Eastern Europe has “long ago been imagined, discovered, claimed, and set apart” (Wolff 1994: 143). The East-West division of Europe, rooted in the logic of the Western enlightenment, has framed the region and affected livelihoods throughout the Cold War, the post-1989 shock therapy, the EU enlargement and more recently, during the Covid-19 outbreaks among Eastern European workers in Germany. This course will address this ‘invented’ yet ‘lived’ cartography and reimagine Eastern Europe through material and visual culture.
Highlighting the relations between people, images and ‘things’, the course will be structured thematically It will focus on pressing contemporary social issues, including mobilities and borders, memory and heritage, architecture and everyday life, consumption, nationalism and gender, and the Anthropocene. With examples based in the region, the course will deploy ethnographic cases, film, media, urban and curatorial methods. Although the ethnographic focus is on Eastern Europe, the material culture approaches are very relevant for the wider research areas of European Ethnology and Social Anthropology.
The course will be taught synchronously on Zoom (TBC). The seminar will be in English as will be the readings. However, students are welcome to speak German in class as well as submit their course requirements as well as their MAPs in German. Lecture slides and notes will be available to course participants.
Students are encouraged to contact the lecturer about additional learning needs: Magdalena.firstname.lastname@example.org
Boym, Svetlana (1994). Common places. Harvard University Press.
Drazin, A. (2002). Chasing moths: cleanliness, intimacy and progress in Romania. In: Humphrey, C., & Mandel, R. (Eds.). (2020). Markets and moralities: ethnographies of postsocialism. Routledge, 101-126.
Dzenovska, D. (2018). Emptiness and its futures: Staying and leaving as tactics of life in Latvia. Focaal, 2018(80), 16-29.
Fehérváry, K. (2002). American kitchens, luxury bathrooms, and the search for a 'normal' life in postsocialist Hungary. Ethnos, 67(3), 369-400.
Filipović, A. (2019). Three bugs in the city: urban ecology and multispecies relationality in postsocialist Belgrade. Contemporary Social Science, 1-14.
Jansen, S. (2013). People and things in the ethnography of borders: materialising the division of Sarajevo. Social Anthropology, 21(1), 23-37.
Pakier, M., & Wawrzyniak, J. (2016). Memory and Change in Eastern Europe. How Special?. Memory and Change in Eastern Europe, 1-20.
Todorova, Maria. imagining the Balkans. Oxford University Press, 2009.
Wolff, L. (1994). Inventing Eastern Europe: The map of civilization on the mind of the Enlightenment. Stanford University Press.