Archive for the ‘Curt’ Category

Tolerance, or Lack thereof, in the Former Yugoslavian State

Saturday, November 24th, 2007

Hodson, Sekulic, and Massey. (1994). National Tolerance in the Former Yugoslavia. American Journal of Sociology.

 Hodson, Sekulic, and Massey discuss multiple issues pertaining to the considerable violence, refugees, and nationalistic ideologies in the former Yugoslavia.  The authors attempt to refute the simplistic explanation of unleashed racism, hostility, and nationalism that was supposedly suppressed by communist regimes.  (more…)

Yugoslavian Genocide

Saturday, November 24th, 2007

Hayden, R. (1996). Imagined Communities and Real Victims: Self-Determination and Ethnic Cleansing in Yugoslavia. American Ethnologist. 

Hayden discusses a variety of issues pertaining to genocide in the former Yugoslavian state.  The author addresses multiple factors that may or may not have contributed to genocide in Yugoslavia.  Hayden submits that the violence in heterogeneous areas is not the result of decades of suppressed racism under communism but is instead the direct result of the forced un-mixing of various peoples and the conceptual creation of multicultural communities (783).  (more…)

Hockenos – Free to Hate

Tuesday, November 6th, 2007

As I mentioned a few weeks ago, my most recent paper for the course is on the presence and growth of radical right movements and the conditions that may have facilitated the expansion or emergence of these groups in the reunified German state.  I found Hockenos’ Free to Hate particularly useful pertaining to the state of radical right groups, both political and non-political, in Germany during the late 80s and early 90s.  (more…)

Ramet’s The Radical Right

Tuesday, October 23rd, 2007

Sabrina Ramet’s The Radical Right: in Central and Eastern Europe Since 1989 addresses radical right movements in several European countries.  As Mr. Taba stated a few weeks ago, theoretical foundations are provided in the initial chapters in order to provide context for the subsequent examinations of countries.  Ramet demonstrates the diverse nature of radical right concepts by addressing the various manners in which historians and other academics define the radical right.  While Ramet’s text explores several countries, I have focused on her theoretical definition/s of the radical right and the manifestation of radical right groups in reunified Germany for the upcoming paper. (more…)

Gross’ Neighbors

Thursday, October 18th, 2007

Week of October 15, 2007Jan Gross Neighbors Gross’ Neighbors certainly helps to shed light on Polish and Jewish relations during the 1930s and 40s; his examination of Jedwabne tends to humanize the citizens and pogroms in Jedwabne.  While reading this book, I could not help think of Ordinary Men and the manner in which these two texts explore rather narrow instances of extreme brutality and subsequently examine the conditions in which these events took place.  While Gross seems to have scratched the surface of Polish brutality in these small towns, the available sources inevitably leaves one wondering what other factors influenced Jedwabne inhabitants to exterminate their “neighbors.”   Since the author relied heavily on legal documents from the trials after the Jedwabne incident one must remember to continuously question the subjectivity of both perpetrator and victim statements.  While the former may attempt to minimize events and actions, the latter may consciously or subconsciously exaggerate or embellish their recollection of traumatic events (14).  Personally, I am hesitant to accept that (more…)

10/9 Posting #2

Tuesday, October 9th, 2007

Rosefielde, S. “Excess Deaths and Industrialization: A Realist Theory of Stalinist Economic Development in the 1930s. Journal of Contemporary History, Vol. 23, No. 2, Bolshevism and the Socialist Left. (Apr., 1988, pp. 277-289.


Rosenfielde examines the “size and character of Soviet achievements” during the 1930s pertaining to economic development and “excess deaths” (277).  More simply, the author argues that “the extraordinary number of excess deaths of the 1930s diminishes the credibility of economic estimates” based on Soviet statistics (ibid).  The author calls into question published Soviet economic statistics after the revamping of the economic system under Stalin and the methodology used by the Soviets to determine the said statistics (279).  “[E]xtreme caution may be warranted in judging Soviet economic performance and the statistics on which its measurement is based…” (ibid). (more…)

Week of 10/9 Posting/s

Tuesday, October 9th, 2007


Nordldander, David J. “Origins of a Gulag Capital: Magadan and Stalinist Control in the Early 1930s.” Slavic Review, Vol. 57, No. 4. (Winter, 1998). pp. 791-812.

Nordlander’s “Origins of a Gulag Capital” discusses the nature of Magadan, its purpose, and the extent of Stalin’s control over this labor camp.  The author submits that Magadan was the most “ominous gateway to the most forbidding destiny of the age” and “constituted the largest entity within the entire labor camp system” (793).  While Magadan had “benign” origins, (more…)

Staging the Past – Bucur

Monday, September 24th, 2007

Bucur, Maria and Nacny M. Wingfield. Staging the Past: The Politics of Commemoration in Habsburg
Central Europe, 1848 to the Present.
University Press, 2001.

Bucur and Wingfield’s text Staging the Past explores many issues pertaining to a variety of commemorative events. These essays also examine the diverse institutions, ethnicities, cultures, symbols, myths and other factors which played considerable roles in these various types of commemorations and movements. I found Bucur’s essay “Birth of Nation: Commemorations of December 1, 1918, and National Identity in Twentieth Century Romania” particularly useful.


Judson, Pieter M. and Marsha L. Rozenblit. Constructing Nationalities in East Central Europe. New York: Berghahn Books, 2005.

Sunday, September 16th, 2007

Judson, Pieter M. and Marsha L. Rozenblit. Constructing Nationalities in East Central Europe. New York: Berghahn Books, 2005.

Constructing Nationalities in East Central Europe is a compilation of fifteen essays of various issues pertaining to the formation of nationalities and nationalism in East/Central Europe. While all of the essays are well written and most seem to provide a “new take” on the particular issues they address, a few of the topics are so narrow or obscure that they may not assist greatly in the pursuit of a basic knowledge or foundation for nationalism. Conversely, an individual examining a particular or obscure issue in the context of this course may benefit greatly from one of these essays. Considering that our first paper is quickly approaching, I will list the topics examined in the text to possibly save a few of you time and let the class know that a particular source/topic exists in this text.

1. From Tolerated Aliens to Citizen-Soldiers: Jewish Military Service in the Era of Joseph II;

2. The Revolution of Symbols: Hungary in 1848-1849;

3. Nothing Wrong with My Bodily Fluids: Gymnastics, Biology, and Nationalism in the Germanies before 1871;

4. Between Empire and Nation: The Bohemian Nobility, 1880 – 1918 (more…)

Post #2 Sugar and Lederer’s Nationalism in Eastern Europe (1969) 9/8/07

Saturday, September 8th, 2007

Week Three – Posting #2

Sugar, Peter F. and Ivo John Lederer. Nationalism in Eastern Europe

Sugar and Lederer’s Nationalism in Eastern Europe is a compilation of essays pertaining to historical and contemporary issues that have led to the manifestation of nationalism/nationalists in Albania, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Greece, Hungary, Poland, Romania and the “Yugoslavs.”  While the book was originally published in 1969 and the revised edition does not consider the collapse of the Soviet Union and the other major events that affected, or did not affect, nationalism in Soviet Bloc states, the book still serves as a useful tool pertaining to these countries.  Furthermore, Sugar’s Introduction and chapter on “External and Domestic Roots of Eastern European Nationalism” is quite useful pertaining to his examination and interpretation of nationalism in Europe and helps to expand on previously read texts.  Several of the authors may be considered prophetic regarding their predictions of ethnic and nationalist based conflicts in the former Soviet states, Czechoslovakia, and Yugoslavia.

Sugar examinations both political and “romantic” nationalism and the manners in which these two “forms” of nationalism have affected and taken root in eastern and central Europe.  While Sugar admits that no universally accepted definition of nationalism exists, he submits that sociological factors such as “speaking the same language,” sharing cultural values, and the “undefinable yet real reeling of kinship (among individuals of a nation)” contribute to the formation of nationalism (these elements also serve as Sugar’s definition of nationality) (p. 4).  Sugar also explores issues of geography, psychology, sociology, education, and politics that contribute to the creation of nations, nationality, and nationalism.  While Sugar further expands on Brubaker’s interpretations, Sugar may give too much agency to overly broad definitions and factors, which he submits contribute greatly to nationalism.  Sugar superficially defines patriotism as a “basic loyalty to one’s patrimony and one’s home” which is the result of the “basic…human preference for the well-known and the familiar” (ibid).  While the author/editor may be correct in his interpretation of patriotism, this definition may be overly generalized and too superficial to provide the foundation for understanding nationalism in eastern and central Europe, a very ethnically and culturally diverse geographic area.  One may infer, what qualifies as patriotism in one country may be considerably different in another.

Sugar considers the existence and development of nationalism in western and eastern Europe as separate and distinctly different (p. 9-10).  The author submits that nationalism in the west “arose in an effort to build a nation in the political reality…without too much sentimental regard for the past” (p. 9).  Essentially, western European nationalism developed via the “centralized nation-state” and was largely a “political occurrence” (p. 10).  Conversely, the author gives much greater agency to “romantic” nationalism in central and eastern Europe.  Sugar and Brubaker tend to align pertaining to the presence and contributions of myths in some nations.  “Nationalists in central and eastern Europe, created, often out of myths of the past and the dreams of the future, an ideal fatherland, closely linked with the past, devoid of any immediate connection with the present,…” with the intention of creating a political reality (9-10).  Nor, did these two “types” of nationalism develop concurrently, according to Sugar, [n]ationalism was born in western Europe…with political meaning” and subsequently spread to the east and “fused with local concepts…peculiar ideas, concepts, and conditions…prevalent in the various countries of eastern Europe” (20).  Sugar’s supported examination of the characteristics of western and central/eastern European nationalism helps one to recognize the possibility of differing origins of nationalism in western and central/eastern Europe.

While Sugar helps to provide foundation for the individual examination of central and eastern European countries, he tends to presuppose that his overly broad and unspecific sociological and psychological interpretations can be applied to the array of countries and individual histories that are subsequently examined.  I am not submitting that Sugar’s statements and insights are not useful, especially to an individual with a superficial knowledge of nationalism and the countries of central and eastern Europe.  One should simply avoid considering Sugar’s definitions and interpretations as universally applicable.  With careful consideration of the unique characteristics of the examined countries, this book is extremely insightful regarding nationalism in the said countries during the Soviet era and may be ideal for an individual examining a particular country in eastern Europe.