Eastern Europe Events

Lost in Transition: Ethnographies of Everyday Life After Communism

October 20, 2011 // 12:00pm1:00pm
Global Europe Program
Lost in Transition tells of ordinary lives upended by the collapse of communism. Through ethnographic essays and short stories based on her experiences with Eastern Europe between 1989 and 2009, Kristen Ghodsee explains why it is that so many Eastern Europeans are nostalgic for the communist past. Ghodsee uses Bulgaria, the Eastern European nation where she has spent the most time, as a lens for exploring the broader transition from communism to democracy. She locates the growing nostalgia for the communist era in the disastrous, disorienting way that the transition was handled. The privatization process was contested and chaotic. A few well-connected foreigners and a new local class of oligarchs and criminals used the uncertainty of the transition process to take formerly state-owned assets for themselves. Ordinary people inevitably felt that they had been robbed. Many people lost their jobs just as the state social-support system disappeared. Lost in Transition portrays one of the most dramatic upheavals in modern history by describing the ways that it interrupted the rhythms of everyday lives, leaving confusion, frustration, and insecurity in its wake.

Responding to the Economic Crisis: Austerity, Neoliberalism, and Beyond Neoliberalism

October 06, 2011 // 1:00pm3:00pm
Global Europe Program
Around the world, politicians, activists, scholars, and journalists describe the world as increasingly "neoliberal." For decades, populations worldwide have protested against neoliberal structural adjustment and austerity policies advocated by the IMF and World Bank. The protests in Greece were just a recent case of this worldwide critique. The riots in Britain have also been presented as the result of neoliberal policies. What do these protestors and commentators mean by neoliberalism? Why is it so important? What has caused neoliberalism? Which neoliberal trends do we see around the world? Is neoliberalism coming to an end? This panel will discuss the emergence of neoliberalism and its current state both worldwide and specifically in the former socialist countries of Central and Eastern Europe.

Theatre and the Holocaust in Romania: A dramatic reading of the Journals of Mihail Sebastian

September 27, 2011 // 4:00pm6:00pm
Global Europe Program
Romania officially condemned its involvement in the European Holocaust following the Elie Wiesel Commission Report of 2004. A first-person account of being Jewish in Bucharest under fascist dictatorship is given by playwright and novelist, Mihail Sebastian, in his diary. Adapted for the stage by David Auburn in 2004, Sebastian comes to life in this one-man show based on his journal. The panel discussion following the performance will be an opportunity for the panelists and audience to discuss anti-Semitism, memory, theatre, repression, creativity and Holocaust remembrance and education in Romania today. This event brings together partners from the Woodrow Wilson Center, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and the Romanian Embassy to the United States.
Webcast

Human Rights Activism and the End of the Cold War: A Transnational History of the Helsinki Network

September 13, 2011 // 4:00pm5:30pm
Cold War International History Project
Sarah B. Snyder explores how, in the aftermath of the signing of the Helsinki Final Act, a transnational network of activists committed to human rights in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe made the topic a central element in East-West diplomacy.

Ethnocracy Instead of Democracy in Macedonia

September 12, 2011 // 12:00pm1:00pm
Global Europe Program
On June 5, 2011, Macedonia held parliamentary elections. The outcome confirmed the fears of many observers, analysts, and democracy advocates that the ruling VMRO-DUI government coalition (both ultra-nationalist parties) will remain in power for the next four years with dire consequences for the future of Macedonia. Over the last four years, the government strongly protected nationalist projects and ethnic alliances, rather than the rule of law. The re-elected government has already shown disrespect for the rule of law, democracy, civil society, human rights, and freedom of speech in its earliest actions, which jeopardizes Macedonia’s attempt to accede to the European Union.

Four Types of Diaspora Mobilization: Albanian Diaspora Activism for Kosovo Independence in the U.S. and the UK

June 29, 2011 // 12:00pm1:00pm
Global Europe Program
This comparative study explores the conditions and causal pathways through which conflict-generated diasporas become moderate or radical actors when linked to homelands experiencing limited sovereignty.

Can Intervention Work? Lessons From Bosnia and the Balkans

May 09, 2011 // 2:00pm3:30pm
Global Europe Program
Support for international interventions around the world is more often driven by the relative success of the most recent experience of intervention, rather than on the merits and context of each specific case, according to Gerald Knaus. With the current debate about NATO's intervention in Libya in the news, Knaus evaluated the methods recently employed to assess and plan interventions, and offered his own framework for how to conduct international interventions, based on lessons learned in the ongoing intervention in Bosnia.

Threats to the Free Press in the Baltic States: Assessing the Impact of Government Policies and the Financial Crisis

May 05, 2011 // 1:00pm2:30pm
Global Europe Program
The 2008 economic crisis had a dramatic impact on the societies and economies of the Baltic States. To give a sense of the scale: in Latvia, GDP plummeted from 11.9 percent in 1996 to -19 percent in 2009. Two journalists from the region, Inga Springe and Dainius Radzevicius, asserted that among the many other consequences of the crisis, it has had a significant impact on the quality of the media. The panelists discussed the impact that these developments may have on democracy in the region.

An Incoherent Policy: Rule of Law Reform in Central Europe and Beyond

April 29, 2011 // 12:00pm1:00pm
Global Europe Program
Stephen Humphreys's analysis of rule of law theory and practice identified a wide gulf between the theory and the manner in which "rule of law" is promoted abroad. Moreover, according to Humphreys, the extraordinarily ambitious rule of law promotion project has devolved into an incoherent policy because it is treated simply as a technocratic exercise, with few resources and little controversy.

The Variable Impact of EU Conditionality: Differentiated Reforms in the Entities of Bosnia and Herzegovina

April 20, 2011 // 12:00pm1:00pm
Global Europe Program
Since the Dayton Peace Accord was signed 16 years ago, the European Union (EU) has been actively involved in Bosnia and Herzegovina in various capacities and has created a number of local institutions to support its four current missions. At the same time, the complicated state institutional structure in Bosnia means that the EU must simultaneously interact with a number of local and state-level institutions. Mujo Hadzic discussed a central puzzle: Does EU conditionality work in such a complex environment? Given this institutional complexity, Hadzic argued, both the Bosnian government and the EU struggle to speak with one voice, which dilutes the EU's impact and diffuses the energies of Bosnian institutions.

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