Lakes and Empires in Macedonian History: Contesting the Waters tells the story of Psarades, a lakeside village in Macedonian Greece on the shores of the Prespa lake. This village, which is in many ways a completely typical Greek settlement and yet remains unconventional in its way of life, embodies the many contradictions of modern history and in exploring its roots James Pettifer and Miranda Vickers skilfully uncover the wider social, cultural and political history of this lake region.
Drawing from oral testimonies and attentive to the construction of national histories, Lakes and Empires in Macedonian History considers how the development of international borders, movement of people and role of national identities within imperial borderlands shaped Macedonia today. What is more, by centering the lakes and making use of an innovative environmental historical methodology, Pettifer and Vickers offer the first environmental history of this multi-ethnic borderland region shared by Greece, North Macedonia and Albania. The result is a nuanced and sophisticated transnational account of Macedonia from prehistory to the 21st century which will be essential reading for all Balkan scholars.
List of Maps
1. The Prespa Lakes: Ecology and Human Settlement
2. Prespa Lake Communities from Prehistory to the Ottoman Conquest
3. The Lake Communities in the Ottoman Empire, 1380-1863
4. Prespa and the Struggle for Ottoman Macedonia, 1863-1914
5. 1914 to 1923: New Nations and New Borders Divide the Lakes
6. Nivica becomes Psarades: The Construction of Greek Macedonia, 1924-1939
7. Prespa under the Axis Occupation, 1939-194
8. Freedom and Civil Conflcit, 1945-1949: The Centrality of Prespa
9. Exile and Return: The Cold War Years, 1950-1990
10. The Prespa Lakes: Peace and Environmental Crisis, 1991-2018
Appendix I. Place Name Usage in Late Ottoman and 20th Century Prespa
Appendix II. Religious and Ethnic Identities in Prespa Villages in FYROM/RM
Appendix III. Some Non-Greek Terms Relating to Prespa Village Toponyms
James Pettifer is a Professor of Balkan History at the University of Oxford, UK. He is the author of numerous studies of modern Balkan history, including The Making of the Greece Crisis (2015), The Kosovo Liberation Army (2012) and The New Macedonian Question (2001). Alongside his academic work, he has reported for the Times and the Wall Street Journal on Balkan issues.
Miranda Vickers is an independent scholar based in the UK. She is the author of The Albanians: A Modern History (2011), The Albanian Question: Reshaping the Balkans (with James Pettifer, 2009) and Albania: From Anarchy to Balkan Identity (also with James Pettifer, 2000).
"This is historical writing at its best. Rich in detail – from Macedonian lions and gladiators in ancient times to women gathering cow dung for fertilizer in the late 20th century – this volume uses the Prespa lake region, wedged between Albanian, Greece, and North Macedonia, as a prism through which to understand the politics affecting the Balkans as a whole. Reflecting nearly three decades of research, this is an amazing book written by two veteran Balkanists at the height of their powers."
– Sabrina P. Ramet, Professor Emerita, The Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Norway