Slovakia and SSA Related Panels at the November ASEEES Convention, San Antonio, TX, November 20-23, 2014

ASEEES is coming up soon and as we usually do, we post here a list of all panels and events involving our members or the country that we study. If we have inadvertently omitted anybody or any panels, please let us know at slovakstudies@gmail.com

SLOVAK STUDIES ASSOCIATION SPONSORED EVENTS
Friday, November 21, 2014, 6:30pm, Rivercenter, Conference Suite 529
SLOVAK STUDIES ASSOCIATION BUSINESS MEETING

and

Sunday, November 23, 2014, 8:00am, Rivercenter, Conference Room 5
POSTNATIONAL SLOVAKIA
As one of the states that has gained independence since the fall of the Berlin Wall, for the Slovak Republic the 25 years since the fall of communism can in many senses be presented as a ‘new beginning’. Much academic scholarship in this period has focused on the Slovak struggle for statehood and on the role of nationalism within domestic politics, both during the split with the Czech Republic, in relations with Hungary and the Hungarian minority in Slovakia, and more recently regarding attitudes towards Roma within the country. In the light of this, the panel explores the extent to which we are now dealing with a ‘postnational Slovakia’ where national issues are a less prominent source of argument in political debates.
Chair: Susan M. Mikula Christie, Benedictine U
1. Power, Power, Power: Gustav Husak, The Father of the Normalization
Josette A Baer, U of Zurich (Switzerland)
2. Nationalism and Political Cleavages in the Slovak Republic
Karen Henderson, Comenius U, Bratislava (Slovakia)
Discussant: Martin Votruba, U of Pittsburgh
?
FRIDAY

Friday, November 21, 2014, 10:00am, Rivercenter, Conference Room 15
GOOD GUYS AND BAD GUYS: IDENTIFYING WITH 'US' AND 'THEM' IN CZECHOSLOVAKIA BEFORE AND AFTER 1989
This panel proposes to examine changes in values in Czechoslovakia, and later the Czech Republic, before and after the Velvet Revolution. All three papers posit that an important means of charting change is examining how a variety of actors create categories that distinguish ‘us’ from ‘them’. The first two papers will draw from oral histories to analyse the ways in which different respondents position themselves within this discursive framework. The third paper will discuss how these categories of ‘us’ and ‘them’ have been employed in cultural representations of the transition from the socialist era into postsocialism. All three papers ask how social changes following the Velvet Revolution have affected the ways in which groups and individuals identify themselves within these categories. The panel will suggest that there are striking continuities in the processes of identification with ‘us’ and ‘them’ between the socialist and postsocialist periods.
Chair: Chad Bryant, UNC at Chapel Hill
1. Us and Them, or Identification with the Political System - Changing Values from the Communist Past to the Democratic Present Miroslav Vanek, Institute of Contemporary History, AS CR Friday, November 21, 2014, Czech Republic)
In the period of real socialism, society was divided into the controllers and the controlled. Everyone knew who the enemy was: the Communist Party or the Soviet Union as occupier. Oral history research shows that people did not combat the regime openly, but rationalised their behaviour as far as possible. Keeping one’s distance from the communist clique is a topic which features prominently in oral history interviews. Respondents carefully observe the distinction between ‘us’ and ‘them’ (communists). Interestingly, the rank and file members of the Communist Party also differentiated between ‘us’ and ‘them,’ claiming that they themselves were not Communists but just ‘under the Communists.’ It seemed that the fall of the authoritarian regime might signal the end of the sharp boundary separating ‘ordinary people’ from politicians. This paper will argue that the feeling of alienation between ordinary citizens and politicians has recently resurfaced. Politicians are accused of characterlessness, of favouritism and of a high level of corruption, all of which greatly exceed the levels before the Velvet Revolution.
2. Czechs, Slovaks, Émigrés and the Right to Interpret the Past Rosie Johnston, New York U
According to émigré author Ota Ul?, relations between Czechs at home and abroad hit an all-time low following the Velvet Revolution. After an initial welcome, returning émigrés faced envy and bitterness. Czech blogger Vladimír Kroupa, meanwhile, expressed indifference to the complaints of returning Émigrés. Ul? and Kroupa may have been in fundamental disagreement about who was to blame for the bad blood\; they were in absolute harmony, however, in their use of categories. In one corner stood Czechs and Slovaks who had emigrated during the communist era, in the other, those who had remained in Czechoslovakia. Both authors drew a neat, and rancorous, line between ‘us’ and ‘them.’
In this paper, I will use media sources and oral histories to examine how Émigrés describe their relationships with Czechs and Slovaks following the Velvet Revolution, and vice versa. To historicize the discursive framework of ‘us’ and ‘them,’ I will compare recently-recorded oral histories with sociological studies and radio interviews conducted prior to the Revolution. Ultimately, I will suggest that those employing such terms on both sides of the divide are seeking legitimacy as interpreters of Czech and Slovak socialist-era history.
3. The Everyday Stays the Same? (Un)changing Values and Narrative Structure in Czech Literary and Visual Representations of Socialism Veronika Pehe, U College London (UK)
A number of Czech literary texts, films, and television series have attempted to depict the demise of socialism in Czechoslovakia and the subsequent transfer into the post-socialist period. This paper will propose that the principal structuring device in representations of socialism is the distinction between ‘us’ and ‘them’: characters who embody values with which the reader/viewer identifies, and representatives of the communist regime. How then are these narratives restructured once they move into the post-1989 period, in the absence of the framework of an oppressive regime? The paper will address this question by drawing on examples in particular from Petr Šabach’s 2006 novella Ob?anský pr?kaz (The Identity Card) and the Czech Television series Vypráv?j (Tell me a Story, 2009-2013). I will argue that both Ob?anský pr?kaz and Vypráv?j find ways of perpetuating their vision of a black-and-white moral universe of socialism, which is inscribed into their very narrative structure, even in depictions of the post-socialist period.
Discussant: Muriel Blaive, Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes (Czech Republic)

Friday, November 21, 2014, 1:45pm, Rivercenter, Suite 742
CREATING CARPATHO-RUSYN CULTURE: 1989-PRESENT
This panel will analyze how Carpatho-Rusyn language, literature, and culture have developed in the wake of the fall of the Berlin Wall and collapse of the Soviet Union. Elena Boudovskaia will examine the current state of Rusyn language in the Transcarpathian region of Ukraine. Nick Kupensky will discuss the theory and practice of Russian-Rusyn translation by two contemporary Rusyn poets. Patricia Krafcik will examine the convergences and divergences of two museums dedicated to Rusyn culture in the Presov Region of eastern Slovakia.
Chair: Paul Robert Magocsi, U of Toronto (Canada)
1. Who Speaks What to Whom?: The Status of Rusyn in Transcarpathian Ukraine
Elena E Boudovskaia, Georgetown U
This presentation describes the current sociolinguistic situation in the Transcarpathian region of Ukraine in relation to Rusyn dialects, the literary Rusyn language, and standard Ukrainian. Research based on observations and on responses to questionnaires provides new insight into the definition of and the areas of usage of these idioms. Tendencies for these idioms to become more or less influential are also examined, as is the possibility of Rusyn becoming a standard literary language for the region.
2. Translating Authority: The Politics of Translation and The Third Carpatho-Rusyn Renaissance
Nicholas Kyle Kupensky, Bucknell U
This paper will analyze the linguistic, poetic, and political tensions raised by the translations of two Transcarpathian Rusyn poets, Ivan Petrovtsii (b. 1945) and Vasil’ Matola (b. 1960), who in the wake of the collapse of the Soviet Union have translated the poetry of Alexander Pushkin into Rusyn. On the one hand, their translations can be viewed as acts of aggression towards one of the Soviet Union’s most canonical figures. On the other, we can understand Petrovtsii and Matola’s turn to Russian writers as a means of appropriating the authority of the Russian literary tradition in order to liberate the Rusyn literary language from decades of forced ukrainianization and demonstrate its linguistic and poetic autonomy.
3. Carpatho-Rusyns in Slovakia: Our Own Museum, At Last!
Patricia Ann Krafcik, Evergreen State College
In the wake of the fall of the Berlin Wall and the 1989 revolutions in East Central Europe, Carpatho-Rusyns throughout Europe rallied to preserve their living culture and language despite decades of forced ukrainianization, which had taken place in Soviet Transcarpathia and Czechoslovakia. After a prolonged period of uncertainty regarding the nature and status of the so-called Museum of Ukrainian Culture (later ‘Rusyn/Ukrainian’ Culture), established during ukrainianization in 1956 in the eastern Slovak city of Svidník--specifically, was it Ukrainian or Rusyn?--a bonafide Museum of Rusyn Culture was founded in PreÅ¡ov in eastern Slovakia in January of 2007. Both museums are under the umbrella of the Slovak National Museum and ostensibly represent respectively the Ukrainian and the Rusyn minorities in Slovakia. This presentation will explore whether both museums represent the same population, what kinds of holdings both museums contain, and what the role of these museums is today.
Discussant: Thomas E. Bird, CUNY Queens College

Friday, November 21, 2014, 6:30pm, Rivercenter, Conference Suite 529
SLOVAK STUDIES ASSOCIATION BUSINESS MEETING

SATURDAY

Saturday, November 22, 2014, 1:30pm, Rivercenter, Grand Ballroom Salon B
RECKONING WITH THE RED ARMY: POSTWAR MEMORIES OF THE SOVIET LIBERATION OF EASTERN EUROPE
The Red Army’s ‘liberation’ of Eastern Europe and the Baltic states from German occupation during the Second World War had a profound impact on politics and identity in postwar Europe until 1989/1991. For Soviet citizens, the liberation served as a foundation of postwar national identity and heralded the USSR’s transformation into a superpower. For Eastern European citizens, the liberation was more often a source of trauma, marked by mass rapes and other acts of violence. This interdisciplinary panel examines official and popular memories of the liberation from the perspective of both the liberators and the liberated, from the end of the war up until the present. The three presenters examine the history of memory of the liberation in three geopolitical contexts, using three different methodological approaches. Rachel Applebaum’s paper uses a framework of transnational history to examine how the legacy of the Red Army’s liberation of the Czech lands and Siberia shaped the postwar Soviet imperial project in Czechoslovakia. Mara Lazda’s paper uses gender as a lens to examine recent oral histories of the two Soviet occupations of Latvia (1940-41 and 1944-1991). Marie-Alice L’Heureux’s paper analyzes the role of memorials and monuments to the Red Army in Estonia as sources of support and resistance to postwar Sovietization in the Republic. The presenters will draw on a range of sources, including archival material, oral histories, and visual images.
Chair: Franziska Exeler, Higher School of Economics, Moscow
1. Friends Forged through War? Memories of the Soviet Liberation of Czechoslovakia
Rachel Applebaum, Tufts U
The Red Army’s liberation of the Czech lands and Slovakia from Nazi occupation served as both the foundation and fault line of the Soviet Union’s postwar hegemony in Czechoslovakia. This paper examines memories of the Soviet liberation of Czechoslovakia in the 1950s and 1960s, through the lens of official commemorations and the private memories of Soviet veterans and Czech and Slovak civilians. It argues that Soviet veterans’ gratitude toward Czechs and Slovaks for providing food, shelter, and medical assistance during the liberation helped undermine Soviet imperialism in the satellite state in the years leading up to the Prague Spring.
2. 'We had never seen such women!': Latvian Memories of the Return of Soviet (Re)Occupation
Mara Lazda, Bronx Community College, CUNY
The Red Army occupied Latvia twice: first from 1940-1941, and second at the end of the war until 1991. The core of this presentation analyzes life story interviews I conducted, published memoirs, and the recent work of the National Identity Project in Latvia. The paper will focus on how gendered language shapes these narratives, and how the expression of these memories has changed over the last fifteen years.
3. Contesting the Red Army's Liberation: War Commemorations in Estonia post-War to post-1989
Marie-Alice L'Heureux, U of Kansas
Because of their liminal geo-political position, Estonians fought on both sides of World War II. As early as 1942, Soviet officials intended that the Red Army’s 8th Estonian Rifle Corp would be used to continue to Sovietize "liberated" Estonia after the war. The first monuments and memorials to be erected in Estonia were those that honored the "liberators" of Eastern Estonia and Tallinn. Images of Red Army Riflemen were also included in many culturally important sites such as the ceiling of the 'Estonia' Theater and a mosaic at the Song Festival grounds in Tallinn. This paper demonstrates that these monuments were attempts to promote a narrative of cooperation among "brother republics" and the Soviet Union\; were at odds with the memories of many Estonians who resisted the return of Soviet troops\; and became sources of friction between Russian and Estonian-speaking Estonians after 1989.
Discussant: Anna Muller, U of Michigan-Dearborn
?
SUNDAY

Sunday, November 23, 2014, 8:00am, Rivercenter, Conference Room 5
POSTNATIONAL SLOVAKIA
As one of the states that has gained independence since the fall of the Berlin Wall, for the Slovak Republic the 25 years since the fall of communism can in many senses be presented as a ‘new beginning’. Much academic scholarship in this period has focused on the Slovak struggle for statehood and on the role of nationalism within domestic politics, both during the split with the Czech Republic, in relations with Hungary and the Hungarian minority in Slovakia, and more recently regarding attitudes towards Roma within the country. In the light of this, the panel explores the extent to which we are now dealing with a ‘postnational Slovakia’ where national issues are a less prominent source of argument in political debates.
Chair: Susan M. Mikula Christie, Benedictine U
1. Power, Power, Power: Gustav Husak, The Father of the Normalization
Josette A Baer, U of Zurich (Switzerland)
My paper is divided into two parts: I shall present a couple of critical questions, scrutinizing the concept ‘Postnationalism’ from the perspective of political theory. The erection of the bust of Ferdinand Durcansky (1906-1974) in his native Rajec in 2011 has led to a heated debate among the Slovak public. I shall present the arguments of the different ‘camps’ of the controversy and attempt to present a final assessment.
2. Nationalism and Political Cleavages in the Slovak Republic
Karen Henderson, Comenius U, Bratislava (Slovakia)
Throughout the first decade after Slovak independence, issues of national identity and establishing the Slovak Republic’s place in the European integration process played a key role in party political competition which distinguished both ethnically Slovak political parties as well as those representing the Hungarian minority. The paper investigates whether more commonplace economic cleavages now dominate the political agenda, with national sentiment expressing itself in debates not dissimilar to those elsewhere in contemporary Europe.
Discussant: Martin Votruba, U of Pittsburgh

Sunday, November 23, 2014, 8:00am, Rivercenter, Grand Ballroom Salon I
MEMORY POLITICS AND THE COMMUNIST PAST
Chair: Otto Floris Boele, Leiden U (Netherlands)
1. Émigré Activism and the Controversy over Ottawa’s Monument to the Victims of Communism
Gregor Kranjc, Brock U (Canada)
Dovetailing with this year’s ASEEES theme of historical legacies of the fall of the Berlin Wall, this paper explores the recent controversy over plans by the Canadian organization ‘Tribute to Freedom’ - an organization representing mostly East-Central European Émigré associations - to build a monument to the ‘Victims of Communism’ in Ottawa, Canada. What distinguishes this as yet not built monument from numerous other monuments that have been erected across the country for decades by Émigrés opposed to Communist control over their homelands, is that it will be built on National Capital Region lands (equivalent to the National Mall in Washington DC) and has received official support by the current Conservative government in Canada. This paper traces the resulting and very pertinent firestorm of controversy that has and will continue to dog this project, not least over the broad wording of the monument. Moreover, it will highlight the history of Tribute to Freedom (founded in 2008) and the much longer and critical role that East-Central European Émigré organizations and dissidents (including Czech, Slovak, Polish, Baltic, Ukrainian, Hungarian, Romanian associations) have played in guiding this project to its current state. Broader themes the paper will touch on include Cold War ‘triumphalism’, memorialization and memory politics, germane topics which bind and resonate across the Atlantic.
2. Reassessing History: 1939 as a Cornerstone for the Latvia’s post-Soviet Narrative
Katja Wezel, U of Pittsburgh
This paper discusses Latvia’s approach of coming to terms with its Communist past. It argues that this process was heavily influenced by historical legacies, such as the desire to uncover historic ‘white spots’, which could not be openly discussed in the Soviet Union. This was already evident on August 23, 1989 during the Baltic Way, when Estonians, Latvians and Lithuanians held hands together to form a human chain commemorating the Molotov-Ribbentrop-Pact. The Baltic Way, in which participated about 1.5 million people, was a strong sign that the Baltic republics had their own agendas going beyond Gorbachev's Perestroika. August 23, 1939 has also served as a cornerstone of the new Baltic historical narrative, claiming that Hitler and Stalin were both equally responsible for the atrocities of World War II. By placing August 23 in the center of their narrative, Latvians have challenged the Russian interpretation of World War II as the ‘Great Patriotic War’, in which Russians ‘liberated Europe’. This paper will examine why August 23 is so central for the Latvian narrative. Furthermore, it will address Baltic initiatives of bringing their narrative on the agenda of the European Parliament by discussing the Proclamation of August 23 as European Day of Remembrance for Victims of Stalinism and Nazism. The aim is to demonstrate which Soviet ‘white spots’ of history have been colored since Latvia's renewed independence, while highlighting which post-Soviet ‘white spots’ have newly been created by the change of focus in Latvian historiography and memory politics.
Discussant: Frederick C. Corney, College of William & Mary

Sunday, November 23, 2014, 10:00am, Rivercenter, Conference Suite 544
REGIME CHANGE AND FOREIGN POLICY IN THE CZECH AND SLOVAK REPUBLICS
The roundtable will be a spinoff from a soon-to-be-submitted book, Globalization and Regime Change in the New Russia and the New Europe, under contract with Rowman and Littlefield. All the participants except the chair (Miller) are editors and/or contributors to the book. The roundtable will discuss the impact of "regime change" (systemic or electoral) on the foreign policies of the Czech and Slovak Republics. Leff will examine the effect of governmental turnovers on Slovakia's quest for NATO and EU membership, and the dysfunctional consequences for Czech foreign policy arising from a series of weak governing coalitions. Peterson will discuss how both the post-communist transition and governmental turnovers have affected Czech participation in multilateral security missions. Evanson will focus on how the same post-communist transition and electoral turnovers in the Czech Republic and the Federal Republic of Germany have impacted their respective responses to demands by Germany's Sudeten German community, expelled from Czechoslovakia en masse in 1945-6, that the Czechs provide restitution or compensation for their losses. Remington will initiate a discussion of appropriate uses and analytical parameters of the term "regime change." A roundtable will work better than a panel in our case because of the overlapping nature of the participants' topics and our desire of an extensive discussion of our central concept.
Chair: Daniel E. Miller, U of West Florida
Roundtable Members:
Robert Kent Evanson, U of Missouri-Kansas City
Carol Skalnik Leff, U of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
James Walter Peterson, Valdosta State U
Robin Alison Remington, U of Missouri-Columbia?

Sunday, November 23, 2014, 10:00am, Rivercenter, Grand Ballroom Salon G
TRANSNATIONAL/TRANSITIONAL JUSTICE IN EASTERN EUROPE
Chair: Jeffrey David Kahn, Southern Methodist U
1. Prognosis Negative: Diagnosing the Collapse of Communist Yugoslavia
Mat Savelli, U of Pittsburgh
Radovan Karadzic and Jovan Raskovic - two of the chief architects of Serb nationalism during the collapse of Communist Yugoslavia - were both psychiatrists. This simple fact has become an oft-cited anecdote in discussions on the war in Yugoslavia with Karadzic noteworthy as perhaps the world’s most famous psychiatrist for nearly fifteen years. Their careers became a hot topic as news media interrogated former colleagues and attempted to track down past patients. Among psychiatrists, debates over their activities and their relation to the field served as source material for lectures and memoirs. Historians and sociologists of the Balkans have also zeroed in on their occupation in attempts to understand the unraveling of the former Yugoslavia. Even the Church of Scientology has weighed in on the discussion. Why did their professional status spark so much interest and, on some level, concern? Did they possess a special psychological hold over the population? Did their professional knowledge somehow allow them to harness repressed feelings of aggression and anger? Was it simply that their status as learned and respected professionals granted them an aura of authority? This paper explores discussions within academic, professional, and popular media regarding what sort of bearing their status as psychiatrists may have had on their political careers. It examines the myriad explanations which have been put forth by analysts linking their political and professional activities. Ultimately, it puts forward an alternative explanation as to how their professional status influenced their conduct during the collapse of Communist Yugoslavia.
2. Post-Communist Transitional Justice and the Politicization of the Communist Past
Vincent Post, McGill U (Canada)
The legacy of communist spying has a great potential to be a divisive factor in politics. Post-communist countries have addressed this legacy by adopting two specific and related sets of 'transitional justice' (TJ) policies 1) lustration and 2) file declassification. Do these policies mitigate this divisive potential, or enhance it?
I test two rival hypotheses: 1) that TJ policies addressing the legacy of the communist secret service contribute to limiting contestation over the communist past, ending scandals involving politicians' "skeletons in the closet", and 2) that TJ policies keep the issue on the political agenda, producing more scandals by revealing more new information, and possibly generating a demand for further TJ measures.
Comparing the Czech and Slovak Republics is the cornerstone of this paper. These cases lend themselves well to testing my hypotheses: while the Czechs were forerunners even in Federal Czechoslovakia, spearheading lustration legislation in the region, the Slovaks did not implement it. Czechs and Slovaks share a past under communism, but their approaches to this past could hardly be more different.
This study combines large-N media analysis with process tracing. The quantitative component of this research examines TJ effects on the salience of the communist past using newspaper data. The qualitative case studies rely on data from 72 elites interviews to provide a detailed historical narrative. This study will shed light on the effects of transitional justice and the role the communist past plays in contemporary politics.
3. International Law and Western Strategic Responses to Post-Communist National Self-Determination Crises: Yugoslavia and Ukraine
Benedict Edward DeDominicis, Catholic U of Korea (Korea)
Nationalism is a challenge to current trends in the development of the European Union’s Common Security and Defence Policy as an instrument of the European Security Strategy. In a multinational state, the respective national public perception readily emerges that the central political authority is biased towards different ethno-sectarian groups. Examples are found in the Balkans and in the former Soviet states, i.e. Ukraine. In the Balkans, irredentist tendencies among diaspora national minority components to join adjacent, titular national homeland states are strong. They produce tendencies in collective prevailing views that the international (UN/NATO/EU) mandate authorities have a bias against them in favor of the other. In the 1990’s, the international community did not demonstrate the political capacity to develop a diplomatic formula for long-term conflict resolution. In Bosnia, it would necessitate recognition of the right of Serbs and Croats to national self-determination but which would in turn require their respect for the self-determination rights of others. Instead, reinforcing and preserving the former Yugoslav republic entities was the formula of the international community that prevailed in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Little serious general concern with the right of national self-determination per se had its reflection in international community policy in the Yugoslavian case. Western strategy has focused on a low-cost effort to stabilize the regional situation by reinforcing existing republic boundaries. This formula has been discarded only if the nationalist political conflict nevertheless threatened escalation to link with issues of global concern, pan-Islamism. It contributed to the recognition of Kosovo as an independent state in 2008. This stabilization political strategy will not likely be applied to the Ukrainian crisis because of Russia’s vastly greater power capability and bargaining leverage.
Discussant: James W. Heinzen, Rowan U

Sunday, November 23, 2014, 10:00am, Rivercenter, Grand Ballroom Salon H
EASTERN EUROPEAN IDENTITIES
Chair: Dace Dzenovska, U of Oxford (UK)
1. Bulgarian Emigrants in British Cosmopololitan Cities
Mila Mileva Maeva, Institute of Ethnology and Folklore Studies with Ethnographic Museum BAN (Bulgaria)
The critical situation after the collapse of the communist regime in 1989 and the limited employment market in Bulgaria forced many its citizens to emigrate as a way to survive. In short time, they have created large immigrant groups in many Western Europe countries. In contrast to countries like Germany, Italy or Spain, Bulgarian emigration to Great Britain became a massive movement only after the accession of Bulgaria to the European Union on 1 January 2007. According unofficial data the number of emigrants from Bulgaria residing in Great Britain in 2012 is more then 150 000. This paper is based on an ethnographic field study in London between 2007 and 2013 and it is dedicated to present and analyze the adaptation and integration processes of Bulgarians in the UK. I argue that the actual process of migrating from one country to another involves numerous changes as a result of the new situation. The study shows that upon settling in a foreign environment, Bulgarian emigrants are strongly influenced by that environment (especially those living in cosmopolitan cities as London). It affects various aspects of their everyday life such as lifestyle, opportunities to communicate, social life, employment status and, last but not least, self-definition within the group and society. My study aims to present the strong influence of British cosmopolitan society and life on Bulgarian emigrant`s lifestyle as a way to integrate there.
2. 'A Day Spent in ‘Our Mountains': The Svidnik Festival of 'Rusyn-Ukrainian' Culture
Sarah Latanyshyn, U of California, Santa Barbara
As a student at the 2013 Studium Carpato-Ruthenorum International Summer School for Rusyn Language and Culture, I attended the 59th Annual ‘Festival of Culture of Slovakia’s Rusyn-Ukrainians’. Held each June at the festival grounds perched atop a hillside overlooking Svidnik, Slovakia, and adjacent to an open-air museum featuring a recreated ‘Ukrainian’ village, this festival provides a locus of intersection for Slavs professing Rusyn, Slovak, and Ukrainian cultural and national affiliations - performers and attendees alike. In recent years, northeastern Slovakia has been the scene of a rebirth of Rusyn cultural and national identity, a phenomenon distancing itself from older ‘Rusyn-Ukrainian’ or Ukrainian identities professed by the area’s Eastern Slavs. Why, then, does the festival at Svidnik persist in following the older ‘Rusyn-Ukrainian’ paradigm? Is Svidnik an example of the peaceful coexistence of the two affiliations? What role does Svidnik, as both a real and imagined place, play in these cultural negotiations? In this paper, I explore theories of place, nostalgia, and aestheticized productions of imagined ‘Folk’ and folk culture, parsing out the relationship between them. Drawing on philosopher Edward S. Casey’s phenomenological idea of ‘being-in-place’, my work engages previous scholarship in the fields of anthropology, ethnomusicology, historical musicology, philosophy, Slavic studies, and sociology, as well as my observations of folk festivals in Slovakia in June 2013, to explore the relationship between festivals and place. Slavicists and music scholars alike may gain insight into this relationship through discourses between the aforementioned fields.
3. Analysing the Meanings of Kin Identification in Moldova and Crimea from Below
Ellie Knott, London School of Economics (UK)
Much political science research regarding nationalism in Eastern Europe has failed to engage with everyday actors. In the field of kin-state relations, there is little focus on the relationship between kin-states and external kin communities, which share a sense co-ethnicity across borders, from the perspective of members of the kin community. Existing analyses of kin-state relations have focused on top-down perspectives, by examining only the state-level actors and institutions involved. Furthermore they consider only cases where kin communities comprise local minorities. This paper aims to fill this gap by presenting research on two cases of kin majorities from a bottom-up perspective which analyses the meaning of kin identification from their perspective.
Using political ethnography, this paper will analyse material gathered from field research with everyday actors. It will investigate the meaning of kin identification in two kin majority cases by examining what it means to be Romanian in Moldova and Russian in Crimea. The paper will discuss how there are many different ways of identifying with the kin-state, which blur the Romanian/Moldovan and Russian/Ukrainian boundaries, and indicate local identities to be more configurations of different historical, linguistic, cultural and political meanings.
Hence the paper will challenge existing understandings of identification with kin-states by demonstrating how mutually exclusive ethnicity categories, such as Romanian and Russian, do not work in these circumstances. By putting respondents at the centre of the research, this analysis provides a greater understanding of the dynamics of kin-state relations from the perspective of members of the kin community.
Discussant: Morgan Liu, Ohio State U
?
Sunday, November 23, 2014, 12:00pm, Rivercenter, Conference Suite 544
CONSOCIATIONALISM IN CENTRAL AND EAST EUROPEAN HISTORY
The consociational model of democracy has long been recognized by political scientists, in particular thanks to the work of Arend Lijphart, for its potential to facilitate stable democracy in societies that are deeply divided by ethnicity, religion, ideology, or other factors. Historians, however, tend to be unaware of this model and its implications for understanding the successes and failures of democracy in divided societies over the last two centuries. This panel presents the results of a joint research project bridging the gap between these two disciplines. By examining political institutions and practices in the Western half of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, it is argued that consociationalism has much deeper historical roots than previously recognized. Furthermore, the use of this model for interpreting politics in interwar Czechslovakia sheds new light on that period in Czech and Slovak history, revealing that Czechoslovak democracy was successful in ways that remain underappreciated.
Chair: Robert Kent Evanson, U of Missouri-Kansas City
1. Proto-Consociational Politics in Imperial Austria and the Institutionalization of Ethnicity
Philip J. Howe, Adrian College
This paper argues that, although never becoming truly democratic, representative political institutions in the Western half of Austria-Hungary had many of the characteristics of consociational democracy. Recognizing this has implications for our understanding both of the history of consociationalism and of Austria-Hungary’s successes and failures in addressing the ‘nationalities question.’ In particular, this reappraisal has important implications for current debates among Habsburg historians about national flexibility/indifference and the institutionalization of ethnicity, e.g. in regards to the Moravian Compromise of 1905.
2. Czechoslovakia as a Consociational Democracy
Daniel E. Miller, U of West Florida
This paper examines the characteristics that enable the Czechoslovak First Republic (1918-1938) to be classified as a consociational democracy using the favorable conditions and four components that Arend Lijphart identifies in his various works. Evidence will come from several sources, including the American minister to Czechoslovakia between the world wars, Lewis Einstein, whose observations provide an excellent composite picture of Czechoslovak politics and society long before the consociational theory emerged.
3. Consociationalism in Interwar Slovakia
Thomas Anselm Lorman, U College London (UK)
This paper shows that the consociational model explains how statewide institutions accommodated Slovaks and other ethnic groups in Slovakia during the Czechoslovak First Republic. It demonstrates how Slovakia preserved a de facto veto on policies and developed effective local institutions that worked harmoniously with the government in Prague, in particular through the development of the Provincial Office. Key evidence will come from the British envoys in Prague, who, in spite of their hostility to Czechoslovakia, recognized that it was largely successful in incorporating Slovakia.
Discussant: Mary Hrabik Samal, Oakland U