Blog

The ‘Ghana Job’: Opening Semiperipheral Hungary to the Postcolonial World

This paper follows a world-systemic and decolonial approach to investigate Hungarian semiperipheral positioning strategies in global colonial history by looking at the interactions and converging interests of Hungary and Ghana in the early 1960s. The paper focuses on József Bognár, a hugely important but forgotten political figure in socialist era Hungarian economics and foreign economic policy-making. In 1963, Bognár founded a government think tank, the Centre for AfroAsian Research (CAAR) at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences (renamed in 1973 as the Institute for World Economy). The institute evolved out of Bognár’s “Ghana job”: Ghanaian president Kwame Nkrumah, on the occasion of his Eastern European round-trip in 1961, asked Bognár to develop Ghana’s First Seven-Year Plan.

Hungarian Race for Anti-Colonial Recognition in the Third World

This paper overviews three case studies on how Hungarians opened to Afro-Asian decolonization and the emerging Non-Aligned Third World between the mid-1950s and early 1960s. The first case is ex-premier Ferenc Nagy’s anti-communist criticism of “Soviet colonialism” influencing the first Afro-Asian conference in Bandung (1955); the second is István Bibó and Árpád Göncz opting for non-alignment and seeking aid from India during the 1956 revolution; the third is József Bognár’s attempt at development planning in Ghana and the wider Third World. The paper explores how former Smallholders’ Party members pursued different political paths ultimately connected by attempts of forming anti-colonial alliances, and how Hungarian postwar political agendas globalized to translate and connect to the postcolonial world. Finally, it asks why these Hungarian interactions are missing from the global history of the Non-Aligned Movement.

‘Hungarian Negro’: Race and Coloniality in Interwar Hungarian Literature

The paper aims to contest the ‘Cold War paradigm’ by interpreting deeper connections to the anti-Semitic interwar era within global colonialism. This paper provides an overview by focusing on three different Hungarian cases from the art and documentary exhibition “Transperiphery Movement: Global Eastern Europe and Global South”: the Hungarian reception of René Maran’s Batouala (1921) which was translated by the famous writer Dezső Kosztolányi, Illés Kaczér’s Ikongo Will Not Die (1936) which is considered as the first Hungarian ‘negro novel’, and Miklós Radnóti’s poetry and translations inspired by African culture. It asks why and how these authors and writings were either completely forgotten or repositioned to demonstrate socialist era anti-colonialism and anti-racist solidarity with the postcolonial countries of the Third World.

About me

Zoltán Ginelli is a geographer and historian of science. His research is in the geographies of knowledge, the history of geography, and global and transnational history. His main focus is on the historical relations between Eastern Europe and the Global South/Third World in the 19th and 20th centuries, including topics such as development and regional planning, (post)colonialism and racism, Cold War foreign policy, and travel writing. He lectured at various universities and colleges, and worked as an assistant researcher in the 1989 After 1989 and Socialism Goes Global projects at the University of Exeter (2015–2019). His current project, Postcolonial Hungary explores Hungarian semiperipheral colonial history from a world-systemic perspective. He is curating the exhibition Transperiphery Movement: Global Eastern Europe and Global South, and finishing his book based on 7 years of research about the global history of the quantitative revolution in geography.

Photo: Dániel Borovi

Transperiphery Conversations #2 Global South Students in Eastern EuropE

Photographer and curator Bartosz Nowicki in conversation with Zoltán Ginelli talk about the socialist era history of Global South students in Eastern Europe by focusing on Poland and Hungary, and introduce Nowicki’s Afro-PRL (Polish People’s Republic) project showcased in the exhibition.

Földrajz, holokauszt és gyarmatosítás

Az 1950-es évek közepétől a földrajztudomány a második világháborút megnyerő természettudományok presztízsét követte, és egy matematizált, modellező, regionális tervező tudománnyá vált. Ez az ún. „kvantitatív forradalom” a győztes USA-ból indult hódító útjára, mégpedig a világháborús katonai-ipari konjunktúra okozta tudományos forradalom lendületével, amely az USA globális tudományos hegemóniájához vezetett.

A két világháború közti német telephely-elméleteket, mint Christallerét is, aztán az amerikaiak globalizálták, ezzel párhuzamosan viszont saját felfogásaikat egyetemesítették, elfedve az általuk alkalmazott tudás európai és tágabb kontextusait. Készülő könyvem a christalleri elmélet tudásföldrajzának feltárására vállalkozik, és rávilágít arra, hogy a „kvantitatív forradalom” amerikai tudáshegemóniát legitimáló, technokrata megközelítése hogyan fedte el és depolitizálta az elmélet összefonódásait a gyarmati erőszakkal és a holokauszttal.

Hogyan Lehetne elmesélni Magyarország történelmét nem a Nyugat felől elgondolva?

“Hogyan fér össze a magyar történelem mindenki által jól ismert elbeszéléseivel a dél-amerikai magyar telepesek vagy a Magyarországon dolgozó kubai munkások története? Mi köze volt Indiának az 1956-os magyar forradalom eseményeihez, vagy Radnóti Miklósnak a pánafrikai irodalomhoz? Hogyan függ össze a magyar underground képzőművészet, az Artpool munkássága a latin-amerikai konceptuális művészettel az 1980-as években? Ezekkel és számos hasonló kérdéssel foglalkozik a Transzperiféria Mozgalom kiállítása, amit az OFF-Biennále keretében május 30-ig lehet megnézni a Fészek Művészklubban, illetve követni a kiállítás folyamatosan frissülő honlapján.”

The transnational history of Hungarian economic geography and spatial planning in the state-socialist era, 1949-1989

The the aim of this project is to apply recent literature on the geographies of knowledge and policy mobilities with global and transnational history to reveal the international knowledge networks, geopolitical relations and world economic integration strategies that affected Hungarian state-socialist economic geography and spatial planning. This research looks at expert connections both between the center-semiperiphery and the semiperiphery-periphery in order to reevaluate the history of Hungarian state-socialist spatial planning in a transnational perspective.

Poliko Podcast #4: The Transperiphery Movement Exhibition: Towards a Global History of Peripheral Connections

Dávid Karas talks with Zoltán Ginelli, a Hungarian critical geographer whose research repositions the semi-peripheral experience of Hungarian modernization in a global context, by studying the many points of connections linking peoples, ideas, expertise, institutions and political utopias in Hungary to other peripheries in the postcolonial Global South. Zoltán has co-curated with Eszter Szakács a fantastic exhibition in Budapest entitled Transperiphery Movement, where he examines these trans-peripheral connections in collaboration with a host of artists and scholars. We talk about Zoltán’s own research on postcoloniality, race and global history from an Eastern European perspective, and the themes through which the exhibition examines these topics.

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.

Decolonizing the Non-Colonizers? Historicizing Eastern Europe in Global Colonialism

What would it mean to ‘decolonize’ Eastern Europe? We aim to answer by situating Eastern Europe within broader colonial, anti-colonial and decolonial projects, to understand how the region’s historically and geographically shifting relations to coloniality and race inform current political dynamics.

Call for Papers | American Association of Geographers Annual Meeting | Seattle, WA | April 7–11, 2021 | Virtual Session convened by Zoltán Ginelli and Jonathan McCombs

Uncertain Notes from the Semi-periphery

Public and academic discussions have completely ignored the fact that the recent wave of anti-racism and decololonization movements have sparked intensive reactions from Eastern European countries, including Hungary, for the first time. These reactions dominantly focused on Western events but never actually defined decolonialism, nor looked at the global, geographical implications of colonialism. In Hungary, the local relevance of racism and decolonialism has been framed in a rather reductive manner (anti-Semitism, conditions of Romas), and there have been no serious discussions about the country’s specific historical relations to global colonialism, or any criticism of Eurocentric and racist knowledge. The presentation explores these issues and argues for Hungarian relevance to decolonization, and introduces in this context the main concept of a forthcoming exhibition project, The Transperiphery Movement.

The Return of the Colonial: Understanding the Role of Eastern Europe in Global Colonisation Debates and Decolonial Struggles

Online workshop on 10 September Organisers: Romina Istratii – School of Oriental and African Studies, University of LondonMárton Demeter – National University of Public Service, HungaryZoltán Ginelli – Universität Leipzig, Leibniz ScienceCampus “Eastern Europe – Gobal Area” Research Fellow The recent events unfolding in the United States have called the world’s attention to the intersection of […]

Amikor Aczél György volt a váci börtön titkos tervezőirodájának raktárosa

Perczel Károly, az 1971-es Országos Településhálózat-fejlesztési Koncepció szellemi atyjának személyes visszaemlékezései alapján állítottam össze egy anyagot a 2016-os kutatásaimból. Hosszan ír arról, hogy hogyan dolgoztattak tervezőként különböző szakembereket a váci fegyházban – afféle saraska teamekben – az újjáépítés és a Rákosi alatti fejlesztések érdekében. Ehhez a csapathoz került Aczél György is.

Phantom of the past: Postsocialist contradictions in Tibor Mendöl’s republished “Introduction to Geography” textbook

This paper aims to unravel the contextual layers of the postsocialist republishing of a prominent Hungarian geographer’s textbook originally written in the 1950s, which is considered here as a vehicle of the contested narrativity in the “big historical gap” of postsocialist Hungarian geography. Tibor Mendöl’s Introduction to Geography was a hybrid text written in a […]

Betöltés…

Something went wrong. Please refresh the page and/or try again.

About Me

Lorem ipsum

Subscribe to My Blog

Get new content delivered directly to your inbox.