|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.
|Who is Telling Us What? Why? And How?||Seminars and Colloquia||Alison SmaleIvan Vejvoda||
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 suit or reflect their societies. Just in the weeks since Alison Smale was writing to Ivan on her chosen subject, developments in the former Soviet space – in this case, Belarus, and its Baltic and Polish neighbors, and Russia and Germany over Alexei Navalny – have shown their power to surprise most outside observers, and thus to influence the world. Who is telling this tale, and how?
|The Problem of Religious Art in Modernity||-||Conferences and Workshops||Oleg TarasovTatiana Levina, Maria Taroutina, petra carlsson, George Pattison, Lilia Sokolova, Nikita Balagurov, Viktoria Lavriniuk, Thomas Nemeth||
Speakers: Oleg TarasovTatiana Levina, Maria Taroutina, petra carlsson, George Pattison, Lilia Sokolova, Nikita Balagurov, Viktoria Lavriniuk, Thomas Nemeth
Series: Conferences and Workshops
|Beach Encounters||Lecture||Amade M'charekMieke VerlooShalini Randeria|
|Hagia Sophia as Symbol and Hostage of Actual Politics||Seminars and Colloquia||Alexey LidovAyşe ÇağlarClemena AntonovaAyşe Çağlar||
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 most international institutions, appealed to Erdoğan not to go ahead with the plan. However, all the warnings were ignored and the first festive Muslim service was held on 24 July, with the country’s leadership in attendance. In this talk, various aspects of the conversion of Hagia Sophia, including political, religious, cultural and art-historical issues of this most significant event, were discussed.
|Eroding Trust||Seminars and Colloquia||Ivan VejvodaSrdjan Cvijic||
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, it is the lack of trust between the citizens and their government internally that stood in the way of the construction of a lasting democracy. Was there a political conspiracy to murder of Zoran Djindjic, the first democratically elected Prime Minister since WW2? Did a criminal network steal more than three thousand babies from mid-1950s to 2000, and gave them to illegal adoption? Is sustainable democratisation compatible with the unreformed security service and their monopoly on secrets? Is the mismanagement of the COVID-19 pandemic by the current regime historically unique, or can it be set in the broader historical perspective of state capture and disregard of the independent institutions in Serbia and Yugoslavia? The answer to these questions concerning Serbia can serve as an allegory for all of the post-Communist world’s untold stories that combined, offer an explanation to its shaky democratization in the last three decades. Populists and their outlandish conspiracy theories did not come from thin air. It is the lack of transparency and accountability of the mainstream governments that created reservoirs of disgruntled citizens thus transforming them in an easy prey for the enemies of democracy.
|Cossacks and Enlightenment||Seminars and Colloquia||Volodymyr Sklokin||
Speakers: Volodymyr Sklokin
Series: Seminars and Colloquia
The talk dealt 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. The mechanisms through which eighteenth century West European Enlightenment political and historical thought provided intellectual resources for both orientalizing the Cossack political tradition and empowering it were examined. Orientalist discourse was introduced by Voltaire, used by Saint Petersburg enlightened absolutists to justify the elimination of Cossack autonomies, and accepted by a segment of the local elite. On the other hand, Enlightenment political thought, exemplified in particular by Rousseau and Montesquieu, was used to go beyond traditional estate and regional particularism, to rethink the Cossack political tradition in more universalist categories of republicanism and to set it against Catherine II’s supposed ‘despotism’.
|The Compatriots||Seminars and Colloquia||Andrei SoldatovClemena AntonovaIrina Borogan||
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 spotlight of society because the borders got opened for the first time in many decades. People started moving in both directions – many of them were leaving the country, but some of the emigrants came back to Russia to capture the new opportunities.
|Philosophische Miniaturen||Visual and Performing Arts||Jan FreiLudger HagedornMichaela AdelbergerJakob Rendl|
|The EU Periphery and Revisionist Powers||Seminars and Colloquia||Dimitar BechevIvan Vejvoda||
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 and Southeast Europe. A contrast is drawn with the 2000s, the highmark of the European Union’s “transformative power” and NATO’s eastward expansion. But the top-down view highlighting the preferences and actions of big players, including core EU member states like Germany and France, Russia, Turkey etc. overlooks the critical role played by peripheral countries and their elites. Rather than being the object of great powers’ decisions, they manipulate rivalries in pursuit of political advantage. Though the domestic arena provides entry points for external actors’ influence it also empowers incumbent elites in the target countries. The talk drew on examples from Southeast Europe (the Western Balkans, Bulgaria, Romania, Greece) but drew parallels to the post-Soviet space.