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.
History professor James Mark (University of Exeter) in conversation with Zoltán Ginelli discuss how to historicize Eastern Europe within the global histories of colonialism and decolonization with a focus on Hungarian experiences.
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.
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.
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
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.
In postcolonial studies, Eastern Europe’s colonial experiences and ambitions have been routinely silenced in the literature’s focus on (post)colonial centres and peripheries. The region remains largely absent from mainstream textbooks, which is indicative not only […]
This paper explores the trajectories of the Hungarian Jesuit missionary Béla Bangha (1880–1940) and his priest compatriot, Zoltán Nyisztor (1893–1979) in constructing a distinctively semiperipheral strategy of positioning post-Trianon (1920) Hungary in a global colonial vision connected to postcolonial Latin America. This analysis looks at their various writings, including Bangha’s articles and South American travelogue (1934), and Nyisztor’s papers, autobiographies and travel memoirs (1969; 1971; 1973; 1975; 1978) written in emigration. This paper aims to show their inherent semiperipheral dynamics of positioning Hungary in-between the global centre and periphery via a global colonial discourse connecting racial ideas from the non-European post-colonies with local Hungarian discussions of racial struggle and white supremacy.
My book project is about the global histories of the “quantitative revolution” in geography. The quantitative revolution has been an epochal textbook chapter in geography’s canonical history, when the discipline transformed into a rigorous social science backed by predictive mathematical methods in the early Cold War. An iconic scientific concept of this quantitative movement, most notably related to Walter Christaller (1933) and August Lösch (1939), was central place theory (CPT). With the globalization of the quantitative revolution after its emergence from the Second World War in the United States, location theories such as CPT became widespread in urban and regional planning across the world. How did quantitative spatial analysis and planning develop in different parts of the world? In what different geographical contexts were location theories like CPT read, reinterpreted, applied, and mobilized? How were these often very different contexts connected? This book offers to fill this significant gap in geography’s twentieth century global history by deconstructing the mainstream Anglo-American narrative and tracing the quantitative revolution through the circulation and local applications of CPT in the “Second” and “Third” worlds and into the pre-Cold War era.
Why is the decolonization of the history of modern science and technology important? So that we can understand why Francis Bacon’s iconic title page image of a European caravella navigating through the pillars of Hercules in his book Instauratio Magna (Great Instauration, 1620) or Novum Organum Scientiarum (“new instrument of science”), which indicated the new program for modern empirical (colonial) scientific development, was actually taken from Andrés García de Céspedes’s book, Regimiento de navegación (Madrid, 1606). This shows the Northwestern European (Dutch, British, German), Protestant hegemonic shift, which stigmatized the downfall of “luxurious”, “inefficient”, “rapacious”, “unindustrialized”, “state-led capitalist” Spain, the Iberian or Southwestern European imperial-colonial project, against the “industrial revolution” and “scientific revolution” of the Northerners, the latter of which the image became a symbol. The deconstruction of this narrative is important in revealing the concealed global histories of colonial scientific and technological development, which was partly a precondition for the development in the new hegemonic centre in Europe. The South American decolonialist approach might be an important influence in decolonizing Eastern European knowledge production, since the Northwestern-Atlantic-Protestant narrative of scientific development, largely present in social scientists’ work such as Max Weber or Karl Marx, was dominantly diffused in Eastern Europe as our Eurocentric understanding of global scientific and economic development. I was educated according to this narrative already in primary school.