Magdalena Elchinova, born in Blagoevgrad, Bulgaria, in 1962. Ph.D. from the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, Sofia. Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of Folklore at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, Sofia, and Associate Professor at the Department of Social Anthropology, New Bulgarian University, Sofia.
Mellon Fellow (1 September 2001 – 31 January 2002)
The aim of my project at NIAS was to work on a monograph that looked at the role of religion in the post-communist societies of Bulgaria and the Republic of Macedonia from an anthropological point of view. The socio-political developments in the latter changed somewhat my initial plans, pushing to the fore the issues of nationalism, ethnic conflict and social division and the ways in which religion was involved in them. In this respect, I was forced to examine more closely the conflicts and processes that had taken place in former Yugoslavia over the last 10 years. In addition, I was able to examine a vast number of books and articles on other subjects, related to my project.
My special thanks go to the excellent NIAS library service and the people, providing it. I completed several articles, which would be later incorporated into the monograph, as well as a few other publications on different topics. This preparatory work brought me to a more definite idea about the structure and the format of my future book. That was a result of the combined impact of the literature studied and the discussions that I had with other Fellows at NIAS. This international and interdisciplinary environment helped me not only to broaden and deepen my understanding of social processes and facts but also to more accurately and convincingly express my ideas, so as to make them accessible to a broader academic audience.
In addition to my major project, I carried out other tasks, such as developing courses in “Anthropology of ethnicity” and “Myth-Ritual-Religion” that I teach at my home university; editing the third volume of the Bulgarian journal Studies in Anthropology and organising the ‘Culture’ network within the Forth International Conference on the Social Study of History. My plans for the immediate future are to continue the work on the book and hopefully complete the manuscript by the end of 2002.