Publications

IAS CEU warmly congratulates its 2012/13 alumna Christine M. Philliou on the publication of her monograph Turkey. A past against History (University of California Press, 2021). The book is directly related to the project that Christine M. Philliou was working on during her Senior fellowship at the IAS in 2012/13.

From its earliest days, the dominant history of the Turkish Republic has been one of national self-determination and secular democratic modernization. The story insisted on total rupture between the Ottoman Empire and the modern Turkish state and on the absolute unity of the Turkish nation. In recent years, this hermetic division has begun to erode, but as the old consensus collapses, new histories and accounts of political authority have been slow to take its place.

In this richly detailed alternative history, Christine M. Philliou focuses on the notion of political opposition and dissent—muhalefet—to connect the Ottoman and Turkish periods. Taking the perennial dissident Refik Halid Karay as a subject, guide, and interlocutor, she traces the fissures within the Ottoman and the modern Turkish elite that bridged the transition. Exploring Karay’s political and literary writings across four regimes and two stints in exile, Philliou upends the official history of Turkey and offers new dimensions to our understanding of its political authority and culture.

More on the book can be read in the UCP blog here

IAS CEU congratulates its 2012/13 alumna Györke Ágnes on a series of publications in 2021 which are directly related to the project that Ágnes pursued while being a fellow at IAS.

The article On the periphery: Contemporary exile fiction and Hungary (Journal of Postcolonial Writing, Vol. 57, N3, 316-329) explores the concept of the periphery as a geopolitical and aesthetic category in the works of three exilic writers of Hungarian origin, Agota Kristof, Tibor Fischer, and Zsuzsa Bánk. These three novels, which have not previously been studied in a comparative framework, explore resistance, terror, and trauma in post-war Eastern Europe, mobilizing a set of tropes that portray the limits of everyday life in Hungary during and after the Second World War. Relying on the concept of “peripheral aesthetics”, it argues that a close reading of Kristof’s The Notebook (Le Grand Cahier [1986]), Fischer’s Under the Frog (1992), and Bánk’s The Swimmer (Der Schwimmer [2002]) reveals that the peripheral spaces these novels depict are associated both with the geopolitical location of Hungary and with the traumas of the post-war period. The three novels make use of various strategies of peripheral aesthetics which reflect different stages of coping with the collective traumas of the region.

The piece Feeling the city: Migrant narratives and urban space (Subjectivity, Vol. 14, N. 3, 95-103) opens the journal special issue in that discusses the role and place of space in migrants' experiences and scrutinizes the impact of colonialism and displacement on the formation of subjectivities in terms of race, ethnicity, and gender, among other factors. 

Finally, IAS is delighted to congratulate Györke Ágnes on the publication of an edited volume titled Geographies of Affect in Contemporary Literature and Visual Culture: Central Europe and the West (Brill, 2021). The volume opens a dialogue between the literary and filmic works produced in Central Europe and in the Anglophone world. It relies on the concept of translocality to explore this corpus, offering new readings of contemporary Hungarian films as well as urban fiction and poetry in English. Calling attention to the role of affect in imagining city space, the volume investigates György Pálfi’s Taxidermia, Béla Tarr’s Family Nest, Teju Cole’s Open City, Toni Morrison’s Jazz, China Miéville’s Un Lun Dun, Chimamanda Adichie’s Americanah, and Patrick Neate’sCity of Tiny Lights, among many other urban narratives. Contributors examine both widely explored emotions and under-researched affects, such as shame, fascination, and the role of withdrawal in contemporary literature and culture. 

The period from October 1, 2020 to the end of June, 2021 has been especially productive for the IAS Affiliated Fellow Zsuzsa Hetényi. Zsuzsa prepared several important publications in Russian, English, German and Hungarian, gave interviews and commentaries, finalized an encyclopedia entry. IAS CEU is delighted to celebrate this remarkable achievement by listing all of them here.

1. The project on the legacy of Shimon Markish

Unvanished Past. Collected Works by Shimon Markish. Edited by Zsuzsa Hetényi (in Russian with forewords, commentaries, footnotes, biography, and bibliography, 2020).

Neproshedshee proshloe. Sobranie Sochinenii Shimona Markisha

Vol. 1. Antiquity. 474 pp. 2020

Vol. 2. Erasmus and his Age. 419 pp. 2021

Vol 3. Russian-Jewish literature of the 19th century (longer articles). 381 pp. 2021

Vol. 4. Russian-Jewish literature of the 19th century (essays). 339 pp. 2021

Vol. 5 Russian-Jewish literature of the 19th century (longer articles). 361 pp. 2021

The piece on the history of the archive, published in the Russian internet portal Colta (in Russian), can be found here

Zsuzsa gave an interview to the Radio Liberty on the occassion of the 90th birthday of Shimon Markish. The transcript of the interview can be read here.

Finally, Zsuzsa prepared and edited the entry on Shimon Markish in WikiWand. It can be accessed here.  

2. Other publications

The next achievement is the piece The Texture of Type: Nabokov’s Sensory Perception of Alphabetical Letters: The Semanticized Graphic Form published in Scando-Slavica, Vol 66, Issue 2. 

Zsuzsa has also translated the novel by Vladimir Nabokov Pnin, published by Helikon in April 2021.

The piece Antroponym as a Narrative Device Problematizing the Identity of the Author and his Character (V. Nabokov and V. Shklovsky in Berlin) was published in At the Crossroads of the East and West: the problem of Borderzone in Russian and Central European Cultures. Ed. by Zs. Hetényi, N. Zlydneva. Moscow, IS RAS, 2021. 488 p.

The piece Mit Cholera in Odessa. Sowjetische Abendteuer einer Ungarin ohne Kommunistische Erziehung was published in German in Lettre Internationale, Berlin, 28–32, the Summer Issue.

The piece Egy többnyelvű műfordítói műhely tapasztalatai. A MűMű és a Pofon was published in Hungarian in Iránytű az egyetemi fordítóképzéshez.

Finally, the piece Переводить с двух оригиналов: гибридизация при переводе Набокова was published in Russian in Семантизация – Концептуализация – Смысл. Сборник в честь 80-летия Профессора Ежи Фарыно, Ed. Roman Bobryk, Сергей Гончаров, Siedlce 2021.

A new book Reassessing Communism: Concepts, Culture, and Society in Poland, 1944–1989 (CEU Press, 2021) edited, among others, by the IAS CEU Thyssen alumna Agieszka Mrozik is out now.

The thirteen authors of this collective work undertook to articulate matter-of-fact critiques of the dominant narrative about communism in Poland while offering new analyses of the concept, and also examining the manifestations of anticommunism. Approaching communist ideas and practices, programs and their implementations, as an inseparable whole, they examine the issues of emancipation, upward social mobility, and changes in the cultural canon.

The authors refuse to treat communism in Poland in simplistic categories of totalitarianism, absolute evil and Soviet colonization, and similarly refuse to equate communism and fascism. Nor do they adopt the neoliberal view of communism as a project doomed to failure. While wholly exempt from nostalgia, these essays show that beyond oppression and bad governance, communism was also a regime in which people pursued a variety of goals and sincerely attempted to build a better world for themselves.

The book is interdisciplinary and applies the tools of social history, intellectual history, political philosophy, anthropology, literature, cultural studies, and gender studies to provide a nuanced view of the communist regimes in east-central Europe.

Source: CEU Press

“The East is a subtle affair…”        

 From the Soviet movie, White Sun of the Desert (1970)

The descendants of the ancient Bulgarians have been found! The question is - who will they vote for?

In faraway Turan, a small backward republic in central Asia, an expedition from faraway Bulgaria, a developed, rich country within the EU, searches for the cradle of the once-great Bulgarian nation. Professor Nestorov is convinced that the locals are direct descendants of the proto-Bulgarians and is ready to measure thousands of heads to prove his theory. And elections will soon take place in Bulgaria. The nation suffers from a demographic decline, the rating of politicians is falling. What could be better than finding new Bulgarian voters to cast the appropriate ballot? The historical mission to integrate the newly found blood brothers falls upon Professor Dokuzanov, the chief ideologue of the Keepers Order News TV Channel, an expert in the construction of authentic ancient fortresses, a peddler of myths and ceremonial wine mugs made from the skulls of long-dead Byzantine soldiers.

A dizzying series of absurd and comic situations ensues. Popov transports the reader into an exotic world of adventure and tumultuous love affairs, of dictators and free steppe riders, a world of songs, shamanic spells, and dancing on the thin ice of big politics. But under the star-covered dome, in the vast steppe, eternal questions continue to flare up: who are we, where do we come from, why are we here?

An allegorical story, as absurd as it is plausible, in which the small folk are nothing more than a bargaining chip. But their free will, which is seldom held into account, can disrupt the geostrategic plans of the fat cats. And maybe even change the ethnic map of old Europe...

Alek Popov's healing laughter comes to help us outlive our national complexes and delusions about our glorious past and look at the future with new eyes.

 Mission Turan comes exactly twenty years after the release of Mission London, the emblematic first novel by Alek Popov, translated in 17 languages so far. Mission Turan started out as a movie project and gradually acquired the texture of prose. The “quest for roots” is the core theme around which issues of corruption, demographic crisis, fears of migration and lack of democracy revolve. The novel takes an ironic approach to the phenomenon of rising nationalism in Eastern Europe and tries to see it in the broader context of the search for identity – a trend unfolding on various levels in post-modern societies all over the world. The plot is set in an imaginary land: the remote post-Soviet republic of Turan – the supposed cradle of the ancient Bulgarian civilization, ruled by an unscrupulous local autocrat.

 Although a work of fiction, Mission Turan is based on long and meticulous researches. Following the steps of his main characters, the author ventured out to South Siberia disguised as an anthropologist. He also spent several months in Budapest as a writer in residence with the Institute of Advanced Studies at CEU to explore the Hungarian tradition of the "quest for roots" drawing inspiration from the exploits of Arminius Vambery and Sándor Csoma de Kőrös.

***

Alek Popov is the author of several novels: Mission London, The Black Box, The Palaveev Sisters in the Storm of History, The Palaveev Sisters on the Road to the New World; the collection of essays The Radical Thinker’s Companion, as well as a series of short story collections, including Advanced Level, Transition Myths, Body Weeds, etc. He is among the most translated and read Bulgarian writers with more than 40 books published abroad. Alek Popov is the co-author of the screenplay of the film Mission London, based on his eponymous novel, as well as of several plays staged nationally and internationally. He has won a number of literary recognitions, including: the Helikon Award for New Bulgarian Prose (2002, 2013); the National Drama Award Ivan Radoev; the Elias Canetti Prize, the Helicon Flower for the best-selling book of 2007 and 2013, the British Pen Center Award for Literature in Translation, the ProzaBalkan Award for Contribution to Balkan Literature (2019) and others. Alek Popov is a corresponding member of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences in the department of Arts.

 

 

IAS Thyssen Fellow István Pál Ádám published an article Budapest’s Freedom Square and its Collection of Memory Narratives in the Mémoires en Jeu - Memories at Stake, N13, Spring 2021. 

IAS CEU Senior Core Fellow Tyrell Haberkorn co-authored an opinion piece titled Thailand must free student hunger strikers now in Nikkei Asia. 

Tyrell has been involved in extensive research on democratisation and legacy of dictatorship in Thailand. At IAS CEU she works on a project Dictatorship on Trial in Thailand that analyzes the individual, social, and legal impacts of the five years of dictatorship under the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO, 2014-2019) and identifies how they might be redressed and justice forged. 

IAS CEU is delighted to congratulate its 2020/21 Senior Core Fellow Róbert Somos on publishing his book Órigenész, Zsoltárhomíliák.

In 2012 Marina Molin Pradel, an Italian archivist of Bayerische Staatsbibliothek in Munich, identified twenty-nine Greek homilies on Psalms in Codex Monacensis Graecus 314 as works by Origen. By now, Origenian authorship is already taken for granted, and the critical edition of the text of these homilies has been published by Lorenzo Perrone and his colleagues in 2015. The recent discovery is perhaps the most momentous event for the early Greek Christian studies of the last few decades. These homilies are the last work of the Christian master and the earliest non-fragmentary Christian explanations of Psalms.

The Hungarian translation, made by Róbert Somos, senior fellow of IAS, has been published in December 2020. The 14th volume of the series of Catena, edited by the Centre for Patristic Studies of Pécs University and Kairosz Publisher, contains the Hungarian translation of the twenty-nine Greek homilies and that of five Origenian homilies, which remained to us only in Rufinus’s Latin translation.

(Órigenész, Zsoltárhomíliák, Kairosz Kiadó, Budapest, 2020, (ISBN: 978 963 514 073 2), 490 pages, translation, introduction and notes by Róbert Somos

Two IAS Senio Core Fellows contributed with their chapters to the Routledge Book of Dehumanization (ed. by Maria Kronfeldner) that is out in February 2021.  IAS CEU 2019/20 Senior Core Fellow Andrea Timár wrote a chapter titled Dehumanisation in Literature and the Figure of the Perpetrator and 2020/21 Senior Core Fellow Somogy Varga authored the chapter Could Dehumanization Be Perceptual?

The Routledge Handbook of Dehumanization is the first comprehensive and multidisciplinary reference source on the subject and an outstanding survey of the key concepts, issues, and debates within dehumanization studies. Organized into four parts, the Handbook covers the following topics:

    • The history of dehumanization from Greek Antiquity to the 20th century, contextualizing the oscillating boundaries, dimensions, and hierarchies of humanity in the history of the ‘West’;
    • How dehumanization is contemporarily studied with respect to special contexts: as part of social psychology, as part of legal studies or literary studies, and how it connects to the idea of human rights, disability and eugenics, the question of animals, and the issue of moral standing;
    • How to tackle its complex facets, with respect to the perpetrator’s and the target’s perspective, metadehumanization and selfdehumanization, rehumanization, social death, status and interdependence, as well as the fear we show toward robots that become too human for us;
    • Conceptual and epistemological questions on how to distinguish different forms of dehumanization and neighboring phenomena, on why dehumanization appears so paradoxical, and on its connection to hatred, essentialism, and perception.

Essential reading for students and researchers in philosophy, history, psychology, and anthropology, this Handbook will also be of interest to those in related disciplines, such as politics, international relations, criminology, legal studies, literary studies, gender studies, disability studies, or race and ethnic studies, as well as readers from social work, political activism, and public policy

CEU Department of Philosophy is hosting an on-line book launch on March 23, 2021. More information about the event can be found here.

(The Source: Official web-site of Routledge, routledge.com)

IAS Thyssen Fellow István Pál Ádám published an article Budapest Butchers, the Jewish Question, and Holocaust Survivors in the Hungarian Historical Review Vol 9, Issue 3, 491-511.

This article focuses on a denazification procedure within the professional group of the Budapest butchers. Through the retelling of wartime anti-Jewish incidents and other conflicts, these processes reveal a complex picture of how a certain professional group tried to cope with the upheavals of the war and the attempts of outside interventions. In the framework of the anti-Jewish exclusionary atmosphere of the epoch, I investigate questions about professional competition, leadership, respectability, professionalization, and the marginalization of Jewish professionals. By answering these questions, I reconstruct a wartime internal dynamism within the butchers’ trade, where meat gradually became a scarcity, and therefore ousting Jewish colleagues was understood more and more as an urging necessity. In these circumstances, I am interested in the ways of solidarity and animosity showed by the Budapest butchers towards persecuted colleagues and towards Jews in general. By using a micro-historical method, I detail the professional problems of Budapest butchers, and I explain how the denazification check interestingly took over some functions of the “master’s exam,” after the Second World War
 

IAS Thyssen Felllow Larissa Buchholz published an article Art markets in crisis: how personal bonds and market subcultures mediate the effects of COVID-19 (co-authored with Gary Fine and Hannah Wohl) in the American Journal of Cultural Sociology, 8(3), 462-476. 

The piece examines how the contemporary art market has changed as a result of the disruptions caused by the novel coronavirus. Based on interviews with artists, collectors, a dealer, and an auction house executive, the article argues that the decline of face-to-face interaction, previously essential to art market transactions, has placed strain on each corner of the community. In the absence of physical co-presence with the artworks and art world actors, participants struggle to evaluate and appreciate artworks, make new social ties, develop trust, and experience a shared sense of pleasure and collective effervescence. These challenges especially impact the primary gallery market, where participants emphasize a communal commitment to art above instrumental speculation, which is more accepted in the secondary auction market. The article fidns a transition to distant online communication, but the likelihood of this continuing after the lockdowns end and the virus dissipates varies according to the subcultures of these market segments.

IAS CEU 20/21 Writer in Residence Oksana Maksymchuk's article How Man Became the Measure: An Anthropological Defense of the Measure Doctrine in the Protagoras was published in 
Archiv für Geschichte der Philosophie (ahead of print) and available now.

In the Theaetetus Socrates provides an elaboration and discussion of Protagoras’ measure doctrine, grounding it in a “secret doctrine” of flux. This paper argues that the anthropology of the myth in the Protagoras provides an earlier, very different way to explain the measure doctrine, focusing on its application to civic values, such as “just,” “fine,” and “pious.” The paper shows that Protagoras’ explanation of the dual etiology of virtue – that it is acquired both by nature and by nurture – tracks the two meanings of “anthropos” in his formulation of the measure doctrine, as “humankind” and “individual human.” On Protagoras’ account, humankind’s survival can be explained by the fact that humans share shame and justice, which enables them to live together in cities. 

IAS CEU Core Junior Fellow Petr Vašát published an article Making city-bases: homeless places, poverty management, and urban change in Pilsen, Czechia  in Urban Geography (online first). 

The article explores how homeless people make places in the public space, while revealing some of the overlooked effects these places may have on the wider city. The article relies on extensive ethnographic research and media coverage analysis of a place called Eskalátory (the Escalators) in Pilsen, a second-order city in Czechia. Eskalátory is part of an underpass with a four-lane road, a tramway, and four outdoor escalators, altogether, forming a specific urban assemblage. The paper describes three specific assemblage enactments of poverty management, homeless placemaking, and socio-materiality, and argues the place played a crucial role in urban change involving the surrounding area. Therefore, it conceptualizes Eskalátory as a “city-base”, an assemblage produced by actors human and non-human that contributes to urban outcome. 

Petr Vašát's interview with María José Álvarez Rivadulla from the Universidad de los Andes, Colombia titled The politics of the makeshift city: materiality, symbolic boundaries, and social relations in squatter settlements in Latin America was also published in Studia Ethnologica Pragensia (2020, 1: 101-109).

 

IAS 2018/2019 Senior Core Fellow Nina Peršak published a new article titled Pathways to the criminalisation of emotional distress: An offence- and harm-based typology 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 criminalisation of causing negative emotional states in others and pursues a principled response to the question under which conditions, in a liberal democratic society, it is legitimate to criminalise human conduct that leads to emotional distress in others. Its main aim is to develop an exploratory typology of different types of legally-relevant emotional distress, based on existing offences and informed by the criteria drawn from criminal law philosophy. Following the conceptual distinction between ‘harm’ and ‘offence’, a typology of legally relevant emotional distress ranging from simpler cases of distress through more in-depth offendedness and offence-plus-harm to states of emotional harm is presented. The article then discusses some ‘hard cases’, such as special vulnerabilities and the question of changing sensibilities through time. The repercussions of these changes for an effective and legitimate criminal justice as well as policy implications are addressed in the concluding section.

Another fantastic piece of news from IAS 2017/18 Senior Core fellow Juraj Buzalka whose book The cultural economy of protest in post-socialist European Union. Village fascists and their rivals (Routledge, 2020) is out now! 

Focusing on Slovakia and East Central Europe, this book examines the cultural economy of protest and considers how the origins of political movements – progressive and reactionary – derive from resilient agrarian features.

It draws attention to how the legacy of rural socialist modernization influences contemporary politics and to the ‘village’ version of fascism developing in the region. The chapters look at the interplay of post-peasant economic and political habits and representations as a result of state-socialism and with regard to the European project, as viewed through an ethnographic lens. Juraj Buzalka describes the bulk of Slovak citizens as post-socialist Europeans with a connection to the countryside who feel that this is where real power in society should be defined and based. He also observes the politicians who are skillfully mobilizing post-peasants while exploiting the political-economic context of the European Union.

This volume will be relevant to scholars with an interest in European society and politics, particularly protest and populism, from disciplines including anthropology, sociology, political science and history.

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.