with Michael Seraphinoff
Michael is available to give presentations, lead discussions or participate on panels or in seminars. An accomplished presenter and engaging speaker, he has given talks and presentations about Macedonian literature, culture, language and history nationally and internationally.
:: One-Hour Presentations ::
Some Lessons from History on the Hazards of Empire
The basis of this presentation is Michael and Chris Stefou’s new book, This Land We Do Not Give, a history of Macedonian resistance to foreign occupation. This book documents this resistance over the centuries through authentic voices of the subject Macedonian people.
Michael will explore the lessons that Balkan history has to teach on the hazards of empire through a careful examination of the role in that history of the five hundred year occupation of the Ottoman Turks. The ruling class of the Turkish Empire had no doubt that the wise and benevolent rule of that holy servant of God, the Sultan, was resisted by the subject peoples of the empire only because they were ignorant, inferior infidels. Of course, the rulers of the empire did not mind the rewards that came with expansion of the empire the riches, the estates, the servants and the like. To their minds, the fact that the subject peoples rebelled against foreign Turkish occupation of their lands at every possible opportunity meant only that the work of rooting out and destroying the criminal elements in those societies was not yet complete.
On the other hand, the history of the Ottoman Empire in Europe, as seen from the perspective of the occupied peoples appears quite different. Michael makes the difference quite clear in his description of the stubborn resistance of the subject peoples, who first resisted Turkish conquest at the Battle of Kosovo in 1389 and rebelled many times against Turkish colonial occupation until the final end of imperial rule in 1912. Michael firmly believes that the lessons of history, when ignored, doom us to repeat tragedies of the past, and that lessons on the hazards of empire certainly deserve the thoughtful consideration of the American people today.
Come Over into Macedonia
Macedonia has been described as a “Balkan apple of discord” and a “Balkan powder keg” due to its long history of conflict. Michael contends that in most recent times it is a multi-ethnic, Christian and Moslem Balkan state that is charting a remarkable course to peaceful co-existence through a treacherous landscape that others have proven far less able to successfully traverse. Where Croatia, Bosnia and Kosovo became forever marked by their brutal killing fields and ugly ethnic cleansing, Macedonia stood on that same brink and refused the invitation in the end. The how and why of that refusal makes a remarkable story. It is also a highly instructive story for those who have imagined that just and enduring peace could come from the blood being shed in equally complex multi-ethnic places like Afghanistan or Iraq.
Macedonian Literature in English Translation
This presentation is a comprehensive survey of the major works of Macedonian literature that have been translated into English over the past 50 years. These include short stories, novels, poetry and drama. Illustrative and illuminating passages from various works are presented, as well as useful background material, historical notes and interesting related cultural anecdotes.
Some Great Old Stories Folk Tales from Eastern Europe
This presentation includes folk tales from the book Some Great Old Stories from the Old Country Macedonia and the story of Silyan the stork. “A Grain of Wheat as Big as a Hen’s Egg,” a folk tale by Russian author Leo Tolstoy, is also included.
:: Other Talks ::
Presentations on other related topics are also available for schools, libraries or other organizations with special interests.
For information about his availability and fees:
(360) 544-2278 EMAIL