George Loftus completed his BA in History at SOAS, University of London in 2018 with a thesis focused on the political thought of the Khmer Rouge. Since then he has also completed a Masters degree in Global History at the Freie Universität Berlin with a focus on Southeast European history. More broadly interested in the history of decolonisation and (Global) South - (Socialist) East international networks of activity, he works specifically on the global makings of identity, religion and nationalism in Bosnia-Herzegovina. During his graduate degree, George's work was published in the Global Histories journal and presented at a conference in Rijeka, Croatia. He is currently seeking to extend the research started during the MA to understand how state-led internationalisms shape local and regional identities and ideologies.
The Antinomies of Non-Aligned Internationalism: European Islam and Islamophobia under Yugoslav Socialism, 1961-1996
This research project seeks to uncover a fundamental set of processes which helped produce both contemporary Muslim societies in Europe and the challenge of Islamophobia amongst non-Muslim Europeans. Examining the period from the founding of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) in Belgrade in 1961 to the signing of the Dayton Accords and the end of the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1996, this project will excavate the combined histories of Europeanisation, anti-colonial internationalism, and pan-Islamic universalism in the Western Balkans. It seeks to understand how experiences of Non-Alignment and the ‘world’ it produced changed how actors in Yugoslavia thought about Islam. It aims to do so by looking at two groups of intellectuals: the Islamic religious ulema and Islamophobic nationalists. Rather than the deep past or the immediate local events of the collapse of Yugoslavia, it seeks to understand how experiences of internationalism and transregional, anti-colonial engagement transformed understandings. In such a frame, the local debate over the nature and role of ‘Islam’ in Yugoslavia and its successor states is reconsidered as inextricably linked with the international expression of the Yugoslav state.