Society and Culture | Wilson Center

Society and Culture

168. The Dynamics of Religion and Politics In Poland

Clashes between Catholics and Jews in Poland are again in the news. Since last spring, a series of confrontations between religious radicals has occurred at the Auschwitz death camp in Oswiecim. Thus far, all attempts to resolve the controversy surrounding the placement of Christian religious symbols at the site have failed. Why has the unauthorized display of crosses at Auschwitz escalated to an international incident? What makes this such an intractable issue? This problem results from the intertwining of religious social action and political activity in Poland since 1989.

160. The Roma of Eastern Europe Since 1989: Communities In Crisis

The Roma, or Gypsies, have lived in Eastern Europe, particularly the Balkans, since the Middle Ages. Originally a warrior class in India, they were driven out as victims of war by the invading Muslims. Modern Gypsies prefer to be called Roma, which is a Romani (the language of the Roma) word meaning husband or man. "Gypsy" comes from "Egyptian," which medieval Eastern Europeans mistakenly called the Roma.

159. The Politics of Language Reform In The Yugoslav Successor States

This presentation is devoted to the current status of the language and politics interface among the Yugoslav successor states and entities. By perusing the recently published dictionaries, grammars, orthographic manuals, and polemical articles on the successor languages to Serbo-Croatian, one can examine the viability of the new languages and the prospects for ethnic reconciliation, given the deepening linguistic divide.

153. The Hidden Geography of Czech Modernism

Katherine David-Fox comments:
Although most Czech literati of the 1890's generation rejected the possibility of emigration, and indeed rarely left Bohemia, these writers complained of an ideological and aesthetic claustrophobia in their native land. Much of the decade between 1890 and 1900 was marked by their rebellion against the "official" national culture and various normative categories associated with the national movement.

147. The Politics of Language In Romania and Moldova

Since the early 1990s, much of Romania's cultural politics has revolved around two crucial questions that have divided political and cultural elites in the region for much of this century. First, what does it mean to be Romanian in an ethnic or national sense? And second, how do non-Romanians fit into the politics of a country that is defined in the first sentence of its constitution as a "national and unitary" state? In other words, how does "Romanianness" relate to the boundaries of the Romanian state? Nowhere are these issues as strikingly revealed as in the politics of language.

134. Preventing Ethnic Conflict: Macedonia and The Pluralist Paradigm

The Yugoslav crisis demonstrates the importance of concerted international action to prevent or resolve conflicts before they turn violent. The community of democratic states, working through multilateral institutions, might prevent the outbreak of similar crises elsewhere by adopting a strategy of "preventive engagement" to promote the democratic development of new governments. Elements of such a strategy are already in place in Macedonia, where international actors are attempting to resolve the tensions between the Albanian and Macedonian ethnic communities.

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