Assessing the Relationship between the National and the Global in East-Central Europe
| 134th Annual Meeting of the American Historical Association, New York, January 5, 2020
From the early twentieth century the peoples of Eastern Europe experienced historical change as a sequence of global contractions and expansions that laid bare the region’s conflicted, and continuously changing, relationship with itself, its European neighbors, and the world. This panel explores new avenues to study how the emergent forces of globalization served to ferment visions of economic opportunity, cultural exchange, and humanity located outside the confines of the (European) nation-state. By the same token, however, globalization stoked fears of eroding local markets, loss of national independence, and fading cultural distinctiveness. Retracing these pendulum swings between global and national histories, the invited panelists analyze the biographies of Polish migrants for whom global mobility promised unique economic opportunities in the United States; they scrutinize the emergence of anti-globalization populism in the former Habsburg Empire in the interwar period; and they recapture how after 1945 a new middle-class affluence allowed more and more people in the region to respond to globalized humanitarian crises far from home. Rather than framing globalization as imposed on the region from the outside, this panel draws on local histories to show how global forces found entry into the lifeworlds of historical actors who embraced, resisted, and ultimately shaped their advancement.
Chair | Frank Biess (University of California, San Diego)
Panelists | Tara Zahra (University of Chicago), Kathleen Wroblewski (University of Michigan), Cristian Capotescu (University of Michigan)
Co-Sponsors | Central European History Society, Society for Austrian and Habsburg History
Austerity and Anti-Austerity Beyond Capitalism
| University of Michigan, September 13-14, 2019
During the global economic crisis of 2008 many observers predicted that austerity economics would be discredited and abandoned, but over the ensuing decade it demonstrated surprising resilience. In fact, austerity (both the theory and the policy) has long been debunked by scholars and resisted by a variety of social actors, yet it has persisted in the face of these challenges.
This conference at the University of Michigan explores the history of opposition to austerity, both uncovering heretofore overlooked forms of resistance and using those conflicts to better understand the nature of austerity itself. Though typically associated with neoliberalism, austerity has appeared as a central theme within a variety of economic frameworks. Our working assumption is that austerity should not be seen exclusively as a feature of neoliberalism or late capitalism. Instead, we seek to rethink this ideology as a more pervasive economic doctrine enacted and challenged at different historical junctures across different economic and political systems.
Our collaborative effort brings together an interdisciplinary field of scholars who will expand on this burgeoning reappraisal of economic systems. It will emphasize how austerity and anti-austerity clashed both within and beyond liberal capitalism, seeking to better integrate the temporal and ideological binaries of political economy: pre-industrial and industrial, capitalist and socialist, communist and post-communist, developed and underdeveloped. We envision to investigate the potential of anti-austerity movements to topple governments, collapse political orders, and to affect other forms of change in society, both in direct and visible ways as well as through protracted and less obvious struggles. This also includes the failed attempts and arrested possibilities to displace austerity as a dominant socioeconomic formation.