East Central Europe in the First Half of the 20th century: Transnational Perspectives

East Central Europe in the First Half of the 20th century: Transnational Perspectives

Project group “Transnational Contemporary History” at the Leipzig Center for the History and Culture of East Central Europe (GWZO); Institute of Contemporary History, Prague; Centre for Area Studies and Graduate School ‘Global and Area Studies’ at the University of Leipzig in cooperation with the Association Internationale d’Histoire Contemporaine de l’Europe
From - Until
14.01.2016 - 16.01.2016
Katja Castryck-Naumann, Verflechtung und Globalisierung, Leibniz-Institut für Geschichte und Kultur des östlichen Europa

The conference approaches the history of the first half of the 20th century in East Central Europe from a transnational perspective. In traditional historical narratives, these decades appear to be a period of nationalization and deglobalization, which is true for the region. (Nation)states such as Poland, Hungary, and Czechoslovakia were (re)established after the monarchies of the Habsburgs, Hohenzollerns, and Romanovs fell apart. Wilsonian idealism, promoting national self-determination, gained a fertile ground in East Central Europe. Not the least, the 1930s were dominated by the Great Depression, autarkic economic policies and nationalist ideologies of many regimes. Following World War II and in an ex-post perspective, these "national" lines of development were made more prominent so that the whole period appeared as a “road to war”. In this reduction other aspects of social development are marginalized: the continuities across the apparent historical breaks of 1914/18 or 1939/45, the openness of the moment felt by contemporaries after World War I, and the sense of the beginning of a "New Europe" in a "New World" after the break-up of the empires. A transnational perspective can help to see the region and the period in the light of these aspects.

Our conference focuses on the multiple changes of conditions under which people migrated; enterprises gained new markets; cultural exchange was revived; and territorialization processes were globalized. In the League of Nations, many specialists, organizations, and state institutions from the region took part in the formation of new supra-, inter- and transnational organizations; and the global interconnectedness of social and economic arrangements became apparent with the worldwide economic crisis. Processes of nationalization and globalization were not exclusive to each other but highly intertwined, as can be seen, for example, with the global regulation of the national minority issue - a problem that had been produced by the nationalization of states.

In an attempt to grasp these transnational and global dimensions of East Central European history, we have developed five dimensions that we have already applied to the region's late imperial history up to the First World War: economy, culture, international organizations, territorialization, and migration. They will also structure this conference.


Thursday 14.01.

12:30-2:00 pm: Opening
Frank Hadler (Leipzig): What is a transnational perspective?
Oldřich Tůma (Prague): What is contemporary history in the Czech context?
Matthias Middell (Leipzig) East Central Europe and the Wilsonian Moment in Global History

2:30-5:30 Economy
chair: Dirk Suckow (Leipzig)
Uwe Müller (Leipzig): Introduction

Žarko Lazarević (Ljubljana): Peasant’s debts in Southeast Europe in interwar period (cases of Yugoslavia, Romania and Bulgaria)

Roman Holec (Bratislava): Capital in the shadow of the policy. Business at the Crossroads of Central European Development

Eduard Kubu/Jiri Sousa (Prague): Between Autarchy and Liberalism. Czechoslovakia on the First World Economic Conference in Geneva 1927

Jaromir Balcar (Berlin): From Nazi War Economy to Soviet Style Centralized Planned Economy. Aspects of Business History in Czechoslovakia and East Central Europe in the Decade of Extremes (1938-1948)

6.00-7.30 Evening Lecture
Isabel Wünsche (Bremen): The Presence of the East Central European Avant-garde in the Great Berlin Art Exhibitions of the 1920s (title tbc)

Reception with wine and pretzels

Friday 15.01.

8:30-11:30 International Organizations
chair: Adam Skordos (Leipzig)
Katja Naumann (Leipzig): Introduction

Ondrej Matejka (Prague/Geneva): The constitution of a transnational “epistemic community”. Czech Barthians between East and West 1920s-1950s

Kateřina Čapková (Prague): Pitfalls of Minority Rights In East Central Europe. German and Jewish minorities in Poland and Czechoslovakia

Martin Kohlrausch (Leuven): The experiment of 'Ciam-Ost'. Urbanism and regional development against the background of postimperial structures, national agendas and the lure of internationalism'

Bartha Ákos (Budapest): Internationalized conceptions of national territorialisation? Foreign policy of Endre Bajcsy-Zsilinszky (1886–1944)

12:30-4:00 Migration
chair: Katrin Steffen (Hamburg)
Michael G. Esch (Leipzig): Introduction

Andrea Komlosy (Wien): From imperial to national scale. How internal migration became international after the collapse of the Habsburg Monarchy

Adam Walaszek (Krakow): Transnational aspects of migration. Polish Lands and Polish Diaspora in the United States 1870-1939

Andreas Fahrmeir (Frankfurt Main): From imperial to post-imperial citizenships. Implications for migration and migration control (tbc)

Friederike Kind-Kovács (Regensburg): Refugee Slumming. Budapest’s Housing Crisis after the Great War

Peter Bencsik (Szeged): Border regimes in the Dual Monarchy, Hungary and Czechoslovakia. A long-duree perspective

4:30-7:00 Culture
chair: Tanja Zimmermann

Beata Hock (Leipzig): Introduction

Sarah M. Schlachetzki (New York): International Style on the Margins. Wrocław’s/Breslau’s Architectural Modernity Beyond Regional History

Gyöngyi Heltai (Budapest): Budapest-New York-Paris-Berlin-Vienna. Transfer Techniques in the Theatre Industry (1930-32): The International Artistic and Business Network of Vígszínház

Fedora Parkmann (Paris): An example of interwar Czech-Russian cultural transfer. The Czech worker photography movement

Comment: Peter Zusi (London)

Saturday, 16.01.

9:00-12:00 Territorialization
chair: John Keiger (Cambridge)
Steffi Marung (Leipzig): Introduction

Iryna Vushko (New York): Lost Fatherland. Europe between the Empire and Nation States, 1900-1939

Catherine Gibson (Florence): Discrete vs. Thick Borders. Imperial and National Symbolic Geographies in the Belarusian-Latvian Borderland, 1864-1924

Reiner Fenske (Dresden): Imperial Societies against Territorialization. The example of the German „Ostbund“

Zoriana Melnyk (Florence): Territorialization under the Influence of Mass Mobilization in Austrian Galicia

12:30 Resume and Final Discussion
chairs: Jan Zofka and Katja Naumann

Contact (announcement)

Prof. Dr. Frank Hadler
eMail: hadler@uni-leipzig.de

Dr. Katja Naumann
eMail: knaumann@uni-leipzig.de

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