Professor's book focuses on ethnic nationalism, Macedonian conflict

Loring M. Danforth, professor of anthropology at Bates, has written a book about the claims to and construction of Macedonian identity in northern Greece and Australia.

In The Macedonian Conflict: Ethnic Nationalism in a Transnational World, just published by Princeton University Press, Danforth examines the Macedonian conflict in light of contemporary theoretical work on ethnic nationalism, the construction of national identities and cultures, the invention of tradition and the role of the state in building a nation.

The conflict is set in the broader context of Balkan history and the more narrow context of the recent disintegration of Yugoslavia. The book concludes with an analysis of the construction of identity on an individual level among immigrants from northern Greece who have settled in Australia, where multiculturalism is an official policy.

Harvard anthropologist Michael Herzfeld calls the book “the clearest exposition yet of the extraordinary complexities that have led observers to equate Macedonia with ‘confusion’… it is the most dispassionate available commentary on what has become a highly politicized situation. The use of data from Australia is a stroke of genius.”

A cultural anthropologist, Danforth is also the author of The Death Rituals of Rural Greece and Firewalking and Religious Healing: The Anastenaria of Greece and the American Firewalking Movement, both published by Princeton University Press.

Danforth joined the Bates faculty in 1985. He has received number of prestigious grants and fellowships including a Fulbright Fellowship to conduct research at the University of Melbourne in Australia. Danforth graduated from Amherst College and received master’s and doctoral degrees from Princeton University.