The Jewish Avant-Garde in Hungary: With Agnes Heller
Nationalism and anti-Semitism in Central Europe from the 20th century until today. -
When we look at present-day Europe, we notice that antisemitism and anti-intellectualism are far from gone. What is connection between nationalism, antisemitism, conservatism and anti-intellectualism and how do antisemitism and anti-intellectualism come to rise? We will discuss these questions with famous philosopher Ágnes Heller, sociologist András Kovács and historian Ferenc Laczó and ask what happened to the ideals of 1989.
In the 20th century, Europe was plagued by nationalism, war, and growing antisemitism. But before that, the artistic and intellectual life in Hungary flourished. Jewish artists experimented with different styles, like French Fauvism and Cubism, Italian Futurism, German Expressionism, and Soviet cinema and Constructivism. In the ’20s they faced rising antisemitism. Jöel Cahen, former director of The Jewish Historical Museum, who co-curated the exhibition From Fauvism to Surrealism: Jewish Avant-Garde Artists from Hungary, will take us back to this period and give an introduction about artistic life in Hungary back then. What was life like for the artists and how did this change before and during the Second World War?
After this we will have a look at present-day Europe. With Ágnes Heller, one of the most important philosophers of the 20th century, András Kovács, professor at the Nationalism Studies and Jewish Studies Program at the Central European University and Ferenc Laczó, assistant professor in European History at Maastricht University, we will discuss how antisemitism and anti-intellectualism rise and take a look at the past, the present and the future.
About the speakers
Ágnes Heller is one of the important philosophers of the 20th century. She studied philosophy under György Lukács and was part of the Budapest School around him. From 1986 she holds the position of Hannah Arendt Professor of Philosophy in the Graduate Studies Program at the New School for Social Research in New York. She recently moved back to Budapest, where she is professor emeritus at Budapest’s esteemed Eotvos Lorand University. Heller wrote many books, a.o. The Time is Out of Joint (2002) and The Immortal Comedy (2005).
András Kovács is professor at the Nationalism Studies and Jewish Studies Program at the Central European University. His research interests include minority identities, prejudice, antisemitism, and sociology of post-Holocaust Jewry. In the last years Professor Kovács has carried out empirical research on antisemitism in post-Communist Hungary, on Jewish identity in Hungary and on national identity and European integration.
Ferenc Laczó is assistant professor in history at Maastricht University. His main research interests lie in political and intellectual history, modern and contemporary European history with a special focus on Central and Eastern Europe in the twentieth century, Jewish history and the history of the Holocaust, and questions of history and memory. In 2016 he published Hungarian Jews in the Age of Genocide. An Intellectual History, 1929-1948 (Leiden: Brill, 2016).
Moderator: Lennart Booij
Starting point for this program is the exhibition From Fauvism to Surrealism: Jewish Avant-Garde Artists from Hungary, that presents the innovative paintings of Jewish Hungarian artists from the first half of the 20th century. On show at the Jewish Historical Museum until the 24th of September.
This program is a cooperation between the Jewish Historical Museum and De Balie.
The program is supported by the Embassy of Hungary.
Live stream 2017-09-10
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N E D E R L A N D S :
Als we naar het huidige Europa kijken, dan zien we dat antisemitisme en anti-intellectualisme nog altijd aanwezig zijn. Wat is de relatie tussen nationalisme, antisemitisme, conservatisme en anti-intellectualisme en hoe ontstaan antisemitisme en anti-intellectualisme? Met de beroemde filosoof Ágnes Heller, socioloog Ándras Kovács en historicus Ferenc Laczó gaan we in gesprek over het antwoord op deze vragen en bespreken we wat er gebeurde met de idealen van 1989.
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