Bulgarian archaeology. Ideology, sociopolitics and the exotic, Douglass W. Bailey

Arhaeologists and political institutions

It is often assumed that the linkage between science and politics in eastern Europe is a factor of the soviet-communist influence in the region and thus that the strength of such links only came to significance after 1945. As Walsh has shown, this is clearly not the case: science and politics were firmly allied in the pre-1945 period (Walsh 1967). The early Balkan historians of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries produced their work within wider movements towards political (re)awakening of national sentiments. In the early twentieth century, the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences (BAN) held a position of eminence in the coun-try's scientific organisation. [10] Indeed, one of the main goals in the formation of BAN was to provide an institution which would co-ordinate all intellectual activ-ities in the country. BAN was formally approved by the Bulgarian parliament in July 1912. Thus, well before the traditional start of communist centralisation in the 1940s, Bulgarian science was establishing its own centralised organisation.

The connections between the activities and membership in BAN and the gov-ernment were formalised in the law which set up the academy. It required BAN to provide the Ministry of Public Education with lists of members and reports on activities (ibid.: 140). In the first decade of BAN's existence the government provided it with substantial financial support. The main teaching institution of archaeology (the Historical-Philological Faculty in Sofia University) also played a significant role during the inter-war period of acute social and political conflict. The university was autonomous but felt political pressure accompanying its dependence on state funding (M. Todorova 1992a: 1107). [11]

Walsh has also noted how the academies of East European countries provided institutional links between intellectuals and a country's political elite (ibid.: 139). From the 1940s, the goals of scientific work carried out by BAN were increasingly proscribed: to reconstruct science on dialectical materialistic foundations and to link work with the economic plans of the state (ibid.: 143). From the 1950s, Communist Party organisations were active within BAN to ensure that the scientific tasks of the academy were carried out properly and that members of the academy were well versed in fundamentals of dialectical and historical material-ism, the history of the Communist Party in the USSR and in Bulgaria (ibid.: 146). [12]

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10. BAN was founded in 1911 on the basis of an earlier institution (the Bulgarian Literary Society which had been founded in 1869), nine years before Russian armies liberated Bulgaria from the Ottomans and thirty-nine years before Bulgaria was formally recognised as a nation).

11. In the post-1945 period, the relationship between the academy and the universities changed. Where research had aligned teaching in previous periods, Soviet practices of separating research from teaching were followed in Bulgaria. Research became the priority of BAN and not the university (M. Todorova 1992a: 1112).

12. The report applying the theses of the eleventh congress of the Bulgarian Communist Party stresses the importance of the role of the party within the Archaeological Institute (Ovcharov 1976: 4).