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Don Kalb

Professor of sociology and social anthropology at the Central European University, Budapest, and senior researcher at Utrecht University, the Netherlands. He was a distinguished visiting professor at the Advanced Research Collaborative at CUNY/Graduate Center, New York, in 2014/15.

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Articles by Don Kalb

  1. Traces of Jewish life. In the eyes of the German soldiers

    The photo albums from German soldiers during WW II have, 75 years after the war’s ending, increasingly been auctioned off at internet auctions. Several photo albums contain traces of Eastern Europe’s Jewish life and how this is suddenly set against the rapidly emerging terror. Throughout many of the images, the photographer’s gaze is on something that is seen as inferior, laughable, exotic, war tourists’ motives worth documenting to show them at home: Eastern European Jews.

  2. The legacy of 1989 in Poland. Conflicts and commemoration 30 years after the end of Communism

    The author has analyzed the coverage of the 30th anniversary of the Roundtable Agreement and June elections in Polish newspapers of all political hues. Additionally several official speeches held in connection with the commemorations have been scrutinized. The goal has been to examine the uses of memory of 1989 in Polish politics of 2019 and highlight the strategic choices and constraints faced by mnemonic actors in this context. Thus, the study presented may be seen as a follow-up to Bernhard’s and Kubik’s investigation conducted ten years ago. However, this analysis expands the focus of Bernhard’s and Kubik’s work by paying special attention to cultural constraints on politics of memory. Thus, the aim is both to give insight into contemporary politics of memory in Poland in relation to the recent past and contribute to the more general understanding of how culture works in politics of memory.

  3. Girjas Sami Village vs. the Swedish State Breakthrough for indigenous people

    Reindeer herding Sami won huge success when the Supreme Court last year gave the Sami village Girjas the right to decide on hunting and fishing within the village boundaries. Now the Sami hope to have a greater influence over land use also in other areas, such as mining and construction of wind farms. But the prospects there are not as good.

  4. Roundtable USSR 30 years: Post-Soviet Economies: From the Myth of Transition to State Capitalism and Beyond

    The economic development in four Post-Soviet countries; Russia, Belarus, Ukraine and Kazakhstan were compared and discussed during this Roundtable. From the late 1990s new opportunities for growth emerged, but this growth was both temporarily and unstable is here argued. The role of the state is also elaborated.

  5. 1991-2021: THIRTY YEARS AFTER A SERIES OF INTERNATIONAL MULTIDISCIPLINARY ROUNDTABLE DISCUSSIONS

    Preliminary Programme  (links, dates, and hours to be specified, all subject to eventual changes)   In December 1991, the Soviet […]

  6. Repetition of Silence Monuments for a new time

    When we look at our monuments, why is there so much presence and, at the same time, so much absence? Or is there not enough presence and not enough absence? Or is there too much presence and not enough absence? Or is there not enough presence and too much absence? And what can we do about this (dis)balance?

  7. The voices of women across the generations

    In this article the author, a multidisciplinary artist, reflects on the process of making the video project Red, 2015, (21:45 min.) and a sound installation The White Wall, 2015 (9:30 min.) about post-Soviet times and transgenerational silence about experiences with the Soviet Union.

  8. Reconstruction of contested history Vilnius, 1939–1949

    The narrative in this article is based on a reconstruction of my personal curatorial experience while working on the exhibition “A Difficult Age: Vilnius, 1939–1949”. The exhibition’s chronological framework – 1939 to 1949 – was established with a focus on historical realities and aimed to frame the narrative of the guest exhibition. The public knowledge of the history of multi-national Vilnius is full of conscious and unconscious omissions, in large part caused by oblivion, but no less by the unwillingness to remember, ignorance, and the refusal to know or even fear of finding out. The narrative based on the history of visual art and artists’ lives is a way to bring up controversial topics and open new perspectives.

  9. A city of amnesia Marcin Kącki’s Białystok. White Power. Black Memory

    In his book of reportage: Białystok. White Power, Black Memory Marcin Kącki documents oblivion and denial of the memory of the former Jewish inhabitants of the city; paradoxically, it is also a call for this memory to be restored. In other words, we are dealing here with the two basic attitudes and forms of remembering historical trauma, distinguished by LaCapra: The first results in the process of “working-through”; the other is based on denial and results in “acting-out”.

  10. BRINGING BACK THE SILENCED MEMORIES (UN)OFFICIAL COMMEMORATIONS OF THE HOLOCAUST IN BELARUS

    This article addresses the problem of the underrepresentation of the traumatic past in the example of the official commemoration of the Holocaust in Belarus. The silenced memories hinder the process of reconciliation and have real consequences for urban planning and cultural life. Thus, in order to address the tragedy that has been excluded from the official commemoration in Belarus, artists and journalists have created projects to fill the void in remembrance. The article describes how art and media projects have resolved the problem of the underrepresentation of certain events in the official culture and make vernacular memory available to many people.

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