Transperiphery Conversations #2 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.
The perhaps much overlooked geographical significance of recent social unrest in the USA related to the Black Lives Matter and various anti-racist and decolonial movements is how quickly they ’scaled up’ globally, sparking sharp debates in Eastern Europe for the first time. This paper aims to unpack Eastern European ‘frustrated whiteness’ through exploring a decolonial approach to this uneasy and contradictory semiperipheral position in global (post)colonialism.
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.
The history of internationalism was quickly forgotten following the fall of socialist regimes in Eastern Europe. But now these stories are surfacing once again, fascinating a new generation alive to conflicts over peoples and cultures on the move in today’s global order and seeking fresh takes on the past. This festival presents a rich and exciting range of films inspired by ideas of revolution, national liberation, and solidarity between socialist Eastern Europe and the Global South. We bring the Romanian audience stories from Cuba, Angola, Kyrgyzstan, Mauritania, and the former Yugoslavia—stories that explore belonging, border-crossing, and belief in radical change. Several of the directors featured were themselves internationalist migrants in the socialist era—men and women from the Global South who brought their talents to the socialist East. All bring visions of socialist worlds that shatter the easy black and white categories of the Cold War and raise important questions about what it means to be international, and in solidarity, then and now.
János Xántus (1825–1894) is remembered as one of the most famed Hungarian natural scientists of the 19th century. Becoming a political refugee after the failed 1848–49 Hungarian war of independence from the Habsburg Empire, in the 1850s and early 1960s he was drawn into North American expeditions, and developed a vast network to transfer specimens regularly back to Hungary. Finally returning to Hungary (for the second time), after the Austro-Hungarian compromise (1867) he gained the opportunity during 1869–71 to participate in a series of imperial expeditions to East and Southeast Asia, including Ceylon, Siam, Singapore, Java, China, Japan, Taiwan, The Philippines, and Borneo. The case of Xántus may shed light on how Hungarian colonial knowledge production was embedded in global colonialism.
Hungarian cultural connections to North American Indians emerged in the 1920s as both a state-subsidised and bottom-up anti-colonial solidarity movement engaging with comparative colonial experiences. Solidarity with the Indian “noble savage” was established through cultural similarities in nomadic culture and mythology (Hungarian Orientalism), romanticist longing for an essential and authentic culture (nativism), return to nature and mysticism, revival of an idealized folk culture and delinked rural utopia (tribe communities), and – most importantly – anti-colonial solidarity resonating with ideas of a lost homeland, traumatized subalternity and revanchist anti-Western critique.
Paper for the Historicizing ‘Whiteness’ in Eastern Europe and Russia conference at the Centre for the Study of Equal Opportunity Policies, Political Science Department, University of Bucharest on 25–26 June, 2019.
In recent months I’ve prepared a new research plan/paper on the stuff I’ve been doing, connected to my work in the 1989 After 1989 project: The “spatial turn” in the history of scientific knowledge has called […]