The East Central European Center concerns itself with the countries and peoples in the geographical arc from Bulgaria, (ex-) Yugoslavia, Romania in the southeast of Europe, through Hungary, Czech Republic and Slovakia in the center, to Poland and the Baltic states in northeastern Europe. For half a millennium these peoples had a similar destiny in that they were constituents of multinational empires, including what might be termed the Soviet Empire in the second half of the twentieth century. Even after that last empire was dismantled in 1989, the countries of East Central Europe have continued to have common concerns and similar interaction with the EU and global capitalism. They have recent shared concerns, such as populism, a reassertive Russia, and the migration of refugees.
The Center supports various activities involving the countries and peoples of East Central Europe. The Center supports teaching on East Central Europe, when needed, by hiring adjuncts. The Chair in Polish Studies, the funding for which was largely raised through ECEC by former director John Micgiel, is now held by Assistant Professor Małgorzata Mazurek in the History Department.
The Center shares responsibility for administering the Deák Visiting Professorship, which (in most years) appoints two visitors, usually in History or Political Science.
The Center is pleased to have hosted numerous Visiting Scholars, including Fulbright scholars.
The Center hosts cultural and academic events, of two types. Some are devoted to celebrating one tradition: Serbia, Romania, Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland.
In other events, the Center, taking advantage of the convergent history of the countries of East Central Europe during the period from World War II up to and after 1989, examines a problem common to the region comparatively, to learn from similarities and difference. Thus before the second election of Orbán we examined the shift to the right, with attendant centralization of power, in East Central Europe (“The Crisis of Democracy in Europe,” March 1, 2013). In numerous workshops we discussed East Central Europe life in various forms—daily life (“The Fabric of Daily Life in East Central Europe (Then and Now),” October 4, 2013), life of subaltern groups (“The Internal Other in East Central Europe,” December 3, 2013—including presentations on women after the Chernobyl disaster, violence against gays in Serbia, Muslim women in Bulgaria, diminishing prospects for the middle class in recent Poland and Hungary), architecture (“Accommodations: Positive strategies for documenting, conserving and re-inhabiting ‘outmoded’ spaces (Poland and East Central Europe,” October 23–24), and patterns of repression of the citizenry and retribution against the oppressors (“Aftermaths: Repression, Participation, and Retribution in East Central Europe,” February 26–27). We have hosted discussions of the refugee problem (“Perspectives on the European Refugee Crisis,” November 4, 2015).
The themes of these specific events all revolve around a dynamic that is common to and especially visible in the lands of East Central Europe: an intense interaction between ideology (Naziism, Communism, Western Neo-liberalism countered by a new parochialism) and living life in the society. This recurrent interest in “Ideology and Life in East Central Europe” will be crystallized in a collaborative workshop involving between East Central European Center and the Research Center for the Humanities of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences.
The workshop, planned for May 2017, will involve scholars from Hungary and elsewhere discussing such themes as: informal and formal economy, consumerism, power sharing and ethnic tension, popular music, and cultural production. Indeed, the initial impulse for this workshop is the “Courage” project of the Research Center for the Humanities of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences devoted to the art of dissent in the Communist era; the group is the recent recipient of a highly competitive EU grant.
If the first workshop is successful, we will establish a working group and extend it to three further meetings, with the aim of systematic coverage of the various forms of “Ideology and Life” and eventual publication of the work. The focus will be on interaction and balancing the contraries of similarity in historical trajectory and, inevitably, difference.
East Central Europe—an area of special concern because of its central role in the Cold War—continues to be relevant in its new role as the site where the tensions of contemporary Europe play out.
The East Central European Center is proud to sponsor the student organization known by its acronym CUCEEC (for Columbia University Central and Eastern European Club), who have been co-sponsors, and often the active initiator, of many events over 2014–15 and 2015–16.
ECEC is pleased to announce the competition for the Istvan Deak Visiting Professorship for 2016-2017.
2016-2017 Postdoctoral Research Scholar Position in Serbian Studies
The East Central European Center of Columbia University invites applications for a postdoctoral research scholar position, with teaching, in Serbian Studies (Cultural Studies, History, Literature, Political Science, Anthropology, Sociology). This position is for the 2016-2017 academic year. Application deadline: January 15, 2016
For more information on eligibility and application procedures, click here.
The Romanian – U.S. Fulbright Commission was established as a binational Office for Educational and Scholarly Exchanges following the Agreement between the Government of Romania and the Government of the United States of America and inaugurated on May 26, 1993.
Since 1993, almost 400 U.S. Fulbright grantees – included in the Scholar, Student, Specialist, Teacher Exchange a. o. programs – were present in Romania. Many of the American alumni of the programs have remained involved in long-term professional and even institutional relationships with their Romanian colleagues and host institutions. They were instrumental in concluding partnerships between their home universities and Romanian higher education institutions, they organized visits of US students professors and researchers in Romania and vice-versa, as well as other types of academic exchanges.
Applicants from all fields of knowledge are welcome to participate in Fulbright programs in Romania, to serve the encouragement and fostering of mutual understanding, of cultural diversity, and last but not least, of academic and scholarly excellence.
For more information on the Fulbright Program in Romania, visit our website at www.fulbright.ro.