Transperiphery Movement: Colonia Hungaria

The Transperiphery Movement attempts to recapture revolutionary action by tracing forgotten interperipheral circulations between Eastern Europe and the Global South. The transcolonial geographic history of “Colonia Hungaria” – a semi-fictitious Hungarian colonial ecumen – questions, dispositions, disorders and challenges hegemonic histories of global racial-colonial capitalism. The national-racial canon of the Hungarian Alföld, an Orientalized colonial landscape encompassing expansive fantasies of nation-bearing “Hungarian Mesopotamia” and “sea-flat” (“tengersík”) puszta, transformed into wider imperialist visions of claiming Asian roots in the nomadic, “wavy” steppes of Turan, which compensated for the lack of sea-faring mobility. However, the post-Ottoman (re)colonization of the Alföld created multiethnic instability for the Habsburg Empire and the Hungarian racial state. Swabian Germans arriving as 18th century colonists to Hungary later became subjects to both German colonialism and anti-German sentiment, but also emigrated as white colonists to South America, where they became “Hungarian” minorities of colonial states. The Trianon trauma in 1920 spurred competing colonial visions in South America by Hungarian folk writers, missionaries and aristocrats: will a subtropical colony lead to national rebirth, peripheral escape or a lost nation? The transcolonial “floating signifier” of the Alföld translated between the pampas and the puszta as Hungarian colonists strove to preserve their “hybrid” national identity in the colonial frontiers of the Latin South.


Paper prepared for the rA/Upture_2 conference organized by Daniel Hüttler, Zsolt Miklósvölgyi, Márió Z. Nemes and Janina Weißengruber for the OFF-Bienniale Budapest to be held on 8th of May, 2021 (Saturday) at the OFF Biennale HQ: http://adoaptive.pet.

The concept is part of the art and research exhibition “Transperiphery Movement: Global Eastern Europe and Global South” at Fészek Művészklub co-curated by Eszter Szakács and Zoltán Ginelli for the 2021 OFF-Biennale Budapest: https://offbiennale.hu/en/2021/projects/transzperiferia-mozgalom.

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Cover: Károly Markó, Sr.: Hungarian Alföld landscape with sweep well, 1853.

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