|Thursday, March 22, 2018||5:00PM - 7:00PM||108N, North House, Munk School of Global Affairs|
1 Devonshire Place
Fifty years after the Prague Spring, can anything new be said about it? By systematically examining the experiences of ordinary Czechoslovak citizens, rather than political elites, we can uncover the innovative political ideas they articulated, from the nature and importance of human rights to a critique of systemic violence in more than just its physical forms. We can see, moreover, how these popular ideas anticipated those that prominent dissidents developed following the suppression of the Prague Spring, and how memories of 1968 shaped popular demands and forms of political engagement in the Czechoslovak revolution of 1989
Speaker: James Krapfl is a historian of modern European politics and culture, specializing geographically on east central Europe. Thematically he is interested in the cultural history of revolutionary phenomena, the experience of Communist rule in central and eastern Europe, and the transformation of Europe since 1989. These interests come together in his book Revolution with a Human Face: Politics, Culture, and Community in Czechoslovakia, 1989-1992 (Cornell University Press, 2013), which analyzes grassroots efforts to establish a democratic political culture in Czechoslovakia following the outbreak of revolution in 1989. Based on research in forty Czech and Slovak archives, mostly at the district level, the book explains how popular attempts to reconstitute political, social, and economic institutions “from below” met with the opposition of new elites, setting in motion the chain of events which led to the break-up of the federal state in 1992.
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