Fellows Colloquium

Fellows Colloquia are public events which take place on Mondays from 16:00 to 17:30. Their aim is to give the IWM Fellows and Guests a possibility to present their current project and discuss it with other Fellows and Guests currently at the IWM and with the broader Viennese audience. At every colloquium there is a speaker, a moderator and – if possible – a commentator. Fellows Colloquia encourage valuable interdisciplinary conversation, which is one of the aims of Fellowships at the IWM. The colloquia are also an occasion to learn about each other’s projects and begin, or continue, an intellectual exchange that would benefit each person’s research, whilst fostering a vibrant academic community at the Institute. We welcome Guests as well as Vienna based academics in this forum and expect active participation of all IWM Fellows.

December 2020

07
Dec
2020

Belarusian Protests: In Search of Democracy, or the Restructuring of State Institutions

For more than 100 days in Minsk, citizens’ protests against the authorities, which falsified the results of the last presidential elections, have not subsided. Forms of suppression unprecedented in Europe – violence and brutality against protesters – have forced many citizens to reconsider their attitude to what is happening. If initially the protest was inspired …
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November 2020

30
Nov
2020

“Blame-Games” and “Blame Avoidance”

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world both dramatically and irrevocably. For months, politics and media have focused on COVID-19 and the countless facets of its impact of ever more uncertainty and insecurity in our lives. Following Zygmunt Bauman’s Liquid Fear (2006) and Wodak’s The Politics of Fear (2021), it has become evident that a …
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23
Nov
2020

Mental Illness as a Cultural and Societal Phenomenon

The collapse of communism in the CEE region 30 years ago was the start of a long-term process of sociopolitical change, in which a major transformation of the mental health system was expected. Unfortunately, this transformation is not yet complete. For example, in Poland people with severe mental illnesses and disabilities are treated in large …
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17
Nov
2020

Narrative Making in the European Capital

As great power competition increasingly spills over into the information space, a compelling European narrative has become a geopolitical imperative. Europe finds itself in a battle of narratives between democracies and authoritarian regimes that cannot be decided on the basis of facts alone. To resist populist and autocratic forces, the European Union needs to communicate in …
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16
Nov
2020

The Stage of Pre-solidarity

My experimental study may reveal elements of recent Polish social history omitted in local knowledge-production. I will focus on enthusiastic building, social deeds, vernacular creativity, and various stages of pre-solidarity in Poland since late socialism. I will discuss the flipside of late socialist modernization in Poland, and its trajectory after 1989, considered as both intimate, …
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11
Nov
2020

Missing Pages of European History: The EU’s Historic Role in Why Western Balkans Enlargement is Stuck   

Many people agree that the European Union’s enlargement process is flawed. As a consequence, none of the aspiring EU members meet their targets on the path to membership on time and some do not meet them at all. While Europeans spent a lot of money, time and energy to improve life the region for decades, …
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09
Nov
2020

Czernowitz as a Cultural Palimpsest

Dissidents can be not only people, but towns. The architecture of Czernowitz in the Soviet empire was dissident. Walking past these buildings, living in them, you could not help but be infected by their spirit. It was a dissident town which gave us, its inhabitants, lessons in beauty, liberty, duty. Czernowitz was a quotation, from …
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04
Nov
2020

Judges Under Pressure: Europe’s Unfinished Transformation

Two members of the European Union. Two members of NATO. They couldn’t be more different. Poland and Romania are undergoing transformations that could have a profound effect on the rule of law, particularly on the role of independent judges. Romania has been consistently criticized by reformers, by human rights activists and by organizations trying to …
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02
Nov
2020

Letters to Enver Hoxha

From after World War II until his death in 1985, thousands of Albanians wrote letters to Enver Hoxha, a mixture of trivial everyday concerns and exceptional episodes that are tragic, heart-warming and absurd in equal measure. These letters were meticulously archived by the authorities, discussed and acted upon. Put in context, they reveal an abysmal …
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October 2020

28
Oct
2020

People of the Mountain: Stories from a Balkan Ecosystem

For millennia, the people of the Mesta Valley have lived in an intimate relationship with their environment. My enquiry is into the nature of this relationship as it survives today, after a succession of mass traumas in the 20th century have made their mark. They include political persecution during Communism, economic upheaval in the wake …
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21
Oct
2020

Learning From the Prespa Agreement: Is There a ‘Southeast European Way’ of Settling Disputes or Should There Be One? Lessons for the European Union

The Macedonia name dispute, one of the very first dispute of the post-Cold War era in Southeast Europe, was finally settled in June 2018 with the signing of the Prespa Agreement. The deal between Greece and North Macedonia was hailed as historic and an important breakthrough for the entire region’s integration to Western institutions. However, …
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14
Oct
2020

Who is Telling Us What? Why? And How? The Media in Central and Eastern Europe in 2020

With technological change so rapid, and global concerns rivaling the traditionally local focus of most human beings, media assume an ever more important role in our societies. That is particularly true in central and eastern Europe, where journalists and their audience mostly have had a mere three decades to establish and mold independent media that …
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12
Oct
2020

Hagia Sophia as Symbol and Hostage of Actual Politics 

On 10 July 2020, by a decree of the Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the basilica of Hagia Sophia – the central monument of the Byzantine Empire and the entire Orthodox world – was turned from a museum into a mosque. The conversion attracted worldwide attention and the leaders of the US, the EU and Russia, as well as …
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07
Oct
2020

Eroding Trust: Serbian Democracy from 5 October 2000 to COVID-19  

Freedom came to Serbia in 2000, with a decade-long delay with respect to the rest of the post-Communist Europe. Ever since, the country has been on a wobbly transition towards an established democracy and EU membership. More than Serbia’s inability to settle firmly on a Westward geopolitical course and its uneasy relationship with its neighbors, …
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05
Oct
2020

Cossacks and Enlightenment

My talk deals with the impact of Enlightenment ideas on rethinking the image of Cossacks in the Ukrainian peripheries of the Russian Empire in the second half of the eighteenth century. I examine the mechanisms through which eighteenth century West European Enlightenment political and historical thought provided intellectual resources for both orientalizing the Cossack political …
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September 2020

28
Sep
2020

The Compatriots

The Russian diaspora is the third-largest in the world. The Russians fled the country in troves for more than one hundred years. First the Tsar’s crazy politics towards Jews, then the Revolution and Civil War, the Second World War and anti-Semitism in the Soviet Union forced millions to emigrate.In the 90-s, emigration was in the …
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23
Sep
2020

The EU Periphery and Revisionist Powers

Starting with the annexation of Crimea in the spring of 2014, scholars and analysts have been debating the standoff between the West and competitors such as Russia, Erdogan’s Turkey, and lately China on Europe’s periphery. “The return of geopolitics” has become a standard phrase to describe the new moment in the international politics of Eastern …
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14
Sep
2020

How to Be a Climate Change Journalist in Ukraine and Why Environmental Storytelling Can Help Spread Important Ideas

Since Ukraine is an agrarian country, the importance of knowledge about climate change cannot be overestimated. In fact, today we already have regions where we harvest potatoes and corn twice a year, and regions where grapes and peaches ripen, which have not even been cultivated before. It is very important to talk not only about …
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July 2020

06
Jul
2020

Covid-19 and Holocaust Memory

Confronting the temporary closure of exhibitions and memorial sites, many Holocaust memorials and museums quickly switched from on-site to online commemorative practices. New digital projects evolved in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic that discovered social media as complex commemorative space. While prior to this digital Holocaust memory was mostly manifest in prestigious digital preservation …
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June 2020

29
Jun
2020

Religious Perspectives on Global Solidarity in the Era of Global Crises

All three global crises of recent times – the financial crisis of 2008, the refugee crisis, and now the coronavirus crisis – have been, among other things, tests of solidarity. But what is it that decides in a concrete situation, whether solidarity is extended to those in need or not? Especially interesting are those cases, …
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22
Jun
2020

Notes on Militant Populism in Contemporary France

This presentation consists of notes from the field which reflect on the relationship between the conjunctural forces that prevail in contemporary France and the emergence of the Gilets Jaunes (Yellow Vest) insurgency. As is now well known, this movement has been alternatively claimed by the left as a citizen’s revolution and the right as a …
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15
Jun
2020

Social and Ecological Movements in “Apocalyptic Times”

Ecological discourses are in upheaval once again. After the 2018 IPCC report made clear that the timeframe to avoid the worst scenarios is rapidly shrinking, new societal groups have taken the streets. Discerning different strategies for social transformation and their respective relations to utopian/dystopian ecological imaginaries, the paper outlines three ideal types of social movements. …
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08
Jun
2020

The Remains of the Real

There was a moment in the 1990’s, in the era of high postmodernism, when it seemed that social reality has had no stable foundations and as such it can be freely and totally transformed by interventions in the registers of symbols and images. Various social, political and economic developments of the last two decades – …
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02
Jun
2020

WhatsApp Israel?

There are not many individuals in the world, who do not know Israel. Who did not hear something, good or bad, about it? Many have strong opinions about what is happening in this small country. The country that was once a model society of equality and liberal democracy is now a partner to more conservative …
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May 2020

25
May
2020

Parenting and Education

Middle class parents in reproducing their children’s middle classness face a complex web of paths to navigate towards a future that seems less controllable. Education is the primary means of the reproduction of class positions and hence education is the field that unravels both modern parenting and class inequalities. What happens when class gets entangled …
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18
May
2020

Kidnapped from Nazism, or the Greek Tragedy of Central Europe

Our paper recalls the essay The Tragedy of Central Europe, written by the Czech novelist Milan Kundera. We criticize the unhistorical cold-war image of the West that Kundera employs. In his reading, the Second World War just did not take place. We do not mean this objection as an external critique. Since why should someone …
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11
May
2020

Leben im – und Wege aus dem – „Corona-Camp“

Der renommierte österreichische Sozialwissenschaftler Bernd Marin hat in zwei Interviews (beide in voller Länge nachzulesen im Corona Blog des IWM) das Leben im „Corona-Camp” (6. April; eine vielbeachtete Kurzfassung erschien am 12. April in der Ostersonntagsausgabe des KURIER) sowie Post-Quarantimes: Wege aus dem „Corona-Camp“ (29. April) kritisch reflektiert. Im Rahmen des virtuellen IWM-Kolloquiums stellt sich …
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04
May
2020

Religion and Power Between Empires and Publics

In the 19th century, the Greek Catholic/Uniate Church, an Eastern rite Catholic Church on the territory of modern-day Ukraine, Belarus, and Poland, served as a proving ground for evolving approaches to negotiating religion within states and between them. Straddling a political border between the Habsburg and Russian empires and a confessional boundary between Catholicism and …
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April 2020

20
Apr
2020

Democratic Backsliding in Eastern Europe

Back in the late 2000s, when all former Soviet satellites in Eastern Europe acquired full membership of the European Union, it appeared as if these countries were on their way to democratic normality. What happened instead was that many of them underwent democratic backsliding. As the region transitioned from the accession to the post-accession era, …
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14
Apr
2020

Communism Never Happened

Almost every time a public discussion deals with questions of redistribution or social justice, there is a person standing up and saying something like: “Yes, we know that experiments from history and they all end up in some kind of Gulags!” This can be observed e.g. in debates around Corbynism in the UK or Bernie …
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06
Apr
2020

The Importance of Being Funny

This talk is part of a book project on the cultural history of Jewish artistic presence in German-speaking cabaret and film in the 1920s, 30s, and 40s. (During my fellowship at the IWM, I am researching materials at the Austrian Exile Archive at ÖNB and the Österreichisches Kabarettarchiv in Graz.) In this presentation for the colloquium, I …
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March 2020

23
Mar
2020

Post-Accession Politics and Democratic Backsliding in Eastern Europe

Back in the late 2000s, when all former Soviet satellites in Eastern Europe acquired full membership of the European Union, it appeared as if these countries were on their way to democratic normality. What happened instead was that many of them underwent democratic backsliding. As the region transitioned from the accession to the post-accession era, …
Read more
16
Mar
2020

The Importance of Being Funny: Jewish Humour in Cabaret and Film of the Weimar Republic

This talk is part of a book project on the cultural history of Jewish artistic presence in German-speaking cabaret and film in the 1920s, 30s, and 40s. (During my fellowship at the IWM, I am researching materials at the Austrian Exile Archive at ÖNB and the Österreichisches Kabarettarchiv in Graz.) In this presentation for the …
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February 2020

24
Feb
2020

Manufactured Alienation

Boris Johnson turned the recent UK election into a referendum on the character of politics, and won by making democracy miserable. Based on years of investigating the dark money funded institutions which drove Brexit in the UK, undercover reporting across Europe, and street interviews with voters from Hungary to Spain and Scotland to Italy, openDemocracy’s …
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17
Feb
2020

Freedom and Solidarity

In Poland he is remembered as an intriguing personality and a spiritual leader of the Solidarity movement. Abroad, mostly as co-founder of the Institute for Human Sciences, Vienna. A boy from a Polish village who became a profound interpreter of Husserl, Heidegger and Levinas. A Catholic priest inspired by a Jewish philosophy of dialogue, trying …
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10
Feb
2020

Becoming ….

Embraced, helped, distrusted, rejected –  the refugees of 2015/16 have endured a vicious cycle of popular opinion. In Austria, young Afghans often carry the worst reputation. Nearly five years on, many are still in the asylum process while claims from other nationalities have long since been finalised. Meanwhile, the rejection rate for Afghan claims has …
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January 2020

27
Jan
2020

Facing Post-Truth in Central-Eastern Europe

The main challenge that post-truth poses, as the concept itself suggests, is the alleged end of centrality of the idea of truth in politics. Central and Eastern Europe finds itself in a political culture where claims, ideas and utterances must no longer necessarily be grounded in proven empirical facts, in order to be held true …
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20
Jan
2020

Debating Citizenship and Emancipation during the Long 19th Century

Holly Case has called the period spanning the late-18th to the second half of the 20th century “The Age of Questions,” which included the Eastern question, Jewish question, social question, and countless others. In his recent book Liberalism, Constitutional Nationalism, and Minorities: The Making of Romanian Citizenship, c. 1750–1918 (2019), Constantin Iordachi shows how the …
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13
Jan
2020

The Anthropologists’ Problem with Barter

The standard story of economists about the origins of money is that it came from barter. For most modern anthropologists this story is about as reasonable as the story that babies are brought by the storks. It has become such a big problem that many prominent anthropologists have recently turned against economics as a discipline …
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Events Calendar

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