HIPS Course Project Titled “Fearless Speech and Its Fate in the Archives” Ends

The final presentation session of HIPS

The five-week project, an archival internship for 13 Erasmus Mundus students enrolled in the interuniversity program History in the Public Sphere, came to an end. It took place in the Archives and lasted from January 10 to February 11, 2022. The program was titled Fearless Speech and Its Fate in the Archives.

The students came from all over the world, from countries like Brazil, India, Russia, the US, and Japan, spent five very intensive and useful weeks at the Archives.

Ioana Macrea-Toma, project leader and Research Fellow at Blinken OSA, summed up the very reason this course was created: “The purpose of the internship was primarily to reveal to the students the entanglements between the academic and the professional dealing with archives, to connect the more abstract (and sometimes too metaphoric) understanding of the archive to the practices and dilemmas on the ground. The program could thus offer, along the traditional notions related to ‘doing research’ and using sources in an extractive, instrumental way (though critical), a more holistic understanding of the complex path followed by ‘data’ from institutional, day-to-day workings with records, to the production, archiving, curation, and exhibiting of ‘sources,’ and all the issues (legal, moral, informational) related to their public-ness.”

There were altogether 18 sessions during the course, such as theoretical lectures about the problematics of truth-telling; guest lectures and discussions with historians and practitioners working at the intersection of (public) history and law; historical presentations about the cultures of dissent in Central and Eastern Europe and their fate in the archive; guided tours to Blinken OSA’s archival collections related to the Cold War, to see their archival logic, understand their context, and analyze their content; visits and guided tours to the memory institutions the Historical Archives of the Hungarian State Security and the Hungarian Jewish Museum and Archives; group consultations and a final presentation.

The students successfully presented their projects on February 10, the three video pieces and one podcast will be parts of Blinken OSA’s coming exhibition. The students produced important pieces of oral history sources: interviews with samizdat editors Ferenc Kőszeg, Gábor Demszky, and Róza Hodosán, and also with historians Vladimir Petrovic (about his work as an expert at ICTY) and Andre Pagliarini (who analyzes Brazil’s recent past and its truth commissions).