European Studies Book Award - 2018 Awardee

The Council for European Studies' (CES) Book Award Committee is pleased to announce the winner of the 2018 European Studies Book Award. 

Max Bergholz (Concordia University) has received the 2018 European Studies Book Award for his book Violence as a Generative Force: Identity, Nationalism, and Memory in a Balkan Community.

During two terrifying days and nights in early September 1941, the lives of nearly two thousand men, women, and children were taken savagely by their neighbors in Kulen Vakuf, a small rural community straddling today’s border between northwest Bosnia and Croatia. This frenzy—in which victims were butchered with farm tools, drowned in rivers, and thrown into deep vertical caves—was the culmination of a chain of local massacres that began earlier in the summer. In Violence as a Generative Force, Max Bergholz tells the story of the sudden and perplexing descent of this once peaceful multiethnic community into extreme violence. This deeply researched microhistory provides provocative insights to questions of global significance: What causes intercommunal violence? How does such violence between neighbors affect their identities and relations?
Contrary to a widely held view that sees nationalism leading to violence, Bergholz reveals how the upheavals wrought by local killing actually created dramatically new perceptions of ethnicity—of oneself, supposed "brothers," and those perceived as "others." As a consequence, the violence forged new communities, new forms and configurations of power, and new practices of nationalism. The history of this community was marked by an unexpected explosion of locally executed violence by the few, which functioned as a generative force in transforming the identities, relations, and lives of the many. The story of this largely unknown Balkan community in 1941 provides a powerful means through which to rethink fundamental assumptions about the interrelationships among ethnicity, nationalism, and violence, both during World War II and more broadly throughout the world.

Max Bergholz is Associate Professor of History at Concordia University in Montreal, where he has taught since 2011. His interests include microhistorical approaches to the history of modern Europe, with a particular focus on the local dynamics of nationalism, intercommunal violence, and historical memory.  His fieldwork focuses on Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, and Serbia.  In 2016, Cornell University Press published his first book, Violence as a Generative Force: Identity, Nationalism, and Memory in a Balkan Community, which has won four prizes.

Related Websites: Cornell University Press, 

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European Studies Book Award Shortlist


From left to right:

Chosen Nation: Mennonites and Germany in a Global Era by Benjamin W. Goossen (Princeton University Press);

Civil Society and Memory in Postwar Germany by Jenny Wüstenberg (Cambridge University Press);

European Union Policy-Making. The Regulatory Shift in Natural Gas Market Policy by Nicole Herweg (Springer/Palgrave Macmillan);

Familiar Strangers: The Georgian Diaspora and the Evolution of Soviet Empire by Erik R. Scott (Oxford University Press);

Lions and Lambs: Conflict in Weimar and the Creation of Post-Nazi Germany by Noah Benezra Strote (Yale University Press);

Russia in the German Global Imaginary: Imperial Visions & Utopian Desires 1905-1941 by James E. Casteel (University of Pittsburgh Press);

Violence as a Generative Force: Identity, Nationalism, and Memory in a Balkan Community
by Max Bergholz (Cornell University Press).

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2018 European Studies Book Award Judging Committee


Maria Kousis (PhD, The University of Michigan, 1984) is Professor of Sociology and Director of the University of Crete Research Center. She was coordinator or partner in European Commission research projects including Grassroots Environmental Action, TEA, PAGANINI, and MEDVOICES. Publications consist of 11 edited volumes, books, and special issues as well as 67 articles or book chapters. Her research centers on Social Change, Contentious Politics, Environmental Politics, Bioethics, Social Movements in Times of Crises, and Southern Europe.



Virág Molnár received her PhD from Princeton University and is currently Associate Professor of Soiology at The New School for Social Research. Her current work examines the impact of new communication technologies on the urban public sphere through a comparative study of the street art scene in New York, Berlin, and Budapest; the politics of urban rodent control; and the rise of radical populism in contemporary Hungary. Her book Building the State Architecture, Politics, and State Formation in Postwar Central Europe (Routledge, 2013) received the 2014 Mary Douglas Prize from the American Sociological Association.


Floris Vermeulen is Associate Professor and Chair of the department of Political Science at the University of Amsterdam. He has been Co-Director of the Institute for Migration and Ethnic Studies (IMES). He studied Economic and Social History at the University of Amsterdam. His research focuses on the civic and political participation of immigrants at the local level and local integration policies and their effects on different domains. He participated in several large European research projects such as RELIGARE and INTEGRIM. His work is published in international volumes and journals such as European Union Politics, Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, and others.


Suzanne Forsberg holds a BMus degree from the University of Utah, an AM from Harvard University, and a PhD from New York University. At St. Francis College, she is Professor and Chair of Foreign Languages, Fine Arts, and International Cultural Studies. In 2010, she received a Merit of Honor Award from the University of Utah for distinguished professional achievements. In 2015, the New York Council for the Humanities awarded her a Certificate of Merit in recognition of her participation in the Speaker in the Humanities program. A specialist in the eighteenth-century symphony, she co-authored a volume in the Garland Series The Symphony, 1720-1840.

Morten Høi Jensen was born in Copenhagen, Denmark, in 1987. He attended The New School for Social Research in New York City and has contributed to numerous publications, including the Los Angeles Review of Books, Salon, and the New Republic. He writes occasionally for the Danish broadsheet Weekendavisen and contributes a monthly column to EuropeNow Journal. In September 2017, Yale University Press published his first book, A Difficult Death: The Life and Work of Jens Peter Jacobsen. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.


James G. Schryver is a medieval archaeologist who works in the Mediterranean and Ireland. His research interests include the use of landscape and gardens as expressions of identity and status. James received his MA and PhD from Cornell University and is currently an Associate Professor of Art History at University of Minnesota, Morris. He was named Spring 2017 Margot Tytus Fellow at the University of Cincinnati.


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