Erdei Ferenc Afrikában

Erdei Ferenc a Hazafias Népfront Országos Tanácsának főtitkáraként és az országgyűlés mezőgazdasági bizottságának elnökeként vezette azt az 1964-es magyar parlamenti delegációt, amely Mali és Guinea mellett Ghánába is ellátogatott. Ez volt az első magyar parlamenti delegáció Ghánában. Erről is szót ejtek majd, amikor a pécsi Afrika-hét első napján egy órán át beszélek a magyar-ghánai kapcsolatainkról a globális történetírás megközelítésében.


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.


Spatializing Hungary’s ‘Colonial Missionarism’: The Global Geographies of Religion and Securitization in the ‘Colonial Turn’ of Hungarian Political Disourse

This chapter looks at the global geographies of the ‘colonial turn’ in the Orbán governments’ post-2010 political discourse in Hungary from the perspective of religion and securitization. After 2010, ‘Central Europe’ became demarcated by government discourse as a “non-colonizer” and “ethnically homogeneous” region from the “colonizer”, multicultural/racial and therefore decadent West. Declared as a “Christian democracy”, the Hungarian “illiberal” state fused the preservation of a Central European ‘pure’ religious identity with Eurocentric, colonial and post-imperial arguments after the 2015 refugee crisis. The chapter elucidates the complex ‘scalar political economy’ behind how the local ideology of “Christian freedom” is contradictingly embedded in Hungary’s “global struggle against Christian persecution” to “stop migration” as a form of new ‘colonial missionarism’.

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.

About me

I’m an independent researcher and a critical geographer, historian of science and global historian. My research is in the geographies of knowledge, world-systems analysis, and the histories of geography, colonialism and racism, with a focus on the historical relations between Eastern Europe and the Global South or the Third World.

I am currently working on two books. One for Cambridge University Press with James Mark and Péter Apor about the global histories of Hungarian relations to colonialism and anti-colonialism in the long 20th century, entitled “Hungary Between the Colonial and Anti-Colonial Worlds”. The other is my individual book project based on my doctoral research about the global histories of the “quantitative revolution” in geography.

I founded the social media group Decolonizing Eastern Europe (Facebook, Twitter).

Hungary Between the Colonial and Anti-colonial worlds

After a year of preparation, I finally signed a contract with Cambridge University Press to co-author with James Mark and Péter Apor our book, tentatively titled “Hungary between the Colonial and Anti-Colonial Worlds”. The book seeks to situate Hungary within the global histories of colonialism, decolonisation and alternative world-making, particularly ‘between peripheries’ – in the semiperiphery of the world-system.