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Balkan specialist to give 'on-site' lectures


An expert on modern Balkan history will be embarking on an innovative lecture tour in the region next week.

Dr Kenneth Morrison, senior lecturer in Modern European History at De Montfort University, will be visiting a number of historic sites in Albania, Kosovo, Serbia and Bosnia with a tour party from an entrepreneurial Dutch travel company.

He will be giving lectures to the tour party while at specific sites of historical significance. “The essence of the concept is to bring academic expertise to the heart of the travel experience,” he said.

“I enjoy doing this. For me, as an academic, the chance to convey knowledge, particularly aspects of my own research, through a series of lectures in the places you are actually discussing is a marvellous opportunity.

“We write about these places in our books and I have visited them for my own research on numerous occasions. But to be on site for the lectures will be great, and I am really looking forward to the experience.

“It is all the brainchild of a Dutch travel entrepreneur, Ruud Peeten, who runs the company Yugo-Travel. His idea was to offer tours of the region that would be informed through on-site lectures by an academic expert. 

“It is an exciting model, which has proved to have significant appeal, and it is one that I hope we can continue to develop in the coming years. Applying one’s academic knowledge ‘in the field’ is very exciting.”

The lectures will be held in Tirana and Kruja in Albania, Prizren in Kosovo, Novi Pazar in Serbia, and in Visegrad, Sarajevo, Jajce and Travnik, all in Bosnia. Visegrad is the setting for the Nobel Prize-winning author Ivo Andric’s book The Bridge on the Drina.

Dr Morrison will also be tweeting during the lecture tour on the @DMUHistory twitter page from Monday.

The 40-year-old is acknowledged as a leading scholar on the states of the former Yugoslavia. He has written on the Balkans for the Economist Intelligence Unit and IHS-Global, been an invited consultant to the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office, and was a Senior Visiting Fellow at the London School of Economics on 2011-12.

The lecture tour coincides with the imminent publication of Dr Morrison’s latest book, The Sandzak: A History, which focuses on a little-known multi-ethnic region straddling the border between Serbia and Montenegro.

It is the first English-language study of a part of the Balkans which was heavily influenced by the Ottomans before being incorporated into Yugoslavia. The book, co-authored by former diplomat Elizabeth Roberts (Oxford University), is being published later this year in the UK by Hurst & Co Publishers ( and in the USA by Oxford University Press. It can also be pre-ordered on Amazon ( /ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1366711478&sr=8-2&keywords=The+Sandzak).

Dr Morrison previously taught at University College London’s School of Slavonic and East European Studies and at Birkbeck College, University of London.

He teaches the popular ‘Yugoslavia and Beyond’ course and two years ago took a group of DMU students ‘beyond the confines of the lecture theatre’ on a study tour of Serbia and Bosnia.

Posted on Thursday 25th April 2013

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