In the May edition of the Jeno Szucs lecture series, Zsolt Cziganyik and Iva Dimovska introduced the audience into the theoretical background and novelties of their research project “Democracy in East Central European utopianism” including their original choice of geographic region, as research on utopianism often focuses on the Western, particularly on the Anglo-Saxon world. At the same time, their research inquiries related to what utopian texts have to say about democracy (its endorsed as well as contested elements) are also innovative. The project focuses on the 19th and 20th centuries.
After a literary historical as well as conceptual exposé by Zsolt Czigányik, Iva Dimovska presented her findings on utopian texts in interwar Yugoslavia, particularly those published in the avantgarde journal Zenit. The concept of the nation played a central role in utopian thinking in Yugoslavia in that period.
In the end, Daryna Koryagina, the third member of the research team, commented via zoom and briefly introduced her research topic within the project which concentrates on Soviet Ukrainian literature.
The audience commented among other elements of the lecture, on the challenges of what to include in the category ‘utopia’ and what to exclude, and on potential comparisons to be made with other geographical regions’ utopian texts.
You can watch the recording of the lecture here.