Before the nation most of the world’s populations inhabited empires, and the Christians of the southern Balkans were no exception. The talk shows how an unstable Ottoman context in which Christians and Muslims operated was shaken by the arrival of France, Russia, and Britain on the Ionian coasts and made possible, unwittingly and extremely violently, a translation of a millet in a multiconfessional space into a nation of Christian exclusivity. The revolution was not an outcome of a preexisting nation; the revolution was a regional and imperial intersection, a conjuncture out of which a nation emerged. How it took this form is a question that should be at the center of the historiography.
Yanni Kotsonis is Professor of History and Professor of Russian Studies, Jordan Center for the Advanced Study of Russia, NYU. He was educated in Athens, Montreal, Copenhagen, Moscow, and New York. His past work was in the political economy of Russia and the USSR. His latest book is States of Obligation: Taxes and Citizenship in the Russian Empire and the Early Soviet Republic (Toronto, 2014). Currently he is researching and writing a new book, Five Empires and Nation: The Story of the Greek Revolution, 1797-1830.
Supported by the Christos G. and Rhoda Papaioannou Modern Greek Studies Fund