The trauma that never was?
April 1 (Fri) - 12:00pm - 1:15pm
Gábor Egry
CREEES Visiting Scholar

Encina Hall West, Room 219, Stanford University

In Hungary-- the country where a significant group of Jewish origin survived the Holocaust--the genocide against Jews were soon juxtaposed with a supposedly Hungarian, national trauma, the dismemberment of the country at the end of WWI, with the Peace Treaty of Trianon. As both of these events were pushed to the periphery of historical consciousness during most of the Communist period, their presence in the public sphere was often seen as revelatory, and part of the symbolic change of regime. But increasing political polarization brought about a polarization of regimes of memory too--the Holocaust soon became associated with post-Communist, cosmopolitan liberalism, and Trianon with true national sentiment. After the millennium they emerged as parallel and exclusive traumata. In this talk, I intend to challenge this commonplace understanding of parallel traumata, focusing on whether Trianon can be interpreted as a social trauma at all? Based on extensive research on everyday ethnicity in the interwar era and with the help of the concept of cultural trauma (Jeffrey Alexander) I argue that despite affecting hundreds of thousands of people, the consequences of Hungary’s dismemberment were hardly enough to generate lasting traumatic experiences, at least not on a scale that would allow to understand it as a homogeneous social experience. 

Gábor Egry is Head of the Research Department and Senior Research Fellow at Institute of Political History in Budapest, Hungary.  He holds a PhD from Eötvös Loránd University (ELTE) in Budapest. Egry is an historian whose research interests include nationalism, everyday ethnicity, identity politics, economic history, memory politics, gastronomy and nationalism throughout the 19th and 20th centuries. He has held fellowships from the Hungarian Academy of Sciences in Vienna, Bucharest, and Jena, among others. His recent book Etnicitás, identitás, politika. Magyar kisebbségek regionalizmus és nacionalizmus között Csehszlovákiában és Romániában, 1918-1944 (Ethnicity, identity, politics. Hungarian minorities between regionalism and nationalism in Czechoslovakia and Romania, 1918-1944) was published in 2015 by Napvilág, Budapest. He is the principal investigator of the research project: Negotiating post-imperial transitions, 1918-1925. A comparative study of local and regional transitions from Austria-Hungary to the successor states, funded by the Hungarian National Research Fund. 

This event is open to Stanford affiliates.

RSVP requested.