The Political Contribution of Albanian Writers in Defining Albanian Identity: the Debate between Ismail Kadare and Rexhep Qosja


  • Përparim Xhaferi The University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia



Albanian identity, European family, culture, religion, Kadare-Qosja debate


This paper will explore some elements of the contested notion of Albanian identity through a short analysis of the thesis put forward by the Albanian prominent writer, Ismail Kadare. Kadare claims that Albania belongs to the European family, and the Ottoman ‘barbarians’ unjustly ‘removed’ Albania from Europe for five centuries. His main opposing voice, Kosovar academic, Rexhep Qosja, rejects Kadare’s Albanian identity interpretation. In contrast to Kadare, Qosja argues that the Albanian identity has more similarities with Oriental-Eastern culture, and therefore, does not reflect Europe. Religious controversy is present on both sides. The paper will explore how expansive contribution of both Albanian writers, while appreciated, has also been instrumental in defining the Albanian identity. The Kadare-Qosja argument is the overarching question with regards to Albanian identity, which is still polarising Albanians. After a short analysis of the Kadare-Qosja debate, this paper will emphasise some opinions of the Albanian analysts, media, writers and politicians. The paper will then conclude with some remarks, as Kadare, Qosja, and others need to constructively debate the Albanian identity question and avoid drawing on personal differences between the two; which for obvious reasons do exist.