May 14, 2024: Visegrad Scholarship at OSA Presentation

Anna Vágner, typist for the samizdat journal Beszélő, 1987.

We are happy to announce the next presentation of the Visegrad Scholarship at OSA. The presentation will be held at 14:30 on Tuesday, May 14, in the Meeting Room of the Blinken OSA Archivum, and online. Join the event in the Archivum, or online following the link:

Circumventing censorship during the Kádár era: a case study of the Demszky circle
by Lucy Jeffery, University of Reading, UK

In the 1980s, Hungary’s samizdat scene operated as a multifaceted network. Each point in this network was connected by a common raison d’être: to circumvent censorship in order to experience the cultural and political benefits of freedom of expression. This presentation contributes to research by scholars such as Miklós Haraszti, András Bozóki, and Gábor Danyi to demonstrate how samizdat operated and why it was necessary. In so doing, parallels with the censorial context faced by authors and publishers today become apparent. Research from files relating to samizdat and underground intellectual activity during the late Kádár era held at the Blinken OSA Archivum supports this presentation’s aim to bring some of the background characters of the samizdat scene into focus. Moreover, analysis of these materials suggests that samizdat is at once a medium, a genre, a corpus of texts, and a textual culture. Indeed, samizdat culture creates an environment that can water the seeds of a sprouting political opposition. This presentation, therefore, revisits the production and distribution of samizdat at a time when freedom of expression is once again under threat.