June 29 - July 1, 2015

Faculty of Social Studies, Masaryk University

Brno, Czech Republic

Aim of the conference

The conference aims to conceive the historical context of the first half of 20th century also from the perspective of its influence on current political discourses. National mythologies built on the events of 1918-1948 don’t lose their significance both in the individual Visegrád countries and in the context of the region as a whole. Our attempt to conceive the conference from the perspective of the entire CEE region enables us to focus on selected case studies within broader context.

Questions of national identity and citizenship are key topics for civic education throughout Europe, and the Visegrád region makes no exception. The conference provides a forum for discussion about these topics in a historical perspective. The insights into the historical events of 1918-1948 gained from the conference contributions and reflections of their role in contemporary political discourses are crucial for cultivating public discussion. The outputs of the conference may also be used to create materials to be used in civic education with an aim to support the consolidation and strengthening of democracy in the region.

The proposed conference builds on the tradition and results of the conference "My Hero, Your Enemy: Listening to Understand" which took place in Prague in 2011. In a similar way to its predecessor the conference will focus on national histories. Moreover, it will also try to build a bridge and to identify links between historical events and the contemporary identity politics in the Visegrád countries.

The conferece is organized under auspices of mayor of Brno, Petr Vokřál.

Conference program

Panels

Factors driving nation building processes after 1918 and their implications

This panel will focus on the role of nationalism as a constitutive element of new states in Central East Europe; key events and ideologies and the impact of the events of 1918 on the political culture of new national states.

Case studies I: How the experience of the 1918-1948 period influences national ideologies

This panel will discuss the ways in which the events of 1918-1948 have influenced the national discourses of political parties; the extent to which myths lost or grew in relevance after 1945; how the period influenced the politics of memory (Erinnerungspolitik) of individual states.

Case studies II: Persons who became myths

This panel will deal with individuals who became myths; the perception of national heroes of the early 20th century in neighboring countries; the ways in which these individuals are present in politics and the rhetoric of political parties.