Friday, 31 March 2023 to Sunday, 2 April 2023

Presentations by Stream

Programme : Presentations by Stream

Colonial Efforts and the Habsburg Monarchy: Hungarian Perspectives from the Balkans (1867-1918)

The papers of the panel focus on ideas about colonialism in Hungary and colonial activities undertaken by Hungarians between 1867 and 1918. Postcolonial theory has been widely applied to analyze the colonial past of the Habsburg Monarchy, but most studies scrutinized only developments in Austria and the Austrian half of the Monarchy. Hungary’s role in the Habsburg Monarchy is often treated in a negative way, as Hungary significantly contributed to the disintegration of the Habsburg Empire due to the nationalizing policies of the Hungarian elite. Yet, Hungary was considered by many, even in official parlance, as an empire itself within the political framework of Austria-Hungary. The panel addresses the different manifestations and efforts at colonization in Hungary starting from political ideas about colonization, economic expansionism, the civilizing mission in the Balkans, infrastructure promoting colonization such as educational institutions, associations, trade companies, and railway lines, and finally imperial bureaucracy as a specific tool of colonial domination. The goal of the panel is therefore to analyze Hungary’s (up to now ignored) colonial past and situate it in a wider (East-)European context. It also demonstrates that colonialism can have different manifestations ranging from unfulfilled political ideas via educational institutions to infrastructural investments, even in a relatively backward Central-European country.

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