Theses Doctoral

The Rise and Fall of the Green International: Stamboliiski and his Legacy in East European Agrarianism, 1919-1939

Toshkov, Alex Stoyanov

At the height of his power in 1923, the head of the Bulgarian Agrarian National Union (BANU), Alexander Stamboliiski, summed up the significance of his politics for European history in the following way: "Today there are only two interesting social experiments: the experiment of Lenin and my own." Taking the aspirations reflected in the quotation above seriously and rescuing the agrarian project from the enormous condescension of posterity is the foundation of this dissertation. Briefly, it is about unpacking and restoring the significance of the Golden Age of the European Peasantry between the two world wars by focusing on the paradigmatic cases of Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, and Czechoslovakia. The dissertation proposes a novel synoptic approach with regards to interwar agrarianism as a counterpoint to ideology driven classifications or structuralist synthesis. Its thematic chapters alternate between strategic probes of evocative micro histories and broader theoretically informed overviews in order to illustrate and clarify the analytical frame. The most radical expression of interwar agrarianism, that of Bulgaria, and the man responsible for it, Alexander Stamboliiski, serve as the center of this dissertation. The juxtaposition of this center to the development of agrarianism in Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia, as well as to various oppositional formations such as the Communist International Peasant Union allows this dissertation to overcome the national parochialism that has contributed to the sidelining of the study of agrarianism. The innovative structure of the dissertation is above all a demonstration of the rich possibilities still open to researchers in this field to reinsert the study of agrarianism into contemporary theoretical debates and developments in the historiography. The dissertation explicitly engages agrarianism with the theoretical literature on nationalism, corruption, the subaltern, as well as makes possible the connection to the problematics of modernity, politics as systemic change, transnational and global history.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Thesis Advisors
Mazower, Mark
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
October 6, 2014