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Research Colloquium

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

Details of past events in this series are outlined below. Thank you to all the speakers and all of you who joined us, contributing to lively discussions. The Research Colloquium will continue in the winter semester 2021/22.

Summer Semester 2021

15 April 2021 | 16:15

Negotiating Non-Territorial Citizenship: The Polish Consulate in Harbin during the Second World War

Kathryn Ciancia (Madison)

After the territory of Poland was divided between the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany in September 1939, a government-in-exile resumed the tasks of granting, removing, and revoking Polish citizenship in its consulates across the world. In this talk, I will reconstruct some of the cases filed by men and women at the Polish consulate in the historically Russian and Chinese city of Harbin, then under Japanese occupation, and trace the responses from local and central officials. By following the trajectories of both Jewish and Catholic applicants, the talk will explore how the criteria for citizenship intersected with ongoing questions of what it meant to be Polish, even in the absence of a territorial state. 

Kathryn Ciancia is a historian of modern Eastern Europe and associate professor of history at the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a research focus on Poland in the first half of the twentieth century.

6 May 2021 | 16:15

The Postcolonial and the Postsocialist Revisited, or A decolonial view of the post-soviet human condition

Madina Tlostanova (Linköping/Sweden)

Many works have been written on various specific intersections of the postcolonial and the postsocialist as temporalities, sensibilities and analytical lenses. A decolonial view offers additional angles to the picture introducing categories of the imperial difference, modernity/coloniality, the geopolitics and corpopolitics of knowledge, etc.  and allows to shift the discussion from the description of the specific regional histories to postcolonialism and postsocialism as current global predicaments and also potentially, as a dialogical space for the emergence of “deep coalitions” (Lugones) and global alliances for refuturing. In the talk I will focus on some decolonial impulses in the post-Soviet/post-colonial spaces and subjectivites in arts and social movements.

Madina Tlostanova is professor of postcolonial feminisms at Linköping University (Sweden). Her interests focus on decolonial thought, indigenous feminisms and feminisms of the Global South, the postsoviet/postcolonial human condition, fiction and art.

17 June 2021 | 16:15

Warum tolerieren Autokraten kritische Medien? Eine neue Theorie nicht-demokratischer Öffentlichkeit und empirische Befunde aus der postsowjetischen Region

Florian Töpfl (Universität Passau)

Die Mehrzahl aktueller sozialwissenschaftlicher Studien zu nicht-demokratischen Mediensystemen geht davon aus, dass autoritär regierende Eliten durchwegs darauf abzielen, öffentliche Kritik mittels eines breiten Spektrums an repressiven Maßnahmen zu „zensieren“ oder zu „kontrollieren“. Im Gegensatz hierzu argumentiert dieser Vortrag, dass kritische Teilöffentlichkeiten in autoritären Staaten auch als „Input Institutionen“ begriffen werden können, die für autoritäre Eliten nicht nur Risiken bergen sondern auch wichtige Aufgaben erfüllen. Nach einer Vorstellung dieser neuen „Theorie autoritärer Öffentlichkeit“ wird deren Anwendung anhand ausgewählter eigener empirischen Studien aus der postsowjetischen Region illustriert.

Florian Töpfl ist Inhaber des Lehrstuhl für Politische Kommunikation mit Schwerpunkt auf Osteuropa und die postsowjetische Region an der Universität Passau. In seinen aktuellen Forschungsarbeiten untersucht er den informationellen Einfluss russischer Eliten auf ausländische Medienpublika. In früheren Projekten beschäftigte er sich mit den Beziehungen zwischen neuen Medien und Politik in nicht-demokratischen Regimen, wobei der geographische Fokus hierbei auf Russland und der postsowjetischen Region lag.

1 July 2021 | 16:15

The Cognitive Empire and Coloniality of Knowledge in Africa

Sabelo J. Ndlovu-Gatsheni (Bayreuth)

Can knowledge be colonized? How is knowledge colonized? How do we decolonize knowledge? These three questions cannot be clearly responded to without an understanding of the cognitive empire. This is an empire that enables coloniality of knowledge. Therefore, this lecture delves into the politics of knowledge with a focus on introduction of the concept of the cognitive empire, articulation of its operative logics and its consequences. This takes us to the present global economy of knowledge and how Africa has been fighting for decolonization of knowledge. So, the lecture delves into what is decolonization and how it can be done in the present conjuncture, where there is turmoil within the republic of letters and the world of knowledge.

Sabelo J. Ndlovu-Gatsheni is Professor and Chair of Epistemologies of the Global South with Emphasis on Africa at the University of Bayreuth in Germany. He is a leading decolonial theorist with over a hundred publications in the fields of African history, African politics, African development and decolonial theory.

The ScienceCampus and the Graduate School are pleased to be collaborating with the CITAS Research Network KNOW-IN: Knowledge Infrastructures: Circulation, Transfer and Translation of Knowledge across Borders in presenting this lecture in the joint Research Colloquium. KNOW IN explores the interconnections between infrastructures and knowledge production and the processes of circulation, transfer, and translation they facilitate across and beyond borders. On 1-2 July, it organized the international workshop "Exploring Trans/Regionality: The Workings of Infrastructures and the Production of Knowledge".

Winter Semester 2020/21

5 November 2020 | 16:15

Literaturland ›Jiddisch‹

Efrat Gal-Ed (Düsseldorf)

Eine wichtige Antwort auf die Erschütterungen der jüdischen Lebenswelt durch den Ersten Weltkrieg war das Projekt der jiddischen Moderne. Hauptakteure der Gestaltung dieses Gegenentwurfs zu den bestehenden Verhältnissen waren die Schriftsteller; die Hauptrolle spielte die entstehende jiddische Literatur. Diese Minoritätsliteratur entfaltete sich weltweit quer durch die verschiedenen Nationalstaaten hindurch und im ständigen Kontakt mit den sie umgebenden Mehrheitskulturen. Wo sie existierte, war sie fremd, geprägt von der Spannung zwischen kultureller Differenz und transkulturellem Selbstverständnis der Autoren. Jiddisch-modernistische ästhetische Programme zeugen von der Bindung an Werte und Modelle der europäischen Moderne und zielten auf die Zugehörigkeit zur Weltliteratur. Doch dazu bedurfte es einer externen Stärkung, der Anerkennung der ›kleinen Literatur‹ durch eine europäische Institution. Dies geschah, als 1927 die staatenlose jiddische Literatur Mitglied des Internationalen PEN-Clubs wurde. Von da an begannen jiddische Autoren ihren geographisch fragmentierten Kulturraum und die jiddische Literatur mit ihren Zentren in Warschau, Wilna, Kiew, Moskau und New York als ein Literaturland aufzufassen; es entstand ›das Land Jiddisch‹.
In meinem Vortrag wird der Diskurs jiddischer Intellektueller um die Fragmentierung ihres Literaturraums rekonstruiert, in dem das kosmopolitische Kulturprojekt entstand, das ursprünglich ›das Land Jiddisch‹ und später ›Jiddischland‹ genannt wurde: die Wortrepublik, welche Jiddischsprechende über Literatur und Kunst weltweit vereinte.

Efrat Gal-Ed, geboren 1956 in Tiberias, Israel, studierte Judaistik, Germanistik und Komparatistik sowie Malerei und promovierte in Jiddistik. Sie lebt als Malerin und Autorin in Köln und lehrt jiddische Literatur und Kultur an der Heinrich-Heine-Universität Düsseldorf.

Summary

In this lecture, Efrat Gal-Ed offered insights into the emergence of Yiddish-language literature as a phenomenon that was simultaneously transnational and locally rooted. While texts were disseminated across national and indeed continental boundaries, how they were written were inflected by local conditions and relations with dominant literatures and cultures in the societies where authors lived. Yiddishland was, then, an essentially "glocal" phenomenon produced through ongoing translations. Thus while it was a global phenomenon, its local inflections meant that Yiddish literature could not immediately make claims to being "world literature" - nor did it seek to. The multiple-scales and localities that influenced it, gave it a utopian urge, creating a sense of a "mobile homeland", or tragbare Heimat as she called it, meaning that it could never be pinned down, in the immediate post-WWI period, to a particular location but instead spoke to the tensions and frictions of a yearning for both localized autonomy and broader community.

Efrat Gal-Ed was invited to speak in the series by Sabine Koller, who is co-coordinator of the ScienceCampus module Verheimatlichung: Practices of Belonging. The talk addressed the core themes of that module, namely how is a sense of home created or disrupted, within the broader context of the global transformations, connections and transfer that have shaped Europe and America.

3 December 2020 | 16:15

Vorbei mit dem sonnigen Georgien! Kolonialität in Romanen über Georgien nach 1991

Mirja Lecke (Regensburg)

Im Vortrag werden koloniale Konstellationen in literarischen Texten über und aus Georgien untersucht. Auf Grundlage von methodischen Ansätzen von Walter Mignolo, Cristina Șandru und Madina Tlostanova werden drei Romane analysiert. „Die Reise nach Karabach“ (1992) des Georgiers Aka Morchiladze, „Der Russophone” vom russischen Schriftsteller Denis Gucko (2005) und der deutschsprachige Bestseller „Das achte Leben. Für Brilka” (2014) von Nino Haratischwili. Alle drei Texte zeigen, was Mignolo „Kolonialität“ nennt, wenngleich auf sehr unterschiedliche Weise. In ihnen überlappen und durchdringen sich verschiedene koloniale, fremde Blicke auf Georgien.

Mirja Lecke ist seit April 2020 Professorin für Slavische Literatur- und Kulturwissenschaft an der Universität Regensburg. Ihre Forschungsinteressen sind russische Literatur der imperialen und postsowjetischen Periode in postkolonialer Perspektive, insbesondere russisch-georgische, russisch-polnische und ukrainisch-polnische Verflechtungen in der Literatur.

14 January 2021 | 16:15

Buchbesprechung: "Forging Global Fordism" mit Vortrag: "Von der Arbeitsteilung zur Entwicklungskonkurrenz: Die große Krise 1927-1934 als globaler Wendepunkt"

Stefan Link (Dartmouth)

In Anschluss an Karl Polanyi schlägt der Vortrag vor, die große Krise der 1930er Jahre als "Great Transformation" zu betrachten - als Wendepunkt zwischen zwei Epochen der Globalisierung. Die Weltwirtschaftsordnung des 19. Jahrhunderts war geprägt von der imperialen Arbeitsteilung zwischen westlichen Industriezentren und (semi-)kolonialen Rohstoff- und Agrarproduzenten. In Folge der Krise jedoch begann die Industrialisierung der Peripherie. Dies legte die Grundlage für die Dynamik der nationalstaatlichen Entwicklungskonkurrenz, die die Weltwirtschaftsordnung seit der zweiten Hälfte des 20. Jahrhunderts prägt.

Zum Buch

Als die USA in den ersten Jahrzehnten des 20. Jahrhunderts zu ihrer Vormachtstellung aufstieg, assoziierten Beobachter*innen aus dem Ausland die amerikanische Wirtschaftsmacht vor allem mit der wachsenden US-Autoindustrie. In den 1930ern strömten Ingenieur*innen aus der ganzen Welt nach Detroit mit der Absicht, Amerika nachzuahmen und herauszufordern. Unter ihnen waren viele Spezialist*innen aus der Sowjetunion und dem NS-Staat, die versuchten, die Techniken der amerikanischen Massenautoproduktion, auch Fordismus, zu beobachten, zu kopieren und manchmal auch zu stehlen. Forging Global Fordism verfolgt, wie Deutschland und die Sowjetunion Fordismus aufgriffen in einer Zeit, die von Wirtschaftskrisen und ideologischen Umbrüchen geprägt war.

Forging Global Fordism hinterfragt die Annahme, dass die globale Massenproduktion ein Produkt des liberalen Internationalismus der Nachkriegszeit war. Das Buch zeigt, dass die Massenproduktion bereits in den globalen 1930er Jahren begann und dass die Verbreitung des Fordismus einen ausgesprochen illiberalen Entwicklungsverlauf hatte.

Lecture: From the Division of Labour to Development Competition: The economic crisis of 1927-1934 as a global turning point

Drawing on Karl Polanyi, this lecture argues that the economic crisis of the 1930s should be considered a “Great Transformation”. It was thus a turning point between two epochs of globalization. The economic world order of the nineteenth century was shaped by an imperial division of labour between Western industrial centres and (semi-)colonial producers of raw materials and agricultural goods. One outcome of the crisis, however, was the industrialization of peripheries. This laid the foundations for the dynamics of development competition between nation states, which came to shape the economic world order of the second half of the twentieth century.

Book summary

As the United States rose to ascendancy in the first decades of the twentieth century, observers abroad associated American economic power most directly with its burgeoning automobile industry. In the 1930s, in a bid to emulate and challenge America, engineers from across the world flocked to Detroit. Chief among them were Nazi and Soviet specialists who sought to study, copy, and sometimes steal the techniques of American automotive mass production, or Fordism. Forging Global Fordism traces how Germany and the Soviet Union embraced Fordism amid widespread economic crisis and ideological turmoil.

Forging Global Fordism challenges the notion that global mass production was a product of post–World War II liberal internationalism, demonstrating how it first began in the global thirties, and how the spread of Fordism had a distinctly illiberal trajectory.

Stefan Link is associate professor of history at Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire. He specializes in economic history, business history, and the intellectual history of capitalism. He received his PhD from Harvard in 2012.

4 February 2021 | 16:15

Transatlantic and Comparative Perspectives on financial crises in the second half of the 19th century

Catherine Davies (Zürich)

Panics and crashes were central features of nineteenth century capitalism. In 1857 and 1873, financial crises erupted in the United States and in several European countries, causing havoc, a wave of commercial failures, unemployment and poverty. The growth of international trade and credit networks, aided by advances in transportation, communication and production, meant that financial disruptions were no longer isolated local or national events. Economic commentators, policy makers, entrepreneurs and journalists struggled to make sense both of this growing interconnectedness and of the emerging recurrence of episodes of overspeculation and downturns; liberal politico-economic accounts of the (ir)rationality of entrepreneurial activity co-existed alongside religious indictments of the amorality of the capitalist marketplace. An integrated transatlantic history of financial panics shows how differences and commonalities in responses were shaped by both institutions and culture.

Catherine Davies is senior assistant professor in history at the University of Zürich, having gained her PhD at FU Berlin. She is currently working on a history of sexual violence in West Germany. Her book, Transatlantic Speculations: Globalization and the Panics of 1873, appeared with Columbia University Press in 2018. She has published extensively on the history of financial crises and their connections to globalization and democracy.

Summer Semester 2020

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.

Summary

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.

28 May 2020, 16:15, via Zoom

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

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?

Robert C Austin is a specialist on East Central and Southeastern European history and contemporary society. He is Associate Director of The Centre for European, Russian, and Eurasian Studies (CERES) in Toronto. He once served as Tirana-based correspondent for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, has collaborated with numerous other media organizations and written for leading newspapers and scholarly journals. He has lectured widely in Europe and North America. His most recent book, “Making and Remaking the Balkans: Nations and States since 1878”, was published with the University of Toronto Press in May 2019. He is now writing a popular history of Central Europe since 1848.

Summary

Robert Austin gave a highly engaging talk on the past decade of government by the populist Fidesz party in Hungary. He set the party’s approach, and the concerns of the EU, within the historical context of previous less-than-democratic regimes in Hungary. Much of Fidesz’s attempts to secure legitimacy have sought to present the end of communism in 1989 and the subsequent transition as a time of unfulfilled promises. Robert Austin drew particular attention to the need to consider the Fidesz’s rise to power in the context of the harmful consequences of the financial crisis of 2008 and how the party’s economic competence indeed brought it some legitimacy. Ultimately, though, the anti-democratic approach to media law, migration and the judiciary, as well as Hungary’s revisionist memory politics, are all worrying developments. He emphasized that it is worth remembering that Hungary has been in a state of emergency for several years now, with Fidesz seeking to present the large number of refugees who passed through Hungary in 2016 as a particular threat that could re-emerge. There have though been few imitators of the Hungarian model and no other country has gone as far as Orban’s government. Thus, he argued, despite Hungary’s own “hubris” and belief in the country’s significance, it is not notable enough to undermine the EU project as a whole. Still, in light of the uncertainty brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, all bets are off.  

18 June 2020, 18:15, via Zoom

A Virtual Fireside Chat - Jeroen Dewulf in Conversation with Ulf Brunnbauer: Building Global, International and Area Studies at the University of California, Berkeley

Jeroen Dewulf, Director of the Institute of European Studies at UC Berkeley, will discuss how a world-leading university is developing its research and teaching expertise in the interconnected fields of global, international and area studies. Talking to Ulf Brunnbauer, Director of the Leibniz Institute for East and Southeast European Studies (IOS) in Regensburg, Jeroen Dewulf will offer insight into what could be considered best practices in building expertise in these multidisciplinary fields.

Ein virtuelles Kamingespräch mit Jeroen Dewulf: Building Global, International and Area Studies at UC Berkeley

Jeroen Dewulf, Direktor des Institute of European Studies der UC Berkeley, wird darüber sprechen, wie eine der führenden Universitäten weltweit ihre Expertise in den miteinander verbundenen Bereichen der Global, International und Area Studies sowohl in der Forschung als auch in der Lehre weiterentwickelt. Im Gespräch mit Ulf Brunnbauer, Direktor des Leibniz-Instituts für Ost- und Südosteuropaforschung (IOS) in Regensburg, wird Jeroen Dewulf Einblick in die „Best Practices“ beim Aufbau von Expertise in diesen multidisziplinären Fachgebieten geben.

Jeroen Dewulf is Associate Professor in the Department of German, Queen Beatrix Professor in Dutch Studies, and the current Director of the Institute of European Studies. He graduated with a major in Germanic Philology and a minor in Portuguese Studies at the University of Ghent, holds an MA from the University of Porto and a PhD in German Literature from the University of Bern. Professor Dewulf’s research interests are as diverse as Dutch and Portuguese (post)colonial literature and history, transatlantic slave trade, Low Countries studies, Swiss literature and culture, and European politics in general.

Summary

In a wide-ranging and thoroughly engaging discussion, Jeroen Dewulf outlined the ways in which global, international and area studies are being developed at the University of California, Berkeley. Despite significant differences in funding models and the range of world regions covered, there are many parallels with efforts to develop area studies in Regensburg.

In a discussion chaired by Ulf Brunnbauer, he considered the pragmatic, structural, methodological and conceptual aspects involved in building collaboration between institutions and disciplines. Jeroen Dewulf presented some of the ways in which UC Berkeley and the collaborating institutions are seeking to address the challenges of internationalization, bringing teaching and research closer together, and making output in area studies visible to the public and policy-relevant.

These are all questions being tackled in Regensburg, hence the debate was particularly lively involving senior scholars, postdocs and doctoral researchers. The discussion focused on whether area studies requires strict definition and frameworks, or whether it is a more pragmatic perspective. The issue of disciplinary intersections was also elaborated in terms of balancing depth and theory- and model-building. The question of how to bring together area studies institutions with long-standing traditions and encouraging them to engage in comparative, transregional work was also part of the debate.

Jeroen Dewulf offered valuable insight into best practices and ongoing experiments in Berkeley, which will certainly shape developments in Regensburg, likewise through the partnership between institutions here, including the ScienceCampus, and those in California.

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

One way to look at the historiography of transatlantic migration in the USA is through a series of paradigm shifts. From the first comprehensive works in the 1920s to the end of the last century the key terms historians used to conceptualize and describe migration processes changed from assimilation to acculturation, uprootedness, transplantation, to multi-directional migration systems. Each of these shifts emerged at the intersection of American domestic politics, international relations, changing migration economies, and, equally importantly, the transformation of history as an academic discipline. Based on a rereading of the seminal works of Arthur M. Schlesinger, Oscar Handlin and John Bodnar, the paper argues that at the core of these changes was a further factor: a shift in the historical imagination of the figure of the transatlantic emigrant. A close reading of these works suggests that while the historiography of transatlantic migration was (and still is) in general characterized by a striving towards a more complex understanding of migration processes, its story can also be told as a series of shifting blindspots.

Heléna Tóth is Lecturer at the Chair of Modern and Contemporary History. Her research interests include migration history and the history of rituals in Central and Eastern Europe in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Her current book project, “Life and Death under Communism”, explores rituals in communist societies. She received a doctoral degree from Harvard University in 2008. Her first book An Exiled Generation: German and Hungarian Refugees of Revolution, 1848-1871 appeared with Cambridge University Press in 2014.