Jovan Cvijić

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Jovan Cvijić
Јован Цвијић, географ (1865-1927).jpg
Photograph by Milan Jovanovic (1911)
Born (1865-09-11)11 September 1865
Loznica, Principality of Serbia
Died 16 January 1927(1927-01-16) (aged 61)
Belgrade, Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes
Resting place Novo groblje, Belgrade
Nationality Serbian
Fields Geography, geology, folklore
Alma mater University of Belgrade, University of Vienna
Notable students Pavle Vujević
Petar Jovanović

Jovan Cvijić (Serbian Cyrillic: Јован Цвијић, pronounced [jɔ̌ʋan tsʋǐːjitɕ]; 11 October 1865 – 16 January 1927) was a Serbian geographer, president of the Serbian Royal Academy of Sciences and rector of the University of Belgrade. Cvijić is considered the founder of geography in Serbia. He began his scientific career as a geographer and geologist, and continued his activity as a human geographer and sociologist.

Early life and family[edit]

Cvijić was born on October 11 [O.S. September 19] 1865 in Loznica, then part of the Principality of Serbia. His family was part of the Spasojević branch of the Piva tribe (Pivljani) in Old Herzegovina (currently Montenegro). Cvijić's father, Todor, was a merchant; his grandfather, Živko, was head of Loznica and a supporter of the House of Obrenović in Mačva. Živko fought in the 1844 Katana Uprising against the Defenders of the Constitution, and died after torture.

Cvijić's great-grandfather, Cvijo Spasojević, patriarch of the Cvijić family, was a well-known hajduk leader in Old Herzegovina and fought the Ottoman Empire in the First Serbian Uprising. After its failure in 1813 he moved to Loznica, built a house and opened a store.

His father, Todor (d. 1900) was a trader before accepting a clerkship in the municipality. Cvijić's mother, Marija (born Avramović), was from a family in the village of Koremita in the Jadar region (near Tronoša and Tršić, birthplace of Vuk Stefanović Karadžić). Todor and Marija had two sons, Živko and Jovan, and three daughters. Cvijić often said that as a child years his spiritual education was primarily influenced by his mother and her family; he said less about his father and his father's family. However, in his works on ethnic psychology Cvijić praised the Dinaric race of his father.

Education[edit]

Old photograph of mustachioed young man
Cvijić as a young man

After completing elementary school Cvijić attended grammar school in Loznica for two years, in Šabac for his third and fourth years, and graduated from the First Belgrade Grammar School's department of natural sciences and mathematics in 1884. After graduation he wanted to study medicine, but Loznica could not provide him a scholarship to study abroad. A grammar-school teacher suggested that he attend geography classes at the Velika skola in Belgrade (now the University of Belgrade). Cvijić took his advice, enrolling in the natural-sciences department and graduating in 1889. Cvijić studied in several languages; in grammar school he studied English, German and French, which was helpful at university (which had little work translated into Serbian), and wrote his scientific and other papers in those three languages.

During the 1888-89 school year Cvijić was a geography teacher at the Second Male Grammar School in Belgrade, and in 1889 enrolled to study physical geography and geology at Vienna University. At that time geomorphology was taught by Albrecht Penck, geotectonics by Professor Sis (president of the Austrian Academy) and climatology by Julius Han.

Cvijić received his PhD from the university in 1893.[1] His thesis was Das Karstphanomen, introducing him to the scientific world, and was later translated into several languages (into Serbian as Karst in 1895).

Research[edit]

Cvijić did his first (and most important) field research in eastern Serbia, observing the structure of the Kučaj mountains and Prekonoska Cave in his PhD thesis (accepted in Vienna on January 22, 1893).

Old, multicolored map of southeastern Europe
Ethnographic map of the Balkans, co-authored by Cvijić

He was interested in geology and geomorphology. Cvijić's monograph on lime karst was well received in European scientific circles, and an introductory academic lecture established him as the first South Slavsic tectonicist. The Serbian lime fields had been studied only peripherally by Otto won Pirch (1830), Amie Boue (1840), Felix Philipee Kanitz, Milan Ð. Milicevic, Jovan Žujovic and Vladimir Karic before him. Cvijić studied Midžor and Rila in the Balkan Mountains, recognizing the glacial origin of 102 mountain lakes. It was previously unknown that the region was influenced by the last glacial period, and Cvijić's discovery was a turning point in the study of regional dispersion.

Cvijić conducted a pioneering human-geographical survey in "Balkan Peninsula 1918", 1922-I, 1931-II, based on his research of Balkan personality types. He researched for 38 years, leading expeditions in the Balkans, the southern Carpathian Mountains and Anatolia which produced a number of research papers. Cvijić's two-volume Geomorphology is an important starting point for research into the Balkan peninsula.

Works[edit]

Statue of man in cape on a pedestal in front of a building
Statue of Cvijić in Students' Park, Belgrade

You should get used to constant thinking about a problem, work, profession until you find a solution. There are bright moments, especially bright nights, which are rare; where you can find an answer to a question or come up with a research plan. That time of spiritual lucidity and creativity should be put to use, and not thinking about rest according to that ordinary human, oriental laziness. That does not hurt the body, and if does hurt, the body exists in order to be spent properly.[citation needed]

In more than 30 years of scientific study, Cvijić published many works. One of the best-known is The Balkan Peninsula. Publications on geology include:

  • "Geografska ispitivanja u oblasti Kučaja u Istočnoj Srbiji" (Geographical Studies in the Area of Kučaj in Eastern Serbia). Geološki anali Balkanskog poluostrva 5: 7-172, 1893
  • Das Karstphänomen, 1893, Vienna
  • Karst, 1895
  • Structure and Classification of the Mountains of the Balkan Peninsula, 1902
  • Die Tektonik der Balkanhalbinsel mit besonderer Berückichtigung der neueren Fortschritte in der Kenntnis der Geologie von Bulgarien, Serbien und Mazedonien, 1904, Vienna
  • Foundations of the Geography and Geology of Macedonia and Old Serbia I-III, 1906–1911
  • Grundlinien der Geographie und Geologie von Mazedonien und Alt-Serbien. Nebst Beobachtungen in Thrazien, Thessalien, Epirus und Nordalbanien, 1908, Gotha
  • Lake Plastics of Šumadija, 1909
  • Geomorphology I-II, 1924, 1926

For over 30 years Cvijić traveled throughout the Balkans, pioneering the study of human geography. Typical of his work is an analysis of the influence of climate and geography on human building patterns (morphology). In psychological anthropology Cvijić was among the first to argue that humans are ecologically sensitive, noting social structure (occupation), endogamy and exogamy and migration as primary factors and recognizing the influence of environment on a population.

Cvijić based the conclusions in his work on the human geographical problems of the Balkan peninsula. "The Balkan peninsula and Southern-Slavic countries" was first published in French, and expanded and translated into Serbian in 1922. The anthropological classifications described by Cvijić in these works were criticized in Yugoslavia after World War II.

Teaching[edit]

After Cvijić's return from Vienna in March 1893 he became a professor in the Faculty of Philosophy of the Velika Skola in Belgrade, teaching geography, physical geography and ethnography. Traveling as a student and a professor throughout the Balkans later in life, he developed an interest in folklore and culture and organized ethnographical research in the department of geography.

After the Velika Skola became the University of Belgrade on October 12, 1905, Cvijić was one of eight tenured professors; the others were Jovan Žujović, Sima Lozanić, Mihailo Petrović Alas, Andra Stevanović, Dragoljub Pavlovic, Milic Radovanovic and Ljubomir Jovanović, and they chose other colleagues for tenured positions.

Cvijić played an active role in reforming the school, helping found an ethnography department whose first professor was his oldest student and assistant, Jovan Erdeljanovic (followed by Tihomir Djordjevic); Cvijić remained in the geography department. He was influential in establishing five new faculties: medicine, agriculture and theology in Belgrade, philosophy in Skopje and the Subotica Law School.

Critique of education[edit]

Cvijić thought that the grammar-school education of that era should last seven years, instead of eight, and felt that young men should be included early in adult life and independent work.

Grammar school forms the intelligence and character perhaps even deeper and stronger than university; it influences the spirit and moral value of future intellectuals. Besides university, the moral and spiritual situation and its development depend on the type of grammar school, what will its civilization get, and in the end, will it slow or interfere with the development of great personalities, which show the properties of one nation.[citation needed]

He published detailed instructions for conducting field research into populations and habitats to help his colleagues, including the 1907 article "On scientific research and our University".

Human geography[edit]

In his human-geographical research, Cvijić studied migrations, village and town habitat, types of housing and the culture of populations in regions influenced by a variety of civilizations, psychological types, folklore and dress. He traveled during difficult social and political times, exposing himself to unpleasant and life-threatening situations (especially in countries under Ottoman and Austrian rule before World War I). During these trips Cvijić became acquainted with the living conditions of the Balkan population, leading to his interest in ethnographic and psycho-social issues; he noted how little he had known about the difficulty of life in Bulgaria, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Macedonia until 1896–1898. Until then, he later said, he had little of the interest in folklore, ethnology and national politics he later developed. Cvijić organized a number of research expeditions to dangerous, unexplored regions.

In 1896 Cvijić published "Instructions for studying villages in Serbia and other Serbian lands", which was later revised to apply to other Balkan regions. In Serbia, interest developed in folkloric research; this encouraged the first systematically-gathered data in ethnology. The research was conducted by Cvijić's students and colleagues and interested laypeople (primarily village teachers and priests), constituting a large, unified scientific effort.

Cvijić's thesis on the effects of climate and geography on human life is the basis of his approach to human geography, where he emphasizes that humankind is ecologically sensitive. When classifying anthropological types Cvijić considered social structure (work, endogamy, exogamy and migration) the primary factor, stressing the effects of the physical environment on a population's psyche. His basic concepts are presented in the 1902 Balkan-peninsula paper, "Human-geography problems". Influenced by Cvijić's paper, Milorad Dragic (a former student) elaborated on psychological anthropological research in his 1911 paper "Instructions for studying settlements and psychological characteristics" (after which Cvijić expanded his thesis on "The Balkan peninsula and South Slavic lands" in Serbian).

The sparking of interest in human-geographical and ethnographical research was one of the greatest achievements of Cvijić's scientific career. His efforts and research helped him gather crucial data, which he used during negotiations on the state borders of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia after World War I.

Influence on Yugoslav state borders[edit]

After World War I Cvijić helped determine the state borders of the new Yugoslav state, using his research in demography and human geography in the negotiations; his data was used in determining the ethnic expansion of the South Slavs.

French geographer Paul Vidal de la Blache invited Cvijić to Paris on behalf of the University of Paris twice (in 1917 and at the beginning of 1919), where he lectured on Balkan physical and political geography. At the end of 1918, the Serbian government named him their chief expert on ethnographic borders; in 1919, he was elected president of a unit dealing with territorial issues as part of the state delegation to the Paris Peace Conference. Here, with Mihajlo Pupin (another influential scientist), Cvijić's efforts in creating ethnographic charts of the Yugoslav countries in 1918–1919 helped determine the borders of a new country: the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenians. It was agreed that the new country should incorporate Banat, Baranja, Dalmatia and the Bled triangle (Bled, Bohinj and Triglav).

Academic honors[edit]

Cvijić received a number of awards. He belonged to 30 scientific societies (academies, geographical and natural societies), receiving 10 decorations. Cvijić received a gold medal for his work in 1924 from the New York Geographical Society and medals from England and France. Two varieties of saffron were named after him.[citation needed]

Cvijić was named:

Controversy[edit]

Cvijić has been criticized for scientific impartiality, due to his support of Serbia's political advancement;[2] his geographic work was used to scientifically justify Greater Serbian politics and territorial claims.[2]

 ... For economic independence, Serbia must acquire access to the Adriatic Sea and one part of the Albanian coastline: by occupation of the territory or by acquiring economic and transportation rights to this region. This, therefore, implies occupying an ethnographically foreign territory, but one that must be occupied due to particularly important economic interests and vital needs.[2]

According to Cvijić, Bulgarians were "different from the other South Slavs in their ethnic composition". He described as Slav three ethnographic groups previously considered Bulgarians: the Macedonian Slavs, the Shopi and the Torlaks. Cvijić excluded the region around Sofia (Bulgaria's capital) from the Bulgarian group, maintained that the three groups above were Slavic (and therefore Serbian).[3] He believed that Serbia could govern a much-larger area that the territory it held.[4]

Legacy[edit]

With a group of geographers and biologists, Cvijić founded the Serbian Geographic Society in Belgrade in 1910 and was its president until his death. In 1912 he began a magazine, the Serbian Geographic Society Herald, which is still published. Cvijić conducted weekly seminars for science students, which were also attended by teachers from Belgrade grammar schools. He founded the Faculty of Philosophy's Geographical Institute in 1923 (the first such organization in the Balkans), managing it until his death.

Statue of Cvijić in Belgrade
Cvijić's grave

In 1947, the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts founded the Jovan Cvijić Geographical Institute in Belgrade to advance the science of geography. On November 21–22, 2002, the academy hosted a meeting on "the socio-political work of Jovan Cvijić".[5]

The Jovan Cvijić Memorial Museum is housed at his family's house in Belgrade at 5 Jelena Ćetković Street. Since 1996, the house (built in 1905) has been declared a cultural monument by the state and is decorated by Dragutin Inkiostri Medenjak; Cvijić favored a decorative style based on Balkan folklore. The museum features manuscripts, letters, notes, books, paintings, geographical charts, atlases and personal items, and occasional lectures are presented.

In Serbia, a number of schools and streets are named after Cvijić and he is still considered the most-important Serbian geographer. His work has been continued by his students, six of whom later became members of the Serbian Academy (including Pavle Vujević, Borivoje Z. Milojević and Milisav Lutovac). The scientist's life and work were researched by geographer Milorad Vasović for his 454-page book, Jovan Cvijić: Scientist, Public Worker, Statesman (1994).

Major works[edit]

  • Geografska ispitivanja u oblasti Kučaja u ist. Srbiji, 1893
  • Das Karstphänomen, 1893
  • Karst, 1895
  • Struktura i pojela planina Balkanskog poluostrva, 1902
  • Antropografski problemi Balkanskog poluostrva, Naselja srpskih zemalja, 1902
  • Die Tektonik der Balkanhalbinsel mit besonderer Berückichtigung der neueren Fortschritte in der Kenntnis der Geologie von *Bulgarien, Serbien und Mazedonien, 1904
  • Osnove za geografiju i geologiju Makedonije i Stare Srbije I-III, 1906–1911
  • Grundlinien der Geographie und Geologie von Mazedonien und Alt-Serbien. Nebst Beobachtungen in Thrazien, Thessalien, Epirus und *Nordalbanien, 1908
  • Aneksija Bosne i Hercegovine i srpsko pitanje, 1908
  • Jezerska plastika Šumadije, 1909
  • Dinarski Srbi, 1912
  • Izlazak Srbije na Jadransko More, 1912
  • Raspored Balkanskih naroda, 1913
  • Jedinstvo i psihički tipovi dinarskih južnih Slavena, 1914
  • Severna granica južnih Slavena (La frontiere septentrionale des Jugoslaves), 1919
  • Balkansko poluostrvo i južnoslavenske zemlje, osnovi antropogeografije, I, 1922
  • Geomorfologija I-II, 1924, 1926
  • Balkansko poluostrvo i južnoslavenske zemlje, osnovi antropogeografije, II, 1931
Academic offices
Preceded by
Sima Lozanić
Rector of University of Belgrade
1906–1907
Succeeded by
Andra J. Stevanović
Preceded by
Đorđe Stanojević
Rector of University of Belgrade
1919–1920
Succeeded by
Slobodan Jovanović
Preceded by
Jovan Žujović
Chairman of Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts
1921–1927
Succeeded by
Slobodan Jovanović

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Ethnographic Map of the Balkan Peninsula". World Digital Library. Retrieved 23 January 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c Jovan Cvijic, Selected statements
  3. ^ "The National Question in Yugoslavia. Origins, History, Politics", Ivo Banac, pp. 307-328, Cornell University Press, 1984.
  4. ^ Cvijic, "O nacionalnom radu", commemorative speech 1907, reprinted in Govori i Clanci, I, Beograd 1921 p. 51-76
  5. ^ "Social-political work of Jovan Cvijić". [dead link]

External links[edit]