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Understanding Macedonism in the 19th century

As he undertakes his PhD, La Trobe University's Dimitri Gonis draws from his extensive research to present the GCM's next free lecture at the Greek Centre

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Photo: Greek Community

28 August 2017

Writer and poet Dimitri Gonis will be presenting 'Prelude to Nationhood: Macedonism in the 19th Century' at the Greek Centre this month.

A highly contested topic, Gonis argues that the Greek consensus, both in the homeland and diaspora, is that the modern Macedonian nation is a recent and artificial construct; an exclusively Titoist initiative brought into existence with the establishment of the People's Republic of Macedonia in 1944.

Central to the 'modern Macedonian' narrative is Macedonism, an ideology commonly viewed as an extension of Tito's aim to convert geographical Macedonia's Slavs and Slavophones into ethnic Macedonians.

Evidence, however, suggests that the notion of a 'Macedonian nation', albeit limited to a few individuals, already existed in the middle of the 19th century. A clear example is found in the context of language; it has been suggested that the linguistic endeavours of certain Macedono-Bulgarian educators during this period is evidence of an emerging linguistic Macedonism; in other words, a nascent but extant 'Macedonian consciousness'.

Dimitri Gonis Photo: NK Archive

Currently completing his PhD on 'The Politics of Memory and Nationhood: Neo-Macedonism in Australia', Gonis will draw from his research and discuss the emergence of the first Macedonists and at least one man's clear definition of 'Macedonian nationhood', placing early Macedonism within the context of 19th century nation-building.

Aside from his work as a writer, Gonis has worked as a translator of academic articles and for the past seven years has been a sessional lecturer at La Trobe University.

The lecture is being presented as part of the Greek History and Culture Seminars offered by the Greek Community of Melbourne.

'Prelude to Nationhood: Macedonism in the 19th Century' will take place on Thursday 31 August at the Greek Centre (Delphi Bank Mez, 168 Lonsdale St, Melbourne, VIC) at 7.00 pm. Attendance is free.

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