Accepted paper:

Trans-national Adriatic identities and the scientific culture of olive oil


Adam Siegel (University of California, Davis)

Paper short abstract:

A survey of olive literature published before and after WWI offers new insights into national/regional identity/identification, revealing the agricultural geography of the circum-Adriatic to be a significant, albeit overlooked, component in the construction of (post-)Habsburg identitie(s).

Paper long abstract:

Drawing on the archival resources of scientific research institutes in Croatia, Serbia, Slovenia, and the United States, and the bibliographic and scientific record, it is possible to construct a template against which the national aspirations of ethnic groups within the Austro-Hungarian empire and its successor states can be measured at the micro-level of scientific (agriculture/agronomy) networks, particularly in the years just before and after the First World War. The historical and archival record indicates that the scholarly ambit of international and regional scientific communities in Southern and Southeastern Europe during this period was characterized by paradoxically and simultaneously complementary international and regional allegiances regarding the dissemination of scientific discoveries (against pests and plant diseases) and technical improvements (in cultivation, processing, and harvesting) of domestic agricultural commodities closely associated with areal (national and regional) identities such as olives and wine-grapes. By examining publication trends and patterns (proceedings vs. periodicals, language use, and language choice) and paying particular attention to discursive strategies most commonly employed by scholars during this period (e.g., choice of topic, venue, or language; self-translation), inferences regarding national and regional identity and identification can be drawn from a close study of the scholarly literature on olives and olive oil as reflected in the publication record and its dissemination (in Croatian, Slovenian, Italian, and German-language periodicals and articles), revealing the agricultural geography of the circum-Adriatic as a significant, albeit overlooked, component in the construction of Habsburg identitie(s).

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