Dessislava Lilova

Europe as Colonial Master:

The Debate about the Railways in the Bulgarian Press from the Period of the National Revival



The purpose of the paper is to research the debate instigated by the building of railways across Bulgarian-populated areas of the Ottoman Empire at 1870s. This was not the first anti-European debate in the Bulgarian public sphere but it was the first that questioned the very nucleus of the modernist idea of progress. Questioning however does not necessarily mean rejecting since the issue was the unequal economic status of the participants rather than the technological progress per se. The opponents of the railway’s project considered it a form of colonization and pleaded for its postponement in order to allow the Bulgarians to gain more economic force. Two major results could be outlined: 1) a shift from utopian to anti-utopian image of Europe; 2) an ideological project to enter modernity without or even against the willpower of Europe.



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