Rohith Vemula: Death and Resistance at the University

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Justice for Rohith Vemula protests at the Univeristy of Hyderabad, January 2016.

3.03.2016

I

Rohith Vemula’s death at the University of Hyderabad (UoH), one of the most prominent institutions of higher education in India, has given rise to substantial mobilisation of protest in university campuses across the country. Since his death, student politics has only increased in its significance as a site of resistance, with the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) in Delhi being the most recent instance of a turbulent protest movement at a university gripping the rest of the country.[i] At the time of writing this note, the Joint Action Committee for Social Justice constituted at UoH is in the process of organising and carrying forward the collective outcry that erupted in the aftermath of Rohith’s death.

Rohith had committed suicide in a friend’s hostel room at the university on 17th January. The circumstances preceding his death have been well chronicled in the many newspaper and magazine articles published on the topic.[ii] A doctoral candidate at UoH, Rohith was an active member of the radical Dalit organisation ASA (Ambedkar Students’ Association) that has over the years firmly established its presence in the university. ASA’s politics has largely been centred on the assertion of Dalit identity as well as formulating crosscutting alliances with other movements and causes that do not form part of the mainstream discourse of ‘the nation.’ Rohith, along with others, was brought into confrontation with the Hindu Right student faction at the university in the course of his activism. The screening of a documentary film on the Muzaffarnagar riots and the protest against the hanging of the Mumbai bomb blast convict Yakub Memon were the immediate incidents that irked the Hindu Right elements in the campus, and led to conflict with the ASA activists including Rohith, eventually resulting in the suspension of five students among the latter.[iii]

The roles of the MHRD (Ministry of Human Resource Development) of the Hindu Right led central government along with that of a union minister of the ruling party from the region in affecting the suspension have by now been well established.[iv] The disciplinary action by the university administration against the students consisted in a ban from most public spaces in the university including the hostel.  Already a ‘public figure’ by virtue of his activism, Rohith had been protesting against the administration’s action dubbed ‘social boycotting’ by the students, by sleeping out in the open at the campus.  It was in the midst of this protest that Rohith took his life, leaving behind a suicide note that was as complex as it was poignant. [v]

I lived in the sprawling UoH campus for two years as a master’s student. In writing this piece, there is no denying that the sense of having been an insider to this putative community – comprising students, teachers, bureaucrats, and workers – is overwhelmingly present. Although, it must be admitted, Rohith’s death has brought to focus the dark crevices that fracture this community with the peculiar clarity that moments of violence, in particular death, seems to be capable of bringing forth, while simultaneously demonstrating the tremendous potential for solidarity that lie within. One is also besieged by a certain unease about acting upon the somewhat automatic impulse to ponder over ‘larger questions’ in the wake of an incident such as this.  The terrifying sense of acceptance and frankness with which Rohith wrote his last words in his suicide note remains a powerful reminder of how deeply ‘individual’ the experience of death can be. And yet, the critical task of ‘situating’ the immediate event in larger structures must be performed despite apprehensions  – something that the protest movement at UoH has done better than any piece of writing could ever do with exemplary focus and clarity of purpose.

Therefore, the banality of the phrase notwithstanding, think about ‘larger questions’ we must. In the aftermath of Rohith Vemula’s death, these are, I would suggest below, the questions of bureaucracy, caste, education, and certainly also politics.  I shall explore them through and with the one phrase originating from within the protest movement that has served as a powerful galvaniser in the aftermath of Rohith’s death– ‘institutional murder.’

II

The overwhelming response to the death of Rohith Vemula has been that of mobilisation and solidarity, and the discursive exercise of framing it as ‘institutional murder’ by the protest movement has been central in bringing this about.  By adhering to the phrase, the movement has resolutely put the focus squarely on questions of institutional discrimination, caste, and justice, and thereby refused to allow purely psychological interpretations of Rohith’s death to attain any sort of credibility. In particular, the university administration has been at the receiving end of most of the righteous anger of the protesting students at UoH. The administration has been rightly seen as influenced by external forces as well as motivated by its own inherent biases, resulting in disciplinary action that left the students literally without shelter, and in the case of Rohith, led to suicide. The one request Rohith makes to the world in his suicide note is regarding his scholarship that has been held up by the university administration, which if released, he pleads, must be used to pay off his personal debts and the rest to be given to his family. The protestors have asserted that the withholding of the scholarship is yet another instance of the ‘institution’ exacting vengeance upon a student activist whose politics have been unpalatable, especially in the atmosphere of right wing ascendancy in the country in which any kind of critical stance towards the discourse of nationalism is met with vehement forms of state and non-state repression.

The term ‘institutional’ remains critical in understanding the reality of Rohith’s death. In the following pages, I trace the multiple ways in which this is the case, and look at the implications that such an understanding entails.

I wish to suggest, firstly, that institutional complicity in Rohith’s death could be seen in a way that is slightly different from the current understanding, and this second way of conceiving it could perhaps better serve us in making a more effective critique of bureaucracy – one of the primary structures of power that must be put under scrutiny for the death of Rohith at the end of the day.

When contacted by journalists on the issue of the non-release of scholarship, the administration sought to defend itself by denying that the withholding of the scholarship had anything to do with Rohith’s politics, but was merely a delay in ‘paper work. ‘[vi] What is astounding is how the phrase ‘paper work’ could act as a sufficient defence – even in an atmosphere of anger and frustration – of what could arguably be one of the most important factors that drove the activist to his terrible end, namely, the lack of means to lead a life of dignity as a young person. What is at play here is the role of bureaucracy in perpetuating and sometimes sharpening the existing structural inequalities by its mere nature – apathy, and in the Indian case a somewhat un-Weberian ‘arbitrariness.’ In India, all sorts of ‘charismatic’ and ‘traditional’ influences routinely modify the allegedly formal-rational edifice of bureaucracy, a fact that is crucial to the ‘production of arbitrariness’ that Akhil Gupta investigates in his Red Tape.[vii] However, in this case, the truly destructive role of the bureaucratic apparatus might lie, paradoxically, not in an exceptional step that it took in vengeance against Rohith as has been suggested, but rather, in what is integral to it – its routine, its ability to evade responsibility, and the mystifying power of its ‘paper work’ discourse. Although somewhat contrary to the way the protest movement has used the term so far, this is yet another reason why Rohith Vemula’s death must be understood as ‘institutional murder,’ as the collective effort to comprehend its full significance continues.

Secondly, the ever-resilient institution of caste in India remains crucial in understanding life, and tragically death, inside the university as well. As Sukhadeo Thorat notes in his article in The Hindu, Dalit students committing suicide in institutions of higher education in India has become endemic. In Hyderabad itself, between 2007 and 2013 there have been eleven cases of student suicides, and most of them have been Dalits.[viii] And yet, it took the death of someone as outspoken and ‘public’ as Rohith Vemula for the issue to be brought to public attention with any sense of urgency.

The institutions of higher education in India, especially large public universities that come under the category of ‘central universities’, seem to have become what might be called ‘dense social spaces.’ They have brought together young people from radically different backgrounds – social, economic, linguistic, and cultural – from different parts of the country into contact and made them inhabit a limited physical space. Ideally, this should be a thoroughly rewarding and incomparable first hand experience of the immense diversity of the country for a young person, and an opportunity for the project of nationalism to solidify the ‘imagined community’ of the nation. And it is all that, but only to a certain extent.

After more than half a century of democratic rule, ‘difference’ remains deeply problematic in India, because it is enforced by structures that are central to the (re)production of inequality – caste, class, and gender.  Individuals who find themselves at both ends of these hierarchical structures encounter each other at the university. Admittedly, they also encounter something else, namely, the allegedly ‘equal’ and ‘liberal’ space of the university itself, with all its attendant promises of emancipation. However, the identities they have spent all their lives internalising, deriving their potency from the enduring structures mentioned above, are far too powerful to be shed outside the gates of the university before stepping into the putative zone of emancipation. This is one of the central paradoxes of Indian public universities that turn them into particularly dense social spaces. The lingering force of caste as an oppressive hierarchical structure remains central in constituting this paradoxical space.

Add to this the fact that the university is also the space where organised politics finds some of its most creative and radical expressions in contemporary India in the form of student organisations. With the rise of the Hindu Right, the role of universities as sites of resistance to arbitrary use of state power has become crucial, particularly with liberal sections of the Indian society becoming hopeless and despondent in the face of overwhelming electoral setbacks.   The university remains one of those rare sites in the Indian society where at least some of the promises of liberalism – freedom of expression, for instance – are being taken seriously while the state does not waste any opportunity to advance in the opposite direction. This could be in the form of screening a documentary that debunks the official narrative regarding communal violence, or raising your voice against death penalty at the risk of being labelled anti-national and attacked, or even engaging with issues that lie at the hinterlands of the ‘nation’ such as human rights for the Kashmiris. Moreover, there is the assertion of subaltern self-respect and pride that takes place at the university in ways that might not be allowed to unfold elsewhere – the mainstay of student organisations like the ASA, of which Rohith was an activist.  All this has the effect of challenging certain assumptions and hierarchies that continue to be integral to the conservative life of the Indian society that do permeate the classroom and the campus.

This brings us to the next point, or to the question: what about the institution of the university itself?

Not unrelated to the fact that the university offers a space for such challenges to be mounted, the definition of the university itself is being opened up for contestation, not just at UoH and not solely in relation to the death of Rohith Vemula. Across the country, the status of the university as a progressive and liberal social institution has been coming under heavy attack. Even in iconic universities like JNU in Delhi, as recent events have revealed, students are being hounded by the state for being ‘anti-national’ in their politics. Draconian laws inherited from the colonial era have been used to put students behind bars on charges of sedition. The institution of university, thus, has come to be at the receiving end of a hyper-masculine state that draws its nourishment from the well of nationalism.  This is yet another reason for us to think ‘institutionally’ in understanding the meanings of Rohith Vemula’s death.

One of the things that lie at the heart of these contestations is the question of what one understands to be the content and role of education. During the days in which the protest movement at UoH was finding wider resonance across the country, there were also other kinds of voices and counter-discourses emerging from Hyderabad and elsewhere. These voices sought to disrupt, intentionally or otherwise, the mobilisational momentum in the aftermath of Rohith’s death. Even within the university community, particularly in the virtual spaces of social media, a group of the students have been arguing against the disruptive effects of the on-going protest on their studies and their future prospects. There have been lamentations about how the sacred space of education was being corrupted by politics. But by no means was this limited to a few disgruntled students within the university, for a number of articles published on the topic could also be seen echoing the same position on education and the role of the university.[ix]

It is easy to brush aside such arguments as naive, or second-guess their ‘real’ intentions to be motivated by partisan considerations. But one shouldn’t do either, because this is a well-rehearsed position that derives its legitimacy from a certain conception of education that could be legitimately described as dominant – an odd mixture of traditional paternalism that infantilises the student and a vulgarised version of rational choice theory that portrays ‘individual’s interest’ to be nearly sacred. According to this view, the student mobilisation at UoH and elsewhere will have to be seen as indeed disruptive and defeating the real reason for the existence of these centres of higher education, which one suspects amounts to a kind of ‘pure learning.’

One could counter this view by invoking the inherent value of and right to democratic mobilisation and protest, and one would be right. However, that might have the effect of leaving the wrong-headed conception of education advanced in the said view unchallenged. Comprehensive educational reforms have been due in India for quite some time now, but not the kind that relegates critical thinking to be optional or even unnecessary – so that politics doesn’t corrupt the clean slate of the student mind. Rote learning is what needs to be eliminated, along with the other elements that the Indian education system has retained from the colonial era during which education was concerned with the production of clerks so that the Raj would ran smoothly.

Central universities such as the UoH, with all their serious shortcomings, offer an opportunity for the student to obtain what could be called a ‘critical education’ in India.  Paulo Freire, the Brazilian educator and thinker has been, among others, one of the most persuasive proponents of ‘critical education.’ Freire speaks of education as something that needs to be “constantly remade in the praxis.”[x] His thoughts, despite being derived from his experience of working with illiterate adults in Latin America, has come to be accepted as relevant for re-thinking education in a larger sense. Central to his thesis is the idea that we must abandon the ‘banking model’ of education – one that emphasises the accumulation of information – for what he calls ‘problem posing education,’ so that “men and women [could] develop their power to perceive critically the way they exist in the world with which and in which they find themselves; they come to see the world not as a static reality but as a reality in the process of transformation.”[xi]

For anyone who shares Freire’s concern for social transformation and his belief in the role of education in affecting it, decrying politics becomes impossible, even if it is politics within the university. To think of education as a unidirectional process with the student at the receiving end and uncontaminated by externalities – be it politics, ethics, or any other sphere of human interaction – is an epistemologically flawed project, but more importantly it entirely forecloses an important avenue for social change.

In fact, one could go further and argue that the universities need to be further politicised, for the eruption of protests following Rohith’s death has come too late in a sense. Even in the case of Rohith, had he not himself been living the unavoidably ‘public’ life of an activist, and had the university not been as politicised as it was, there is every chance that it would have merely been another ‘tragic incident’ that would eventually become merely statistical in its significance.

III

Writing of Walter Benjamin’s suicide at the Franco-Spanish border after his failed attempt at fleeing the Nazis, Hannah Arendt submits that it is hard not to wonder “how different everything would have been if they had been victorious in life who have won victory in death.”[xii]  It is unclear what it would mean for the dead to be victorious in death, but for the living, death remains unsurpassable in terms of sheer symbolic potential. This is precisely why, despite the exceptional ‘individuality’ of Rohith’s death by suicide, it could become an eminently social event with tremendous mobilisational and communicative force.

Rohith’s ‘victory in death,’ to paraphrase Arendt, at least in the immediate aftermath, has been the following. The wave of solidarity that engulfed UoH following the incident soon spread to the rest of the country, particularly to university campuses, from Delhi in the North to Thiruvananthapuram in the South, and then to universities in other parts of the world as well. Put in the spotlight by national media, the university administration revoked the suspension of students in an attempt to assuage passions and disrupt the on-going agitation that has involved hunger strikes, demonstrations, and picketing.

The fact remains that this has come at the cost of a certain complexity of understanding   – of the subjectivity of Rohith as someone who idolised Carl Sagan and aspired to be a writer while living simultaneously the confrontational everyday life of an activist, of his disenchantment with the de-individualising effects of organisational politics while being at the forefront of it himself as a willing participant – that one must strive towards, particularly in the face of the disconcerting candidness of Rohith’s suicide note that refuses to lend itself easily to pre-existing narratives of victimhood.[xiii] However, politics, much like theory, demands a process of simplification, and there is no a priori knowledge of what this process entails or of its end results, but only the possibility of remaining reflective and open to the lessons that might be drawn along the way.

To return to Arendt, Rohith’s ‘victory in death’ has so far been generating a collective demand for accountability as well as constituting a space of resistance, both critical developments in a society that is confronted with the real possibility of being taken over by the right wing, which in India at the moment happens to be a coalition of communalism and corporate interests. Whether it will re-introduce a sense of urgency to the task of dismantling structures of inequality in the country, both within and outside the university, is something that we will have to wait to see.

Lipin Ram is a PhD candidate at the Dept. of Anthropology and Sociology of Development of The Graduate Institute, Geneva and a former junior visiting fellow at the IWM.

© Author / Transit Online

[i] For a rough picture of the incidents at JNU, see the following articles:

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/jnu-kanhaiya-kumar-sedition-case-what-is-it-about-the-university-that-makes-the-government-sit-up/

http://www.ndtv.com/opinion/government-media-and-rahul-gandhi-all-mishandled-jnu-1278277

[ii] For instance, see the following articles:

http://thewire.in/2016/01/19/the-chain-of-events-leading-to-rohith-vemulas-suicide-19580/

http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/research-scholar-hangs-self-after-expulsion-from-university-of-hyderabad/article8116855.ece

http://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/who-killed-rohith-vemula/

[iii] The documentary ‘Muzaffarnagar Baaqi Hai’ deals with the communal riots that broke out in the Muzaffarnagar district of Western U.P in India in 2013. Yakub Memon was a convict in the 1993 Mumbai terror attack, whose recent execution sparked a lot of debate on issues of culpability, the death penalty, and the judiciary.

[iv] http://thewire.in/2016/01/18/expelled-by-his-university-dalit-scholar-commits-suicide-in-a-hostel-room-19514/

http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/lead/on-rohith-vemulas-suicide-and-the-govts-response/article8179928.ece

[v] http://m.thehindu.com/opinion/op-ed/dalit-scholar-rohith-vemulas-suicide-letter-clarity-of-a-suicide-note/article8130703.ece

[vi]http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/behind-dalit-student-suicide-how-his-university-campus-showed-him-the-door/

[vii] Gupta, Akhil. 2012. Red Tape : Bureaucracy, Structural Violence, and Poverty in India. Duke University Press:Durham.

[viii] http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/lead/rohith-vemula-suicide-dalit-and-higher-education-discrimination-on-the-campus/article8152216.ece

[ix] For a more recent and egregious version of this, see this article by Mohandas Pai”: http://www.ndtv.com/opinion/dear-jnu-students-we-fund-your-studies-not-your-politics-1277417

[x] Freire, Paulo, 1970, p. 84. Pedagogy of the Oppressed. Continuum:New York/London.

[xi] Ibid, 12.

[xii] Arendt, Hannah. ed. 1968. Walter Benjamin.Illuminations: Essays and Reflections. Harcourt, Brace & World

[xiii] See Punnya Rajendran’s piece for a deeply sensitive exposition of the complexity of the suicide note: https://www.facebook.com/notes/punnya-rajendran/the-suicide-note-a-discomforting-genre/1256393454376135

 

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  • Ivan Krastev

    IWM Permanent Fellow
    Chair of the Board, Centre for Liberal Strategies, Sofia
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  • Yustyna Kravchuk

    PhD candidate in Film and Media Studies, National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, Kyiv
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  • Jacek Kucharczyk

    Jacek Kucharczyk ist Head of Programs am Institute of Public Affairs in Warschau.   Print

  • Aleksander Kwasniewski

    Aleksander Kwasniewski war Präsident Polens. Seine Amtszeit verlief von 1995 bis 2005 über zwei Legislaturperioden.   Print

  • Mladen Lazic

    Professor of Sociology, University of Belgrade
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  • Claus Leggewie

    Professor für Politikwissenschaft, Justus-Liebig-Universität Giessen
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  • André Liebich

    Honorary Professor of International History and Politics, Graduate Institute, Geneva
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  • Burkhard Liebsch

    Burkhard Liebsch ist Professor für Philosophie an der Ruhr-Universität Bochum.   Print

  • Michal Luczewski

    Ph.D. candidate in Sociology, Warsaw University
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  • Charles S. Maier

    Charles S. Maier ist Direktor des Center for European Studies, Harvard University.   Print

  • Andrey Makarychev

    Andrey Makarychev ist Professor und Research Fellow am Institut Osteuropäische Studien an der Freien Universität Berlin.   Print

  • Michał Maciej Matlak

    Ph.D. candidate, Department of Political and Social Sciences, European University Institute, Florence
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  • Erik Meyer

    Erik Meyer ist seit 2000 wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter am Sonderforschungsbereich ‘Erinnerungskulturen’ an der Justus-Liebig Universität Gießen.   Print

  • Krzysztof Michalski

    IWM Founding Rector
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  • Hans J. Misselwitz

    Hans-Jürgen Misselwitz ist ein deutscher SPD-Politiker und Gründungsmitglied des Instituts Solidarische Moderne.   Print

  • Alessandro Monsutti

    Alessandro Monsutti is an associate professor of anthropology and development sociology at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva, as well as research associate at the Refugee Studies Centre at the University of Oxford. He worked as a consultant for several nongovernmental and international organizations, icnluding UNHCR. His book War and Migration: Social Networks …
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  • Jan-Werner Müller

    Professor of Politics, Princeton University

    Visiting Fellow
    (September 2016 – August 2017)
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  • Rainer Münz

    Professor für Bevölkerungswissenschaft, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin; Korrespondierendes Mitglied des IWM
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  • Sighard Neckel

    Professor of Sociology, Goethe-Universität, Frankfurt am Main
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  • Katherine Newman

    Katherine S. Newman is the James B. Knapp Dean of The Zanvyl Krieger School of Arts and Sciences. She is a widely published expert on poverty and the working poor who led major interdisciplinary initiatives at Princeton and Harvard universities.     Print

  • Pierre Nora

    Pierre Nora lehrt Geschichte an der École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (EHESS) in Paris.   Print

  • Tereza Novotna

    Political Science, Boston University
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  • Ewald Nowotny

    Ewald Nowotny is Governor of the Austrian National Bank.   Print

  • Thomas Nowotny

    Thomas Nowotny teaches Political Science at the University of Vienna. He has been Austrian diplomat, private secretary to Austrian Chancellor Bruno Kreisky, senior political counselor to the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and consultant to the OECD.   Print

  • Vlad Odobescu

    Freelance journalist, Romanian Centre for Investigative Journalism, Bucharest
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  • Andrzej Paczkowski

    Professor für Geschichte, Institut für Politische Studien, Polnische Akademie der Wissenschaften, Warschau
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  • Emilia Palonen

    Politics, University of Essex
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  • Irina Papkova

    Irina Papkova is a Research Fellow of Georgetown University’s Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs. She spent five years teaching at the Department of International Relations and European Studies at Central European University, Budapest.   Print

  • Agnieszka Pasieka

    Ph.D. in Social Anthropology from the Martin Luther University, Halle/Saale
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  • Gleb Pavlovsky

    President, Center of Effective Policies; Member, Public Chamber of the Russian Federation; Editor-in-Chief, The Russian Journal, Moscow

    Guest, Russia in Global Dialogue
    (November 2017)
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  • György Péteri

    Professor of Contemporary European History, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim
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  • Tanja Petrovic

    Tanja Petrovic works at the Scientific Research Center of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts, Ljubljana.   Print

  • David Petruccelli

    PhD candidate in History, Yale University
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  • Alexander von Plato

    Alexander von Plato ist ein deutscher Philosoph und Historiker. Er gründete das Instituts für Geschichte und Biographie an der Fernuniversität Hagen, das er bis 2007 leitete. Von 1996 bis 2000 war er Sekretär der International Oral History Association, von 2006 bis 2008 deren Vizepräsident. Er ist Mitherausgeber und Redakteur von BIOS – Zeitschrift für Biographieforschung, Oral …
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  • Andrei Pleșu

    Andrei Pleșu ist Rektor des New Europe College, Bukarest. 1989- 1991 war er rumänischer Kulturminister und 1997- 1999 rumänischer Außenminister.   Print

  • Martin Pollack

    Martin Pollack, geb. 1944 in OÖ, studierte Slawistik und osteuropäische Geschichte. Er war von 1987 bis 1998 Redakteur des “Spiegel” in Warschau und Wien und lebt heute als Schriftsteller und literarischer Übersetzer in Wien und Bocksdorf im Südburgenland. 2011 erhielt er den Leipziger Buchpreis zur Europäischen Verständigung und 2012 den Stanislaw-Vincenz-Preis. Zuletzt erschien von ihm …
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  • Krzysztof Pomian

    Krzysztof Pomian is Professor of History at the Nicolaus Copernicus University (Toruń) and Academic Director of the Museum of Europe in Brussels.   Print

  • Romano Prodi

    Romano Prodi war von September 1999 bis November 2004 Präsident der Europäischen Kommission.   Print

  • Lipin Ram

    PhD candidate and teaching assistant in Anthropology and Sociology of Development, Graduate Institute, Geneva
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  • Mykola Riabchuk

    Senior Research Fellow, Institute of Political and Nationalities’ Studies, Academy of Sciences, Kyiv
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  • Edelbert Richter

    Edelbert Richter ist deutscher Theologe, Politiker und war Mitglied des Deutschen Bundestages.   Print

  • Paul Ricoeur

    Paul Ricoeur ist Philosoph und war Professor Emeritus an der University of Chicago und an der Sorbonne. Er war Mitglied der Académie Francaise und Mitglied des Wissenschaftlichen Beirats des IWM. Er starb 2005.   Print

  • Michel Rocard

    Michel Rocard, former First Secretary of the French Socialist Party and a member of the European Parliament for 15 years, was Prime Minister of France from 1988 to 1991.   Print

  • Akos Rona-Tas

    Akos Rona-Tas is professor at the Sociology Department of the University of California, San Diego and a research associate at Met@risk, INRA, Paris. He is the author of the books Plastic Money: Constructing Markets for Credit Cards in Eight Postcommunist Countries (with Alya Guseva, 2014) and Surprise of the Small Transformation: Demise of Communism and …
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  • Lew Rubinstein

    Lew Rubinstein lebt als Poet und Essayist in Moskau. Nach dem Studium der Philologie war er als Bibliothekar tätig. Seit Ende der 1960er-Jahre verfasst er poetische Arbeiten, seit 1974 serielle Textzyklen als so genannte Kartotheken. Zusammen mit Andrej Monastyrskij, Dimitrij A. Prigov und Vladimir Sorokin gilt er als wichtigster Vertreter des Moskauer Konzeptualismus. Print

  • Jacques Rupnik

    Geschichte und Politikwissenschaft, Paris
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  • Claudia Šabic

    Claudia Šabi? ist Politikwissenschaftlerin und Ethnologin. Seit 1998 ist sie Wissenschaftliche Mitarbeiterin an der Goethe-Universität, Frankfurt am Main. Print

  • Ranabir Samaddar

    Distinguished Chair in Migration and Forced Migration Studies, Calcutta Research Group
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  • Paul Sanders

    Paul Sanders is a historian and management scholar. He is a full-time professor at Reims Management School in Reims, France. He has published across the disciplines of history, international relations and leadership.   Print

  • Karl Schlögel

    Karl Schlögel war Professor für Osteuropäische Geschichte zuerst an der Universität Konstanz, dann an der Europa-Universität Viadrina in Frankfurt/Oder. Nach seiner Emeritierung arbeitet er an einer Archäologie des Kommunismus und einer Geschichte des Wolgaraumes. Zurzeit ist er City of Vienna/IFK Fellow am IFK in Wien.     Print

  • Thomas Schmid

    Thomas Schmid is the publisher of the WELT Group, Berlin. He worked for various newspapers, among them as editor of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung and the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung. From 2006 to 2010 he was Editor-in-Chief of Die Welt.   Print

  • Margit Schratzenstaller

    Margit Schratzenstaller is senior researcher at the Austrian Institute of Economic Research (WIFO) and is currently coordinating (together with Karl Aiginger and Stefan Ederer) ‘WWW for Europe’, a 4-year research project within the 7th Framework Program funded by the European Commission.   Print

  • Dieter Segert

    Dieter Segert ist Professor für Transformationsprozesse in Mittel-, Südost- und Osteuropa am Institut für Politikwissenschaft der Universität Wien. Seit September 2007 ist er Mitglied des Vorstandes des IDM Wien, seit Juni 2008 Mitglied der Leibniz-Sozietät der Wissenschaften zu Berlin.   Print

  • Victoriya Sereda

    Sociologie, Ivan-Franko-Universität, Lviv
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  • Michel Serres

    Michel Serres ist Philosoph und Mitglied der Académie Française.   Print

  • Anton Shekhovtsov

    PhD in Political Science

    Visiting Fellow, Ukraine in European Dialogue
    (January 2016 – July 2018)
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  • Marci Shore

    Associate Professor of History, Yale University
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  • Sławomir Sierakowski

    Director, Institute for Advanced Study, Warsaw; Founder, "Krytyka Polityczna" movement
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  • Sara Silverstein

    Ph.D. Candidate in Modern European and International History, Yale University
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  • Ondřej Slačálek

    Assistant Professor of Political Science, Charles University, Prague
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  • Aleksander Smolar

    Political Science, Paris
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  • Timothy Snyder

    IWM Permanent Fellow
    Richard C. Levin Professor of History, Yale University
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  • George Soros

    George Soros is a pioneer of the hedge-fund industry, investor and philanthropist, he is the author of many books, including Financial Turmoil in Europe and the United States: Essays (2012), The Soros Lectures: At the Central European University (2010), The Crash of 2008 and What it Means: The New Paradigm for Finance Markets (2009).   …
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  • Robert Spaemann

    Robert Spaemann ist Professor em. für Philosophie an der Universität München.   Print

  • Pawel Spiewak

    Associate Professor of Sociology, Department of Sociology and Philosophy, Warsaw University
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  • Wilfried Stadler

    Wilfried Stadler ist Unternehmensberater, Wirtschaftspublizist und Honorarprofessor an der Wirtschaftsuniversität Wien. Bis 2009 war er Vorstandsvorsitzender einer österreichischen Spezialbank für Unternehmensfinanzierung.   Print

  • Rudolf Stamm

    Rudolf Stamm war von 1975 bis 1988 Korrespondent der Neuen Zürcher Zeitung für Osteuropa und Österreich, anschließend bis 1999 für Italien, dann bis zu seiner Pensionierung 2002 für die USA mit Sitz in Washington D.C. Er starb 2010 in der Schweiz. 1985 erscheinen seine NZZ-Reportagen aus Osteuropa in dem Band Alltag und Tradition in Osteuropa. …
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  • Paul Starr

    Paul Starr ist Professor für Soziologie an der Princeton University und Mitherausgeber von The American Prospect. Er ist Pulitzer-Preisträger.   Print

  • Martina Steer

    ÖAW APART Fellow (History)
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  • Kristina Stoeckl

    Research Director
    APART Fellow, Austrian Academy of Sciences; Department of Political Sciences, University of Vienna
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  • Roman Szporluk

    Roman Szporluk is Professor em. of Ukrainian History at Harvard and Professor em. of History at the University of Michigan. He is a foreign member of the National Academy of Sciences in Kiev, Ukraine. His research focuses on modern Ukrainian, Russian, and Polish history, and on Marxism and nationalism in Eastern Europe.   Print

  • Charles Taylor

    IWM Permanent Fellow
    Professor em. of Philosophy, McGill University, Montréal
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  • Maria Teteriuk

    PhD candidate in Mass Communications and senior lecturer in Media Studies, National University of 'Kyiv-Mohyla Academy', Ukraine
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  • Philipp Ther

    Junior Professor of Polish and Ukrainian Studies, Europa-Universität Frankfurt / Oder
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  • Maria Todorova

    Professor of History, University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign
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  • Balázs Trencsényi

    Balázs Trencsényi, Ph.D., is Associate Professor at the Department of History, CEU. His research focuses on the comparative history of political thought in East Central Europe and the history of historiography. He is co-director of Pasts, Inc., Center for Historical Studies at CEU and Associate Editor of the periodical East Central Europe (Brill). He was …
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  • Stefan Troebst

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  • Marius Turda

    Lecturer in the Education Abroad Program, Eötvös Lorand University, Faculty of Humanities, Budapest
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  • Andreas Umland

    Andreas Umland ist Wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter am Institut für Euro-Atlantische Kooperation Kiew sowie Herausgeber der Buchreihe Soviet and Post-Soviet Politics and Society, ibidem-Verlag Stuttgart. Print

  • Victoria Vasilenko

    Assistant Professor of Contemporary History and International Relations, Belgorod National Research University
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  • David G. Victor

    David G. Victor is a Professor at the School of International Relations and Pacific Studies at the University of California, San Diego, where he directs the Laboratory on International Law and Regulation.   Print

  • Harald Welzer

    Harald Welzer ist Forschungsprofessor für Sozialpsychologie an der Universität Witten/Herdecke und Direktor des Center for Interdisciplinary Memory Research am Kulturwissenschaftlichen Instituts Essen.   Print

  • Karolina Wigura

    Adjunct of the History of Ideas, University of Warsaw; Co-Editor of Kultura Liberalna
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  • Volodymyr Yermolenko

    Volodymyr Yermolenko is a Ukrainian philosopher and essayist. He has a degree in Political Science from the EHESS, Paris, and teaches at Kyiv Mohyla Academy in Kyiv. He is the author of the book Narrator and Philosopher: Walter Benjamin and his time (2011, in Ukrainian). Print

  • Oksana Zabuzhko

    Free-lance writer, Kiev
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  • Tatiana Zhurzhenko

    Research Director, Russia in Global Dialogue / Ukraine in European Dialogue
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