Not part of the “Global South” and not Western enough, East Central Europe in general is absent from or marginal to the current debates on the legacies of Colonialism, on Global History or World History and on Postcolonialism. Likewise, East Central Europe is often marginal to the appropriate divisions of disciplines and categories in the academy or the museum. However, concepts of ethnicity, race, and nationalism emerged in East Central Europe during the 19th and early 20th Centuries. Anthropologists, Historians or Colonial Experts from the region – roughly today's Austria, Belarus, Czech Republic, Germany, Lithuania, Moldova, Poland, Slovakia, and Ukraine – participated in the scholarship, economy, and politics of colonialism. In the context of the collapse of empires and the rise of authoritarian regimes in the first half and since the latter years of the of the twentieth century anthropology, history or medicine have been or reemerged as sites of struggle over identity, ideology and power.
Legacies of Colonialism in East Central Europe: Race, Scholarship, and Politics brings together historians, anthropologists, and museum professionals. It explores how theories and practices of race and colonialism have been formulated, understood and contested in East Central Europe, how they traveled across time and geography, and how they were translated into the local, East Central European contexts. If we are to better understand the relevance of race and colonialism in East Central Europe then and now, we need to ask questions not only about their historical but also present commitments. Therefore the WeberWorldCafé also hopes to encourage its participants to think about the cultural, social, and political legacies of race and colonialism in our times.
The event Legacies of Colonialism in East Central Europe will take place on October 15, 2019 from 2:30 to 6:00pm in the Museum am Rothenbaum – Kulturen und Künste der Welt, Hamburg. The event is a cooperation between the Max Weber Stiftung – Deutsche Geisteswissenschaftliche Institute im Ausland, the Forum Transregionale Studien,the Institut für Kultur und Geschichte der Deutschen in Nordosteuropa e.V. at Hamburg University and the Museum am Rothenbaum – Kulturen und Künste der Welt. It is curated by Olga Linkiewicz (Forum Transregionale Studien) and Katrin Steffen (Institut für Kultur und Geschichte der Deutschen in Nordosteuropa).
The WeberWorldCafé (WWC) is an alternative event format for which we invite twice a year people from different regions and disciplines to come together and discuss in a café-like atmosphere one central topic. At the WeberWorldCafé, scholars, experts, intellectuals or public personalities from different disciplines and regions come together and moderate discussions in English or German on topic-specific tables. These experts will, together with the participants, discuss various (trans)regional and (inter)disciplinary perspectives and angles to approach the theme of “Legacies of Colonialism in East Central Europe.” There will be five thematic tables. The experts take on the role as table hosts – usually as a pair – and share their knowledge with the participants, who engage in the conversation as equals, attending up to four subsequent tables during the event. After a discussion of 25 to 30 minutes, the participants move to another table of their choice. In that way, the guests can join discussions on four different aspects of the overall theme, which will be enriched by the participants’ knowledge gained in the previous discussions held at other tables.
Since experts and participants have different backgrounds, everyone brings a different set of pre-existing knowledge, interests and perspectives to the table(s). The goal of this event format is to encourage and connect fresh perspectives and new insights. The event closes with a summary of the results and conclusions of the day providing space for continued informal debates.