IAS CEU keeps receiving fantastic news about its former fellows' work being published! Former Senior Core Fellow of 2019/20 Maya Nadkarni shared the news that her book Remains of Socialism Memory and the Futures of the Past in Postsocialist Hungary (Cornel University Press, 2020) is out. IAS CEU is delighted to congratulate Maya Nadkarni on such a milestone in her academic career. 

In Remains of Socialism, Maya Nadkarni investigates the changing fates of the socialist past in postsocialist Hungary. She introduces the concept of "remains"—both physical objects and cultural remainders—to analyze all that Hungarians sought to leave behind after the end of state socialism.

Spanning more than two decades of postsocialist transformation, Remains of Socialism follows Hungary from the optimism of the early years of transition to its recent right-wing turn toward illiberal democracy. Nadkarni analyzes remains that range from exiled statues of Lenin to the socialist-era "Bambi" soda, and from discredited official histories to the scandalous secrets of the communist regime's informers. She deftly demonstrates that these remains were far more than simply the leftovers of an unwanted past. Ultimately, the struggles to define remains of socialism and settle their fates would represent attempts to determine the future—and to mourn futures that never materialized.

The new academic year started with great news as more and more former IAS CEU fellows share their recent publications to which their fellowships at IAS CEU greatly contributed. 

IAS former fellow of 2014/15 Angelina Lucento published a piece Painting against Empire: Béla Uitz and the Birth and Fate of Internationalist Socialist Realism (The Russian review, Vol. 79, Issue 4).

IAS former Eurias fellow of 2918/19 Anton Symkovych published a piece The Eye of a Needle: Temporary Prison Leave in Ukraine (European Journal on Criminal Policy and Research, Vol. 26).

IAS CEU is delighted to congratulate its former Junior Eurias fellow of 2015-16 Călin Cotoi on publishing his book Inventing the Social in Romania, 1848-1914. Networks and Laboratories of Knowledge (Brill Publishers, 2020). 

In Inventing the Social in Romania, 1848–1914, Călin Cotoi brings to life several ‘obscure’ anarchists, physicians, public hygienists and reformers roaming the borderlands of Europe and Russia. The book follows individuals, texts, projects, sometimes even bacteria, traveling, meeting, colliding, writing and talking to each other in surprising places, and on changing topics. All of them navigated the land, sometimes finding unexpected loopholes and shortcuts in it, and emerged in different and unexpected parts of the social, political or geographical space. Using materials ranging from anarchists’ letters, to social-theoretical debates and medical treatises, Călin Cotoi points to the larger theoretical and historical issues involved in the local creation of the social, its historicity, and its representability. 

IAS CEU congratulates its 2018/19 Thyssen Fellow Agnieszka Mrozik on publishing the volume Gender, Generations, and Communism in Central and Eastern Europe and Beyond (Routledge, 2020) co-edited with Anna Artwińska. The volume is an international and interdisciplinary endeavor, a result of almost two years of work that Agnieszka Mrozik had done, including her time spent as a fellow at IAS CEU. 

IAS CEU is delighted to congratulate Andrea Tompa on the publication of her novel Haza ('Home'), the book she worked on during her Artist in Residence fellowship in 2019/20. The book is published by Jelenkor Publishing, in Hungarian. An English translation will appear shortly. 

One chapter has been translated into English and can be accessed here.

In 2021/22 IAS CEU will be hosting a research group funded within by the Constructive Advanced Tninking (CAT) initiative. The group will be working on a project Cartoons in Court: Towards a Forensic Analysis of Visual Humor.

The group has already started workign on the project and IAS CEU is happy to congratulate the Principal Investigator Alberto Godioli on puyblishing the article Cartoon Controversies at the European Court of Human Rights: Towards Forensic Humor Studies (accessible at the Open Library of Humanities). The piece addresses an important topic of the challenges that humor (especially visual) presents to the judicial judgement and legal regulation of freedom of expression. It analyzes a corpus of legal rulings of the European Court of Human Rights with a view to answer the intriguing question how and where judges draw a line between innocent and harmful jokes. The piece brings in the scholarship of humor studies and makes an argument how this scholarship can enrich and, to an extent, help legal judgement. 

IAS is delighted to congratulate our former Junior Core fellow Pietro Delcorno on publishing two new articles and a book chapter on the topic of sermons that he was working at IAS (in Italian).

Quaresimali ‘visibili’: Il serafino, il guerriero, il pellegrino” (Studi medievali, III ser., 60/2 (2019), pp. 645-688) 

Abstract in EnglishLenten sermon collections are fascinating and well-organized microcosms of late medieval religious culture. As ‘pragmatic’ texts, they were used by generations of preachers as precious tools to prepare intensified cycles of daily preaching, which were meant to shape the religious identity of the communities and people. In the elaboration of these complex preaching systems, innovative communicative strategies were experimented along the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. A peculiar place among the new typologies of preaching aids is held by those texts that can be labelled as ‘visible’ Lenten sermon collections: they were based on a constant solicitation of the imagination of the listeners, who were asked to see – with their inner eye – what the preacher told them from the pulpit. The article will analyse three different ways used by preachers to connect words and images in order to make ‘visible’ and ‘memorable’ their discourse for the audience. It will exemplify the techniques to structure a ‘visible’ Lenten sermon collection by analysing three collections, whose protagonists are a seraph, a soldier, and a pilgrim.

Enea, la Sibilla e Dante: Primi appunti su un quaresimale virgiliano”, Cahiers d’études italiennes,  29 (2019)

Abstract in EnglishThe article represents a first exploration of what can be defined the Lenten sermon collection of Aeneas, a text held in an incomplete form in Assisi, Biblioteca del Sacro Convento, Fondo Antico, ms. 557. The Lenten cycle is an early testimony of a new typology of sermon collection, which was framed as a macro-narrative. The Virgilian sermon collection follows closely the description of Aeneas’ descent to the Underworld by reinterpreting Virgil’s account according to a moral-allegorical exegesis, which allows to align it (reducere) to the Gospel. By using extensively the reference to Virgil in preaching the Christian afterlife, the preacher presented his audience with a hellish, didactic Aeneid, apt to the pulpit and further enriched by references to Dante’s Commedia. The study of this exceptional text, therefore, sheds light on the innovations in religious communication developed between late fourteenth and early fifteenth century as well as on the parallel debates about the use of ‘pagan’ poets in Christian paideia.

“Predicazione e persuasione: ‘A ogne cittade saria grande utilitade’”, in M.P. Alberzoni and M. Tessera, eds., Costruire il consenso: Modelli, pratiche e linguaggi tra medioevo ed età moderna (Milan: Vita e Pensiero, 2019), pp. 333-357.

Abstract in EnglishBy focusing on the nexus between preaching and persuasion, this chapter highlights how sermons played an essential role in the construction of a cultural and political consensus in late medieval and early modern urban society. The contribution firstly summarizes the recent literature on preaching as medium of persuasion. Then, it discusses the way prominent figures such as Johannes Bromyard († c. 1352), Bernardino da Siena († 1444) and Joahnnes Geiler von Kaysersberg († 1510) reflected on the reasons of the success (or failure) of their sermons. Finally, the paper analyses the preacher’s struggle to obtain concrete and measurable results in ordinary situations as well as the way a preacher could face unexpected emergencies, either by contesting the civic authorities (hence, threatening to promote dissensus) or by using the pulpit as platform to organise a collective (political) initiative.

IAS CEU congratulates its former Senior Core fellow Balint Magyar and his co-author Balint Madlovics on publishing their book The Anatomy of Post-Communist Regimes. A Conceptual Framework.

The work explores the structural foundations of post-communist regime development; the types of state, with an emphasis on informality and patronalism; the types of actors in the political, economic, and communal spheres; the ways autocrats neutralize media, elections, etc.; the color revolutions of civil resistance (as in Georgia and in Ukraine) and the defensive mechanisms of democracy and autocracy; the evolution of corruption and the workings of “relational economy”; an analysis of China as “market-exploiting dictatorship”; the sociology of “clientage society”; the instrumental use of ideology, with an emphasis on populism; and a six-regime framework for modeling regime trajectories.

The book was finalized durign Balint Magyar's fellowship at IAS CEU in 2018-2019.

2018/20 IAS/VSP Fellow Laszlo Strausz published an article titled From affect to instrument: interpellation and governmentality in the BM Filmstúdió collection (Studies in Eastern European Cinema, 2020). The article results from the project Laszlo was working on while being a fellow at IAS in autumn of 2018.

The film studio of the Hungarian Ministry of Interior produced educational and instructional films for more than three decades during the state socialist regime. In this article I present the first findings of my research project that attempts to map the history and the politics of this collection that was discarded by the Ministry and coincidentally found by archivists. Building on the assumption that the actual political-historical shifts taking place in Hungary would be visible on the studio’s output, I identify a trend, the instrumentalization of governmentality, which mirrors some of these changes and shows how motion pictures were used by the state as a tool of persuasion. Instrumentalization, then, refers to the process during which the affective and psychological modes of audience alignment and persuasion used in the discussion of collective, social-political issues shifted towards a technical mode of audiovisual argumentation, where the macropolitical orientation of viewers ceased to be a central goal. The later films focus instead on the stories of individuals and their instrumental-material goals, which both reflects and contributes to the political neutralization of society during the Kádár-years.

IAS CEU is happy to congratulate its former Junior Core Fellow Inge van de Ven on publishing her book Big Books in Times of Big Data

Big Books in Times of Big Data examines recent trends of size and scale in the novel in terms of the shift from the bound book to the newer materialities of the digital. Using a wide-ranging international archive of hefty tomes by authors such as Mark Z. Danielewski, Roberto Bolaño, Elena Ferrante, and Karl Ove Knausgård, George R.R. Martin, Jonathan Franzen, and William T. Vollmann, Van de Ven reflects on the place of big book-bound literature in a media genealogy which includes film and television but also online databases, social media, selfies, and Global Information Systems. This study makes a case for the cultural agency of the big book—as a material object and a discursive phenomenon, entangled in complex ways with questions of canonicity, mediality, gender, and power. Van de Ven takes us into a contested bookish terrain beyond the 1,000-page mark, where issues of scale and readerly comprehension clash with authorial aggrandizement and the pleasures of ‘binging’ and serial consumption.

In the next 36 months Inge will be working on her project TL; DR (Too Long; Didn’t Read): Close and hyperreading of literary texts and the modulation of attention at the University of California in Santa-Barbara, University of Stavanger in Norway and Tilburg University int he Netherlands. 

IAS congratulates its former Global Challenges Fellow Happymon Jacob on publishing his book 'Line of Fire. Ceasefire Violations and India-Pakistan Escalation Dynamics' (Oxford University Press, 2019). 

About the book

The India–Pakistan border in Jammu & Kashmir has witnessed repeated ceasefire violations (CFVs) over the past decade. As relations between India and Pakistan have deteriorated, CFVs have increased exponentially. It is imperative to gain a deeper understanding of these violations owing to their potential to not only cause a crisis but also escalate an ongoing one. Line on Fire, part of the Oxford International Relations in South Asia series, postulates that the incorrect diagnosis of the reasons behind CFVs has led to wrong policies being adopted by both India and Pakistan to deal with the recurrent violations. Using fresh empirical data, archival material and first-hand accounts, the volume attempts to understand the reason why CFVs continue to take place between India and Pakistan despite consistent efforts to reduce the tension between the two nations. In doing so, it recontextualizes and enriches the prevailing arguments in contemporary literature on escalation dynamics and unenduring ceasefire agreements between the two South Asian nuclear rivals.

IAS 2018/2019 Senior Core Fellow Nina Peršak published a new article titled Beyond public punitiveness: The role of emotions in criminal law policy in the International Journal of law, Crime and Justice. The article results form the project that Nina Peršak was working on during her fellowship at IAS. 

The article examines the existing and potential role of emotions in the  criminal law-making and criminal policy. It aims to inspect which emotions, if any, are more acceptable for influencing criminal policy and to what extent emotions could legitimately intervene in criminalisation processes. It first analyses the ways in which emotion has already penetrated into the criminal law, criminal justice and criminalisation. Next, it inspects the various characteristics of emotions, specifically those that are central in distinguishing between good and bad candidates for influencing criminal law policy, demonstrating that certain negative, highly intense, irrational and unstable or short-lived emotions can make bad law, as do atypical cases. The article then sketches a theoretical framework, composed of the requirements that should be fulfilled before any emotion could justifiably influence criminal law-making and of the further limits to such an enterprise. It concludes with recommendations and some thoughts on further research.

The piece can be found here

IAS/EURIAS fellow Anton Symkovych published a new article titled 'The Legal and Illegal Use of Force by Prison Officers in Ukraine' in the Prison Journal.                                                    

Although prison order rarely rests on naked force, its availability defines a prison. A penological truism holds that officers’ deployment of force signals a breakdown in order, not normality. However, is the truism universally valid? Adding evidence from a former Soviet bloc country, the study examines the place of force in officers’ daily work in a men’s medium-security prison in Ukraine. Drawing on a semiethnographic study, the findings show that even though availability of force was central to preventing escapes and securing prisoner compliance, its actual deployment was relatively rare. Officers’ consideration and actual use of both legal and illegal force depended on legal ramifications, the position of the superiors, and prisoner reaction. It also reflected their views on the adequacy of formal penal power and legitimacy of force for corrective purposes.

The piece is availabe here

Ágnes Györke, Élet és Irodalom 62.9 (2018)

Susan Rubin Suleiman, Research Professor at Harvard University, was a Fellow at the Institute of Advanced Studies in the autumn of 2017. She was interviewed by Ágnes Györke, former Fellow of IAS, about her extraordinary life, her research interests, and her political views. The interview offers a brief overview of her family’s escape from Budapest after the Second World War and her two returns to the city before and after the fall of communism, recorded in Budapest Diary: In Search of the Motherbook . Professor Suleiman also talked about her recent book, The Némirovsky Question, which examines the novels of the Franco-Russian writer Irène Némirovsky and the question of Jewish identity. Topics such as everyday flânerie, the quest for origins, the current situation of gender studies, as well as the question of existential choice faced both by Némirovsky and István Szabó are explored in the interview, among many other issues.

The entire interview can be viewed in Hungarian for subscribers in the online edition of Élet és Irodalom.

Araf, a film written and directed by Didem Pekün, Affiliated Humanities Initiative Teaching Fellow at IAS had its world premiere as part of the programme of the 68th Berlinale in February 2018.

Araf is an essayistic road movie and diary of a ghostly character, Nayia, who travels between Srebrenica, Sarajevo, and Mostar in Bosnia. She has been in exile since the war and returns for the 22nd memorial of the Srebrenica genocide. The film is guided by her diary notes of the journey, which merge with the myth of Daedalus and Icarus – Icarus being the name given to the winner of a bridge diving competition in her home country. The story of Icarus and Daedalus, a myth symbolic of man’s over-ambition and inevitable failure, is woven throughout the film as a way to think about exorcizing the vicious cycle of such events happening in the future and of a possible reconciliation. Nayia also thinks of Icarus from a different perspective, that of seeing the optimism of such a leap, his braveness in taking a leap into the unknown in this era of radical instability, that perhaps Icarus wanted to write a different narrative. Araf thus traces these paradoxes through Nayia’s displacement and her return to her home country post-war – that of a constant terror and a permanent standstill, and the friction between displacement and permanence.

For further details see the movie's webpage in the Berlinale's program.

The volume Practices of Diplomacy in the Early Modern World, edited by former IAS Senior Core Fellow Tracey Sowerby and Jan Hennings, offers a new contribution to the ongoing reassessment of early modern international relations and diplomatic history. Divided into three parts, it provides an examination of diplomatic culture from the Renaissance into the eighteenth century and presents the development of diplomatic practices as more complex, multifarious and globally interconnected than the traditional state-focussed, national paradigm allows.

Edited by Zsolt Czigányik, a former Humanities Initiative Fellow at IAS CEU, the book investigates the possibilities of cooperation between the humanities and the social sciences in the analysis of 20th century and contemporary utopian phenomena. The papers deal with major problems of interpreting utopias, the relationship of utopia and ideology, and the highly problematic issue as to whether utopia necessarily leads to dystopia. Besides reflecting the interdisciplinary nature of contemporary utopian investigations, the eleven essays written by leading experts of the field effectively represent the constructive attitudes of utopian thought, a feature that not only defines late 20th- and 21st-century utopianism, but is one of the primary reasons behind the rising importance of the topic.

The book is available at CEU Press.


The Emotions in Early Chinese Philosophy  by former IAS fellow Curie Virág, published in April 2017, is a first book-length study of conception of emotions in early Chinese philosophical tradition.

IAS CEU Senior Fellow Erica Benner's new book Be Like the Fox  - Machiavelli's Lifelong Quest for Freedom, published in March 2017, follows Machiavelli's dramatic quest for political and human freedom through his own eyes. 

Read reviews of the book in The New York Times and The New Yorker.

A book of poems by Hasan Sijzi, translated by our Fellow Rebecca Gould, has been published by Northwestern World Classics.

A book co-edited by IAS CEU Faculty Fellow Katalin Szende with Gerhard Jaritz, Medieval East Central Europe in a Comparative Perspective, has been published by Routledge.

An article by IAS CEU Fellow Ildikó Király, Enhanced encoding of the co-actor's target stimuli during a shared non-motor task, co-authored with Fruzsina Elekes, Gábor Bródy and Erna Halász, has been published in The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology.

A book co-edited by Humanities Initiative Fellow Robin Nadeau with Wim Broekaert and John Wilkins has been published in the Collection Latomus Series.

An article by our Humanities Initiative Fellow, Angelina Lucento,  has been published in the journal Cahiers du monde russe.