Botstiber-CEU Fellows

February – June 2019

Friederike Kind-Kovacs
Hannah-Arendt-Institute for Research on Totalitarianism, Dresden, Germany

Project: Budapest’s Children: Destitution, Humanitarian Relief and Revisionism in the Aftermath of the Great War
This project examines one of Central Europe’s major urban spaces, the capital city of Budapest, to reconstruct how, in the aftermath of WWI, this social hotspot turned into a core “laboratory” of transnational and transatlantic humanitarian intervention. Focusing simultaneously on the humanitarian donor nations and the Hungarian “receiving end,” the analysis sheds light on the ambivalent repercussions of relief on local societies and transatlantic power relations. In tracing these transnational encounters that revolved around practices of feeding, clothing, and rehabilitating, Budapest’s child relief reveals that, while a truly transnational endeavor, it was at its core a deeply national undertaking. While the US could manifest its global power presenting itself not only as a winner of the war but also of this humanitarian “war against hunger,” Hungary could rewrite its international reputation from an ‘enemy’ to a ‘victim’ nation, thereby codifying its revisionist claims that still reverberate in today’s society.

October 2018 – February 2019

Matthias Duller
University of Graz, Austria

Project: The Ford Foundation’s East European Fellowship Program: A Historical Sociology of Intellectuals under Real Socialism
This project examines one of the largest efforts by American agents of cultural diplomacy to instigate a transatlantic intellectual exchange across the Cold War divide: the Ford Foundation’s East European Fellowship Program. From 1957 onwards, several hundred intellectuals from real socialist countries of East-Central Europe, most of them from Poland and Yugoslavia, were awarded fellowships by the US-American Ford Foundation to spend research and study visits at Western universities and other learning institutions. Duller’s work will be the first to give a comprehensive overview of the Ford Foundation’s activities in several East-Central European countries between 1956 and 1968. Against the backdrop of diplomatic history, Duller will assess the Ford Foundation’s East European Program’s effects on the social science and humanities scholars who benefited from a Ford fellowship and on the academic intelligentsia in East-Central Europe more broadly.

March – July 2018

Ilse Josepha Lazaroms
Goethe University, Frankfurt am Main

Project: Across the Rupture: Central European Landscapes of War, 1941–1968
This project charts the intellectual representations of destruction in Central Europe. It aims to rescue the literary and political visions and realities that emerged from the remnants of the destroyed European life-worlds after the Holocaust. Narratives of survival and loss are placed side by side with more optimistic accounts of the future of the reimagined and restored European landscapes of war. It nuances debates about early Holocaust documentation and the role of literature in these processes, and argues that the Holocaust experience, seen in a larger timeframe, should be placed in the context of European responses to catastrophe, the immediate postwar years in Europe, and debates about what it means to give shape to the past. Despite our vast knowledge about the Holocaust, we know preciously little about the immediate postwar period, when the future of Europe lay in the scale and the bitter division between East and West, despite certain early stirrings, was yet to be cemented.

October 2017 – February 2018

Bálint Varga
Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Budapest

Project: Hungary in the Age of Global Mobility, 1880–1914
During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, globalization arrived to Central Europe at a scale unknown to former generations. Central Europe became connected to other parts of the world via railways and modern channels of communication, which brought material and immaterial goods produced in global centers or in some remote places of the world. Millions of Central European sought a better life overseas, mainly in the United States. Exotic commodities, fashionable cultural products and “exotic” people arrived to Central Europe, reshaping local cultures. By analyzing these phenomena in fin-de-siècle Hungary, this project seeks to investigate Central Europe’s entry into the global world in the age what historians call first globalization or First Global Economy (ca. 1880–1914).