There has been a tendency to view the history of the Balkans as essentially determined by historical legacies. Whether in scholarly literature or in popular discourse, the Ottoman or Habsburg pasts are thought to be accountable for a large variety of phenomena ranging from democratic culture (or the lack thereof) and adaptability to a free market economy to nepotism and the filthiness of public facilities. By contrast, the papers in this volume demonstrate that "legacies" are not unchanging determinants. Instead, they are very much open to constant reinterpretations and re-assessments depending on conditions in the present; they are, in short, as much shaped by the present as they are by the past.
Tea Sindbaek (Aarhus) is a twentieth century historian. Her research focuses on uses of history, memory and the cultural and political history of Southeast Europe.
Maximilian Hartmuth (Sabanc University, Istanbul) is a Viennese-born cultural historian of Southeast Europe with research foci on the architectural, urban, social, and intellectual history of the region between the 14 th and 19 th centuries.