Image of the Ottomans in Bosnian Textbooks Published After 2007

Jahja Muhasilović


Division of historical consciousness in Bosnia and Herzegovina started before the Yugoslav Wars, but this division of historiographies and approaches towards the past resulted with more openly manifestation of the divisions to educational system and history textbooks during the wartime and post Dayton era. Even though International Community tried to change poisonous environment of ethnic hatred in which textbooks are produced, except few successes with Bosniak textbooks, not much positive development was achieved. Reform period which started in 1998 today is seen as an unfinished project. In Bosnia and Herzegovina three different versions of history with two of them having the focus point in neighboring Serbia and Croatia are taught to the students. Besides the fact that students are learning three different histories, there is a certain level of hatred and fear of others spreading through history textbooks. History textbooks became an important tool for poisoning the minds of the youth and building the barriers  towards the others. This is the case especially with Serb and Croat textbooks in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Ottoman period in Balkans is mainly seen as a ‘’dark age of the Balkans’’ as it is underlined in one Serbian textbook and to lesser extend in Croat ones. Even though Bosniaks see Ottoman period in more positive light than other two ethnic groups, there are certain topics and periods were it is possible to see romantistic and nationalistic tone towards the Ottomans. History textbooks in Bosnia are having negative contribution for country’s possible future dissolution and it is the one of the main source of stereotype engineering that country is passing in the last decades and which is one of the main reason of the recent wars. In the times where country is confronting with secessionist threat, it is highly important to start building Bosnian statehood and understanding of others through history textbooks, otherwise we can expect new turmoil in the region known for its sensitivity towards the ethnic conflicts.


History Textbooks; Image; Ottomans; Historiography; Imagology;

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