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"The Ends of Nostalgia: Memory and the Futures of the Past in Postsocialist Hungary."
Start Date: 4/25/2017Start Time: 4:15 PM
End Date: 4/25/2017End Time: 6:00 PM

Event Description:
"The Ends of Nostalgia: Memory and the Futures of the Past in Postsocialist Hungary."

Across the former Soviet bloc, nostalgia for the socialist past has been a common response to the frustrations of postsocialist transformation.  In Hungary, however, the nostalgia that emerged in the early years of transition was driven more by capitalist triumphalism than wistful longing.  Inspired by outdated fashions, soda pop, Trabant automobiles, and other once-reviled remnants of state socialist mass culture, Hungarians used nostalgia not to mourn the socialist era, but to celebrate their distance from it, by commodifying its relics and recuperating them as an ironic form of cultural heritage.  And more recently, the experience of economic crisis and political disappointment has not fueled Hungarians’ desire to return to the past, but rather overturned nostalgia’s very conditions of possibility.


Maya Nadkarni's lecture examines the temporal and historical imaginings that underpin the shifting manifestations—and disappearance—of socialist nostalgia in Hungary over the past two decades. This research is drawn from my book manuscript, /Remains of Socialism/, which investigates the fate of the socialist past after the fall of communism in Hungary.  Based on ethnographic fieldwork and archival research in Budapest and a village in northeastern Hungary, the book introduces the concept of “remains”—both physical objects and symbolic remainders—to analyze how Hungarians have struggled in politics, media, and everyday life over the ambivalent legacies of state socialism.  These heated attempts to master the obstinate remainders of an ambiguous past have also become battles to determine the future—and to mourn the futures that never materialized.

Nadkarni is Assistant Professor of Anthropology, and Interpretation Theory Program Coordinator for Sociology & Anthropology.
Location Information:
*Swarthmore College - McCabe Library
Room: McCabe Lobby
Contact Information:
Name: David Harrison
Phone: 610-328-5785
Email: harrison@swarthmore.edu
Photo of Maya Nadkarni
Open To
The Public

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