350 episodes

Interviews with Scholars of Eastern Europe about their New Books
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New Books in Eastern European Studies New Books Network

    • Society & Culture
    • 4.0 • 17 Ratings

Interviews with Scholars of Eastern Europe about their New Books
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    Alison K. Smith, "Cabbage and Caviar: A History of Food in Russia" (Reaktion Books, 2021)

    Alison K. Smith, "Cabbage and Caviar: A History of Food in Russia" (Reaktion Books, 2021)

    When people think of Russian food, they generally think either of the opulent luxury of the tsarist aristocracy or of post-Soviet elites, signified above all by caviar, or on the other hand of poverty and hunger--of cabbage and potatoes and porridge. Both of these visions have a basis in reality, but both are incomplete. The history of food and drink in Russia includes fasts and feasts, scarcity and, for some, at least, abundance. It includes dishes that came out of the northern, forested regions and ones that incorporate foods from the wider Russian Empire and later from the Soviet Union. Cabbage and Caviar: A History of Food in Russia (Reaktion Books, 2021) places Russian food and drink in the context of Russian history and shows off the incredible (and largely unknown) variety of Russian food.
    Alison Smith is Professor and Chair of History at the University of Toronto. 
    Steven Seegel is Professor of Slavic and Eurasian Studies at The University of Texas at Austin.
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    • 1 hr 2 min
    Michal Kšiňan, "Milan Rastislav Štefánik: The Slovak National Hero and Co-Founder of Czechoslovakia" (Routledge, 2021)

    Michal Kšiňan, "Milan Rastislav Štefánik: The Slovak National Hero and Co-Founder of Czechoslovakia" (Routledge, 2021)

    Michal Kšiňan’s Milan Rastislav Štefánik: The Slovak National Hero and Co-Founder of Czechoslovakia is the first scientific biography of Milan Rastislav Štefánik (1880–1919) that is focused on analyzing the process of how he became the Slovak national hero.
    Although he is relatively unknown internationally, his contemporaries compared him “to Choderlos de Laclos for the use of military tactics in love affairs, to Lawrence of Arabia for vision, to Bonaparte for ambition ... and to one of apostles for conviction.” He played a key role in founding an independent Czechoslovakia in 1918 through his relentless worldwide travels during the First World War in order to create the Czechoslovak Army: he visited Serbia and Romania on the eve of invasion by the Central Powers, Russia before the February revolution, the United States after it declared war on Germany, Italy dealing with the consequences of defeat in the Caporetto battle, and again when Russia plunged into Civil War.
    Several historical methods are used to analyze the aforementioned central research question of this biography such as social capital to explain his rise in French society, the charismatic leader to understand how he convinced and won over a relatively large number of people; more traditional political, military, and diplomatic history to show his contribution to the founding of Czechoslovakia, and memory studies to analyze his extraordinary popularity in Slovakia. By mapping his intriguing life, the book will be of interest to scholars in a broad range of areas including history of Central Europe, especially Czechoslovakia, international relations, social history, French society at the beginning of the 20th century and biographical research.
    Michal Kšiňan is a senior researcher at the Institute of History of the Slovak Academy of Sciences.
    Leslie Waters is Assistant Professor of History at the University of Texas at El Paso and author of Borders on the Move: Territorial Change and Ethnic Cleansing in the Hungarian-Slovak Borderlands, 1938-1948 (University of Rochester, 2020). Email her at lwaters@utep.edu or tweet to @leslieh2Os.
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    • 1 hr 13 min
    Eszter Varsa, "Protected Children, Regulated Mothers: Gender and the 'Gypsy Question' in State Care in Postwar Hungary, 1949–1956" (Central European UP, 2020)

    Eszter Varsa, "Protected Children, Regulated Mothers: Gender and the 'Gypsy Question' in State Care in Postwar Hungary, 1949–1956" (Central European UP, 2020)

    Historian Eszter Varsa’s new book Protected Children, Regulated Mothers: Gender and the 'Gypsy Question' in State Care in Postwar Hungary, 1949–1956 (Central European UP, 2020) examines child protection in Stalinist Hungary as a part of twentieth-century East Central, Eastern, and Southeastern European history. Across the communist bloc, the prewar foster care system was increasingly replaced after 1945 by institutionalization in residential homes. This shift was often interpreted as a further attempt to establish totalitarian control. However, this study—based on hundreds of children's case files and interviews with institution leaders, teachers, and people formerly in state care—provides a new perspective.
    Rather than being merely a tool of political repression, state care in postwar Hungary was often shaped by the efforts of policy actors and educators to address the myriad of problems engendered by the social and economic transformations that emerged after World War II. This response built on, rather than broke with, earlier models of reform and reformatory education. Yet child protection went beyond safeguarding and educating children; it also focused on parents, particularly lone mothers, regulating not only their entrance to paid work but also their sexuality. In so doing, children's homes both reinforced and changed existing cultural and social patterns, whether about gendered division of work or the assimilation of minorities. Indeed, a major finding of the book is that state socialist child protection continued a centuries-long national project of seeking a “solution to the Gypsy question,” rooted in efforts to eliminate the perceived “workshyness” of Roma.
    Eszter Varsa is a post-doctoral researcher in the ERC project ZARAH: Women's Labour Activism in Eastern Europe and Transnationally, From the Age of Empires to the Late 20th Century at Central European University, Vienna.
    Leslie Waters is Assistant Professor of History at the University of Texas at El Paso and author of Borders on the Move: Territorial Change and Ethnic Cleansing in the Hungarian-Slovak Borderlands, 1938-1948 (University of Rochester, 2020). Email her at lwaters@utep.edu or tweet to @leslieh2Os.
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    • 49 min
    Andrew Jenks, "Collaboration in Space and the Search for Peace on Earth" (Anthem Press, 2021)

    Andrew Jenks, "Collaboration in Space and the Search for Peace on Earth" (Anthem Press, 2021)

    Andrew Jenks' book Collaboration in Space and the Search for Peace on Earth (Anthem Press, 2021) explores the era of space collaboration (from 1970 to the present). This period has been largely ignored by historians in favor of a focus on the earlier space race. The Apollo-Soyuz Test Project, a key program and catalyst for Détente, marked the transition to the new age of space collaboration, which continued through the Soviet Interkosmos missions, the Mir-Shuttle dockings of the early 1990s, and on through the International Space Station. Europeans, Americans, and Russians envisioned space collaboration as a way to reconfigure political and international relations.
    The shift toward collaboration was a result of a new focus on safety, which displaced the earlier emphasis on risk-taking in the first phase of the space race, when military imperatives often overshadowed peaceful goals. Apollo-Soyuz (ignored by Cold War historians) was thus imagined as a test project for a docking mechanism that would allow a manned-capsule stranded in orbit to dock with another capsule and provide an escape hatch back to earth (it was actually inspired, in part, by the 1969 Hollywood film “Marooned” with Gene Hackman). The focus on engineering for safety grew out of the broader concerns about environmental degradation and nuclear war that in turn reflected a growing sense in the 1970s and 1980s of the dangers associated with excessive risk-taking in politics and engineering. Few historians or social scientists have examined the social construction of safety and its use in engineering and politics.
    The book draws on the Russian Academy of Sciences Archives, Nixon and Reagan libraries and National Archives Collections, NASA headquarters library documents, and various memoirs and other published sources in English and Russian.
    Paul Werth is a professor of history at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.
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    • 57 min
    Malte Dold and Tim Krieger, "Ordoliberalism and European Economic Policy: Between Realpolitik and Economic Utopia" (Taylor & Francis, 2021)

    Malte Dold and Tim Krieger, "Ordoliberalism and European Economic Policy: Between Realpolitik and Economic Utopia" (Taylor & Francis, 2021)

    Once described as a “German oddity”†, Ordoliberalism was one of a number of new liberalisms that emerged from the political maelstrom of the interwar period. But, unlike the other neoliberal splinters, Ordoliberalism – founded at the University of Freiburg by economist Walter Eucken and jurist Franz Böhm – was quickly tested in the real world.
    The West Germany rebuilt out of the ashes of war was founded on its principles: rules-based economics, independent agencies protected from politics and the state as arbiter. The country's recovery and successful reunification were a testament to Ordoliberalism’s effectiveness but, as the European Community became a union and created the euro, its other members were keener to import the success than the rules. When crisis struck from 2008, the EU's architecture was severely stress-tested and remains under strain in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
    Is the long EU political crisis due to Ordoliberalism or due to its non-implementation? Can and should Ordoliberalism adapt and survive? These are some of the questions addressed in Ordoliberalism and European Economic Policy: Between Realpolitik and Economic Utopia (Routledge paperback, 2021) co-edited by Malte Dold and Tim Krieger. Malte Dold is a Freiburg university graduate who now an assistant professor of economics at Pomona College in California, and Tim Krieger is Freiburg's Wilfried Guth professor of constitutional political economy.
    *As their book recommendations, Tim Krieger chose Conservative Liberalism, Ordo-liberalism, and the State: Disciplining Democracy and the Market by Kenneth Dyson (OUP Oxford, 2021) and Exit Left: Markets and Mobility in Republican Thought by Robert S. Taylor (OUP Oxford, 2017); and Malte Dold chose The Narrow Corridor: How Nations Struggle for Liberty by Daron Acemoglu and James A. Robinson (Penguin, 2020) and The Idea of Justice by Amartya Sen (Penguin, 2010).
    Tim Gwynn Jones is an economic and political-risk analyst at Medley Global Advisors (Energy Aspects).
    †Ordoliberalism: A German oddity? ed. Thorsten Beck and Hans-Helmut Kotz (CEPR Press 2017).
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    • 57 min
    Russell E. Martin, "The Tsar's Happy Occasion: Ritual and Dynasty in the Weddings of Russia's Rulers, 1495-1745" (Northern Illinois UP, 2021)

    Russell E. Martin, "The Tsar's Happy Occasion: Ritual and Dynasty in the Weddings of Russia's Rulers, 1495-1745" (Northern Illinois UP, 2021)

    The dominant impression of Russia in the news media and politics, even today, is that it is and always has been an autocratic power controlled by a single despotic ruler. But historians of the fourteenth through the eighteenth centuries have long realized that this vision was to some extent a myth projected by the central authorities to support a system that was in fact oligarchic but competitive in nature. A fundamental step in recognizing the gap between that myth and reality was the identification of marriages between aristocratic clans as a determinant in political alliances, followed by a new understanding of patron-client relations and other interpersonal connections within the elite.
    In The Tsar’s Happy Occasion: Ritual and Dynasty in the Weddings of Russian Rulers, 1495–1745 (Northern Illinois UP, 2021), Russell E. Martin explores the ways in which the weddings of tsars and lesser members of the royal family worked to integrate brides and their families into the elite while moderating tensions among the nobility. The whole occasion was elaborately choreographed and developed over time as the needs of the original dynasty, the Daniilovichi, to extend and sustain the lineage by managing the number of heirs gave way to the new Romanov dynasty’s attempts to establish its legitimacy, followed by a squabble for power between two branches of the later Romanovs (Peter the Great and his descendants). And the stakes were high—the book is full of examples of poisoned brides, recalcitrant exiles, bridegrooms executed for failing to judge the balance correctly, and more. Through this in-depth but beautifully written study, we gain a new appreciation of the importance of ceremony and ritual in creating and promoting visions of how the world does and should work at specific points in time.
    C. P. Lesley is the pen name of Carolyn Johnston Pouncy, a historian of Muscovite Russia who hosts New Books in Historical Fiction. Under her real name, she translated and edited The Domostroi: Rules for Russian Households in the Time of Ivan the Terrible. Her latest novel, Song of the Sisters, appeared in 2021. Find out more about her at http://www.cplesley.com.
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    • 1 hr 3 min

Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5
17 Ratings

17 Ratings

Knihovnik527 ,

today’s show

worthwhile content today with john connelly...he is easily understood but the host is barely intelligible...please fix this...hard to spend an hour listening to such poor audio...

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Great content, but bad quality

Great, interesting content, excellent books. Just wish that the audio quality would be on the level. A lot odd noise, fade outs, tough to hear parts make it not easy to enjoy.

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5 stars content. 1 start production.

This work is too important to have such poor production values. Echoes, fade out, stuttered audio.

Some fantastic books. Articulate authors who are able to discuss their work so that the educated layman may follow it.

The audio should be the easy part. The guests (and listeners) deserve better.

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