[MGSA-L] The Balkan Sight at Michigan

Vassilios Lambropoulos vlambrop at umich.edu
Tue Feb 1 12:04:39 PST 2011

The Modern Greek Program 
and the Center for European Studies-European Union Center
at the University of Michigan present

on Thursday, February 3, 4 pm
Room 1636 International Institute
in the year-long series CONVERSATIONS ON EUROPE
The Balkan Sight of the Mediterranean
(or the Unbearable Similarity of the Other)
Gazmend Kapllani
Journalist and author
In Gazmend Kapllani’s novel My Name is Europe, the central hero travels around the Balkans and tries to compile a “Balkan list,” arraying the most known characteristics of Balkan identities. At some point he mentions: “You realize you’re in the Balkans when you see someone devouring the same food and dancing to the same music of his hated “national enemy”; food and dances that are also his own. When you see two people quarrelling over the different origin of the same sweet they eat or the same song they sing, then, you’re definitely in the Balkans.” Kapllani thus argues that the “clash of civilizations” in the Balkans is not provoked by differences, but by the unbearable similarity of “the other.”
Gazmend Kapllani, a prominent Greek journalist and author, was born in 1967 in Lushnje, Albania. After the collapse of totalitarian regime in Albania, he immigrated to Greece in 1991, where he worked as a builder, cook, and kiosk attendant while studying at Athens University. In 2007 he received his PhD in political science and history from Panteion University of Athens, with the dissertation “Otherness and Modernity. The Image of Albanians in the Greek Press and the Image of Greeks in the Albanian Press, 1991-2001.” Kapllani is fluent in several European languages including Greek, Albanian, English, French, and Italian. Freelancing since 1999, Mr. Kapllani is one of the most renowned columnists in Greece, and he also writes a column for the Albanian newspaper Shekulli. In 2006, he published his best-selling first novel, A Short Border Handbook, which has been published in English, Polish, and Danish. This was followed in 2009 by his second novel, My Name is Europe. Kapllani is also a playwright, and since 2004 has taught religion and Albanian national identity in the Department of Political Science and History at the Panteion University of Athens.
Free and open to the public. 
The European Union Center at the University of Michigan is a European Commission-designated EU Center of Excellence.
Please check the CES-EUC website  and events calendar for late additions, time changes or cancellations. Find us on: iTunesU “The Conversations on Europe at U-M” album; YouTube, and  Facebook.


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