About this Project

When Europe’s Communist regimes collapsed between 1989 and 1991, most observers hailed the spread of economic prosperity and liberal democracy across the continent. One commentator even predicted that the Communist collapse would bring about the “end of history,” ushering in an era of global peace and cultural convergence. It is now abundantly clear just how wrong these expectations were. The region has spawned powerful neotraditional authoritarian movements that have contributed to the rise of forms of white supremacy, militarism, and inequity both across the former Soviet Union and Europe. Market reforms produced the greatest economic inequality the world has ever seen and a mafia-connected oligarchic elite that defends its privilege through violence.

This project will convene a series of Zoom workshops to catalyze an interdisciplinary dialogue about this period of profound transformation and to work toward the creation of a new collective narrative of its meaning. Jettisoning old theories of democratic transition and cultural convergence, the research team plans to approach this crucial period in history as an intense confrontation between models and ideas drawn from around the world. Emphasizing the importance of international exchange and circulation, the project will document the emergence of a new form of regional politics that fused pernicious political and cultural ideas imported from the West, local traditions of national supremacy and xenophobia, and collective experiences of political and economic collapse. At the same time, the research team will explore how these new cultural forms have now been packaged and exported abroad, acquiring a visible role in EU and US politics.

IMAGE: Courtesy of Niels Ackermann / Lundi13 & Sébastien Gobert / Daleko-Blisko


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