My paper for the international conference “Visegrad countries and Africa: History and Contemporaneity” held online on 27 April 2022. I follow 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.
‘Hungarian Indians’: Race, Colonialism and Memory Politics in Hungarian ‘Indian Play’
I talk about how semiperipheral “whiteness” should reconfigure our ideas of Eastern European racial and colonial history through the case of Hungarian ‘Indian play’. The “tradition” of whites playing out Native Americans in cultural and racial performances was often an antagonistic practice of anti-colonial solidarity and colonial appropriation. In the Eastern European case, it often became a way of contesting Western hegemony, but through mimicking Western colonial cultures of appropriation and “nativism”. Today, the Orbán government is building on this colonial and racial heritage through nationalist anti-communist memory politics.
The Return of the Colonial: Understanding the Role of Eastern Europe in Global Colonization Debates and Decolonial Struggles
I was honored to present my paper The Return of the Colonial: Understanding the Role of Eastern Europe in Global Colonization Debates and Decolonial Struggles at the opening event of the Decolonize Hellas project and research platform on 19 May, 2021. In my paper, I introduced my world-sytemic approach to conceptualizing semiperipheral Hungarian and Eastern European colonial histories and decolonialism from a global perspective.
Magyarország Globálban: Elfeledett Kapcsolataink Ghánával
Ghána 1957-ben elsőként vált független szubszaharai afrikai országgá, méghozzá a legígéretesebbek egyikévé. Azonban Európa- és nyugatközpontú történelmi emlékezetünk elfeledtette velünk, hogy nekünk magyaroknak milyen fontos szerepünk is volt Ghána fejlődésében. Vajon hogyan érthetjük meg Magyarország globális történelmét a dekolonizáció és a gyarmati múltú Ghána felől nézve?
Celebration of 60 Years of Ghana–Hungary Relations
It was my honor to hold a 1 hour lecture (starts after 1:35:00) at the important diplomatic event “Celebrating 60 Years of Diplomatic Relations Between Ghana and Hungary” about the history of the relations between […]
Decolonizing the City? Traversing Urbanscapes in the World-Systemic Transperipheral Histories between Socialist Hungary and the Global South
Budapest. Lumumba Street. Nehru Coast. Havana Housing Estate. Places we pass, places from the past. Or are they past? After 1989, the ‘return to Europe’ resulted in the neoliberal ‘whitening out’ of the Hungarian memories of socialist era anti-colonial solidarities to the Third World. Recent political discourse has been largely Westcentric and focused on colonial memory, collections and monuments. Against Westcentrism and Eurowhite ignorance, we need a world-systemic approach to decipher the ‘transperipheral’ relations within the Hungarian semiperipheral world-systemic integration to global capitalism.
Colonia Hungaria: Hungarian Settlers and Colonial Imaginaries in Latin America in the Interwar Era
My paper explores competing visions of establishing a Hungarian colony in the context of Latin American Hungarian settlers in the interwar era. I introduce my concept of “transcoloniality” to traverse interconnected Eastern European and South American colonial contexts, and explore the trajectories of Hungarian colonialism through my concept “Colonial Hungaria.”
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. It explores three case studies: the Hungarian reception of René Maran’s Batouala (1921) translated by the famous writer Dezső Kosztolányi; Illés Kaczér’s Ikongo Will Not Die (1936), the first Hungarian ‘negro novel’; and Miklós Radnóti’s poetry and translations inspired by African culture.