Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Where is Croatia?

My college roommates and I were out for dinner 10 years ago when I told them that I was dating a girl from Croatia. "Cro...what?" was the reaction of one of my friends. The others around the table confirmed that even if they knew what Croatia was, they weren't sure where they might find it on the map.

And while it is a relatively small country, in a part of the world where geographical borders have been redrawn often throughout history, it's worth talking about where Croatia is. Because it's not just a geographical question. Where one places Croatia, and how they talk about Croatia, can say a lot about what they think about the country, culture and people who live there.

Kukljica, Croatia 2013
In a post I wrote in the spring, I implicitly included Croatia as part of Eastern Europe. Several commenters took exception. In private conversations, I've talked with Croats who have, without hesitation, maintained that Croatia is indeed part of Eastern Europe and the Balkans. Others have adamantly argued that it's not.

So, I'd like to open up this conversation to those who would like to argue from either side. Is Croatia in Eastern Europe? Why or why not? Where are the geographical, ideological borders drawn? Does Croatia's inclusion in the EU change anything?

I'm not sure we'll come to any final conclusions, but I think a civil conversation may help us understand what the issues are. I look forward to hearing from you.