New Projects for a New Time

Early 2020 was dominated by global pandemic fears and a near-total shutdown of public events and travel. It did however provide time for reflection on new projects and priorities. Here are some of the things keeping me busy so far this year.

1.) Reviews: One new/old feature I am sharing is my new Reviews page: visit here to enjoy many reviews of books and music I have published over the years. I welcome comments for new works to be reviewed.

2.) A new Research area on Late Byzantine Intellectual History will soon appear. The 15th century is somewhat of a specialty of mine and, frankly, a lot more appealing in many ways than the current antics we are seeing from media and politics in the 21st. More info to come soon.

3.) I continue to volunteer as a board member for the Mount Athos Foundation of America, the sister organization of the UK-based Friends of Mount Athos, of which I have also been a member for many years. Both organizations carry out charitable works to benefit the Athonite monasteries of Greece as well as scholarly research devoted to the Athonite tradition. I am also happy to announce that my new essay on 20 years since my first visit to Athos will be featured in FoMA’s thirtieth-anniversary special publication, to be released in September 2020.

4.) Some more good news: while the Corona-craze has caused many postponements and cancellations, it will not impact publication of my new book, which will be available in July 2020.

Entitled The History of Croatia and Slovenia, the book is being released by Greenwood as part of their countries series. Accessible yet comprehensive, this textbook provides readers with a solid introduction to the political history of these neighboring Adriatic states.

The key events that shaped these nations, from Roman and medieval times to the birth of nationalism, Yugoslav and post-Yugoslav iterations are all covered, with three maps, helpful photos, timelines of key events and other data adding to the visual presentation.

An added benefit is the amount of peripheral historical introduction readers get to the civilizations, kingdoms and empires that interacted with the proto-Slovenes and Croats. Everyone from the Goths and Avars to the Byzantines, Ottomans and Habsburgs are encountered in my retelling, as well as some of the lesser-known but important actors, such as the swashbuckling Narentine pirates of the Adriatic.

Of course, coverage is mainly reserved for modern Croatia and Slovenia (during and after the two Yugoslavias), and all of this history is presented in the context of the 19th century ‘Illyrian Movement’ for South Slavic unity, the mortal showdown between communism and royalism, the wars of the 1990s. The book’s final chapter concludes by educating the reader on what has happened in Croatia and Slovenia since the wars and independence from Yugoslavia, including political affairs, social and economic trends, emerging attitudes to global issues like the environment, and the unusually prominent place these two relatively small countries continue to play in popular culture, music and sport internationally.

Finally, if you missed it, here’s a special new page devoted to a key aspect of my work: major speaking engagements, conferences and other teaching activities that I have conducted over the past 15 or so years in Europe and the US. I will continue to participate in such events in 2020. Click here to see the page.