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From the First Serbian Uprising to the First World War. The Balkans in the 19th and Early 20th Century


Admission requirements



The lecture will give an overview of developments in the Balkans from the First Serbian Uprising in 1804/05 to the shots in Sarajevo in 1914 and the collaps of four empires (Russian, German, Austro-Hungarian, Ottoman). For educational/didactical purposes, and in order for a better understanding of the complex interrelationships, special attention is given to:

  • Definitions and boundaries

  • Definitions of terms (e.g. Eastern Question, Balkanization, Kleinstaaterei) and conditions (e.g. population, politics, religions)

  • (Imperial) Contest for supremacy in the Balkans (inter alia 1856–1908/14 = antagonism between the Russian Empire and the Habsburg Empire; Eastern Question)

  • Impact of the Berlin Congress (1878) regarding imperial politics (including the Bulgarian Crisis, the Occupation of Bosnia-Herzegovina, the Bosnian Crisis, the Balkan Wars, Sarajevo 1914)

  • Prospect to 1914–1918 and immediate aftermath of the Great War

Course objectives

General learning objectives

The student can:

  • 1) organise and use relatively large amounts of information

  • 2) reflect critically on knowledge and understanding as presented in academic literature

Learning objectives, pertaining to the specialisation

  • 3) The student has knowledge of a specialisation, more specifically; in the specialisation General History the place of European history from 1500 in a worldwide perspective; with a focus on the development and role of political institutions;

Learning objectives, pertaining to this specific lecture course

The student can:

  • 4) research data bases, find and discuss literature relevant to the topic

  • 5) recognize geographic and geopolitical changes on atlases/maps and also assign those changes

  • 6) deepen knowledge in contest for supremacy, and also in influence, failure, effects, and consequences


The timetable is available on the BA History website

Mode of instruction

  • Lecture

  • self-study

Course Load

Total course load 5 EC x 28 hours= 140 hours

  • Lectures: 20

  • Study of compulsory literature: 80

  • Assignment(s): (study of atlases / maps): 10

  • Preparation exam: 20

  • Exam(s): 10

Assessment method


The course will be assessed through two subtests, covering all course objectives:

  • Midterm examination: Written exam with short open questions

  • Final examination: Take home examination: a given text will have to be discussed


  • Midterm examination: 30 %

  • Final examination: 70 %

The final grade for the course is established by determining the weighted average.


The resit exam will take place in one single resit, at which both subtests are offered. For this resit three hours will be reserved, so that students will be able to retake both subtests, if necessary.

Rules regarding the admission to resits can be found in Article 4.1 of the BA Course and Examination Regulations

Inspection and feedback

How and when an exam review will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the exam results at the latest. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will have to be organised.


Blackboard will be used for:

  • literature (scans, within copyright laws)

Reading list

Prescribed reading:

  • Misha Glenny, The Balkans. Nationalism, War, and the Great Powers, 1804–1999, London 2000

Suggested reading:

  • Ulf Brunnbauer, The Balkans](

  • Paul Robert Magocsi, Historical Atlas of Central Europe (Toronto 2019 3rd edition) will be of great help for visual understanding and mapping of the Balkans;

  • Barbara Jelavich, History of the Balkans. Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries, 2 vols. (Cambridge 1983); vol. 1: chapters 4 and 7; Vol. 2: chapters 1–3;

  • Charles and Barbara Jelavich, The Establishment of the Balkan Nation States, 1804-1920. A History of East Central Europe 8 (Seattle-London 1977);

  • Barbara Jelavich, Russia’s Balkan Entanglements, 1806–1914 (Cambridge 1991);

  • Maria Todorova, Imagining the Balkans (Oxford 1997)


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.

General information about uSis is available on the website

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Registration Studeren à la carte
Registration Contractonderwijs


Marija Wakounig