Commemorative Landscapes of the Fifth Budapest District

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Sunday, September 21, 2014 - 3:00pm
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Sunday, September 21, 2014 - 3:00pm to 5:30pm

The CEU History Department invites interested students, faculty and guests to a walking tour

Commemorative Landscapes of the Fifth Budapest District

Guided by Carsten Wilke, associate professor at the CEU History Department.

Central European University is located only a few steps south of the major compound of symbolic architecture by which Hungary commemorates its recent past. From 1900 to the present day, various themed clusters of national monuments have emerged on Kossuth Square, Freedom Square and the banks of the Danube through the building activity of political governments and civic movements. In proximity to the sites of state power, facing a spectacular natural panorama near the river, these commemorative landscapes are offered to Hungarians and foreigners as aesthetic attractions, sceneries of political rituals, and mark stones of historical imagination. But the narrative that is thereby set in stone has always galvanized a deeply antagonistic struggle for the country’s historical identity. Changing regimes have demolished or rebuilt each other’s monuments; the inescapable references to the WWI defeat, the Holocaust crimes and the failed uprising of 1956 have charged the representation of Hungarian history with a tragic overtone. The most recent remodeling of the squares has made public controversy flare up with such an intensity that an official, a liberal and a far-right version of the past are now competing for this canonic commemoration site. The walking tour will explore the history and symbolism of these places, as well as the role historians have played as artisans and critics of collective memory-building.

Time: Sunday, September 21, 2014, at 3 PM

Meeting Place: Kossuth Square, in front of the Parliament near the pond.