerns prove asmuch an animating force in global affairs as those based in British, American and/or Soviet Bloc circles usually foregrounded.