Lecture: “Argonauts of the Eastern Bloc: Environmentalism in Slovakia after the Velvet Revolution”

Presented by the Slovak American Society of Washington, D.C.

A talk with Edward Snajdr, John Jay College, CUNY.

Saturday, April 9th at 2:00pm EDT 

ONLINE: To register for this event on Zoom, please visit: https://us06web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZEqfu2vqD0tHNxuKm2meG5GTgGUJUMO8krs.

In part two of the story of Slovakia’s nature activists, anthropologist Edward Snajdr continues his account of the rise and fall of environmentalism, based on his book Nature Protests: The End of Ecology in Slovakia (Washington University Press). Slovak greens transform from brave challengers of totalitarianism during the Velvet Revolution into intrepid proponents of ecology in a highly dynamic landscape of post-communist politics and society. Navigating through nationalism, consumerism, and democratic reforms, what it means to be ‘green’ becomes as much an experience of vulnerability as a defense of culture and a commitment to hope.

Edward Snajdr is a professor of anthropology at John Jay College, City University of New York. He studies social justice movements, conflict, violence, policing, and gender in East Europe, Central Asia, and the U.S. His most recent book, co-authored with John Jay College sociolinguist Shonna Trinch, is What the Signs Say: Language, Gentrification, and Place-making in Brooklyn (2020 Vanderbilt University Press).During the communist era, Košice and eastern Slovakia had a unique mix of ethnic, religious, and working-class elements. They all played a role – at times as agents, at other times as victims – at key points in Czechoslovakia’s history: 1948 (communist takeover), 1968 (Prague Spring), and 1989 (collapse of communism). Professor Mullins will look at the city’s Hungarian Calvinists, Rusyn Eastern Rite Catholics, and steelworkers at Košice’s Eastern Slovak Steelworks (today U.S. Steel), and explain how they were significant in each era. By examining these historical participants, she will show how Košice’s experiences during Czechoslovakia’s 20th-century upheavals were different from the experiences of both Prague and Bratislava.

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