Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph. D.



Committee Chair

Blum, Mark E.

Author's Keywords

Ismail Kadare; National identity; Other; Albanian


Kadare; Ismail; Nationalism--Albania; Albania--History--20th century; Albania--Politics and government--20th century


Nationalism, as one of the most powerful forms of social mobilization in the contemporary world, was utilized as an effective ideological tool by Hoxha’s communist regime to construct the Albanian national identity. As an essential part of the process, the ‘Other’ was employed to strengthen the nation’s self-image and to justify the regime’s foreign policies and internal campaigns. Ismail Kadare, the most prominent Albanian writer to serve the national-communist ideology, has become a controversial figure since the collapse of Albanian Communism in the early 1990s. Scholars differ in their opinions of Kadare’s role under the Albanian communist regime and his current claim that the Albanian national identity is purely European. Based on the observation that Othering is Kadare’s most preferred means of treating national and personal identity issues, this dissertation examines all aspects of Otherness created by Kadare through the rhetoric of exclusion in service of the Albanian national identity formation. While acknowledging Kadare’s value as a great writer, the study focuses on Kadare’s role in the Albanian national identity construction, his opportunistic failings and the limitations of his Self-Other dichotomist mentality. It proves that Kadare is a superb master of employing myths and historiography to create the paradigm for the Albanian people to forge their unique national identity. By examining the four Albanian national Others presented in Kadare’s works, namely the Western, Oriental, Internal and Neighboring Others, the historical backgrounds for the appearance of the four Others, and the present rhetoric of calling the Western Other ‘Mother’, the dissertation illustrates the political nature of national identity, the fluidity of the political identity of the nations situated in the gray zone between East and West, and the relationship between literature and politics. This research demonstrates that Kadare’s life as a writer and his life as a person “are maintained on two parallel rails”. As a balance to the criticism of Kadare’s dichotomist mentality in treating his personal and the Albanian national identities, the non-dichotomist side of Kadare and his humanistic vision as reflected in his literary fictions is examined in the final chapter. The dissertation concludes by calling for efforts from intellectuals like Kadare to build humanistic platforms on which nations can be oriented to go beyond the limitations of political Othering.