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Augusta Dimou

Augusta Dimou Institute for Slavic Studies, University of Leipzig
Cooperativism in Southeast and Central Europe in the Inter-War Period
Regimes of Historicity and Discourses of Modernity and Identity, 1900-1945, in East-Central, Southeastern and Northern Europe

Dr Augusta Dimou received a BA degree in History, German Philology and Political Science from the Leoplod-Franzens Inversity of Innsbruck, Austria (1993), and an MA degree in History from the University of Florida, Gainesville, USA (1995). After a one-year course of postgraduate studies in South Slavic Languages at the School of Slavonic and East European Studies, London, UK (1997), A. Dimou proceeded with a doctoral degree in History at the European University Institute in Florence, Italy (1998-2003). Her PhD thesis focused on Paths towards Modernity. Intellectuals and the Contextualisation of Socialism in the Balkans.

Dr Dimou held a Junior Research Fellowship from the Institut für Wissenschaften des Menschen, Vienna, Austria (2002) and a grant for the Programme Fernand Braudel, Maison des Sciences de l´Homme, Paris, France. She was an Academic Associate Researcher, Georg-Eckert Institute for the International Study of Textbooks, Braunschweig, Germany (2003-2006); an Adjunct Lecturer at the Department of History and Archaeology, University of Ioannina, Greece (2005-2007). Since 2006, she has worked as an Academic Associate Researcher at the Institute for Slavic Studies, University of Leipzig, Germany.

Research Interests and contribution to CAS ROH Project

My hitherto work has focused on the issue of modernity and modernisation in Southeast Europe. I have, on the one hand, concentrated on the issue of political modernity and the transfer of ideas, seeking to analyse how European paradigms and intellectual currents were transferred to this part of the world. In the tradition of the French school of ‘transfer', my endeavor has been to illustrate the creative, and at times even original features of the appropriation process, against a long tradition that was accustomed to view transfer as a static process, more a reflex of what was happening elsewhere rather than a dynamic procedure. Along the tradition of the British ‘contextualist' intellectual history, my work, so far, has focused comprehensively on the process of reception and the contextual conditions that determine the forms of ‘translation' and ‘appropriation' of ideas in the local context. The innovative aspect in my approach to modernity has been perhaps, the effort to treat modernisation not solemnly as a process of socio-economic and political change, but as a process involving also the imaginary on change. I consider myself part of a generation of new historians, who have made use of the capacities offered by comparative history in order to both reconsider national canons as well as pluralise our understanding of the history of Southeast Europe. My ultimate ambition has been the attempt to stimulate methodological innovation in the field of Balkan Studies, hoping to maintain an inspiring dialogue with European history.

My current work continues the initial venture to rethink modernity in Southeast Europe. This time, however, my intention is to incorporate next to intellectual, also more social and cultural history. On the one hand, this project wishes to address common assumptions connected to the label ‘backwardness' by shedding light to an interesting modernisation experiment, whose multifarious ramifications have not received adequate attention to this moment. The cooperative movement did not only facilitate the access to credit but was at the forefront of providing for the electrification of the Bulgarian countryside, the regulation of water resources and the rational exploitation thereof, the attunement of administrative structures with production units, the introduction of modern infrastructure and the dissemination of the latest technical and technological know-how, as well as a massive enlightenment campaign of the population. By employing the tools of comparative history, this work hopes to question common assumptions about the ‘particularities' of Southeast European development by bringing in a comparison with Central Europe and the case of Czechoslovakia.

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