Features

Features offer in-depth accounts of issues related to the region without prior peer-review process.

In the footsteps of the Holocaust. Death in Pidhaitsi

After a pogrom in Berlin in 1923, Alfred Döblin, an assimilated Jew, decided to travel to more originally Jewish settings, spending time amongst the people and environments that barely two decades later were as good as completely wiped out. Döblin’s book Reise in Polen [Journey to Poland] will be published in Swedish translation in autumn 2019. The Swedish translator of Döblin’s book, Peter Handberg travelled to Poland and Ukraine himself in 2018, or to put it more accurately, followed in the footsteps of the Holocaust.

By Peter Handberg June 17, 2019

LITHUANIAN AUTHOR GRIGORY KANOVICH, SURVIVOR OF THE SHTETLS: “I HAVE TRIED TO CREATE A WRITTEN MONUMENT TO THE LITHUANIAN JEWS”

He is the last Lithuanian Jewish author with first-hand experience of the shtetls, the small Jewish towns that vanished from the face of the earth in 1941. ”I have tried to create a written monument to the Lithuanian Jews”, says Grigory Kanovich in an interview with Baltic Worlds.

By Påhl Ruin June 17, 2019

Kaliningrad’s problematic exclave status

The distinguishing feature of the Kaliningrad region is the fact that it is an exclave, part of but separated from Russia by two countries, Poland/Belarus or Lithuania/Latvia, though with access across the Baltic Sea (thus strictly speaking a semi-exclave). It is Russia’s only exclave and is the biggest in Europe. Seen from inside it is an enclave (or a semi-enclave).

By Ingmar Oldberg March 26, 2019

The disappearance of social anthropology

The Constitution for Science aims to flatten the structure of Polish science. This can result in easier management, both in economic as well as in political terms, but what is actually at stake is a restriction of academic freedom.

By Agnieszka Halemba and Magdalena Radkowska-Walkowicz March 6, 2019

Measuring academic freedom in a regional and global perspective

Democratic backsliding has been an abiding and pervasive concern across the post-communist region for almost a decade. Data from the Varieties of Democracy (V-Dem) dataset corroborate this phenomenon and show that one of the contributors to this decline is a narrowing of freedom for academic and cultural expression.While not being the sole driver of this recent backsliding trend, the opportunity for open academic and cultural exchange does remain an important principle of basic electoral democracy.

By Vello Pettai March 6, 2019

Student protests against neoliberal reforms in higher education

Student protest as a form of mobilization from below, excluding categorically political organizations like opposition parties and NGOs, has changed the perception in Albanian society about protesting and decision-making. Public opinion regarding the protest in December of 2018 has had the same value as the student movement in 1990—1991 when the system changed, and Albania became a democratic country, and the students are once again bringing hope to Albania!

By Gilda Hoxha March 6, 2019

Reiner Frigyes Park: A Reflection on current events in Hungary

Inaugurated in October 2012, the statue was one of the first publicly-funded right-wing monuments to adorn a public square in postwar Hungary, and only one example of the current Hungarian government’s determined campaign to reformulate public discourse and memory politics.

By Caroline Mezger March 6, 2019

Expulsion of students as a tool of control

In order to silence dissident voices within Belarusian higher education, students with uncomfortable political views are often expelled. International critique has resulted in a decrease in the number of expulsions, but the repression continues. The university administration merely has changed methods and nowadays focuses on the students with a capacity to lead others.

By Marina Henrikson March 6, 2019

Criminalization of women’s mobilization & the punishing of gender studies

The emergency rule of the last two years has created useful cases to understand what the authoritarian government in Turkey are trying to do in terms of women’s mobilization and gender studies at the universities. Celebrations of March 8 have been turned into a battleground to intimidate women’s mobilization through violent police interventions. In addition, it has become increasingly difficult to engage in women’s, gender, and LGBTI studies due to the changing nature of universities and related departments. However, these attempts have not been without resistance.

By Derya Keskin March 5, 2019

“Academics are fired, jailed, and blacklisted”

Academic independence and freedom in Turkey have long been influenced by the neoliberalization of universities and state control of the agenda in science and education. However, since the “We will be not be a party to this crime” petition released on January 11, 2016, calling for an end to curfews in Kurdish towns and a renewed commitment to the reconciliation process with Kurdish parties, the current Justice and Development Party (Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi, AKP) government has increased its reaction to academics and academia in general by firing, jailing, and starting legal proceedings against academics.

By Yasemin Gülsüm Acar March 5, 2019