|The Stage of Pre-solidarity||Seminars and Colloquia||Tomasz RakowskiMiloš Vec||
Tomasz Rakowski's experimental study may reveal elements of recent Polish social history omitted in local knowledge-production. He will focus on enthusiastic building, social deeds, vernacular creativity, and various stages of pre-solidarity in Poland since late socialism. He will discuss the flipside of late socialist modernization in Poland, and its trajectory after 1989, considered as both intimate, unrecognized dimensions of bottom-up statehood practices, and processes of acquiring a kind of latent, almost invisible social and political subjectivity. An experimental, historical-ethnographic methodology may unearth elements of Polish social history kept secret for decades. The study is conducted in the context of the “people’s history”, yet more precise, and based on specially elaborated methodology.
|Migration, Borders and Technologies – An Introduction to Techno-Borderscapes||Seminars and Colloquia||Ayşe ÇağlarGiorgia Donà||
Speakers: Ayşe ÇağlarGiorgia Donà
Series: Seminars and Colloquia
In this presentation, Giorgia Doná discussed the relationship among migration, borders and technologies by examining the role of mobile digital devices in the everyday lives of migrants in transit and their encounters with state agents, humanitarian actors and activists at the border. The concept techno-borderscapes is introduced to rethink transit zones as sites of embodied and virtual interactions that highlight the connections among digital securitisation, humanitarianism and activism. Confronted with increased border securitisation, migrants use mobile technologies to bypass borders, create new forms of migrant-to-migrant protection and assistance, and articulate their political voice. Border spaces are not just ‘in-between’ zones along a unidirectional migratory trajectory but rather transformative and transforming techno-borderscapes.
|Missing Pages of European History||Seminars and Colloquia||Ivan VejvodaTeresa Reiter||
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, it is equally true that Europeans made decisions that affected the Western Balkans negatively, too. However, when European history is discussed in the context of the European Union, it is usually mainly about how the treaties were negotiated, how the European institutions developed, and about the vision of the leaders who envisaged the European Union. There are pages missing from the European history book. Arguably, this approach of not dealing with its own role, interests and past with the Western Balkans could be seen as having a negative impact on the enlargement policy the European Union is pursuing today.
|Czernowitz as a Cultural Palimpsest||Seminars and Colloquia||Clemena AntonovaIgor Pomerantsev||
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 another epoch.
|Judges Under Pressure||Seminars and Colloquia||Ivan VejvodaJudy Dempsey||
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 combat the rampant corruption for the weak rule of law and for the constant interference by the political elites in the judiciary.
Since 1989, the country's transformation has been long, complicated and delayed by vested interests and indeed the old guard. Its history and culture do play a role in delaying the transformation. But the past cannot be used as an excuse to postpone a long overdue institutionalization of the rule of law and make the judiciary genuinely independent.
As for Poland, it was supposed to be a kind of model for other countries making the transformation from communism to democracy. But since 2005, a year after Poland joined the European Union, Law and Justice, a nationalist, conservative party, has been doing everything possible to overturn the gains of the post-1989 period.
Its first stint in power was too short-lived for the party to achieve its goal: adapting the law to implement its agenda. But since 2015, it has chiseled away at the fundamental aspects of the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary.
There are a lot of "whys" with regard to what is happening in Poland and Romania. This will be the topic of my presentation on 4 November.
|Letters to Enver Hoxha||Seminars and Colloquia||Nikolai AntoniadisMiloš Vec||
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 world in which the Party was in control of all aspects of life – a national trauma that has not been addressed to this day.
|People of the Mountain||Seminars and Colloquia||Ivan VejvodaKapka Kassabova||
For millennia, the people of the Mesta Valley have lived in an intimate relationship with their environment. Kapka Kassabova's 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 of the collapse of the planned economy, environmental degradation during and after Communism, migration, endemic state corruption, climate change, and a generational shift from a traditional, agricultural way of life towards a globalised, digitalised, uprooted way of life. His focus is on the Pomak (indigenous Muslim) and mixed villages here. An interesting phenomenon can be observed: permanent emigration is rare. These communities are held together by invisible factors that cannot be accounted for by pure economics.
The villages of the Mesta Valley are remarkable for several things: their exceptionally rich biosphere where some of Europe’s cleanest foods, animals, and medicinal herbs thrive; their rich tradition of cultural syncretism; their existential endurance in the face of trauma, and the fact that they export the greatest amount of cheap seasonal labour to Western Europe – the fruit pickers, planters, and builders on whom the wealthier European economies depend.
|Homo Itinerans||Lecture||Alessandro MonsuttiAyşe ÇağlarShalini Randeria||
Afghan society has been indelibly marked in by war and the exodus of a large part of its population. But it also characterized by the presence of innumerable international and nongovernmental organizations, as well as armed forces from many countries. Adopting mobility as an analytical key, and mindful of the significance of analysing processes and phenomena across scales, Alessandro Monsutti presented a global though intimate ethnography of Afghanistan based on my new book that offers a decentered perspective on the contemporary world.
|Learning From the Prespa Agreement||Seminars and Colloquia||Ioannis ArmakolasIvan Vejvoda||
The Macedonia name dispute, one of the very first disputes 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, because the name dispute was broadly seen internationally as an incomprehensible spat, without fully grasping the high emotional load and the significant political stakes in both countries, not enough attention has been paid to the complex process leading to the settling of the dispute and to the challenges of a demanding implementation process.
|US Elections 2020||Panels and Discussions||Ivan Vejvoda||
Speakers: Ivan Vejvoda
Series: Panels and Discussions
The election of Donald Trump as 45th president of the US four years ago was a sea change in many ways, but above all a sign of rising populism and a changing world order. His tenure has unsettled the transatlantic relationship, questioned the nature of multilateralism by insisting on transactional relations, doubted the need for NATO. In recent months, not only the fight against the coronavirus, but also the newly inflamed debate on structural racism have dominated the country’s domestic political discourse, which has generated global resonance far beyond the borders of the US.