Maybe because of my own memories, I approached the book Childhood under Socialism expecting to find a happy childhood in it too. I was in that highly sentimental mood of remembering, best illustrated by propositions such as ‘Whatever childhood memories you may have, they are always nice, sweet and true!’ (to quote a comment from the visitors’ book of the Inventory Storehouse of Socialism exhibition, p. 173).
My encounter with Milena Iakimova’s book coincided with my arrival in a new city. I read Sofia of the Common People in my first weeks in Cambridge, Massachusetts, while I was getting used to the strange sounds and colours in my new apartment, looking for a new kindergarten, picking out new foods in the store, memorizing the local traffic regulations, browsing a new library, meeting new people and learning the structure and rules of a new university.
Had there been more books like this one, Bulgaria’s socialist past would have been more past and less present. A study on the practice of a defunct political actor, Pepka Boyadzhieva’s book may be read as a warning of the dangers of any social engineering in which the plurality of perspectives, prospects and positions is ignored, socially significant values are subjected to the interests of one social group, and a single social order absorbs all others.
The twentieth century faced thinking with a number of challenges related to events that left an imprint on the lives and memories of many witnesses and victims. The Holocaust, Chernobyl, the totalitarian regimes, the new forms of biopower and control became part of a collective experience that was almost impossible to articulate.
A few years ago, in a review of Ivaylo Ditchev’s book From Belonging to Identity. Politics of the Image (2002; in Bulgarian), I wrote that its general focus can be defined as ‘interest in the metamorphoses of the modern age in the age of globalization, that is, in the age of deterritorialization and crisis of the nation-state when communities controlled by the nation-state increasingly give way to networks that do not belong to anyone’s territory’.
Twenty-five years of academic political science in Bulgaria is probably not long enough to make serious generalizations. But it is long enough to identify trends, to establish parallels, to single out achievements.
At a time when narrow specialization has become quite characteristic of philosophy as a discipline, it is only natural that one would be surprised to find a book titled Theory of Philosophical Development (hereinafter abbreviated as TPD).
One can say with certainty that Momchil Metodiev’s book is the first comprehensive study on the subject in Bulgarian literature.
In his Letter on Humanism, Heidegger recounts a story told by Aristotle. Strangers come to visit Heraclitus, only to find the famous philosopher warming himself at a stove. Noticing their dismay at his humble appearance, Heraclitus calls to them to come in, with the words, ‘For here too the gods are present.
Shelters of Faith is the product of an almost ten-year-long interest that began while Martin Ossikovski was still a student and which gradually evolved into an in-depth study of the problems in question. I find the choice of subject of the book to be fully justified and enriching the philosophical, cultural and political studies of the Middle Ages, which in recent years have been developing in Bulgaria too.