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Tr@nsit Online

Tr@nsit was the online sister journal of Transit, published until 2017. Here, authors, fellows and friends of the IWM offered further articles, reflections and comments related to ongoing research and debates at the Institute.

From Theresienstadt to Santa Teresa: The Inexpressible in the Last Novels of W.G. Sebald and Roberto Bolaño

The designation “last novel” has a different meaning for Austerlitz by W.G. Sebald and for 2666 by Roberto Bolaño. That difference stems from the extent of the author’s personal awareness of what was coming.

20 Lessons from the 20th Century

Americans are no wiser than the Europeans who saw democracy yield to fascism, Nazism, or communism. Our one advantage is that we might learn from their experience. Now is a good time to do so. Here are twenty lessons from the twentieth century, adapted to the circumstances of today.

Trump, Contemporary Fascisms and the Acquiescence of the Left

Author: Andrew Brandel
For those of us whose lives and work have existed under the shadows of European fascism and its responses, a surging populism – vitriolic, racist, misogynistic, indeed monstrous and ubuesque – has given us much to fear. Many have wondered aloud, as radical Right parties have claimed seats in continental parliaments, the United Kingdom passed a referendum to secede from a legal union in Europe, and the United States elected a boisterous, ego-maniacal and overtly hateful agitator to its highest elected office, whether we were now witnessing the catastrophic return of fascism; perhaps, as Marx prophesized, as farce, but certainly no less dangerous and aided by the advent of terrible new technologies of mass devastation.

Der Eurozentrismus und seine Widersacher: Kritische Bemerkungen zu einer unfruchtbaren Kontroverse

Mein Thema ist der Eurozentrismus als geschichtliches Phänomen und als Gegenstand einer nicht immer angemessenen Kritik. Es geht um Grenzen, Grenzziehungen und Grenzüberschreitungen, d.h. um verschiedene Aspekte der kulturellen Selbstkonstitution menschlicher Gesellschaften. Wenn es den Eurozentrismus überhaupt gibt, hat er mit verkürzenden Grenzziehungen und verweigerten Grenzüberschreitungen zu tun. Anders ausgedrückt: Es handelt sich um einseitige Abgrenzungen und Selbstverabsolutierungen gegenüber der aussereuropäischen Welt im Allgemeinen und den anderen eurasischen Kulturwelten im Besonderen. Diesen ganz vage formulierten Vorgriff müssen wir aber auf einen konkreteren Zusammenhang beziehen.

Vienna’s War on Drugs: Refugee Crises and the Recriminalization of Narcotics

Vienna is awash in drug dealers. Since the beginning of the year, when a reform to the criminal code rebalancing the treatment of habitual criminals inadvertently made it more difficult to arrest drug dealers, people selling drugs have been a conspicuous part of the urban landscape.

Self-Reflection Through the Visual: Notes on Some Maidan Documentaries

Maidan happened in multiple spaces. Just as it unfolded in historically real urban space, it also took place in the media space, including on multiple screens. Today, the events of 2013-14 in Kyiv are already history, yet Maidan, to some degree, continues its on-screen existence in numerous documentaries.

Where Do We Want the EU’s Borders to Lie?

The idea of creating off-shore ‘hot-spots’ for the hundreds of thousands of migrants making their way towards the EU’s borders is deeply troubling for a variety of reasons. The stated intention of such hot-spots would be to provide what has been termed ‘protection in the region’, saving migrants from potentially deadly sea or land journeys and exploitation by unscrupulous smugglers while also, crucially, allowing for the assessment of claims to asylum on behalf of EU states before claimants’ arrival on European shores and soil.

The Polish Presidential Election: A Victory for the “Radicals”?

Author: Magdalena Nowicka-Franczak
The surprise defeat of the Polish president Bronisław Komorowski by the Law and Justice candidate Andrzej Duda suggests a return of the reactionary and parochial politics of the Kaczynski era. Social scientist Magdalena Nowicka discusses where Komorowski and the Civic Platform went wrong, and whether this is a taste of things to come in the Polish parliamentary elections in October.

How Women Survived Post-Communism (and Didn’t Laugh)

Author: Slavenka Drakulic
The situation for women in societies caught up in the post-’89 transition is complicated, notes Slavenka Drakulic. On the one hand, they now stand to lose rights that were, at least formally, established during the communist regime. On the other hand, women’s position in society has been undermined everywhere in Europe – in East and West alike. The financial crisis has struck hard, and – as so often – women have been struck harder.

When Empires Collapse – Reflections on the Crisis in Ukraine

Author: Shlomo Avineri
Despite the many obvious differences, the current turmoil in the Middle East and the Ukrainian crisis have something in common: both reflect the problematic legacies left behind when centuries-old empires collapse and the successor states appear less stable and viable than originally imagined.

Russia’s Never-Ending War against “Fascism”. Memory Politics in the Russian-Ukrainian Conflict

Author: Tatiana Zhurzhenko
Seventy years after the end of World War II, writes Tatiana Zhurzhenko, the fight for hegemony in Europe continues – disguised as a conflict of historical master narratives. The beginning of the current round of memory wars in the post-Soviet space can be dated back to 2005, when the sixtieth anniversary of the victory over Nazi Germany turned into a loyalty test for the politicians of neighbouring countries.

Life after Death

Author: Hans Ruin
Among the unpublished papers of Jan Patočka, edited and translated into French by Erica Abrams, there is a short and unfinished piece entitled “Fenomenologie posmrtného zivota”, in French “Phénoménologie de la vie après la mort” (“Phenomenology of life after death”), probably written in the late 1960s. Hans Ruin takes this fragment as his point of departure for a reflection on the phenomenological problem of death, history, and writing in Patočka, Heidegger, and Derrida.