Our activities

Read about conferences, workshops, and other events hosted by the Antipodean East European Study Group.

Conferences and workshops

Conferences and workshops

Habsburg Bureaucrats: Beyond the State Apparatus
28–30 January 2022

Conference schedule

During the long 19th century, the Habsburg civil service grew steadily. The swelling ranks of clerks, inspectors, tax collectors, military recruiters, census-takers, policemen, judges, cartographers, sanitation officials, telegraph operators, and other minor officials did not form an entirely homogenous social group, differentiated as they were by educational attainment, region, rank, and status. They nevertheless formed an important social collective, characterized above all by literacy, but also by novel habits, values, cultural practices, and novel social circumstances.

The administrative apparatus helped bring all imperial citizens together in a common society. Their role in embodying and personifying the state at the local level proved especially crucial on various imperial peripheries, where civil servants formed the main link between villages or small towns with the imperial centre. Civil servants also represented progress, introducing into relatively isolated rural communities secular morality, hygiene, science, and myriad other social and cultural transformations sometimes collectively denoted as “modernity.” Like other middle-class professionals, they formed and joined associations, societies and social clubs, promoting charitable causes, local development, and other various causes imagined as conductive to the public good. As lobbyists for local causes, furthermore, they encouraged local particularism, spread patriotic sentiment, thus contributing to centrifugal political movements. Thus even as civil servants symbolized imperial loyalty, renouncing personal interests to support the state, they proved indispensable to the establishment of civil society, a force which successfully contested imperial absolutism, and contributed to the ultimate downfall of the monarchy.

Their complex role thus raises interesting questions that call for further investigation. Where did their loyalties actually lie: with the emperor, with the state, with their church, with their social class, with their particular Crownland, or with their imagined national community? To what extent did they obey the government’s directives, and alternatively to what extent did they attempt to modify, resist, evade, or subvert their instructions? Did they contribute, intentionally or unintentionally, to the spread of nationalism, or to alternate loyalties? What roles did they play in the monarchy’s social dramas, both in their working hours and when off duty? What were the cultural consequences of their unique role? How were they presented in journalism, belles-lettres, theatre, or other literary genres?

To explore such issues, Alexander Maxwell and Daša Ličen are planning first an online conference on 28-š0 January. The event is jointly hosted by the Antipodean East European Study Group at Victoria University and the Research Centre of the Slovenian Academy of Arts and sciences.  We hope it will be an interesting event!

There is no fee to attend, but if participants or audience members must register.  Your email will not be added to any mailing list.

We also have plans to publish. Howard Louthan, editor of the Berghan series of Austrian and Habsburg Studies, has expressed a provisional interest in publishing an edited volume on the conference theme. Participation in the conference does not guarantee publication: written submissions will undergo a review process. It is possible to submit to the edited volume without participating in the conference, and vice-versa. Unless told otherwise, however, we will assume contributors are interested in both the conference and the publication. NB: the eventual book will use Chicago-style footnotes.

28 June 2020—Perceiving the Roma in Central Europe

Central Europeans have framed Roma as a problem in many different ways over the past two hundred years. Ethnographers and linguists have seen a scholarly problem, seeking origins and characteristics. Policy makers have perceived a social problem, typically to be solved by assimilating the Roma population within the national policy, or excluding it. Both savants and policy makers, however, typically claim for themselves the right to see, know, or decide without consulting the perspectives of the Roma themselves.

This symposium focuses on how Central European actors have understood the Roma, probing their motives, preoccupations, objectives and conclusions. We are also interested in the epistemological aspects of what is sometimes referred to as Gypsyology: how exactly do scholars seek to understand Roma populations?

This conference took place on 28 June 2020 at the Kelburn Campus of Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington in Wellington, New Zealand.

27 June 2020—Pan-nationalist movements

Pan-national movements, such as Pan-Germanism, Pan-Slavism, Pan-Turkism, or Pan-Arabism, sometimes known as “macro-nationalisms,” have influenced the development of nationalism in many parts of the world. Hoping to restore contingency to the story of nationalism, we seek to liberate pan-nationalisms from the anachronistic test of subsequent state formation.

Pan-nationalists may not have achieved an independent state, but several did not aspire to. What goals did pan-nationalists actually set? What did they actually achieve? More generally, how did early pan-national thinkers imagine  the nation, and how did they try to further its interests? Scholars are also encouraged to consider the problem of reception: what popularity did pan-national movements enjoy? What limited the spread of pan-nationalism among potential supporters?

This conference took place on 27 June 2020 at the Kelburn Campus of Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington in Wellington, New Zealand.

13 July 2019—The politics of classifying linguistic varieties

With growing scholarly interest in the process of categorisation, it is timely to situate linguistic categorisation within the broader history of ideas. This conference invites case studies in the politics of linguistic classification that place linguistic debates within the broader context of political struggles. Selective reading of linguistic evidence can justify fanciful theories: what theories have caught the fancy of scholars? Since the politics of linguistic categorisation has many dimensions, its study can be pursued on several levels.

First, heated debate has often taken place as to how a given variety relates to others: the politics of cladistics and/or language trees is often hotly contested. Sumerian, for example, has inspired numerous claims, many of them outlandish, regarding its relationship to other languages; some apparently derive from the desire to claim a connection with the people who first invented literacy. During the nineteenth century, scholars debated whether Hungarian was closer to Turkish or Finnish, with many Hungarian scholars preferring to imagine their distant linguistic relatives as steppe-dwelling conquerors on horseback, rather than forest-dwelling hunter-gatherers. Claims to linguistic relationship are often taken to imply claims to kinship, and thus influence claims to indigeneity or distinctness.

A second type of debate has centred on the status of a given variety within a language family. The quintessential debate of this type is the ‘language vs. dialect’ controversy, where one group argues for the distinct languagehood of a variety, while another denies it: the first Czechoslovak Republic insisted, for example, that Slovak, now recognised as a separate language, was a dialect of a ‘Czechoslovak language’, and many scholars agreed. More exotic debates exist: during the heyday of Panslavism, scholars debated whether Slovak was a ‘dialect’ of Slavic, or a ‘sub-dialect’ of the Czech dialect of the ‘Slavic language’.

Such debates often serve as proxies for debates about official recognition: many states mandate certain rights and resources to minority communities with distinct ‘languages’; few states assign the same rights and resources to minority ‘dialects’, ‘idioms’, ‘accents’, and so forth. Efforts to Romanise Chinese, Soviet language policy in Turkic central Asia, and missionary Bantu linguistics all offer particularly rich fields for examining the bestowal or withholding of prestigious linguistic status.

Finally, the debate may revolve around the applicability of descriptive categories. While some linguists once emphasized the Dutch origins of Afrikaans, in order to emphasize its European origins, recent scholars have preferred to emphasize its creole aspects, in order to mirror the diversity of post-Apartheid South Africa. We particularly invite investigations of political claims to linguistic categories we have not anticipated. Is there, for example, a politics of tonal language pride or agglutinative language chauvinism?

The conference took place at the Kelburn Campus of Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand. The conference had no registration fee, and was open to the public.

25 August 2018—The boundaries of European national literatures

Patriots often express pride in national literature, claiming great works of art, or great novelists, as national icons. Literary figures may also imagine themselves promoting or embodying a national tradition. Whether novelists proclaim themselves national or are so proclaimed by others, however, the nation always has some boundary: as Benedict Anderson memorably put it, the nation is “inherently limited.”

Even literatures whose boundaries are defined by a national language may have fuzzy boundaries, since the relationship of the national language to “dialectal” literature may be unclear. This conference explores the limits of the national language, either through an individual author, a literary circle or literary tradition, or in the minds of literary patriots.

The conference took place at the Kelburn Campus of Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand. The conference had no registration fee, and was open to the public.

A description of the conference appeared as "Slavistické stretnutie na Novom Zélande [A Slavic conference in New Zealand]," published in the journal Slavica Literaria, vol. 22, no. 1 (2019), p. 139–140.

18 August 2018—Balkan urban experiences

Though frequently neglected in European studies, the Balkans, and South-Eastern Europe generally, remains a region of great significance to European history and society. This interdisciplinary workshop seeks to examine urban experiences in this region. How has the political, economic, cultural, national, and religious life of the Balkans been affected by urban environments? Alternatively, how have Balkan cities been shaped by the unique experiences of its peoples? Papers examining any Balkan city are welcome, and comparative papers transcending national borders are particularly welcome.

The conference took place at the Kelburn Campus of Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand. The conference had no registration fee, and was open to the public.

18–19 June 2018—Visual culture and conflict in Central and Eastern Europe

Central and Eastern Europe have been both the site of numerous local conflicts and the battleground of some of the largest conflicting ideologies of the eighteenth to twentieth centuries. The symposium aims to bring together scholars from a range of disciplines to examine how these conflicts in their various forms (such as social, economic, religious, ethnonational, imperial, and ideological) have been represented in diverse visual media (including, but not restricted to, painting, photography, film, cartoons, caricatures, museum displays, maps and graphs). Themes papers might address include:

  • How does visual culture contribute to or mitigate conflict?
  • Are there distinct Central and Eastern European representations of conflict?
  • How have ideological and regime shifts shaped representations of conflict?
  • Conversely, do visual cultures transcend ideological and regime shifts?
  • How have sciences like cartography, ethnography, and physical anthropology shaped representations of conflict?
  • How has visual culture been use to elide and disguise conflict?

We intend to publish a themed issue with a scholarly journal from the conference. Potential contributors may contribute to the themed issue without attending the symposium.

This symposium was hosted by the Centre for the History of Violence at the University of Newcastle (Australia). The event was free and open to the public.

10 June 2017—Music, culture, and society in Central Europe

Music and musicians played important roles in Central European cultural life. From the court to the street, from high literature to journalism, attitudes toward music became entwined not only with aesthetic values such as art and beauty, but also social and political values: the nation, monarchy, aristocracy, democracy, manliness, and justice.

This conference seeks papers that link music, musical performance, or individual musicians with social and cultural projects in Germany, Austria-Hungary, Italy, Poland, or the Balkans. We are particularly interested in historical perspectives, but papers with a more contemporary focus will also be considered.

The conference took place at the Kelburn Campus of Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand. The conference had no registration fee, and was open to the public.

11 March 2017—Understanding ISIS/ISIL

The emergence and success of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, popularly known as ‘ISIS’ or ‘Daesh,’ has had tragic consequences for people living in Syria and Iraq, but also aroused consternation and alarm in Europe, America, and beyond. This interdisciplinary workshop attempts to look beyond popular hysteria to consider the significance of the Islamic State for the Middle East, for the Islamic world, for Russia, and/or for the Western powers.

The conference took place from 12 noon to 2.30 pm in the New Kirk Lecture Theatre, KKLT 301, at the Kelburn Campus of Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand. The conference had no registration fee, and was open to the public.

7 July 2016—Nationalism as classification

Nationalism theorist Rogers Brubaker proposed as an object of scholarly analysis “the modern state’s efforts to inscribe its subjects onto a classificatory grid: to identify and categorise people,” and generally drawing attention to historical actors who acquire “power to name, to identify, to categorise, to state what is what and who is who.”

This conference explores classification and taxonomy as they affect nationality. Who classifies nations, how, and why? How are taxonomies imposed or resisted? How do national taxonomies interact with racial, linguistic, civilisational, or other taxonomies? We are interested both comparative analyses of nationalist taxonomies or case studies of individual taxonomisers. Send an abstract to: Alexander Maxwell: alexander.maxwell@vuw.ac.nz

The conference took place at the Kelburn Campus of Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand.The conference had no registration fee, and was open to the public.

The results of this conference were later published as a themed issue of the journal Nationalities Papers. The special issue contained the following articles:

Nationalities Papers has been ranked Q1 for history in the “SCImago” journal rankings every year since 1999.

5 July 2016—Historical practices of civic nationalism

This workshop critically examined the concept of civic nationalism as a potentially useful analytical category in nationalism research, and investigated the historical practices of civic or at least quasi-civic nationalisms from around the globe. Which strategies did multi-ethnic and multi-cultural nation-states pursue in the past to foster national sentiment? Can their example offer useful lessons to contemporary democratic nation-states for successfully integrating immigrant populations? Which processes of “Othering” have characterised civic nationalisms?

This conference ultimately inspired Japer Trautsch to edit the volume Civic Nationalisms in Global Perspective (London: Routledge, 2019). The conference took place at the Kelburn Campus of Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand. The conference had no registration fee, and was open to the public.

9 May 2016—Evolving institutions in Ukraine

In recent years, the modern Ukrainian state has once again become a topic of international interest. Civil and economic unrest have disrupted many elements of life, both for Ukrainian citizens and their international relationships. Current scholarship examining these socio-political developments draws heavily on post-Soviet studies, encompassing notions of soft power, cultural hegemony and centrally-planned economies. Key themes in contemporary considerations build on these common themes to investigate economic development, international relations, ethnic separatism and nationalism, and media and security studies, drawing together findings from across Ukrainian history and society.

The conference took place in AM 101 at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand, thanks to the generous support of the National Centre for Research on Europe at Canterbury University, part of the New Zealand European Studies Network. The conference had no registration fee, and was open to the public.

28 March 2015—Revolution and repression in the Arab world

The 2011 “Arab Spring” sparked dramatic political transformations in several Arab countries, with widely varying results. Tunisia and Egypt held remarkably free elections, while Libya and Syria collapsed into violent civil conflict. As of January 2015, Tunisia appears to have provisionally made a successful transition to democratic government. In Syria, meanwhile, the Islamic State, according to German journalist Jürgen Todenhöfer, aspires to "kill all Muslims who recognise Democracy." We seek papers exploring the politics of revolution and repression in the contemporary Arab World, broadly understood.

The conference took place in OK 406 (the Wood Seminar room) at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand. The conference had no registration fee, and was open to the public.

5 February 2015—International norms and East European nations

Timothy Garton Ash notoriously claimed that the collapse of Communism in East-Central Europe brought forth “no fundamentally new ideas on the big questions of politics, law, and international relations.” All too often, scholars examine the region’s post-Communist “transition” by asking whether countries have or have not accepted or implemented institutions or values originally developed in Western Europe or North America. Eastern European nations, however, have their own aspirations rooted in domestic history and traditions.

The garments of progress and democracy must be tailor-made: one size does not fit all. While local elites may also pursue illiberal policies under the banner of local peculiarity, they may rightly detect imperial self-interest sanctimoniously posing as progress or “international norms.”

The conference took place in OK 406 (the Wood Seminar room) at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand. The organisers were Alexander Maxwell and Wenwen Shen. The conference had no registration fee, and was open to the public.

Guest lectures

10 July 2019—Hugh Agnew

(Eliott School of International Affairs, George Washington University, Washington DC)

“Performance as Politics: Laying the Cornerstones for the Czech National Theater, May 16, 1868”

Nineteenth-century Czech nationalists deployed a highly developed language of symbol and ritual in the political performances to protest the Compromise of 1867. They asserted the status of the Kingdom of Bohemia as the equal of Hungary within the composite Habsburg realm, and simultaneously as a Czech state. One of the most significant single events among these acts of protest was the elaborate celebration of the laying of the foundation stones for the Czech National Theater on May 16, 1868. Combining popular pilgrimage, historical re-enactment, masonic ritual, and formal banquet, the festivities constituted a multifaceted performance. The cornerstone festivities helped fix in Czech nationalist practice the symbolic and ritual elements that served these ends, and their fiftieth anniversary was marked even during the waning months of the First World War.

7 February 2019—René Moehrle

(University of Trier)

“The Ambivalence of Trieste: Between Multi-Ethnicity and Radical Fascism”

Mussolini visited Trieste three times before rising to power, studying the success of the local movement. Trieste then hosted the third largest Jewish Community in Italy and important local fascists were Jews. Anti-Semitic measures in Trieste increased since the early 1930s. In 1938, Mussolini visited Trieste to declare Jews enemies of Italian fascism in his only public speech on this topic. The German occupation of Italy in 1943 turned Trieste into the capital of the Adriatic Coastland, a special military operation zone governed by SS generals Friedrich Rainer and Odilo Globocnik. Globocnik constructed the only concentration camp south of the Alps with an incinerator.

This talk took place at 12.00 noon in the Wood Seminar Room (OK 406) on the Kelburn Campus of Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington. The event is free and open to the public.

13 September 2018—Julie Sardelić

(Marie Skłodowska-Curie Postdoctoral Fellow)

“From Temporary Protection to Transit Migration: Responses to Refugee Crises in the Balkans”

Countries in the Western Balkans have faced several refugee crises. In the 1990s, refugee crises resulted from the disintegration of Yugoslavia. Between the summer of 2015 and early 2016, the European continent faced another refugee crisis due to the ongoing civil war in Syria. During the 2015/16 refugee crisis, different political leaders in the post-Yugoslav space claimed that their humanitarian approach towards refugees was based on their previous experience from the 1990s.

This paper explores and compares legal and political responses of five countries along the Western Balkan route: three European Union Member States (Austria, Slovenia and Croatia) and two EU candidate countries (Serbia and North Macedonia). The Temporary Protection Directive, an EU law developed during the Yugoslav refugee crisis has faced ambivalent application during the 2015/16 refugee crisis. National legislation has also changed: the main approach adopted during the Yugoslav crisis emphasised temporary protection, while in 2015/2016 the main approach concerns ‘transit migration.’

This talk took place on 13 September at 12.00 noon in the Wood Seminar Room (OK 406) on the Kelburn Campus of Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington. The event was free and open to the public.

Events from 2014 and earlier

13 September 2014—Ukraine: historic legacies

The Republic of Ukraine won general recognition as an independent state after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. Nevertheless, the history of the Ukrainian state and of the Ukrainian people goes back much further. This conference attempted to highlight themes in Ukrainian history that shed light on contemporary concerns, and particularly the recent crisis in Crimea and the eastern Provinces.

The conference took place in OK 406 (the Wood Seminar room) at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand. The conference had no registration fee, and was open to the public.

2 July 2013—The Czechs and their neighbors in the twentieth century

The First Czechoslovak Republic, while heralded as a triumph of Wilsonian peacemaking after its founding, proved no more immune from nationalist tensions than its predecessor, the Austro-Hungarian monarchy. The state’s official census recognised sizeable Russian, Polish, German, Hungarian and Jewish populations; the majority ‘Czechoslovak’ ethnicity additionally masked the particularist loyalties of Slovaks, Silesians, and arguably Moravians, Chodové, Roma, and so forth. This workshop considered the relationship between Czechs and their neighbours. Papers in the provisional schedule examine the Czech relationship to Germans, Lusatian-Sorbs, Rusyns, and Jews. It took place immediately before the AAEH ‘Faultlines’ conference in Wellington.

The conference took place in OK 406 (the Wood Seminar room) at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand. The conference had no registration fee, and was open to the public.

Selected papers were published in the New Zealand Slavonic Journal, vol. 46 (2012). Geoffrey Brown wrote about Czech perceptions of Rusyns in Transcarpathia. Alexander Maxwell wrote about Sorbian Czechoslovakism before and during the 1848 Revolution . Ursula Stohler (Charles University, Prague) wrote about the Czech reception of the German woman writer Luise Mühlbach. Matthew Vink wrote about competing German and Czech claims to national self-determination after the First World War.

8 September 2012—Tonics, elixirs, and poisons: psychoactive substances in European history and culture

Psychoactive substances, whether narcotics, stimulants, or hallucinogens, affect their users as individuals, yet their social context informs their cultural significance. At different times and in different places, different substances have become a locus of fascination or anxiety, praise, or opprobrium, patriotism or prohibition. We seek papers examining psychoactive substances in a specific cultural context.

How, when, and why did substances such as alcohol, caffeine, cannabis, cocaine, opium, tea, and tobacco acquire the cultural meanings that they did? How have consumers of psychoactive substances crossed the border between medical and recreational use, and how has society responded to any perceived transgressions? How have these substances been represented in literary, journalistic, legal, or scientific texts?

The conference took place in von Zedlitz 606 at the Kelburn Campus of Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University in Wellington. The conference had no registration fee, and was open to the public.

Selected papers were published in the journal Central Europe , vol. 12, no. 2 (November 2014). Sacha Davis wrote about wine and modernity among the Transylvanian Saxons. Kostis Gotsinas (Paris) worte about heroin addiction in interwar Greece. Alexander Maxwell wrote about national alcohol in Hungary's reform era. Richard Millington wrote about literary representations of cocaine in German-speaking Europe. William Morris (University of Mississippi) wrote about opiates and leftist counter-culture in Frankfurt am Main.

11–12 August 2012—1918: National councils and great powers

During the closing months of the First World War, all across the former Romanov, Hohenzollern and Habsburg Empires, new ideas about legitimate political power flourished. Most political entrepreneurs drew rhetorical inspiration from either Wilson or Lenin: the slogans “national self-determination” and “all power to the Soviets” arguably characterize the era. A central institution of the postwar environment was the council, either a “national council” or a council of workers, peasants, and/or soldiers. Most were short-lived, but a few won recognition as a legitimate government. Councils responded to local political constituencies, but also appealed to the great powers, which could potentially confer legitimacy or even provide military or material assistance. This conference examined councils in both their local and international contexts.

Martin D. Brown of Richmond, the American University in London, gave the keynote address: “Perfidious Albion and the Making of Central Europe: British Foreign Policy and East Central European Borders.” Other speakers included Andrew Francis on the Yugoslav Committee in Auckland, Alexander Maxwell on the Lusatian Sorbs in Bautzen, and Matthew Vink on the Vorarlberg referendum.

The conference took place in OK 406 (the Wood Seminar room) at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand. The conference had no registration fee, and was open to the public.

17 March 2012—Nationalism and religion in Iran

Iran holds important lessons for the Middle East, for the Islamic World, and for the future of Nationalism. The Islamic Republic of Iran emerged from the 1979 Iranian Revolution, which Eric Hobsbawm memorably described as “the first major … social upheaval rejecting both the traditions of 1789 and 1917.” The extraordinary political role of Shi’a clerics in Iranian government and electoral policy make the Islamic Republic offer a unique laboratory for examining the confrontation between religious and national loyalties. The dramatic aftermath of the 2010 elections show the pressing relevance of the issues that the Iranian system of government poses.

The conference took place in OK 406 (the Wood Seminar room) at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand. The conference had no registration fee and was open to the public.

24 September 2011—Germanness beyond Germany

This conference explored how Germans beyond the core German region of Central Europe imagined their collective loyalties. Papers examined the interaction between Germanness and other political loyalties that can be credibly described as “national.” Papers considered both non-German regions of the Habsburg Empire and its successor states (Hungary, Galicia, and Transylvania), and German communities in the Pacific region (Australia, New Zealand, Tonga).

The conference took place in OK 406 (the Wood Seminar Room) at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand. The conference had no registration fee and was open to the public.

Selected papers were published in German Studies Review, vol. 39, no. 1 (2016). Alexander Maxwell wrote about Hungaro-German dual nationality. Sacha Davis wrote about Saxon particularism and the myth of the German East. Sabina Groeneveld wrote about the German colony in Qingdao. Christian Wilbers wrote about Germanness and belonging in the United States. Dani Kranz wrote about definitions of Germanness among Yekkes in Israel/Palestine.

26 March 2011—Sexualities and science in Eastern Europe

(Co-sponsored by the Russian Programme of University of Canterbury)

This conference examined the development of sexology and sexual psychology from the nineteenth century to the present, with a special emphasis on Eastern Europe (including Russia), the region which produced such “seminal” figures as Sigmund Freud, Károly Mária Kertbeny, Aleksandra Kollontai, Richard von Krafft-Ebing, and Leopold Sacher-Masoch.

Speakers included Tatjana Buklijas (University of Auckland, NZ), Aleksandr Etkind (King’s College, Cambridge, UK), Eduard Iskhakov (Ufa Law Institue, Russian Federation), and Shannon Woodcock (La Trobe, Melbourne, Australia).

The conference took place in Murphy 101 at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand. The conference had no registration fee and was open to the public.

28–29 August 2010—National bodies in Eastern Europe

Co-sponsored by the Russian Programme of University of Canterbury.

This conference explored the spread of nationalized thinking as it relates to the body. How did people in central Europe, Eastern Europe, and the Balkans classify each other in terms of national concepts? Speakers from Austria, Indiana, Japan, and New Zealand spoke about bodily practices, literary concepts of the body, national sexuality, and eugenics.

The conference took place in Murphy Lecture Hall 101 (MY 101) at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand. The conference had no registration fee and was open to the public.

Selected papers were published in the New Zealand Slavonic Journal, vol. 44 (2010). Alexander Maxwell and Henrietta Mondry introduced the volume. Takayuki Yokota-Murakami wrote about exiled White Russians and White Russian Jews in Manchuria and Japan. Michael Wedekind wrote about Ethno-Politics in Romania during the late 1930s and early 1940s. Linda Galvane wrote about Japanese-Russian mixed-blood characters in contemporary Russian literature.

20–21 March 2010—The ‘East–West’ discourse: symbolic geography and its consequences

This conference examined the rhetoric of “East vs. West” in various historical contexts and problematized its implcit assumptions. Twenty-one speakers from Australasia, Europe and America presented papers. Charles Ingrao of Purdue University gave the keynote address. A generous donation from the of the Polish Embassy helped make this event possible. The organisers wish to thank her excellency ambassador Beata Stoczynska. The conference took place at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand. The conference had no registration fee and was open to the public.

Selected papers presented at this conference appeared in an edited volume, The East-West Discourse: Symbolic Geography and its Consequences, published by Peter Lang. Sacha Davis ‘East-West Discourses in Transylvania’, 127–154; Vesna Drapac, ‘Yugoslav Studies and the East-West Dichotomy’, 93–126; Alexander Maxwell, ‘Bridges and Bulwarks: A Historiographic Overview of East–West Discourses’, 1–32; and Glyn Parry, ‘Conceptions of the East: Medieval and Early Modern Europe’, 33–50.

12 December 2008—Hungarians and their neighbors: conflict and nationality in Central Europe

This conference, convened by John Perkins, explored ethnicity in Hungary before the 1918 partition. Various papers examined ethnic communities in the Hungarian kingdom: Sacha Davis spoke about Transylvanian Saxons, Alexander Maxwell about Magyars and Shannon Woodcock about Gypsies (Roma).

The conference took place at Macquarie University, Australian History Museum, Building W6A, room 127. The conference had no registration fee and was open to the public.

4 October 2008—Polish culture, Polish experiences

Speakers at this one-day conference include Lech Mastalerz (Polish Ambassador to New Zealand), Eva Polonska-Kimungyui (Monash University in Melbourne), and Desmond Brennan (Canterbury University in Christchurch).

The conference was held at Victoria University of Wellington in the Wood Seminar Room (Old Kirk room 406). The conference had no registration fee and was open to the public.

Selected papers from this conference were published in a special issue of the New Zealand Slavonic Journal, vol. 42 (2008). Glyn Parry, "English Magicians and the Crown of Poland: John Dee, Edward Kelly, and Albrecht Laski, 1583–1585,” pp. 79–100; Alexander Maxwell, “Walerjan Krasinski's Panslavism and Germanism: Polish Goals in a Pan-Slav Context,” pp. 101–120; Richard Millington,Dissent in the Nation of Nobles: The Polishness of Joseph Roth’s “The Bust of the Emperor,” pp. 120–136; Filip Slaveski, “Competing Occupiers: Bloody Conflicts between Soviet and Polish Authorities in the Borderlands of Post-War Germany and Poland, 1945–46,” pp. 137–55.

Guest speaker events

All talks are free and open to the public. Unless otherwise specified, they take place at Victoria University of Wellington’s Kelburn Campus, in the Wood Seminar Room (OK 406). If you have any questions, contact Alexander Maxwell.

27 April 2022—The Nation and its imagined past among the Levantine diaspora, 1900-1936

David Hannah, Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

18 September 2016—Poland and Ukraine: can they replace Russia again?

Daniel Zbytek (former Polish diplomat, co-editor of Res Humana)

4 April 2016—Bosnia: looking back at a tragedy (Public talk)

Major General (retd) Peter Williams

7 October 2015—Searching for greener pastures: Ukrainian businesses’ views on the ‘Other’

Ruth Fischer-Smith

15 September 2014—Hitler and German history

Alexander Maxwell (Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington)

28 August 2014—Ukraine, Crimea, and the Crimean Tatars (1944–2014)

Tamilla Dauletbayeva (Central European University, Budapest)

27 July 2012—Science and nationalism in the Habsburg monarchy

Tatjana Buklijas (Liggins Institute, University of Auckland)

9 September, 2011—Poetic correspondences: Arkadii Dragomoshchenko and Lyn Hejinian”

Jacob Edmond (Otago University)

18 May, 2010—Stateless in Europe: legal faces of nationalism in Estonia and Slovenia

Caroline Sawyer (Victoria University of Wellington, Law)

9 March, 2010—Death to fascism, freedom to the people! The extradition of Hungarian war criminals to Yugoslavia

Gergely Galantha (Central European University, Budapest)

23 Feb, 2010—Integrating Macedonia into global institutions: the role of the Macedonian diaspora

Metodija Koloski (President, United Macedonian Diaspora)

10 Feb, 2010—Re-imagining borders: Hungary and ‘its own’ sub-regions

Robert Imre (University of Newcastle, NSW)

10 September 2010—Poland, Lithuania, and Ukraine: relations in the aftermath of EU enlargement

Des Brennan (Canterbury University, Christchurch)

25 August 2009—Film evening

Russel Campbell (Victoria University of Wellington)

We show and discuss his new documentary, “Sisters from Siberia” (Vanguard films, 2009). The film traces the life of Wellington City Councilor Stephanie Cook, who adopted Katya (9) and Nadya (4) from a Siberian children's home, and the family’s relationship to Wellington’s Russian emigre community. This event took place in the Wood Seminar Room, Old Kirk Building, Victoria University of Wellington. It was free and open to the public.

28 July 2009—‘Turkey for the Turks, Greece for the Greeks’: the 1923 Greco-Turkish population exchange

Gürer Karagedikli, Bilkent Üniversitesi (Ankara)

24 March 2009—Black shirts, red menace: Croatian separatist terrorism and the Cold War

Mate Tokic, Freie Universität (Berlin)

8 August 2008—National identity in popular music and rap in Slovakia

Peter Barrer (Christchurch)