The Disciplines Series: The Idea of Development Malinowskis Children: East Central European Betweenness and Twentieth-Century Social Science

Academic: Conference
Event Location: 
The Heyman Center, Second Floor Common Room
Date from: 
2014-03-11 12:00:00
Date to: 
2014-03-11 18:15:00

This one-day workshop positions Eastern and Central Europe as a critical field for global modern knowledge by looking at the betweenness of East Central European intellectuals and their contributions to the history of social science in the twentieth century. Betweenness is here understood in both regional termsthat is, East Central Europes historic position as a culturally and developmentally ambiguous periphery of the Westand biographical ones, including experiences of exile, dislocation, and/or statelessness. As an analytic category, betweenness forges transnational histories among regions and countries (such as Israel or India) that based their global position and intellectual production on their liminality.

Such an approach re-illuminates the history of twentieth-century social science in important ways, reflecting James Cliffords reminder that these disciplines were always part of the very processes of innovation and structuration they hoped to investigate. On the one hand, it highlights the seminal role of colonial subjects and stateless exiles like Malinowski and Znaniecki in generating early and influentialalbeit highly contesteddisciplinary models, suggesting that key narratives of social science history may be best understood from the margins. On the other, it illuminates how East Central and South Eastern Europeans have used their position between West and East, civilized and savage, and first and third world to mediate global regimes of knowledge.


  • Schedule for May 16, 2014
    • 12:00pm1:00pm
      Welcome and Introductions
    • 1:00pm2:45pm
      Panel I: Between Civilizations
      • Chair

        Istvn Dek

        Columbia University

      • "Theres No Place Like Crime: Hanns Gross and the Location of Criminal Science"

        Scott Spector

        University of Michigan

      • 'The Closest Living Language to Sanskrit'? Lithuanian Between German Linguistics and the Nationalist Press"

        Jeremy Lin

        New York University

      • "The Polish Peasant on the Sugar Plantation: Translation and Displacement in Polish Ethnography from Malinowski to Obrębski"

        Katherine Lebow

      • Commentary

        Andrew Zimmerman

        George Washington University

    • 2:45pm3:00pm
      Break I
    • 3:00pm4:45pm
      Panel II: Between Worlds
      • Chair

        Deborah Coen

      • "Eastern Europe as an Economic World Region: Landau, Kalecki and International Statistics in the Twentieth Century"

        Malgorzata Mazurek

        Columbia University

      • "The Coming of Communist Post-Industrial Society: Radovan Richta, 'Scientific and Technological Revolution and Global Futures'"

        Vtězslav Sommer

        Centre d'tudes europennes, Sciences Po

      • "Sociocultural Anthropology and Native Ethnographies from a Hungarian Perspective"

        Mihly Srkny

        Hungarian Academy of Sciences

      • Commentary

        David Engerman

        Brandeis University

    • 4:45pm5:00pm
      Break II
    • 5:00pm6:15pm
      Roundtable: Betweenness and Social Science


For further information regarding this event, please contact Violeta Tutunik by sending email to .
Contact Name: 
Violeta Tutunik
Event Contact Email:
Event Date: 
Tuesday, March 11, 2014 - 12:00 to 18:15