Hoxha’s Border Experiment on Minority Identity Transmission: Completing Data Collection on Communist-Era Identities

Kellogg Institute Graduate Research Grants
Grant Year

A common assumption about authoritarian institutions is that they do not tolerate diversity. However, a consensus of post-communist literature illustrates that Soviet-era regimes often recognized distinctive ethnic groups, territorially, as a standard policy of the regime. This occurred in Albania’s communist period under Enver Hoxha (1945-1990) for the Greek identity. This proposed project, as part of my dissertation, focuses on an understudied aspect of Hoxha’s well-established minority identity engineering: how did the population excluded by the policy respond? First, I will travel to Tirana to collect pre-communist and communist-era information hosted on-site by Albania’s Ministry of Internal Affairs. Next, I will collect data from village cemeteries throughout the prefecture of Korçë at the Albania-Greece border. As a site of communist-engineered identity production, the Albania-Greece border offers a testing ground for the resulting identity transmission processes and aligns with Kellogg’s goal to expand our geographic reach to new international contexts.