Research Programs: Awards for Faculty

Period of Performance

1/1/2013 - 6/30/2013

Funding Totals

$25,200.00 (approved)
$25,200.00 (awarded)

Islam and the European Nation-State: Balkan Muslims between Mosque and State, 1908-1949

FAIN: HB-50201-12

Emily Joan Greble
City College of New York (New York, NY 10016-4309)

What did it mean to be Muslim in Europe as empires collapsed and nation-states emerged? How did Islamic institutions adapt and transform their legal, property, and cultural institutions to meet--or challenge--the demands of the secularizing states? How did Muslims in Europe respond to and incorporate new political, religious, and cultural movements emerging in the Middle East? These questions are central to my project, which examines how Balkan Muslims negotiated Islamic law, practice, and politics under liberalism, fascism, and socialism. I contend that Muslim leaders adapted the norms and customs of the practice of Islam in order to define "Muslim" in their own terms; and moreover, that they confronted being dispossessed--of property, Sharia law, institutional autonomy, and the right to define Islam--by seeking to be possessed by an international community of Muslims. The project sheds new light on questions of Islam in Europe, transnational Islam, and the history of the Balkans.

Associated Products

Muslims and the Making of Modern Europe (Book)
Title: Muslims and the Making of Modern Europe
Author: Emily Greble
Abstract: Muslims and the Making of Modern Europe shows that Muslims were citizens of modern Europe from its beginning and, in the process, rethinks Europe itself. Muslims are neither newcomers nor outsiders in Europe. In the twentieth century, they have been central to the continent's political development and the evolution of its traditions of equality and law. From 1878 into the period following World War II, over a million Ottoman Muslims became citizens of new European states. In Muslims and the Making of Modern Europe, Emily Greble follows the fortunes and misfortunes of several generations of these indigenous men, women and children; merchants, peasants, and landowners; muftis and preachers; teachers and students; believers and non-believers from seaside port towns on the shores of the Adriatic to mountainous villages in the Balkans. Drawing on a wide range of archives from government ministries in state capitals to madrasas in provincial towns, Greble uncovers Muslims' negotiations with state authorities--over the boundaries of Islamic law, the nature of religious freedom, and the meaning of minority rights. She shows how their story is Europe's story: Muslims navigated the continent's turbulent passage from imperial order through the interwar political experiments of liberal democracy and authoritarianism to the ideological programs of fascism, socialism, and communism. In doing so, they shaped the grand narratives upon which so much of Europe's fractious present now rests. Muslims and the Making of Modern Europe offers a striking new account of the history of citizenship and nation-building, the emergence of minority rights, and the character of secularism.
Year: 2021
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Type: Single author monograph
ISBN: 9780197538807
Copy sent to NEH?: Yes

Review of Democracy (Radio/Audio Broadcast or Recording)
Title: Review of Democracy
Abstract: Emily Greble in conversation with Ferenc Laczo discusses what foregrounding Muslims’ agency implies for the writing of European history; what were key legacies of the Ottoman Empire and how Muslims became a distinct legal minority; in what ways they related to the major political movements of the twentieth century; and how focusing on their experiences can help us reconceptualize questions of secularism and citizenship.
Date: 11/22/2021
Primary URL:
Format: Web

The Uncertain “Wilsonian Moment” for Muslims in Yugoslavia: Reframing Historiographical Conversations through Minority Experiences (Article)
Title: The Uncertain “Wilsonian Moment” for Muslims in Yugoslavia: Reframing Historiographical Conversations through Minority Experiences
Author: Emily Greble
Abstract: In 1921, Yugoslavia, one of Europe's new nation-states, enshrined a Sharia judiciary in its first constitution". From that moment, Muslims in Yugoslav lands had the right - and also the obligation - to conduct family matters and property disputes in Islamic courts. Contrary to practices in many liberal democracies, where individuals could choose to participate in a religious legal system but have the alternative of a civil legal system, Muslims had no choice in the matter. Even more surprising, the government expected non-Muslims to abide by the state's Sharia legislative protocols in some circumstances, such as divorces in which one party was Muslim, or in property disputes involving Islamic charitable endowments (waqf). Through this peculiar legal arrangement, an assemblage of imperial remnants that had been shaped by differentiated rights, religious protections, and legal pluralism was thrust into the constitutional and legal framework of a European nationstate. This experiment was one of many variations on the liberal state model that nation-states would realize in the aftermath of the Great War.
Year: 2019
Format: Journal
Periodical Title: Passato e Presente
Publisher: Passato e Presente