Writing In the Humanities After the Fall of Communism

Place: Budapest, Hungary, CEU Summer University                                                   Date: July 6 - 17, 2009                                                                                                     Application deadline: 16 February, 2009                                  

Course Directors:                                                                                                              Piotr Piotrowski, Institute of Art History, Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznan, Poland
Magdalena Radomska Institute of Art History/ Collegium Europaeum Gnesnense, Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznan, Poland

Faculty:                                                                                                                              Edit Andras, Institute for Art History of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Budapest, Hungary
Marina Grzinic, Institute of Philosophy at the SRC SASA, Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna, Austria
Gyorgy Spiro, Writer, Budapest, Hungary

The objective of the course is to reflect critically upon the preconditions of writing in the humanities, particularly in the context of communism as an intellectual burden, still relevant after twenty years.

The course considers a basic dilemma of the humanities in Central-Eastern Europe: numerous areas of study are condemned to the task of implementing the intellectual and methodological overthrow of the regime, as well as reevaluating the categories it had imposed on their discourses. Crucial parts of the analysis concern the status of the visual arts in the face of the post-communist experience (globalism, neoliberalism, democratization). The condition of literature and philosophy (such as post-Marxism) will also be discussed.

The following questions will be central to the course:

How has an all-embracing language of ideology determined, by its mere existence, the peculiarities of the discourse of the humanities in Central-Eastern Europe? Can certain notions, such as 'post-communist' (have we got stuck in 'postpost' of communism?) be recognized as crucial to the identity of Central-Eastern Europe? What is the status of Central-Eastern Europe, and what is the status and role of the discourse on the body? Is it possible or desirable to locate the concept of communism in the history of the region, thus creating a discourse, which moves abstractly away from it? Does the discourse generated in this part of Europe have its own past, or its own 'language' memory? What influence has Marxism, considered as a language once spoken in the region, had upon Central-Eastern European postmodernism and other humanistic terms? Was the language of the humanities stolen or incorporated and by/into what?

We will also consider the sphere and the possibility of a reevaluation of categories of the discourse - academic formula vs. public discussion (i.e. writing as a different practice than speaking); the process of globalization and its consequences for a new art market, new traumas, new museums.

Both students with a certain level of general knowledge in the humanities and those who are specialized in a chosen domain will find the course instructive. It is designed for students and researchers in art history, aesthetics, philosophy, literature, political and social science, gender studies and cultural studies.