Visegrad Scholarship at OSA Lecture Series

Blinken OSA: HU OSA 300-120-3:7

Re-Inventing the Formal Culture by Formal Means

by Daria Franklin, Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Sociology, Columbia University in the City of New York
Analysis of state formation and transformation usually views culture as a product of the state. This line of argument is typically present in the discussion of dictatorships and totalitarian regimes, in which the subjectivity of actors within the fields of cultural production is minimized as compared to the democratic systems, where expressions of visions and interpretations are not sanctioned by the state and the quality of cultural products is decided - to a large extend - by the way of tastes and preferences of the public. The basic premise of this research is rooted in the proposition that culture - even in totalitarian states - is not simply a dependent variable. The relations between culture and power are dialectical, and the interactions within the networks that transgress the two spheres continuously produce new meanings and give rise to new social structures even in the political regimes where creative imaginations are formally bound by a state ideology. The empirical site for the exploration of these relationships is Soviet literary space, from roughly the 20th Congress of the Communist Party (known mostly as the beginning of "Thaw") to the fall of the Soviet Union. This presentation will discuss some of the findings on the formal and informal interactions within the Soviet literary organizations, literary journals, and political occurrences that explicitly surrounded major shifts in the Soviet ideological discourse.
Holodomor: Silenced Past and Reclaimed History in the Shadow of the Cold War
by Karolina Koziura, Ph.D. Candidate, The New School for Social Research, New York
How to make sense of an atrocity in an environment of repressive silence? What kind of memory work needs to be done to overcome imposed forgetting? Who has the power to shift the narrative? This presentation aims to address these questions by analyzing the long-term legacy of political violence that travels across time and space. By unraveling the meaning of Holodomor, the Great Ukrainian Famine of 1932-1933, one of the biggest - yet unacknowledged - atrocities in the history of the Soviet Union, it traces a path that a repressed event follows to become recognized and acknowledged. By focusing on the role of RFE in articulating the problems of the legacy of the Stalinist past, this presentation unravels ways in which the Cold War Era ideological fronts informed the writing of Holodomor history. Based on the presenter's doctoral dissertation and her research at the Open Society Archives, in particular, this presentation will further reflect on the methodological challenges of working with Cold War Era archives.
at 3.00 pm on Tuesday, July 19, 2022, online.

The link to the Zoom meeting is: