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  • CFP: 1956, Resistance and Cultural Opposition in East Central Europe

    Call for Publications The Hungarian Historical Review invites submissions for its fourth issue in 2016, the theme of which will be “1956, Resistance and Cultural Opposition in East Central Europe.” The deadline for the submission of abstracts: January 15, 2016.

    Since 1989, former socialist countries have been in the process of constructing and negotiating their relationships with their recent past, which includes their stories of resistance, revolts and cultural opposition. Opposition is typically understood in a narrow sense as referring to open political resistance to communist governments. We propose a more nuanced historical conception of resistance, opposition and revolts, expanding the concept towards broader frameworks of political participation in order to facilitate a better understanding of how dissent and criticism were possible in the former socialist regimes of Eastern Europe.

    Since the authorities tried to control public spheres and there were no opportunities for democratic public debates, several critical movements (democratic, Church related or nationalist opposition) decided to establish underground public spheres and declared open opposition to the socialist state. However, several cultural groups with no open political program (e. g. avant-garde art, alternative religious communities, youth culture) were also regarded as forms of opposition and branded as such by the authorities, and, as a result, they were also forced underground.

    Possible topics include:

    • Individuals, institutions, groups and networks of cultural opposition;
    • New perspectives of revolts (1956, 1968, 1981) against the Communist regimes;
    • Members of the “hard-core” democratic opposition, who were banned during the socialist period (including the world of samizdat publications, art movements, and non-official lectures);
    • Activities and networks of elite and intellectual groups of the opposition;
    • Radical and experimental theatre;
    • Underground and non-conformist youth and popular culture;
    • Religious groups and institutions and their roles in the opposition;
    • Cultural and scientific institutions, which implemented the research agenda of the opposition (e.g. research on poverty in the communist regimes).

    We invite the submission of abstracts on the questions and topics raised above.

    We provide proofreading for contributors who are not native speakers of English.

    Please send an abstract of no more than 500 words and a short biographical sketch with a selected list of the author’s five most important publications (we do not accept full CVs). Proposals should be submitted by email to

    The editors will ask the authors of selected papers (max. 10 000 words) to submit their final articles no later than June 16, 2016. The articles will be published after a peer-review process.

    All articles must conform to our submission guidelines:

    The Hungarian Historical Review is a peer-reviewed international journal of the social sciences and humanities the geographical focus of which is Hungary and East-Central Europe.

    For additional information, including submission guidelines, please visit the journal’s website

    The Hungarian Historical Review is published quarterly by the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Research Centre for the Humanities, Institute of History, 30 Országház utca, Budapest H – 1014, Hungary

  • Conference: Visualizing the Nation (Budapest; 27-28 November 2015)

    Budapest, ELTE BTK (Eötvös Loránd University – Faculty of Humanities) Faculty Council Hall, Ground Floor of Building “A”, Múzeum krt. 4/A
    November 27 - 28, 2015
    Visualizing the Nation. Post-Socialist ImagiNations

    While nationalism was expected to vanish in the post-Cold War era, it has instead returned with a vengeance, empowered by a renewed vitality. The spectre of nationalism is haunting Europe, and not only in the former-Eastern bloc, but also in the more affluent countries, which have been impacted by the economic crisis and mass-migration. This conference, however, mainly focuses on the Eastern and Central European region after the fall of communism with consideration of and occasional comparison with cases from outside of the region.

    It centres on the visual dimensions of nationalism, as nationalism is considered one of the most visual political currents. Yet conferences on nationalism, though abundant, hardly ever address this link. This one broadens the scope of interpretation, moving beyond an exploration of the political, sociological and philosophical aspects of the “imagined communities” of the present and focusing instead on the often overlooked but fundamental processes through which the nation is visualized.

    Art and culture have always played a prominent role in the nation-building process, as nationalism inherently speaks the language of images and presents itself via a plethora of vivid pictures, symbols, myths, and performative rituals. Dreams, fantasy and imagination, projected on the past and future, contribute to this. Its building blocks are moments of history commemorated by monuments (and counter-monuments) and propagated by an institutional framework.

    The four sections of the two-day conference are post-socialist nationalisms; nationalizing public space; on the margins of the nation; and historicizing the nation.


  • Presentation: Translocal Institute presents a launch of "The Green Bloc: Neo-avant-garde Art and Ecology under Socialism"

    Time: 25 November 2015, 7.30pm
    Venue: Translocal Institute, Dembinszky utca 10 II 33, Budapest 1071

    Participants in the discussion:
    Sándor Hornyik, PhD, art historian and curator, Hungarian Institute of Art History
    Katalin Székely, independent art historian and curator, PhD fellow at ELTE Budapest

    The Green Bloc: Neo-avant-garde Art and Ecology under Socialism by Maja Fowkes
    (New York / Budapest: Central European University Press, 2015)

    About the Green Bloc:

    Expanding the horizon of established accounts of Central European art under socialism, this book uncovers the neglected history of artistic engagement with the natural environment in the Eastern Bloc. The turbulent legacy of 1968, which saw the confluence of political upheaval, spread of counterculture, rise of ecological consciousness, and emergence of global conceptual art, provides the setting for Maja Fowkes’s innovative reassessment of the environmental practice of the Central European neo-avant-garde. Focussing on artists and artist groups whose ecological dimension has rarely been considered, including the Pécs Workshop from Hungary, OHO in Slovenia, TOK in Croatia, Rudolf Sikora in Slovakia, and the Czech artist Petr Štembera, The Green Bloc: Neo-avant-garde Art and Ecology under Socialism brings to light an array of distinctive approaches to nature, from attempts to raise environmental awareness among socialist citizens to the exploration of non-anthropocentric positions and the quest for cosmological existence in the midst of red ideology. Embedding artistic production in social, political, and environmental histories of the region, this book reveals the Central European artists’ sophisticated relationship to nature, at the precise moment when ecological crisis was first apprehended on a planetary scale.

    Dr. Maja Fowkes is Co-Director of the Translocal Institute for Contemporary Art Budapest. She has a PhD from University College London and is author of several books, including River Ecologies: Contemporary Art and Environmental Humanities on the Danube (2015) and Loophole to Happiness (2011).

    23 November
  • CONFERENCE: Avant-Garde Magazines in Central Europe (Budapest; September 17-19, 2015)

    Kassák Museum, Fö tér 1, 1033 Budapest, Hungary, September 17 - 19, 2015
    Registration deadline: Sep 11, 2015

    Local Contexts / International Networks – Avant-Garde Magazines in Central Europe (1910–1935)

    The subject of the conference is the ‘Central European avant-garde magazine’, arguably the most important medium of communication for progressive literature and visual arts in the region during and after WWI. Given the multifaceted nature of the phenomenon, the analysis will take an interdisciplinary perspective and employ several different approaches. The avant-garde magazine will be examined as a discursive space of avant-garde communication, as a ‘Gesamtkunstwerk’, and as a historical document. As the recent conjuncture in scholarship positions the art of the region in the international context, our aim is to draw more attention to the interrelationships between the local contexts and international networks of Central European avant-gardes.

    How did the different cultural and historical characteristics affect the ‘local’ avant-gardes of Central Europe? How are the avant-garde magazines of Central Europe related to each other? Accordingly, how could ‘Central European avant-gardes’ be described from the perspectives of Kraków, Warsaw, Prague, Bratislava or Budapest? Through detailed case studies, the conference will emphasize the complex and problematic nature of Central European avant-garde magazines regarding the questions of national/local and international/cosmopolitan. The conference includes monographic, thematic and problem-oriented lectures on current research on local avant-garde magazines published during WWI and in the interwar period.



    10.00–11.00: Plenary I

    Edit Sasvári (Kassák Museum): The Kassák Museum in Central and East European perspective

    Eszter Balázs (Kodolányi János University of Applied Arts): ‘Artist and Public Intellectual, Artist or Public Intellectual’ – Polemics of the Hungarian Avant-Garde on New Art, 1915–1918

    11.00–11.30: Coffee

    11.30-13.30: Session I

    Oliver Botar (University of Manitoba, Winnipeg): Moholy-Nagy: Art as Information / Information as Art

    Jindrich Toman (University of Michigan, Ann Arbor): Moholy Nagy’s idea of a Synthetic Journal

    Sonia de Puineuf (Université de Bretagne Occidentale, Brest): “Syntetische Zeitschrift” – Study cases Nová Bratislava and Nový Svet

    13.30–15.00: Lunch

    15.00–17.00: Session II

    Lucie ?esálková (Masaryk University, Brno): Artuš ?erník between national and media contexts

    Vendula Hnídková (Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, Prague): Styles of Styl – Platform for Czech modern architecture

    Przemysław Strożek (Polish Academy of Sciences, Warsaw): Chaplin goes viral – Avant-garde publications and the images of popular culture


    10.00–11.00: Plenary II

    Gábor Dobó – Klára Rudas – Merse Pál Szeredi (Kassák Museum): Curators’ introduction to the exhibition ‘Signal to the World – War - Avant-Garde - Kassák’

    Merse Pál Szeredi (Kassák Museum): The politics of artistic utopia – Lajos Kassák and MA in Vienna (1920–1925)

    Gábor Dobó (Kassák Museum): “Extraterrestrials in Budapest” – Self-description of Kassák’s avant-garde magazine Dokumentum (1926–1927)

    11.00–11.30: Coffee

    11.30-13.30: Session III

    Kinga Siewior (Jagiellonian University, Kraków): From aesthetics to anthropology – The concept of East in Zenit magazine

    Jakub Kornhauser (Jagiellonian University, Kraków): From repulsion to attraction – A long story of surrealism in Romanian avant-garde magazines

    Dušan Barok (Monoskop, Bratislava): Body of Thought – Artists’ texts and their contribution to theory

    13.30–15.00: Lunch

    15.00–16.30: Session IV

    Klára Prešnajderová (Slovak Design Museum, Bratislava): Two magazines with two different concepts – Slovenská Grafia and Nová Bratislava

    Michał Burdziński (University of Warsaw, Warsaw): How much did our graphic arts fly aloft? On defining the spirit of avant-garde pretensions in an impecunious world

    Hanna Marciniak (Charles University, Prague): The D Programme and the Czech avant-garde in the 1940s

    16.30–17.00: Coffee

    17.00–18.30: Session V

    Markéta Theinhardt (Université Paris-Sorbonne, Paris): L’Art et les Artistes: Revue mensuelle d’art ancien et moderne (1905–1939) – Central European art between modernism and conservatism

    Vojtěch Lahoda (Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, Prague): Global Art History “avant la lettre” – The Case of Um?lecký m?sí?ník (1911–1914)

    Lenka Bydžovská (Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, Prague): On the extreme left? The Dev?tsil monthly ReD in international networks (1927–1931)


    10.00–12.00: Session VI

    Piotr Rypson (National Museum in Warsaw): Tadeusz Peiper’s strategy for Zwrotnica magazine

    Michalina Kmiecik (Jagiellonian University, Kraków): The aftermath of Zwrotnica? Kraków avant-garde and its magazines in the 1930s

    Michał Wenderski (Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznan): Between Poland and the Low Countries – Mutual relations and cultural exchange between constructivist magazines and avant-garde formations

    12.00–13.00: Lunch

    13.00–14.30: Roundtable on the research of Central-European avant-garde magazines

    The conference is free of charge, however, for organisational reasons we ask to register in advance – before 11 September 2015 – via e-mail to

    The conference is supported by the International Visegrad Fund and the Centre français de recherche en sciences sociales (CEFRES).

    The conference is accompanied by the temporary exhibition entitled ‘Signal to the World – War - Avant-Garde - Kassák’ dedicated to the first avant-garde magazine of Lajos Kassák, A Tett [The Action] published between 1915 and 1916. The exhibition marks the centenary of Kassák’s ‘debut’. The Kassák Museum is the only thematic showroom of the historical avant-garde in Hungary. Its objectives in this regard are to reach a broader audience and to establish the museum as a regional focus point for research into the avant-garde and modernism.

  • CFP: Visualizing the Nation: Post-Socialist ImagiNations (Budapest; November 27‒28, 2015)

    While nationalism was expected to vanish in the post-Cold War era, it has instead not only survived, but returned with a vengeance. Empowered by a renewed vitality, it has gained a dominant presence all around the world. With respect to Europe, it became characteristic not only of the former-Eastern bloc, but also of the post-crisis life of more affluent countries. The present conference intends to focus on the Central-, Eastern European region, but comparisons with more established democracies outside of the region are also welcome.

    Nationalism in any form is considered one of the most visual of all political currents. It presents itself via a plethora of vivid images, symbols, myths, and performative rituals. Contributing to these are dreams, fantasy and imagination, projected equally to the past and to the future. Quite surprisingly, however, despite the undeniably visual nature of this social phenomenon, conferences on nationalism, though abundant, hardly ever address the visual dimensions of their topic. This one broadens the scope of interpretation, moving beyond an exploration of the political, sociological and philosophical aspects of the “imagined communities” of the present, and focuses instead on the often overlooked but fundamental course of visualization of the Nation.

    Nationalism inherently speaks the language of images. It offers sensual experiences, and a basic feeling of belonging, as conveyed by a multitude of cherished symbols, signs and elevated performative rituals. Its building blocks are moments of a shared history commemorated by monuments (and by counter-monuments of those excluded from the officially sanctioned memory of the nation), propagated by within and institutional framework. Thus, art and culture have always played a prominent role in the nation-building process. By subverting the assumed naturalness of national identity, detecting hidden elements, decoding messages and uncovering the mechanism by which nationalism impacts our daily lives, art has also been capable of disrupting the hypnosis and mass delusion produced by extreme nationalism. Socially-engaged, critical artists shed light on the operation of both officially promoted state-nationalism and on the privatized forms of national identity.

    Visualising the Nation: Post-Socialist ImagiNations is staged as a concomitant event of the closing exhibition of the Private Nationalism Project (at the Budapest History Museum / Kiscell Museum and Budapest Gallery, Oct. 27‒Dec. 15, 2015). At the same time, the conference intends to move beyond the exhibition concept of scrutinizing the process of internalization of national sentiments and attitudes to explore the issue of post-socialist nationalism and its visual aspects within a wider scope.

    The four sections of the two-day conference address the issues:

    I. Post-socialist nationalisms / re-imagined, re-visualized new communities / competing and conflicting visions / visualizing the conflict / subversive art practices / role of the artist, role of the critic
    II. Invading the public space in the name of the nation / forms of symbolic politics / rewriting history and memory / competition, conflict over the past / monuments – counter monuments / visual activism
    III. Re-nationalized cultural institutions and cultural canons / use and abuse of national symbols, signs of the nation / nationalized popular culture / institutional critique, critic of national institutions / art interventions
    IV. Exclusive versusinclusive visions of the nation / visualizing trans-, post-, and supra-nationalism / the enemy within and beyond the borders / minorities, large-scale dislocation, migration / dreams and nightmares / competing traumas

    Please submit a 500 word proposal of the paper to be presented in the framework of one of these sections, along with Curriculum vitae by September 6th 2015.

    Proposals should be sent it to

    Organizers: Institute of Art History, Research Centre for the Humanities, Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Budapest; Budapest History Museum, Kiscell Museum; Private Nationalism Project, Approach Art Association, Pécs

    Advisory board: Members of the Research Group of Critical Theories, Institute of Art History

    Organized by: Edit András, Institute of Art History, Research Centre for the Humanities, Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Budapest; Enikő Róka and Zsóka Leposa, Budapest History Museum, Kiscell Museum, Budapest; Maria Dentl, Erste Foundation, Programme Culture, Vienna

    The conference is supported by the Erste Foundation