4515 Willard Ave. #2210
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eniko.basa at verizon dot net
Wed, 04 Sep 2013 03:52:59 EDT by admin, 56600 views
University of Florida, 2013-14 ACLS Fellow (East European Studies)
History paper by Rác, Katalin (all papers)
Imperialism in late Nineteenth-Century Hungary
Nineteenth-century speakers argued that Hungary’s geographical position as well as the nation’s eastern origins defined its historical role in Europe and Asia. My paper examines some of the arguments related to the economic and political advantages Hungarian thinkers recognized in the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy’s Oriental politics from the Congress of Berlin in 1878 until the beginnings of World War I. It focuses on two main aspects of fin-de-siècle Hungarian foreign politics: imperial attitudes vis-à-vis the Balkans and other “Turanians.” The German linguist Max Müller created the ethnological and linguistic category of Turanians and included in this category every non-Semitic and non-Aryan language like Hungarian, other Finno-Ugric languages, as well as Turkish, and even Tamil. By the 1870s, Müller’s linguistic classification proved to be unscientific and misleading and its validity was completely refuted. Nonetheless, Hungarian nationalists who believed in the glory of the Asian forefathers kept referring to Hungary as the westernmost and most advanced nation of the future, great Turanian commonwealth. Turanism remained an important concept in Hungarian politics, and based on the “experience” of the Bosnian occupation from 1908, Turanism became a political movement fostering imperial designs. The paper sheds light on the curious dynamics between nationalist, colonial, and imperial desires manifesting in Hungary’s eastern politics. It argues that World War I finally dissolved the illusion that those imperialist dreams could ever come true.
Brief Professional Bio:
Katalin Franciska Rác is a student of modern Central European and modern European Jewish history. Her doctorate “Orientalism for the Nation: Jews and Oriental Scholarship in Modern Hungary” studies the triangular relationship between national identity discourse, Jewish integration, and Orientalism in nineteenth- and twentieth-century Hungary. In the 2013-2014 academic year, she is the recipient of the Fellowship for East European Studies from the American Council of Learned Societies.