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 a Chinese edition will be published in the fall of 2019 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
Violence as a Generative Force: Identity, Nationalism, and Memory in Balkan Community (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2016).
In Bosnian translation: Nasilje kao generativna sila: identitet, nacionalizam i sjećanje u jednoj balkanskoj zajednici (Sarajevo/Zagreb: Buybook, 2018).
Winner, 2019 Laura Shannon Prize in Contemporary European Studies (awarded by the Nanovic Institute, University of Notre Dame)
Winner, 2018 European Studies Book Award (awarded by the Council for European Studies, Columbia University)
Winner, 2017 Herbert Baxter Adams Prize (awarded by the American Historical Association)
Winner, 2017 Harriman-Rothschild Prize in Nationalism and Ethnic Studies (awarded by the Association for the Study of Nationalities and the Harriman Institute, Columbia University)
Winner, 2017 Canadian Association of Slavists' Taylor and Francis Book Prize in Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies
Finalist, 2017 Raphael Lemkin Book Award (Institute for the Study of Genocide)
Outstanding Academic Title, 2017 Choice Magazine
Forthcoming in Chinese translation with Imaginist (Beijing, 2019)
Articles and Book Chapters (in English)
"To Kill or Not to Kill? The Challenge of Restraining Insurgent Violence in a Balkan Community." Comparative Studies in Society and History 61, no 4. (October 2019): 954-985.
"Thinking the Nation" (A Reappraisal of Benedict Anderson's Contribution to the Study of Nationalism). American Historical Review 123, no. 2 (April 2018): 518-528.
“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. Forthcoming in the Nationalities Papers, (Spring 2018).
“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. Forthcoming in Canadian Slavonic Papers (Summer 2018).
"'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 and Societies 24, no. 3 (Summer 2010), 408-434.
Articles and Book Chapters (in Bosnian, Croatian, Serbian)
“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]. Forthcoming in 2019 in Historijski zbornik.
“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.
“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.
“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 andGraves to the People’s Liberation War, 1947-1965]. In Husnija Kamberović, urednik, 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.
“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. (in Croatian)
- 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.