Conference: Academics Facing Autocracy:

Devising Sustainable Pedagogical and Institutional Alternatives in Illiberal Times

Registration is required for in-person as well as online participation by December 11 here.

Zoom link will be sent to registered guests.

Date: December 14-15, 2023

Venue: Central European University, Nador str. 13, 1051 Budapest, Hungary. Room 307/A. Entrance from Nador str. 15. building where you can pick up your visitor card at the reception with which you can access the conference venue.

December 14 Thursday 

Arrival in the morning 

2-2:30 p.m.                     Registration at the reception of Nador str. 15, 1051 Budapest

2:30-4:00 pm                Autocratic attacks on higher education and academia

Moderator: Renata Uitz (Royal Holloway, University of London/CEU Central European University] Democracy Institute, Budapest)


  • Zoltan Adam (Centre for Social Sciences (HUN-REN), Institute for Political Science/ OLIve [Open Learning Initiative], Budapest)
  • Zoltan Ginelli (University of Public Service, Budapest)
  • Irina Dubrow (Institute of Philosophy and Sociology, Polish Academy of Sciences)
  • Turkay Gasimova (CEU Democracy Institute, Budapest)
  • Daniel Palm (University for Continuing Education, Krems/CEU Democracy Institute, Budapest)

4:00- 4:30 pm                coffee break 

4:30-6:00 pm                 Resisting autocratic pressures within the university and  academia

Moderator: Agnes Katalin Kelemen (CEU-Democracy Institute)


  • Cris Shore (Goldsmiths University of London/CEU Institute for Advanced Study, Budapest)
  • Eszter Kirs (Corvinus University, Budapest)
  • Daniel Deak (Oktatói Hálózat: Hungarian Network of Academics, Budapest)
  • Marton Zaszkaliczky (Akadémiai Dolgozók Fóruma: Hungarian Academy Staff Forum, Budapest)

6:00-6:15 pm                 break

6:15-7:15 pm                Threatened and displaced academics, scholars-at-risk programs

Moderator: Michael Kozakowski (CEU Yehuda Elkana Center for Teaching, Learning, and Higher Education Research, Vienna) 


  • Thomas Keenan (Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson)
  • Oleksandr Shtokvych (OSUN [Open Society University Network] Threatened Scholars Integration Initiative, Vienna)
  • Philip Fedchin (Smolny Beyond Borders, Bard College, Berlin)
  • Agnes Katalin Kelemen (CEU Democracy Institute)/Rafael Labanino (University of Konstanz)/Maksym Snihyr (National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy)

8 pm                                 conference dinner for speakers

December 15 Friday 

10-11:30 am                   National and transnational hybrid educational programs

Moderator: Tamara Kamatovic (Yehuda Elkana Center for Teaching, Learning and Higher Education, Vienna)


  • Dmytro Iarovyi (Ukrainian Global University/Kyiv School of Economics)
  • Andrea Peto (University of New Europe)
  • Ostap Sereda (Invisible University for Ukraine)
  • Marcell Sebok (CEU Istvan Bibo Free University)
  • Julia Strutz (Off University, Berlin)

 11:30am-12                   break 

12-1 pm                           Building a transnational curriculum 1: „Memory politics”

Moderator: Vladimir Petrovic (Boston University)


  • Julia Szekely (Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest)/ Noemi Levy-Aksu (Hafiza Merkezi, Istanbul)/Bohdan Shumylovych (Lviv Center for Urban History)/Ketevan Epadze

1-2 pm                             lunch break

2-3 pm                             Building a transnational curriculum 2.: “Decolonization”

Moderator: Daniel Palm (University for Continuing Education, Krems/CEU Democracy Institute)


  • Karolina Koziura (European University Institute, Florence)/ Adrian Matus (CEU OLIve Program, 2017-2022/Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest)/ Elzbieta Kwiecinska (University of Warsaw)/Ketevan Epadze (Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University)

3-3:30 pm                       break 

3:30-4:30 pm                Building a transnational curriculum 3.: “Democratic resilience” 

Moderator: Ruzha Smilova (Sofia University)


  • Aleksandar Pavlovic (Institute for Philosophy and Social Theory, Belgrade)/ Saniia Toktogazieva (American University of Central Asia, Bishkek)
  • Thiago Amparo (Fundacao Getulio Vargas School of International Relations, Sao Paolo)
  • Violetta Zentai (CEU Democracy Institute/OLIve/CEU OLIve Program 2017-2022, Budapest)

4:30-5 pm                       coffee break

5-7 pm                             Strategies on alternative education &Final conference discussion                                                        Moderator: Balazs Trencsenyi (CEU Vienna/CEU Institute for Advanced                                                      Study/CEU Democracy Institute, Budapest)


  • Daniel Calingaert (Open Society University Network/Bard College)
  • Jonathan Becker (Open Society University Network/Bard College)
  • Eva Fodor (Central European University, Vienna)
  • Angela Kocze (CEU Roma Graduate Preparation Program, Budapest)
  • Mate Halmos (Socrates Project, Budapest)

Research on Scholars at risk and scholars at risk programs

Within the Academics Facing Autocracy program of the CEU Democracy Institute’s “Democracy in History” workgroup, supported by the Open Society University Network, our research team – consisting of Agnes Katalin Kelemen, Michael Kozakowski, Rafael Labanino, Eren Paydas and Maksym Snihyr – examines the experience of scholars at risk (displaced ones as well as of those threatened by war or oppression in their home countries) and of managers and administrators of scholars at risk programs or similar initiatives to support endangered academics.

We aim to assess the strengths and weaknesses of scholars at risk programs. We try to understand to what extent existing  support structures are able to help scholars displaced from their academic communities or threatened within their country to sustain academic careers and activity in higher education. 

If you consider yourself a threatened academic or a scholar at risk, please fill our survey. We also appreciate if you distribute information on our research and send the link to such scholars in your networks.

If you work for a scholars at risk program or similar support structure, please fill our other survey. We also appreciate if you distribute information on our research and send the link to such persons in your networks.

Both surveys are open until January 15, 2024.

The beginning of each survey directs respondents to this post to read the below Information Sheet and Consent Form.

Information Sheet & Consent Form about Participation in Survey Research on European Support Schemes for  Scholars at Risk

You are invited to participate in a study that is conducted by Central European University’s Democracy Institute (Budapest) The study has received funding from the Open Society University Network under budget code  O/OSU/DOCRS/82903.B.4)

Study title: Assessing Scholars at Risk Programs within the “ACADEMICS FACING AUTOCRACY 2.0: TURNING “SCHOLARS AT RISK” PROGRAMS INTO A SUSTAINABLE ALTERNATIVE research program

Purpose, usefulness, and benefits of participating in the Study: The purpose of this research is to allow us to better understand the strengths and weak points of support structures set up within Europe for the sake of scholars at risk.  There are no direct benefits from participating in the study. However, the outcomes of the study seek to inform academics and stakeholders in the higher education sector about how support programs could be improved and sustained.

Requirements: You consider yourself an academic (you are part of a doctoral or post/doctoral program  or you are either short-term or permanent employee of an academic research institute or university or an independent researcher) threatened or displaced by one of the following

  • autocracy,
  • persecution or fear thereof,
  • authoritarian attacks against academic freedom
  • war

who participated in one or more programs set up to help scholars at risk.

OR you work or volunteer as an administrator or manager to operate a scholars at risk program/a support scheme meant to help threatened scholars and this program is based in Europe (not necessarily your supportees).

Procedure: This sheet gives you information to help you decide if you want to participate in our research or not. If you choose to participate in the study, you will find questions regarding your experience and expectations towards support schemes meant to help threatened and displaced scholars.  Different surveys are meant for managers/administrators and for (aspiring) participants of such programs.  In the survey, you will be asked whether you are willing to elaborate more on your experience and opinion about such programs in an individual (online) interview, you will only be contacted for an interview if your answer to this question is yes. In this case interviews may last up to 30 minutes. It is also your right to answer the survey questions but saying no to the interview request. You will also be asked whether you wish to be informed in the future about the output of this research, such as conference papers or journal articles.

Your email address will only be used for contacting you if you say you are willing to give an interview and/or want to be informed about research output. Your email address will be stored for five years after the completion of the research. Note that it is also your right to withdraw your consent to participate in this research by communicating your withdrawal of consent in an email to Agnes Katalin Kelemen at In such case your survey answers and interview will be deleted.

Potential Risks: There are no risks associated with participation in the interview thanks to anonymity and confidential treatment of responses by the researchers. However, if you prefer not to answer certain interview questions, you are free to skip any question, and you can stop the interview at any time.

Your rights as a participant: Participation in this study is completely voluntary and you may withdraw at any time during the study without giving any reason.

Data storage and protection: In this study, we will record your specific data (name, age, sex, profession, and views on scholars-at-risk programs). These data are confidential. We use a number code to identify the data. The data will not be directly linked to your name or any other identifying information. Information about your identity is kept strictly separate from the code and data. Any information that may directly or indirectly identify you in the interview transcripts will be deleted. Any published materials will not contain your name or any other personal information. We take secure storage of the collected data very seriously. All data will be encrypted and stored on a password protected computer. The recorded data are accessible only to the lead researchers of the study (Balazs Trencsenyi, Renata Uitz) and those to whom they explicitly grant access rights (researchers within the Academics Facing Autocracy research program). We will destroy consent forms, surveys and interview transcripts five years after the project completion. Please see Central European University’s Data Protection Policy at

Questions: Please feel free to ask further questions about the study. It is important to us that you have received all the information you need in order to decide whether or not to participate in this study. If you would like to participate, please click yes below.

Contact and further information:

For further information, please contact: Agnes Katalin Kelemen, CEU–Democracy Institute,

Name of lead researchers: Renata Uitz, Balazs Trencsenyi

  In the beginning of the survey you are asked to confirm that  you have read and understood the Information Sheet for the above described study and you understand that your participation is voluntary and that you are free to withdraw at any time without giving a reason and that you have been informed about data storage and protection and understand that your data is confidential. And you agree to participate in this study Otherwise you cannot fill the survey.    

Academics Facing Autocracy 2

A Program by CEU-Democracy Institute’s „Democracy in History” workgroup supported by OSUN Global Visiting Fellowship

The concluding conference of Academics Facing Autocracy in April showed the need for new modalities to teach higher education under illiberal rule. As the continuation of the workgroup’s Academics Facing Autocracy program, current deliberations focus on teaching and research in an authocratizing Central Eastern Europe. Where the conference  brought together academics from scholarly communities threatened by authoritarian governments from numerous countries on several continents (Belarus, Brazil, Hungary, Kyrgyzstan, Paraguay, Russia, Nicaragua, Turkey), the current research groups are composed of researchers with in depth knowledge on the developments in the region and thus predisposed to find suiting answers to the challenges they operate in.

One central finding of the discussions in April was that support programs that aim to get critical educators out of illiberal contexts results double challenge: For the one side they are barely able to integrate into foreign academia in a sustainable manner and for the other, they leave the higher education sector of their origin weakened. thus, the current round aims at assessing European support programs set up scholars-at-risk and at working out course curricula which sensitize students with regard to threats against their and their universities’ academic freedom. For the sake of the former aim, one team of the Academics Facing Autocracy 2. group conducts a survey among scholars who participate(d) or applied to European scholars-at-risk programs and the managers and administrators of such programs in order to come up with suggestions how such programs could be further improved and rendered sustainable. For the sake of the second aim, the three other teams within our group develop curricula organized around the crucial topics of decolonization, memory politics and democratic resilience.

The concluding conference of Academics Facing Autocracy in April showed the need for new modalities to teach higher education under illiberal rule. As the continuation of the workgroup’s Academics Facing Autocracy program, current deliberations focus on teaching and research in an authocratizing Central Eastern Europe. Where the conference  brought together academics from scholarly communities threatened by authoritarian governments from numerous countries on several continents (Belarus, Brazil, Hungary, Kyrgyzstan, Paraguay, Russia, Nicaragua, Turkey), the current research groups are composed of researchers with in depth knowledge on the developments in the region and thus predisposed to find suiting answers to the challenges they operate in.




Agnes Kelemen (CEU Democracy Institute, Budapest) and Michael Kozakowski (CEU Yehuda Elkana Center for Teaching, Learning, and Higher Education Research, Vienna) team leaders

Rafael Labanino (University of Konstanz)

Eren Paydas (Off University, Berlin)

Maksym Snihyr (National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy)




Daniel Palm (University for Continuing Education Krems/Ceu Democracy Institute, Budapest) team leader

Elzbieta Kwiecinska (University of Warsaw)

Karolina Koziura (European University Institute)

Adrian Matus (Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest)

Lina Omran


Vladimir Petrovic (Boston University) team leader

Noemi Levy-Aksu (Hafiza Merkezi,, Turkey)

Julia Szekely (Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest)

Ketevan Epadze (Tbilisi State University)

Bohdan Shumylovych (Center for Urban History, Lviv)


Ruzha Smilova (Sofia University) team leader

Saniia Toktogazieva (American University of Central Asia, Bishkek)

Aleksandar Pavlovic (Institute for Philosophy and Social Theory, Belgrade)


Academics Facing Autocracy 2. started on August 1, 2023 with a kick off hosted by the then double leadership of the AFA program, Renáta Uitz and Balzs Trecnenyi. Since then, each team has bi-weekly zoom meetings and there is a plenary meeting once a month. Members of each team join other teams’ meetings  to keep the coherence of our work across all panels. The first meetings in August aimed at familiarizing each other with the different local contexts we come from and at identifying how we can work together so that our research and curricula output can be relevant on a larger scale, how to work out pedagogical alternatives that are resilient enough to be tailorcut to local needs. On September 1, the whole group met and discussed what the outcomes should be by the end of the program (December 31, 2023).

Track 1 worked out two survey questionnaires, one for scholars at risk and another one for managers and administrators of European scholars-at-risk programs in addition to two different sets of interview questions to each group to be disseminated during the autumn. During the preperations, essential questions on research ethics in the field were discussed and are documented to guide further research on the topic. The questionnaires are anonymous online surveys and respondents who indicate their willingness to share their personal experiences in more detail will be contacted for a half-hour interview. The generated data will allow us to assess existing programs and address questions for future improvement.  

Within Track 2, the Decolonization team mapped literature in the theoretical space in between the rightful criticism of Western, liberal , U.S. centered academia colonializing Central-Eastern Europe and the overly nativizing and essentializing responses of some academics that are supported by autocratic movements. Currently, they develop a didactical concept to teach about changing uses of decelonialization concepts under autocracy in the Central Eastern Region. Tightly cooperating with the Memory Politics team, they came up with the suggestion that all the three teams within Track 2 should aim at the following learning outcome in their curricula: “Students participating in the activities can distinguish critical from biased use of concepts from the literature on the topos of decolonialization. They also can identify actors and literature that allow them to react to overly essentializing reformulations of history and identity from the side of autocratic governments.”

The Memory politics team traced the patterns of authoritarian interventions in politics of memory and scrutinized this mnemonic landscape in national as well as regional context, according to distinguishable subjects (memory laws and calenders, education and textbooks,. monuments and urban space). They also discuss the possibility of counteracting this attempt at controlling the past by hosting memory labs aimed at mnemonic resocialization. Memory lab is a module in their proposed course curriculum, a means to enable students to experiment with original mnemonic techniques (such as for instance memory walks or digital forms of commemoration). The course participants will work together towards the production of an original output contributing to documentation and/or civic engagement in the memory field.

The Democratic resilience team mapped existing university courses’ curricula in East Central Europe, the Balkans and the Caucasus region, primarily but not only of Political Science departments of universities in these regions which claim to teach about democracy and subjects where democratic resilience is presumably discussed. They looked at courses of universities that already teach on democratization. The analysis of exiting curriculaincluded  also of institutions supported by famously non-democratic governments such as Mathias Corvinus Collegium (MCC) in Budapest.

Another plenary meeting is expected for late October or early November and we will meet for a (hybrid) workshop in Budapest on December 14-15 to discuss each teams’ outcome and prepare the project outputs, possibly working papers in the Review of Democracy and trial classes based on the course curricula developed within the project.


Intersecting Histories: Exploring Interdisciplinary Perspectives onFriendship

Central European University Budapest, Quantum Room І 23–24 November 2023
What do we talk about when we talk about friendship? The workshop aims to provide a
variety of answers to the said question from the humanities and social sciences
perspective. It brings together a group of established scholars and early career
researchers who will explore recent trends in the slowly but surely emerging field of
friendship studies and demonstrate their findings on examples from 19th and 20th century
European history as well as contemporary society.
The workshop touches upon topics such as narrating one’s self through sociability,
creating patterns of communal belonging or contesting these same patterns, and
through friendship, finding possibilities for alternative identifications. On the other hand,
the event also showcases the meaning of friendship narratives for interstate relations and
conflict resolution. By highlighting various meanings this ambiguous concept can
undertake, the ambition of this academic gathering is not only to bring to light current
research but also to challenge the boundaries of the framework and open new
possibilities for further explorations.
For logistic/administrative queries, please contact

Day 1: Thursday, 23 November 2023

10:00-10:30 Registration

10:30-10:45 Opening remarks

10:45-11:00 Participants self-introduction

11:00-13:00 Panel 1: Concepts and Frameworks
Chair: Marsha Siefert (CEU PU, Democracy Institute)

Jana Bacevic (Durham University): Friendship as Theory

Arthur Duhé (Université Lyon 3): Revolutionary Images: Friends and Brothers in the
Nineteenth Century

Stefano Pisu (University of Cagliari): Almost Friends Across the Iron Curtain? Some Concepts
(and Facts) about Italian-Soviet Cultural Friendship in Cold War Era


13:00-14:00 Lunch Break

14:00-16:00 Panel 2: Cold War Impressions
Chair: Stefano Pisu (University of Cagliari)

Marsha Siefert (CEU PU, Democracy Institute): Co-Producing “Friendship” through Formal
and Informal Transnational Cinematic Relations during the Cold War

Pia Koivunen (University of Turku): Friends in Theory, Friends in Practice? The Varying
Meanings of Friendship in the Context of the World Youth Festivals

Maja Lukanc (Institute for Contemporary History, Ljubljana): Friendship Narratives in Motion:
Polish-Yugoslav Transnational Encounters, 1956–1968


16:00-16:30 Coffee Break

16:30-18:30 Panel 3: Gender, Emotions and Everyday Life
Chair: Zsófia Lóránd (Research Center for the History of Transformations , University of Vienna)

Anna Theresa Leyrer (University of Basel): Neither Couple nor Collective. Female Friends,
Counting / on the other Around 1900

Phil Leask (University College London): Holding Ourselves Together: German Women’s Letters
over Fifty Years

Benno Gammerl (European University Institute): Freundschaft. Popularity and Dismissal of a
Term in Twentieth-Century German Queer Politics

Day 2: Friday, 24 November 2023

10:30-11:00 Opening informal gathering

11:00-13:00 Panel 4: Internationalism and Social Reality
Chair: Ágnes Katalin Kelemen (CEU Democracy Institute)

Szabolcs László (Institute of History, Research Centre for the Humanities, Budapest):
Transnational Network as Affective Community: Hungarian and American Music Educators
and the Kodály Method (1960s-70s)

Zsófia Lóránd (Research Center for the History of Transformations, University of Vienna):
Female Friendships and Socialist Internationalism in the Wake of WWII in Eastern and Central

Izabella Agárdi (Institute of Advanced Studies Kőszeg): Friendships but Not Friends: Power,
Intimacy, Work and Monotony in Everyday Life in State Socialist Hungary


13:00-14:00 Lunch Break

14:00-16:00 Panel 5: Collectivity, War, Reconciliation
Chair: Jana Bacevic (Durham University)

Tanja Zimmermann (University of Leipzig): Yugoslav Exhibitions of Naive Artists: The Value of
Collectivity in the First and the Second Yugoslavia

Zala Pavšič (CEU Democracy Institute): Friendship at War: Examples from the Disintegration
of Yugoslavia

Ivana Stepanović (Institute of Advanced Studies Kőszeg): New Frontiers of Peacebuilding in
Former Yugoslavia: Algorithmic Friendships and Digital Commodification of Reconciliation

16:00-16:30 Coffee Break

16:30-18:00 Concluding Roundtable: Why research Friendship?
Chair: Zala Pavšič (CEU Democracy Institute)

Jana Bacevic (Durham University)

Phil Leask (University College London)

Pia Koivunen (University of Turku)

Yuri van Hoef (Erasmus University Rotterdam)

19:00 Concluding event


(Central European University Democracy Institute, Budapest)

We invite applications for a Postdoctoral Fellow position within the project “Overcoming the
Aggressor. Self-Perception and External Perception of an Actor Between Nations.”
by Prof. Dr. Thomas Maissen (History Department, Heidelberg University) and supported by
a generous grant from the Daimler and Benz Foundation, this three-year international
interdisciplinary project investigates the identity-forming construction of national images of
the enemy, which are shaped by aggressors from neighboring countries throughout Europe.
The project focuses on key historical figures and their contested historiographical
interpretations, but is also open to less conventional approaches to “clusters” of aggressors, and
different media of representation, including artistic, audiovisual, or digital. A detailed
description of the project and the researchers involved can be found here.

The postdoctoral position allows for the conceptualization and implementation of an English
or German-language book project over three years. The project can be freely formulated within
the framework of the above-mentioned description. Successful applicant will work in
cooperation with the broader academic network around Central European University
Democracy Institute
in Budapest, and in cooperation with other researchers involved in the
project, including the postdoctoral fellow hosted by the Centre for Advanced Study in Sofia.
The grantee is expected to actively participate in the further conceptualization of the project
and in its events (e.g., graduate seminar, workshops) as well as in the institutional activities of
the hosting institution. Apart from pursuing her/his research, the Fellow will thus be involved
in constructing and consolidating an innovative international and interdisciplinary research
network, bringing together scholars from different academic cultures and engaging with the
problems of historical canon-building and counter-canons, reconciliation, (re)nationalization,
national grand narratives, and memory of violence in a comparative manner.

The successful candidate will be working in residence at the hosting institution (at least 120
days per academic year) but research stays abroad are also eligible for funding. The annual
grant is up to 48.960 Euro gross.

Eligibility requirements:

  • Candidates must hold a PhD, earned not earlier than 7 years before the application is
    submitted (with maternity or paternity leaves and documented career breaks eligible for
  • they should have an outstanding research agenda, and a record of relevant and internationally
    recognized publications in the field,
  • excellent scholarly project, which should have a comparative or transnational edge, going
    beyond studying only one national context,
  • good knowledge of English and at least one language from East Central Europe, other
    language skills welcome.

The involved institutions stand for equal opportunities and diversity. Qualified female
candidates are especially invited to apply. Persons with severe disabilities will be given
preference if they are equally qualified.
Application deadline: October 1. The applications will be processed starting October 15, 2023.

The position will remain open until filled. Starting date: December 1, 2023
(negotiable). The contract is for a maximum of 36 months. Informal inquiries can be addressed
to Ágnes Kelemen, coordinator, CEU DI History Working Group (

Applications should contain:

  • a motivation letter
  • curriculum vitae
  • copies of diplomas
  • proof of language skills and professional experience
  • one sample article or book chapter
  • the names and addresses of two scholars, who can be contacted for letters of reference
  • and an outline of the project (max. 20,000 characters including spaces and bibliography).

Please send applications in electronic form (in one PDF file) and with the subject “Application
for postdoc” to

Successful Hungarian book launch

On October 27, 2023 Napvilág publishing house and the Democracy in History workgroup of the CEU Democracy Institute launched a biography of the late Hungarian historian Péter Hanák by Péter Csunderlik: Egy különleges közép-európai történész (A special historian from Central Europe). Not only historians but many intellectuals who remember Péter Hanák as a public intellectual of the state socialist era and the 1990s showed interest in the event as well as the book which they could buy on the spot and have it signed by the author. The book was launched with a roundtable discussion between the author Péter Csunderlik, social historians Mónika Mátay and Gábor Gyáni, intellectual historian and CEU pro-rector László Kontler and Gergely Romsics historian of foreign policy. Mátay and Gyáni also told personal memories of Hanák as a professor, and Kontler recalled memories of Hanák as a colleague. Hanák is especially important for CEU as the founding head of the History Department.

A video recording of the book launch can be seen at the YouTube channel of the Institute of Political History:

Lecture on Early Modern concerns about populism -by Cesare Cuttica

On October 20, Cesare Cuttica, scholar of intellectual history gave a public lecture at the CEU-Democracy Institute on the history of criticisms against democracy as a form of organizing the state. He argued that while most histories of democracy claim that the term as well as the concept of democracy was largely forgotten after the Quattrocento and reemerged during the French and American revolutions, in fact the 17th century was also a crucial moment in the debates around democracy. This was partially thanks to the spread of periodicals which provided a forum for debates for intellectuals. In 17th century Britain democracy was criticized among other features for its cruelty (the practism of ostracism was put forward in this discourse) and as the tyranny of the “mob”.

Contested Memories: Antifascism, Jews and the Holocaust

The Budapest Jewish Studies Colloquium

in cooperation with

the CEU-Democracy Institute, the CEU Jewish Studies Program and the Tom Lantos Institute

cordially invites you to a roundtable discussion

Contested Memories: Antifascism, Jews and the Holocaust

Speakers: Tímea Jablonczay, Ágnes Katalin Kelemen, Daniel Véri, Máté Zombory.
Moderated by Eszter Susán.

on October 19, 5:30 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.

Vera and Donald Blinken Open Society Archives

Arany János utca 32, Budapest

research room or on zoom.

Meeting ID: 988 3649 1629

Passcode: 896372

Reception to follow.

Registration required by October 18:


This roundtable discussion explores the various ways the Holocaust was represented in Cold War Central Europe, considering major examples of official memory politics, exhibition histories, fine arts, and literature in the 1960s. It considers the agency of state actors, the Jewish community, as well as individuals, especially artists and writers, paying special attention to the eminent role played by the antifascist historical narrative.

OSA Archivum’s current exhibition offers a starting point for the discussion. Titled “Commissioned Memory. Hungarian Exhibitions in Auschwitz, 1960/1965,” it introduces a monumental fine arts collection commissioned for the 1965 Hungarian exhibition in Auschwitz, as well as an exceptional work from 1960 (‘Vampire Hitler,’ based on Simon Wiesenthal’s 1946 drawing), created for the same venue.


Ágnes Katalin Kelemen

earned her PhD in Comparative History from Central European University in 2019, with an emphasis in the fields of Nationalism-, Religious-, and Jewish Studies. Following a postdoctoral fellowship at the Masaryk Institute and Archives of the Czech Academy of Sciences in Prague, she is currently a research assistant at the CEU-Democracy Institute (Budapest). Her work focuses on displaced students and scholars in Europe in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.

Eszter Susán

graduated from ELTE University with a degree in Aesthetics and German Literature and Linguistics. During this time she spent three years in Berlin, where she studied Holocaust representation in art and literature, as well as approaches to Holocaust education. From 2013, Eszter studied and worked as a teaching assistant in the “Education and Jewish Studies” doctoral program of New York University (NYU). In her PhD dissertation, she explored the theme of dissent and resistance during the Kadar era (1967–88) in Hungary from a Jewish perspective.

Next to her academic activities Eszter actively participated in the rethinking and revitalization of Hungarian Jewish culture since the early 2000s. She was a founding member of the MAROM Jewish youth and cultural association, where she led several experiential learning projects, among them an interactive blended learning tool with a focus on Budapest’s Jewish social history. Since July 2022 Eszter is Manager for the Jewish Life and Countering Antisemitism Program at the Tom Lantos Institute.

Tímea Jablonczay

is an associate professor in the Department of Media and Culture at Milton Friedman University. In 2022, she was a research fellow at the Institute of Advanced Studies in Kőszeg (iASK). She trained as a literary scholar at the University of Pécs, Hungary and the University of Jyväskylä, Finland where she obtained her doctorate about Hungarian Women Writers in Interwar Period in 2009. She published on narratology, elaborated local identity research [Identity and image research in Dabas (2013)], several articles about female literature, edited volume Helikon 2022/3 Transcultural Memory Studies, Helikon 2015/2 Transnational Perspectives in Literary Studies.

Her current research focuses on Hungarian female Holocaust testimonies, and transcultural memory processes. She has been undertaking research on the cultural heterogeneity and literary works of Erzsi Szenes (1902–1981) for many years, investigating her literary career in Central-Europe, and her Holocaust and diasporic memories in Israel after the Holocaust. She is working on three major works: a monograph on Erzsi Szenes, the memory of the Holocaust in Hungary during the 1960s, and Hungarian female Holocaust memory (1945–89).

Daniel Véri

is an art and cultural historian, researcher at the Museum of Fine Arts – Central European Research Institute for Art History (KEMKI) in Budapest. CEU Jewish Studies postdoctoral fellow at the Democracy Institute (2021–22), member of the ‘Confrontations: Sessions in East European Art History’ research group (UCL, 2019–22). He studied at ELTE (history of art: MA, 2009; PhD, 2016), and at CEU (history, 2010).

His research interests include Central European art from the 1945–89 period, especially the artistic reception of Jewish identity and the Holocaust, as well as cultural diplomacy and the cultural history of blood libels. Author of ”Leading the Dead” – The World of János Major (2013), co-author of The Great Book Theft. French Book Exhibition Behind the Iron Curtain (2020). Curator and co-curator of numerous research-based exhibitions.

Máté Zombory

is an associate professor at ELTE Faculty of Social Sciences and senior research fellow at the Centre for Social Sciences in Budapest. He obtained his PhD in 2010, his dissertation, entitled Maps of Remembrance, was published in 2012.His field of interest is the historical sociology of transnational and cultural memory. His current research projects include the Cold War history of Holocaust documentation with particular attention to the work of Hungarian journalist and author Jenő Lévai, supported by the Fondation pour la mémoire de la Shoah, Paris, and the history and memory of international antifascism.

His recent publications include Traumatársadalom. Az emlékezetpolitika történeti-szociológiai kritikája [Trauma Society. A Historical-Sociological Critique of the Politics of Memory] (2019) and a number of articles in journals such as Memory StudiesJournal of cold War StudiesRevue d’études comparatives Est-OuestMúltunkKorallSzociológiai Szemle.

New season of the Jeno Szucs Lecture Series was launched by Victor Karády

On September 26, 2023 the second season of our research group’s public lecture series was launched by Victor Karády historical sociologist and professor emeritus. Among other topics, the openness of late 18th-early 19th century Austro-Hungary towards Jewish immigration and its demogrpahic reasons, Jewish integration during the Gründerzeit, assimilation and the decline of acceptance towards Jews over time were discussed. The talk was followed by a lively debate on whether or not the history of Hungarian Jewry -or of any other social group in history – can be considered as unique.

Among other topics, we also talked about professor Victor Karády’s new Hungarian book -Zsidóság a magyar nemzetépítésben a numerus clausus előtt és után. [Jewry in Hungarian nation building before and after the numerus clausus] (Múlt és Jövő, 2023)- which includes his studies co-authored by the late sociologist István Kemény about socioloical aspects of Hungarian Jewish history, originally published in the famous Actes de la Recherche en Sciences Sociales between 1978 and 1980.

New Season of the Jenő Szűcs Lecture Series Starts

The Democracy in History workgroup of CEU’s Democracy Institute cordially invites you to a new session of the Jeno Szucs Lecture Series: 

The Uniqueness of Hungarian Jewry Revisited 


Victor Karady 

on September 26, 5:30 p.m.-7 p.m. in Budapest, Nádor street 15, room 104 or on Zoom.

Meeting ID: 983 8238 5277 

Passcode: 047171  

Registration required for on-site participation by September 20 at:  


Agnes Katalin Kelemen 

The lecture offers an overview of historical sociological research on 
Hungarian Jewry undertaken by Victor Karady and the late István Kemény 
in the 1970s in Paris. Now a Hungarian edition of their first major 
publication invites us to rethink what is unique about Hungarian 
Jewish history. After the lecture, the brand-new volume will be up for 
sale thanks to the Múlt es Jövő publishing house.