“With the Name of a Flower” is a multi-disciplinary project which investigates the forced name changes of the Muslim population in Bulgaria (from Arabic names to state-approved Slavic ones) in the period 1912 – 1989. These events are considered from a family and personal viewpoint, examining the memories of people directly affected by the change of names, and their descendants.
Name changing goes deeper than giving up one’s birth name. In a society where being Muslim conflicted with the State’s distorted idea of Bulgarian national identity, having a Muslim name had become undesirable. For many Bulgarian Muslims the change of name came hand in hand with repressing their religious identity. This led to a subsequent generation, whose heritage was robbed by social and political intervention in the family narrative. I am interested in the effects these historical events continue to have on the cultural, religious and national identity of the Muslim communities in Bulgaria and their collective memory.