School of History, Philosophy, Political Science and International Relations

Our Activities

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Conference (7 July 2016)
"Nationalism as Classification"

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Call for papers358KBDOC

Nationalism theorist Rogers Brubaker proposed as an object of scholarly analysis “the modern state’s efforts to inscribe its subjects onto a classificatory grid: to identify and categorize people,” and generally drawing attention to historical actors who acquire “power to name, to identify, to categorize, to state what is what and who is who.” This conference explores classification and taxonomy as they affect nationality. Who classifies nations, how, and why? How are taxonomies imposed or resisted? How do national taxonomies interact with racial, linguistic, civilizational, or other taxonomies? We are interested both comparative analyses of nationalist taxonomies or case studies of individual taxonomizers. Send an abstract to: Alexander Maxwell: alexander.maxwell@vuw.ac.nz

A conference will take place at the Kelburn Campus of Victoria University in Wellington, New Zealand.The conference will have no registration fee, and will be open to the public.

We intend to publish selected papers in a scholarly journal. Potential contributors may contribute to the themed issue of the journal without attending the conference. The editor of the journal Nationalities Papers has provisionally expressed interest in publishing selected papers. Nationalities Papers has been ranked Q1 for history in the “SCImago” journal rankings every year since 1999.

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Conference (5 July 2016)
"Historical Practices of Civic Nationalism"

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Call for papers27 KB.doc

This workshop critically examines the concept of civic nationalism as a potentially useful analytical category in nationalism research, and investigates the historical practices of civic or at least quasi-civic nationalisms from around the globe. Which strategies did multi-ethnic and multi-cultural nation-states pursue in the past to foster national sentiment? Can their example offer useful lessons to contemporary democratic nation-states for successfully integrating immigrant populations? Which processes of “Othering” have characterized civic nationalisms?

Conference (28 March 2015)
"Revolution and Repression in the Arab World"

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Call for papers834 KB.doc
Conference schedule1,80 KB.doc

The 2011 "Arab Spring" sparked dramatic political transformations in several Arab countries, with widely varying results. Tunisia and Egypt held remarkably free elections, while Libya and Syria collapsed into violent civil conflict. As of January 2015, Tunisia appears to have provisionally made a successful transition to democratic government. In Syria, meanwhile, the Islamic State, according to German journalist Jürgen Todenhöfer, aspires to "kill all Muslims who recognize Democracy." We seek papers exploring the politics of revolution and repression in the contemporary Arab World, broadly understood.

The conference took place in OK 406 (the Wood Seminar room) at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand. The conference had no registration fee, and was open to the public.

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Conference (5 February 2015)
"International Norms and East European nations."

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Call for papers1,224 KB.doc
Conference Schedule1.304 KB.doc

Timothy Garton Ash notoriously claimed that the collapse of Communism in East-Central Europe brought forth “no fundamentally new ideas on the big questions of politics, law, and international relations.” All too often, scholars examine the region’s post-Communist “transition” by asking whether countries have or have not accepted or implemented institutions or values originally developed in Western Europe or North America. Eastern European nations, however, have their own aspirations rooted in domestic history and traditions. The garments of progress and democracy must be tailor-made: one size does not fit all. While local elites may also pursue illiberal policies under the banner of local peculiarity, they may rightly detect imperial self-interest sanctimoniously posing as progress or “international norms.”

The conference took place in OK 406 (the Wood Seminar room) at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand. The organziers were Alexander Maxwell and Wenwen Shen. The conference had no registration fee, and was open to the public

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Conference (13 September 2014)
"Ukraine: Historic Legacies."

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Call for papers304 KB.doc
Conference schedule310 KB.doc

The Republic of Ukraine won general recognition as an independent state after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. Nevertheless, the history of the Ukrainian state and of the Ukrainain people goes back much further. This conference attempted to highlight themes in Ukrainian history that shed light on contemporary concerns, and partiuclarly the recent crisis in Crimea and the eastern Provinces.

The conference took place in OK 406 (the Wood Seminar room) at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand. The conference had no registration fee, and was open to the public.

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Conference (2 July 2013)
"The Czechs and their Neighbors in the Twentieth Century."

DocumentFile sizeFile type
Call for Papers656 KB.doc
Conference schedule1,033 KB      .doc

The First Czechoslovak Republic, while heralded as a triumph of Wilsonian peacemaking after its founding, proved no more immune from nationalist tensions than its predecessor, the Austro-Hungarian monarchy. The state’s official census recognized sizeable Russian, Polish, German, Hungarian and Jewish populations; the majority 'Czechoslovak' ethnicity additionally masked the particularist loyalties of Slovaks, Silesians, and arguably Moravians, Chodové, Roma, and so forth. This workshop considerd the relationship between Czechs and their neighbours. Papers in the provisional schedule examine the Czech relationship to Germans, Lusatian-Sorbs, Rusyns, and Jews. It took place immediately before the AAEH 'Faultlines' conference in Wellington.

Selected papers will be published in the New Zealand Slavonic Journal. Geoffrey Brown wrote about Czech perceptions of Rusyns in Transcarpathia. Alexander Maxwell wrote about Sorbian Czechoslovakism before and during the 1848 Revolution. Ursula Stohler (Charles University, Prague) wrote about the Czech reception of the German woman writer Luise Mühlbach. Matthew Vink wrote about competing German and Czech claims to national self-determination after the First World War.

The conference took place in OK 406 (the Wood Seminar room) at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand. The conference had no registration fee, and was open to the public.

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Conference (8 September 2012).
"Tonics, Elixirs and Poisons: Psychoactive Substances in European History and Culture."

DocumentFile sizeFile type
Call for Papers656 KB.doc
Conference Schedule999 KB.doc

Psychoactive substances, whether narcotics, stimulants or hallucinogens, affect their users as individuals, yet their social context informs their cultural significance. At different times and in different places, different substances have become a locus of fascination or anxiety, praise or opprobrium, patriotism or prohibition. We seek papers examining psychoactive substances in a specific cultural context. How, when, and why did substances such as alcohol, caffeine, cannabis, cocaine, opium, tea, and tobacco acquire the cultural meanings that they did? How have consumers of psychoactive substances crossed the border between medical and recreational use, and how has society responded to any perceived transgressions? How have these substances been represented in literary, journalistic, legal, or scientific texts?

The conference took place in Von Zedlitz 606 at the Kelburn Campus of Victoria University in Wellington. The conference had no registration fee, and was open to the public.

Selected papers were published in the journal Central Europe, vol. 12, no. 2 (November 2014). Sacha Davis wrote about wine and modernity among the Transylvanian Saxons. Kostis Gotsinas (Paris) worte about heroin addiction in interwar Greece. Alexander Maxwell wrote about national alcohol in Hungary's reform era. Richard Millington wrote about literary representations of cocaine in German-speaking Europe. William Morris (University of Mississippi) wrote about opiates and leftist counter-culture in Frankfurt am Main.

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Conference (11-12 August 2012)
"1918: National Councils and Great Powers."

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Call for Papers511 KB.doc
Conference flier245 KB.doc

During the closing months of the First World War, all across the former Romanov, Hohenzollern and Habsburg Empires, new ideas about legitimate political power flourished. Most political entrepreneurs drew rhetorical inspiration from either Wilson or Lenin: the slogans “national self-determination” and “all power to the Soviets” arguably characterize the era. A central institution of the postwar environment was the council, either a “national council” or a council of workers, peasants, and/or soldiers. Most were short-lived, but a few won recognition as a legitimate government. Councils responded to local political constituencies, but also appealed to the great powers, which could potentially confer legitimacy or even provide military or material assistance. This conference examined councils in both their local and international contexts.

Martin D. Brown of Richmond, the American University in London, gave the keynote address: "Perfidious Albion and the Making of Central Europe: British Foreign Policy and East Central European Borders." Other speakers included Andrew Francis on the Yugoslav Committee in Auckland, Alexander Maxwell on the Lusatian Sorbs in Bautzen, and Matthew Vink on the Vorarlberg referendum.

The conference took place in OK 406 (the Wood Seminar room) at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand. The conference had no registration fee, and was open to the public.

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Conference (17 March 2012)
"Nationalism and Religion in Iran"

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Call for Papers140 KB.doc
Conference flier346 KB.doc

Iran holds important lessons for the Middle East, for the Islamic World, and for the future of Nationalism. The Islamic Republic of Iran emerged from the 1979 Iranian Revolution, which Eric Hobsbawm memorably described as “the first major … social upheaval rejecting both the traditions of 1789 and 1917.” The extraordinary political role of Shi’a clerics in Iranian government and electoral policy make the Islamic Republic offer a unique laboratory for examining the confrontation between religious and national loyalties. The dramatic aftermath of the 2010 elections show the pressing relevance of the issues that the Iranian system of government poses.

The conference took place in OK 406 (the Wood Seminar room) at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand. The conference had no registration fee and was open to the public.

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Conference (24 September 2011)
"Germanness Beyond Germany."

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Call for Papers86 KB.doc
Conference flier131 KB.doc

This conference explored how Germans beyond the core German region of Central Europe imagined their collective loyalties. Papers examined the interaction between Germanness and other political loyalties that can be credibly described as “national.” Papers considered both non-German regions of the Habsburg Empire and its successor states (Hungary, Galicia, and Transylvania), and German communities in the Pacific region (Australia, New Zealand, Tonga).

The conference took place in OK 406 (the Wood Seminar Room) at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand. The conference had no registration fee and was open to the public.

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Conference (26 March 2011).
"Sexualities and Science in Eastern Europe."

Co-sponsored by the Russian Programme of University of Canterbury.

DocumentFile SizeFile Type
Call for Papers88.5KBDOC
Conference schedule279KBDOC

This conference examined the development of sexology and sexual psychology from the nineteenth century to the present, with a special emphasis on Eastern Europe (including Russia), the region which produced such “seminal” figures as Sigmund Freud, Károly Mária Kertbeny, Aleksandra Kollontai, Richard von Krafft-Ebing, and Leopold Sacher-Masoch.

Speakers included Tatjana Buklijas (University of Auckland, NZ), Aleksandr Etkind (King's College, Cambridge, UK), Eduard Iskhakov (Ufa Law Institue, Russian Federation), and Shannon Woodcock (La Trobe, Melbourne, Australia).

The conference took place in Murphy 101 at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand. The conference had no registration fee and was open to the public.

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Conference (28-29 August 2010).
"National Bodies in Eastern Europe."

Co-sponsored by the Russian Programme of University of Canterbury.

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Call for Papers153KBDOC
Conference schedule583KBDOC

This conference explored the spread of nationalized thinking as it relates to the body. How did people in central Europe, Eastern Europe, and the Balkans classify each other in terms of national concepts? Speakers from Austria, Indiana, Japan, and New Zealand spoke about bodily practices, literary concepts of the body, national sexuality, and eugenics.

The conference took place in Murphy Lecture Hall 101 (MY 101) at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand. The conference had no registration fee and was open to the public.

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Conference (20-21 March 2010).
"The 'East-West' Discourse: Symbolic Geography and its Consequences."

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Conference schedule565KBDOC
Conference Flyer163KBDOC
Call for Papers26KBDOC

This conference examined the rhetoric of "East vs. West" in various historical contexts and problematized its implcit assumptions. Twenty-one speakers from Australasia, Europe and America presented papers. Charles Ingrao of Purdue University gave the keynote address. A generous donation from the of the Polish Embassy helped make this event possible. The organizers wish to thank her excellency ambassador Beata Stoczynska. The conference took place at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand. The conference had no registration fee and was open to the public.

Selected papers presented at this conference appeared in an edited volume published by Peter Lang. Sacha Davis "East-West Discourses in Transylvania," pp. 127-154; Vesna Drapac, "Yugoslav Studies and the East-West Dichotomy," pp. 93-126; Alexander Maxwell, "Bridges and Bulwarks: A Historiographic Overview of East-West Discourses," pp. 1-32; and Glyn Parry, "Conceptions of the East: Medieval and Early Modern Europe," 33-50.

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Conference (12 December 2008).
"Hungarians and Their Neighbors: Conflict and Nationality in Central Europe."

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Conference schedule211KBDOC

This conference, convened by John Perkins, explored ethnicity in Hungary before the 1918 partition. Various papers examined ethnic communities in the Hungarian kingdom: Sacha Davis spoke about Transylvanian Saxons, Alexander Maxwell about Magyars and Shannon Woodcock about Gypsies (Roma).

The conference took place at Macquarie University, Australian History Museum, Building W6A, room 127. The conference had no registration fee and was open to the public.

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Conference (12 December 2008).
"Hungarians and Their Neighbors: Conflict and Nationality in Central Europe."

DocumentFile SizeFile Type
Conference schedule211KBDOC

This conference, convened by John Perkins, explored ethnicity in Hungary before the 1918 partition. Various papers examined ethnic communities in the Hungarian kingdom: Sacha Davis spoke about Transylvanian Saxons, Alexander Maxwell about Magyars and Shannon Woodcock about Gypsies (Roma).

The conference took place at Macquarie University, Australian History Museum, Building W6A, room 127. The conference had no registration fee and was open to the public.

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Conference (4 October 2008).
"Polish Culture, Polish Experiences"

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Conference schedule97KBDOC
Conference schedule1.45MBPUB
Call for papers496KBDOC

Speakers at this one-day conference include Lech Mastalerz (Polish Ambassador to New Zealand), Eva Polonska-Kimungyui (Monash University in Melbourne), and Desmond Brennan (Canterbury University in Christchurch).

The conference was held at Victoria University of Wellington in the Wood Seminar Room (Old Kirk room 406). The conference had no registration fee and was open to the public.

Selected papers from this conference were published in a special issue of the New Zealand Slavonic Journal, vol. 42 (2008). Glyn Parry, "English Magicians and the Crown of Poland: John Dee, Edward Kelly, and Albrecht Laski, 1583-1585," pp. 79-100; Alexander Maxwell, "Walerjan Krasinski's Panslavism and Germanism: Polish Goals in a Pan-Slav Context," pp. 101-120; Richard Millington , "Dissent in the Nation of Nobles: The Polishness of Joseph Roth's "The Bust of the Emperor," pp. 120-136; Filip Slaveski, "Competing Occupiers: Bloody Conflicts between Soviet and Polish Authorities in the Borderlands of
Post-War Germany and Poland
, 1945-46," pp. 137-55.

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Guest Speakers

Public Talk (7 October 2015), 5:00 pm.
Ruth Fischer-Smith (University of Canterbury, Christchurch)

"Searching for Greener Pastures: Ukrainian Businesses' Views on the 'Other'"
This will take place in the Wood Seminar Room (Old Kirk room 406). It is free and open to the public.

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Fischer-Smith Flier              209 KBDOC


Public Talk (15 September 2014), 5:30 pm.
Alexander Maxwell (Victoria University, Wellington)

“Hitler and German History”
This talk took place in MMLT 220. It was free and open to the public.

Public Talk (28 August 2014), 4:00 pm.
Tamilla Dauletbayeva (Central European University, Budapest)

"Ukraine, Crimea, and the Crimean Tatars (1944-2014)"
This talk took place in the Wood Seminar Room (Old Kirk room 406). It was free and open to the public.

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Daultbayeva talk - flier                 297KBDOC

Public Talk (27 July 2012), 12:00 noon.
Tatjana Buklijas, (Liggins Institute, University of Auckland).

"Science and Nationalism in the Habsburg Monarchy."
This talk took place in the Wood Seminar Room (Old Kirk room 406). It was free and open to the public.

DocumentFile SizeFile Type
Buklijas Talk - flier489KBDOC

Public Talk (9 September, 2011), 12:00 noon.
Jacob Edmond, (Otago University).

"Poetic Correspondences: Arkadii Dragomoshchenko and Lyn Hejinian." This talk took place in the Wood Seminar Room (Old Kirk room 406). It was free and open to the public.

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Jacob Edmond - flier107KBDOC

Public Talk (18 May, 2010), 12:00 noon.
Caroline Sawyer, (Victoria University, Law).

"Stateless in Europe: Legal Faces of Nationalism in Estonia and Slovenia." This talk took place in the Wood Seminar Room (Old Kirk room 406). It was free and open to the public.

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Caroline Sawyer - flier213KBDOC

Public Talk (9 March, 2010), 12:30 pm.
Gergely Galantha, (Central European University, Budapest).

"Death to Fascism, Freedom to the People! The Extradition of Hungarian War Criminals to Yugoslavia." This talk took place in the Wood Seminar Room (Old Kirk room 406). It was free and open to the public.

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Gergely Galantha - flier462KBDOC

Public Talk (23 Feb, 2010), 2:30 pm.
Metodija Koloski, President, United Macedonian Diaspora.

“Integrating Macedonia into Global Institutions: The Role of the Macedonian Diaspora.” This talk took place in the Wood Seminar Room (Old Kirk room 406). It was free and open to the public.

DocumentFile SizeFile Type
Metodija Koloski - flier281KBDOC

Public Talk (10 Feb, 2010), 3:00 pm.
Robert Imre, University of Newcastle (NSW).

"Re-imagining Borders: Hungary and 'its own' sub-Regions."This talk took place in the Wood Seminar Room (Old Kirk room 406). It was free and open to the public.

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Robert Imre - flier184KBDOC

Public Talk (10 September 2010), 10 am.
Des Brennan, Canterbury University, (Christchurch)

"Poland, Lithuania and Ukraine: Relations in the Aftermath of EU Enlargement." This talk took place the Wood Seminar Room (OK 406) at Victoria University, Wellington. It was free and open to the public.

DocumentFile SizeFile Type
Des Brennan - flier144KBDOC

Film Evening (25 August 2009)
Russel Campbell, Victoria University (Welllington)

We show and discuss his new documentary, "Sisters from Siberia" (Vanguard films, 2009). The film traces the life of Wellington City Councilor Stephanie Cook, who adopted Katya (9) and Nadya (4) from a Siberian children's home, and the family's relationship to Wellington's Russian emigre community. This event took place in the Wood Seminar Room, Old Kirk Building, Victoria University of Wellington. It was free and open to the public.

Public Talk (28 July 2009)
Gürer Karagedikli
, Bilkent Üniversitesi (Ankara).

"‘Turkey for the Turks, Greece for the Greeks’: The 1923 Greco-Turkish Population Exchange." This talk took place in room 301, Old Kirk Building, Victoria University of Wellington. It was free and open to the public.

DocumentFile SizeFile Type
Gürer Karagedikli - flier497KBDOC

Public Talk (24 March 2009)
Mate Tokic, Freie Universität (Berlin)

"Black Shirts, Red Menace: Croatian Separatist Terrorism and the Cold War." This talk took place in the Wood Seminar Room (Old Kirk room 406). It was free and open to the public.

DocumentFile SizeFile Type
Mate Tokic - flier1.86MBDOC

Public Lecture (8 August 2008).
Peter Barrer (Christchurch)

"National Identity in Popular Music and Rap in Slovakia."The talk took place in the Wood Seminar Room (Old Kirk room 406). It was free and open to the public.

Public Lecture (14 July 2008).
Alexander Maxwell
, Victoria University (Wellington)

"A Historian Examines Slovak Dialectology." The talk took place at Room 509, Arts Centre, University of Melbourne. It was free and open to the public.

Call for Guest Speakers

The Antipodean East European Study Group is always looking for guest speakers. If you would like to give a talk at Victoria University on any topic related to East-Central European politics, history, cuture, or diaspora communities, contact Alexander Maxwell.

This page was last updated on 28 September 2015