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Research Colloquium

The Research Colloquium is organized jointly by the ScienceCampus and Graduate School for East and Southeast European Studies.


28 May 2020, 16:15, via Zoom

Hungary's Drift to What? Evaluating 10 Years of Fidesz in Power

Robert Austin, Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy, University of Toronto

In 2010, Viktor Orbán began his second mandate as Hungarian Prime Minister. For Orbán, 2010 was the real 1989 moment for Hungary. Since the “Revolution at the Polls” Orbán’s Fidesz Party has transformed Hungary politically and economically by winning super majorities in the parliamentary elections in 2014 and 2018. This new political system, whatever you want to call it, has been extremely controversial and often put Hungary at odds with the European Union (EU). Nevertheless, Orbán has persisted in his efforts to not only remake Hungary but also offer a new sovereigntist and nationalist agenda for other EU member states. This seminar evaluates the major changes under Hungary’s system of “national cooperation” and the prospects for democracy overall. In short, is Hungarian democracy dead and does it even matter for Europe’s future?

Wohin bewegt sich Ungarn? Eine Einschätzung der 10 Jahre mit Fidesz an der Macht

2010 begann Viktor Orbáns zweites Mandat als ungarischer Ministerpräsident. Für Orbán war 2010 Ungarns wahrer „1989-Moment“. Seit der „Revolution an den Wahlurnen“ hat Orbáns Fidesz-Partei Ungarn politisch und wirtschaftlich verändert, nachdem sie bei den Parlamentswahlen 2014 und 2018 mit Zweidrittelmehrheiten gewann. Dieses neue politische System, wie auch immer man es bezeichnen möchte, ist seitdem sehr umstritten und hat häufig zu Konflikten zwischen Ungarn und der EU geführt. Dennoch hält Orbán fest an seinem Bestreben, nicht nur Ungarn zu erneuern, sondern auch anderen EU-Mitgliedsstaaten eine neue souveränistische und nationalistische Agenda anzubieten. Dieses Seminar gibt eine Einschätzung zu den wesentlichen Veränderungen unter Ungarns System der „nationalen Kooperation“ und den generellen Aussichten der Demokratie. Kurz gesagt: ist die ungarische Demokratie tot und spielt das überhaupt eine Rolle für die Zukunft Europas?


23 July 2020, 16:15, via Zoom

On the Shoulder of Giants: The Figure of the "Transatlantic Emigrant" in Historiography

Heléna Tóth, University of Bamberg


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Previous Events

23 April 2020, 16:15, via Zoom

The lecture is available to view online on the Graduate School YouTube channel.

Die Ölsardine und Area Studies: Arbeitswelten, Fischkonserven und das Meer seit dem 19. Jh., Ulf Brunnbauer

In dem Vortrag wird sich alles um die Sardinendose drehen, ein unbesungener Held des Industriezeitalters. Ausgehend von der Entstehung der Fischkonservenindustrie an der Adria im späten 19. Jh. (als Beginn der industriellen Transformation der damals noch österreichischen Küstengebiete), mit Sprüngen nach Kalifornien und John Steinbeck ("Cannery Row", 1945) und zurück nach Istrien, will ich anhand des Allerweltprodukts der Sardinendose Arbeits-, Wirtschafts- und Umweltgeschichte mit den Area Studies zusammenbringen. Denn in der Fischkonserve stecken reichhaltige Geschichten, die uns die Folgen von technologischem Wandel und Globalisierung auf lokale Gemeinschaften besser vestehen lassen. Zumal: Wer wollte nicht schon immer wissen, worin das Geheimnis des Superfoods aus der Adria besteht?

Canned Sardines and Area Studies: The World of Work, Cans of Fish and the Sea since the Nineteenth-Century

Canned sardines are the focus of this lecture. They are the unsung heroes of the industrial age. Starting with the emergence of the fish processing industry on the Adriatic Coast in the late-nineteenth century, which marked the beginning of the industrial transformation of the then-Austrian coastal region, the lecture also leaps over to California and John Steinbeck’s Cannery Row (1945), before returning to Istria. Exploring this everyday product, I will use canned sardines to shed light on the worlds of work, the economy and environmental history, putting them in the context of area studies. Canned fish contain fascinating histories that allow us to better understand the consequences of technological change and globalization on the local levels. After all, who would not like to know more about the secret ingredients that make up the superfood of the Adriatic?

Ulf Brunnbauer, Director of IOS and Speaker of the Leibniz ScienceCampus, Europe and America in the Modern World, gave the opening lecture of the new joint Research Colloquium co-organized with the Graduate School for East and Southeast European Studies.


This was the first lecture in the joint Graduate School and Science Campus Research Colloquium. It was also the first test of large-scale use of video conferencing technology for our institutions. It worked smoothly and we were pleased that over forty people attended the lecture in virtual form. This included colleagues from universities and institutions in Spain and Croatia, as well as from Leipzig, Berlin and Munich, who might otherwise not have attended in person. The enforced shift to online communication thus has some benefits in terms of opening up our work in Regensburg to national and international audiences.

In his lecture, Ulf Brunnbauer outlined the significance of the history of tinned sardines and the related processing infrastructure and migrations for area studies. This case study can reveal the frictions and ambiguities of globalization through a focus on place-specific thick description. This approach opens up comparative horizons, enabling a global perspective on the divergent experiences of globalization without necessarily finding entanglements. The Croatian and American, both US and South American, sardine industries have experienced similar processes of encouraging migrant labour, outsourcing of production and being affected by environmental factors. But local and regional specificities have seen the industries develop differently. Whereas the North American industry has largely moved to Latin America, leaving traces only in industrial heritage as a tourist attraction, the Croatian industry is thriving but has moved inland, to draw on Serbian labour and also to relieve pressure from the tourist sector that has its eyes on the prime coastal real estate.

Ultimately, then, everyday consumer items, like tinned fish, can reveal some big questions addressed in area studies – and other comparative fields – related to globalization, such as labour migration, gender relations and job security, environmental history and sustainability, industrialization and post-industrialization, and the nature of global supply chains.