Max Bergholz, PhD
Associate Professor, History
B.A. and M.A., University of Pittsburgh; Ph.D., University of Toronto
Dr. Bergholz is Associate Professor of History at Concordia University, where he has taught since 2011. He received his PhD in Balkan and East European history at the University of Toronto in 2010. 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, where he researches in central and provincial archives and conducts oral history interviews in small towns and villages.
His first book, Violence as a Generative Force: Identity, Nationalism, and Memory in a Balkan Community (Cornell University Press, 2016), investigates the causes and dynamics of violence during 1941 in a multi-ethnic community that straddles the present-day border between Bosnia and Croatia, and their effects on local identities and social relations.
The book has won five prizes, including the 2019 Laura Shannon Prize (awarded by the Nanovic Institute for European Studies at the University of Notre Dame); the 2018 European Studies Book Award (awarded by the Council for European Studies at Columbia University); the 2017 Herbert Baxter Adams Prize (awarded by the American Historical Association); the 2017 Harriman-Rothschild Prize in Nationalism and Ethnic Studies (awarded by the Association for the Study of Nationalities and the Harriman Institute at Columbia University); and the 2017 Taylor and Francis Book Prize in Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies (awarded by the Canadian Association of Slavists). It was also named as a finalist for the 2017 Raphael Lemkin Book Award (sponsored by the Institute for the Study of Genocide). A Bosnian edition of the book was published in 2018 by Buybook (Sarajevo/Zagreb), and was named as a "2019 Book of the Year" in Croatia by the daily newspaper Jutarnji list. A Chinese edition will be published in the fall of 2020 by Imaginist (Beijing).
His second book project is a micro-comparative study of four neighboring multi-ethnic regions in the Balkans. All were under the same state authority during the Second World War (i.e., the Independent State of Croatia), and all had similar long-term historical trajectories until 1941. Yet in two of these regions a series of massacres took place during that year, while in the others—located close by—no mass violence occurred. Why? This book will offer an explanation for this puzzling subnational variation in levels of violence, and it will use this local history to offer a broader contribution about what causes and prevents violence in multi-ethnic societies.
Major Research Grants and Fellowships:
- Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation
- American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS)
- International Research and Exchanges Board (IREX)
- Le Fonds de recherché du Québec-Société et culture (FRQ-SC)
- Fulbright International Institute for Education (IIE)
- American Councils for International Education
PUBLICATIONS (in English)
Violence as a Generative Force: Identity, Nationalism, and Memory in a Balkan Community (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2016).
Bosnian translation: Nasilje kao generativna sila: identitet, nacionalizam i sjećanje u jednoj balkanskoj zajednici. Trans. Senada Kreso (Sarajevo / Zagreb: Buybook, 2018).
Winner | 2019 Laura Shannon Prize in Contemporary European Studies, Nanovic Institute, University of Notre Dame
Winner | 2019 “A Book of the Year in Croatia” (one among fifteen fiction and non-fiction titles), Jutarnji list (Croatia)
Winner | 2018 European Studies Book Award, Council for European Studies, Columbia University
Winner | 2017 Herbert Baxter Adams Prize, American Historical Association
Winner | 2017 Harriman-Rothschild Book Prize in Nationalism and Ethnic Studies, Association for the Study of Nationalities and the Harriman Institute, Columbia University
Winner | 2017 Taylor and Francis Book Prize in Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies, Canadian Association of Slavists.
Winner | 2017 Choice Magazine Outstanding Academic Title Award
Finalist | 2017 Raphael Lemkin Book Award, Institute for the Study of Genocide
Reviews: American Historical Review [featured review]; Autograf; Behar – časopis za književnost i društvena pitanja; Canadian Slavonic Papers [book roundtable – three commentaries and author response]; Choice Magazine; Contemporary European History; Danas; Defense Report; Dunjalučar – magazin za filozofiju, kulturu i umjetnost; Études internationales; EuropeNow; Express; Filozofija i društvo; Foreign Affairs; Genocide Studies and Prevention; Helšinski odbor za ljudska prava u Srbiji; H-Genocide; H-Soz-u-Kult; Humanističke studije; Intelektualno; Journal of Cold War Studies; Journal of Modern History; Journal of Regional Security; Jutarnji list;Links; Montenegrin Journal for Social Sciences; Nationalism and Ethnic Politics; Nationalities Papers [book symposium – three commentaries and author response]; Perspectives on Politics; Politeia; Prilozi; Revista Universitaria de Historia Militar; Slavic Review;Southeastern Europe; XXZ magazin; Život - časopis za književnost i kulturu
Forthcoming Chinese translation in 2020 with Imaginist (Beijing).
Journal Articles and Book Chapters
“Telling Histories of Violence without Borders.” Nanovic Institute for European Studies (University of Notre Dame), Occasional Paper Series, 4 (June 2020): vii-47.
“To Kill or Not to Kill? The Challenge of Restraining Violence in a Balkan Community.” Comparative Studies in Society and History 61, no. 4 (October 2019): 954-985.
“Thinking the Nation: Reappraising Benedict Anderson’s Contribution to the Study of Nationalism.” American Historical Review 123, no. 2 (April 2018): 518-528.
“Assumptions and Evidence in the Study of Violence: A Response to Üngör, Vujačić, and Bokovoy.” Invited Book Roundtable on Violence as a Generative Force: Identity, Nationalism, and Memory in a Balkan Community, Canadian Slavonic Papers 60, no. 1-2 (2018): 311-333.
“Evidence, Explanation, and Telling Histories of Violence: A Response to Dragojević, Braun, and Fedorowycz.” Invited Book Symposium on Violence as a Generative Force: Identity, Nationalism, and Memory in a Balkan Community, Nationalities Papers, 46, no. 6 (2018): 1146-1158.
“‘As if nothing ever happened:’ Massacres, Missing Corpses, and Silence in a Bosnian Community.” In Élisabett Anstett and Jean-Marc Dreyfus, eds., Destruction and Human Remains. Disposal and Concealment in Genocide and Mass Violence (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2014): 15-45.
“Sudden Nationhood: The Microdynamics of Intercommunal Relations in Bosnia-Herzegovina after World War II.” American Historical Review 118, no. 3 (June 2013): 679-707.
“When All Could No Longer Be Equal in Death: A Local Community’s Struggle to Remember Its Fallen Soldiers in the Shadow of Serbia’s Civil War, 1955-1956.” The Carl Beck Papers in Russian and East European Studies. No. 2008, (November, 2010): 1-58.
“The Strange Silence: Explaining the Absence of Monuments for Muslim Civilians Killed in Bosnia During the Second World War.” East European Politics & Societies 24, no. 3 (August 2010): 408-434.
PUBLICATIONS (in Bosnian, Croatian, Serbian, Montenegrin)
Nasilje kao generativna sila: identitet, nacionalizam i sjećanje u jednoj balkanskoj zajednici. Trans. Senada Kreso (Sarajevo / Zagreb: Buybook, 2018).
Winner | 2019 “A Book of the Year” (one among fifteen fiction and non-fiction titles), Jutarnji list (Croatia)
Reviews: Autograf; Behar – časopis za književnost i društvena pitanja; Danas; Dunjalučar – magazin za filozofiju, kulturu i umjetnost; Express; Filozofija i društvo; Helšinski odbor za ljudska prava u Srbiji; Humanističke studije; Intelektualno; Journal of Regional Security;Jutarnji list; Links; Montenegrin Journal for Social Sciences; Politeia; Prilozi; XXZ magazin; Život - časopis za književnost i kulturu
Journal Articles and Book Chapters
“Naprasna nacionalnost: mikrodinamika odnosa među zajednicama u Bosni i Hercegovini nakon Drugog svjetskog rata” [Sudden Nationhood: The Microdynamics of Intercommunal Relations in Bosnia-Herzegovina after World War II]. Historijski zbornik [Historical Anthology], 71, broj 2 (2018): 283-319.
“Čudna šutnja: zašto nema spomenika za muslimanske civilne žrtve ubijene u Bosni u Drugom svjetskom ratu?” [The Strange Silence: Why Were There No Monuments for Muslim Civilians Killed in Bosnia During the Second World War?] Historijska traganja [Historical Searches], broj 8, (2012): 109-147.
“Sveštenik, spomen ploča i borba za sećanje na pale borce u jednom selu u Srbiji, 1955-1956.” [The Priest, the Plaque, and the Struggle for the Memory of Fallen Soldiers in a Serbian Village, 1955-1956]. In Dragana Radojičić I Aleksandra Pavićević, urednici, Spomen mesta, istorija, sećanja [Sites of Remembrance, History, and Memory] (Beograd: Etnografski institut SANU, 2009): 37-46.
“Među rodoljubima, kupusom, svinjama i varvarima: spomenici i grobovi NOR-a, 1947-1965 godine,” [Among Patriots, Cabbage, Pigs, and Barbarians: Monuments and Graves to the People’s Liberation War, 1947-1965] Godišnjak za društvenu istoriju godina. XIV, sveska 1-3, (Beograd, 2007): 61-82.
“Među rodoljubima, kupusom, svinjama i varvarima: spomenici i grobovi NOR-a, 1947-1965 godine” [Among Patriots, Cabbage, Pigs, and Barbarians: Monuments and Graves to the People’s Liberation War, 1947-1965]. In Husnija Kamberović, ed., 60 godina od završetka Drugog svjetskog rata. Kako se sjećati 1945. godine? [60 Years Since the End of the Second World War. How to Remember 1945?] (Sarajevo: Institut za istoriju, 2006): 75-99.
Book Reviews (in English)
Review of Jeffrey Kopstein and Jason Wittenberg, Intimate Violence. Anti-Jewish Pogroms on the Eve of the Holocaust (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2018). Forthcoming in Canadian Slavonic Papers.
Review of Marie-Janine Calic, A History of Yugoslavia, trans. Dona Geyer. (West Lafayette, IN: Purdue University Press, 2019). Forthcoming in Slavic Review.
Review of Rory Yeomans, ed., The Utopia of Terror: Life and Death in Wartime Croatia (Rochester, N.Y: Rochester University Press, 2015). The Canadian Slavonic Papers, Vol. 58, No. 4, 434-436.
Review of Theodora Dragostinova, Between Two Motherlands. Nationality and Emigration among the Greeks of Bulgaria, 1900-1949(Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 2011). The Canadian Journal of History, Vol. 48, No. 2, 349-351.
Review of Davide Rodogno, Against Massacre: Humanitarian Interventions in the Ottoman Empire, 1815-1914 (Princeton, N.J.:Princeton University Press, 2012). The Historian, Vol. 75, No. 2, 410-411.
Review of Mark Biondich, The Balkans. War, Revolution and Political Violence since 1878 (New York: Oxford University Press, 2011). The Canadian Slavonic Papers, Vol. 55, No. 3-4, 539-540.
Review of Judith Armatta, Twilight of Impunity. The War Crimes Trial of Slobodan Milosevic (Durham and London: Duke UniversityPress, 2010). The Canadian Slavonic Papers, Vol. 53, No. 2-4, 589-590.
Review of Dennison Rusinow, Yugoslavia. Oblique Insights and Observations (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2008). The Canadian Slavonic Papers, Vol. 51, No. 4, 588-589.
“U bosanskim arhivima.” Post for Peščanik, April 17, 2019.
“Archives in Bosnia in Minutes and Hours.” Post for Sage House News: The Cornell University Press Blog, February 16, 2017. https://sagehouse.blog/2017/02/16/archives-in-bosnia-in-minutes-and-hours/
“World War I Conference in Sarajevo Produced no ‘Ethnic Firestorm.’” Letter to the Editor co-authored with Edin Hajdarpasic, Chronicle of Higher Education, June 30, 2014.
Interviews (in English, Bosnian, Croatian, Serbian, and Montenegrin)
“Intervju: Max Bergholz, povjesničar. Etnička netrpeljivost je posljedica ekstremnog nasilja.” Preporodov Journal, broj 218-219, august/septembar 2019: 52-58.
“Max Bergholz: Ustanici su ubijali iz osvete.” Novosti, August 2, 2019.
“Intervju Max Bergholz: Ustaške pljače i pokolji prokrenuli su zlo odmazde.” Express, June 14, 2019.
“Nasilje kao generativna sila.” Razgovor o knjizi sa autorom i voditeljem emisije dr. sc. Josip Mihaljević, Povjesne kontroverze, na Trećem programu HRT, aired live on June 6 and 13, 2019.
“Intervju Maks Bergholc: Istorija se često zloupotrebljava.” Novi magazin, June 1, 2019.
Reposted by Helšinski odbor za ljudska prava u Srbiji on June 1, 2019:
“Maks Bergholc, istoričar.” Intervju sa novinarom Vladom Milićem, Producijska grupa Mreža, Dnevnik TV Mreža, May 27, 2019.
“O pokolju u Kulen Vakufu nije se smjelo govoriti jer su neki među ustanicima otiši u partizane.” Jutarnji list, May 19, 2019.
Reposted by Autograf on June 16, 2019.
“Etničko nasilje nije ekskluziv Balkana.” Oslobođenje, May 16, 2019.
Reposted by Buka on May 16, 2019.
“Historičar Max Bergholz objašnjava zašto je osvetničko nasilje ustanika kuluminiralo početkom septembra 1941. godine.” Aljazeera Balkans, May 6, 2019.
“Interview with Max Bergholz on CBC Radio ‘Homerun’ with Sue Smith.” Canadian Broadcasting Corporation [Montreal], aired live on March 7, 2019.
“World War II Massacres in Bosnia: How Violence Transforms Communities.” Balkan Insight, January 16, 2019 [published in English, Bosnian, Croatian, Serbian, Albanian, and Macedonian].
“Seconda guerra mondiale in Bosnia: come la violenza trasforma le comunità.” Osservatorio Balcani e Caucaso
“We have to find ways to walk in the shoes of our historical subjects, an interview with Max Bergholz.” Concordia University News, June 7, 2018
“American Historical Review Interview with Max Bergholz on his reappraisal of Benedict Anderson’s Imagined Communities.” American Historical Association, March 15, 2018.
“Violence as a Generative Force. Identity, Nationalism, and Memory in a Balkan Community.” New Books Network, August 25, 2017.
“CEERES of Voices Interview with Max Bergholz at the Seminary Co-op Bookstore in Chicago.” The Center for East European, Russian, and Eurasian Studies at the University of Chicago, February 17, 2017.
“Inevitability versus Contingency in the Study of Wartime Violence.” Invited lecture at Harvard University, Program in General Education, March 30, 2020.
“Telling Histories of Violence without Borders.” Invited lecture at the Nanovic Institute for European Studies on the occasion of receiving the Laura Shannon Prize in Contemporary European Studies, University of Notre Dame, November 21, 2019.
“Prepričavanje istorija nasilja.” Invited presentation at the Institut za noviju istoriju Srbije [Institute for the Contemporary History of Serbia], May 28, 2019.
“Nasilje kao generativna sila: identitet, nacionalizam i sjećanje u jednoj balkanskoj zajednici.” Invited presentation at the Institut za filozofiju i društvenu teoriju [Institute for Philosophy and Social Theory], University of Belgrade, May 27, 2019.
“Izazov interdisiplinarnog istraživanja o nasilju.” Invited presentation at the Institut za društvenu istraživanja u Zagrebu [Institute for Social Research in Zagreb], University of Zagreb, May 13, 2019.
“Histories of Violence Without Borders.” Invited plenary lecture at the conference ‘Mediterranean Violence,’ University of Minnesota, April 25-26, 2019.
“Communities of Peace and Violence.” Invited presentation at Carleton University, Ottawa, February 7, 2019.
“Intercommunal Killing and the Transformation of Identity: Evidence from a Bosnian Town, Summer 1941.” Invited presentation at Georgia State University, January 23, 2019.
“Microhistories of Nationalism and Violence.” Invited presentation at the Center for Slavic and East European Studies, Ohio State University, October 18, 2018.
“Local History, Ethnicity, and Intercommunal Violence.” Invited presentation at the Department of History and Civilization, European University Institute, Florence, September 27, 2018.
“Telling Histories of Violence.” Invited presentation at the Department of History, University of California, Los Angeles, March 8, 2018.
Invited presentations during 2017 about the book Violence as a Generative Force: Identity, Nationalism, and Memory in a Balkan Community (Cornell University Press, 2016).
· University of Toronto (January 12th)
· University of Chicago (February 17th)
· Claremont Colleges (February 22nd)
· University of California, Los Angeles (February 23rd)
· Université de Montréal (March 30th)
· University of Washington (April 23rd)
· University of California, Berkeley (May 10th)
· Stanford University (May 11th and 12th)
“Violence as a Generative Force: Identity, Nationalism, and Memory in a Balkan Community.” Book panel discussion at the Annual Convention for the Association for the Study of Nationalities. New York, May 4, 2017.
“Violence and Ethnic Categories: Local Evidence from Bosnia, 1941.” Presentation at the Annual Convention of the Association for Slavic, East European and Eurasian Studies, Washington, D.C., November 19, 2016.
“Violence as a Generative Force: How Ethnic Categories Change during Ethnic Conflict [Croatia and Bosnia, 1941].” Invited presentation at the workshop Micro-Comparative Studies of Twentieth Century Conflicts. Organized by the Program on Order, Conflict, and Violence at Yale University’s MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies, April 23-24, 2016.
“Microhistory, ‘Ethnic Violence,’ and the Future of Area Studies.” Presentation at the Annual Convention of the Association for Slavic, East European and Eurasian Studies, Philadelphia, November 20, 2015.
“Violence as a Generative Force: Rethinking ‘Ethnicity’ through a Bosnian Community.” Invited presentation at the Center for Russia, East Europe, and Central Asia, University of Wisconsin-Madison, October 15, 2015.
“To Kill or Not to Kill? The Challenge of Restraining Insurgent Violence in Bosnia, Summer 1941.” Invited presentation at the Program on Order, Conflict, and Violence at Yale University, April 20, 2015.
“Global Lessons from a Local History of Forced Migration: Northwest Bosnia, 1941.” Invited presentation at the workshop Global Conflict and Conflict Management: Israel/Palestine and Beyond, St. Anne’s College, University of Oxford, May 18, 2014.
“Intercommunal Violence in Bosnia: The Continuing Mystery of 1941.” Presentation at the Annual Convention of the Association for Study of Nationalities, New York, April 26, 2014.
“To Kill or Not to Kill? The Challenge of Restraining Insurgent Violence in Bosnia, Summer 1941.” Presentation at the Annual Convention of the Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies, Boston, November 22, 2013.
“‘As If Nothing Ever Happened:’ Massacres, Missing Corpses, and Silence in Post-World War II Bosnia-Herzegovina.” Invited presentation at the conference Les cadavres et leur destruction/ Corpses and Their Destruction, Paris, France, L’Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, September 12-14, 2012.
“Masovna ubojstva u Glini tijekom 1941. godine i poslijeratna kultura sjećanja na žrtve: što znamo, a što ne?” [Mass Killing in Glina during 1941 and the Postwar Culture of Memory: What do we know and not know?”]. Invited presentation at the conference Što se uistinu dogodilo u glinskoj srpskopravoslavnoj crkvi između 29/30. srpnja i 4/5. kolovoza 1941. godine? Svjedočanstva i kultura sjećanja [What Actually Happened in Glina's Serbian Orthodox Church between July 29-30 and August 4-5, 1941? Testimonies and the Culture of Memory]. Zagreb, Croatia, Faculty of Philosophy, University of Zagreb, June 28-29, 2012.
- HIST 477 Histories of Nationalism
- HIST 498 Histories of Violence
- HIST 360 History of Genocide, 1945 – present
- HIST 344 Rise and Fall of Yugoslavia
- HIST 208 History of the Balkans
GRADUATE STUDENT SUPERVISION
Professor Bergholz supervises M.A. and Ph.D. candidates with research interests in the dynamics of violence, nationalism, and memory in various contexts throughout the world, as well as those with interests in the modern history of the Balkans and Eastern Europe.
Prospective graduate students should contact Professor Bergholz prior to applying to the program in order to discuss their research interests.
Candidates should have attained at least an advanced intermediate knowledge of the relevant foreign language(s) for their research prior to submitting their applications for admission to the program.