19.1. Course unit: 20th century Political Culture: Hungary in East-Central Europe

Nr. of credits: 5

Course type: Seminar (Practice), Nr. in the semester: 60

Commitment: term mark

Requirements: There are no admission restrictions or requirements for this course.

Grading: Oral reports, written essays

Place of course in the curriculum: 3rd semester

Preliminary study terms:

Course description:

By discussing the political processes during the 20th century, the course deals with the various scholarly approaches to Hungarian political culture. It intends to familiarize students with those political, social and cultural features that are specific to Hungary; throughout the course various aspects will be highlighted that most characterize the region and became inextricably connected to WWII and the following era. Since it is not possible to discuss and read all aspects of the societies of East-Central Europe (Slovak, Czech, Polish, Hungarian, Romanian, Slovenian), specific area will be selected according to students familiarity with the region and expertise. For example, in the Hungarian case, we will focus on post-WWII developments and discuss the relevance of such questions as totalitarianism, fascism, Stalinism, and the revolution of 1956. To best achieve our goal, we will focus ont he Memento Park and/or the House of Terror Museum by taking a three-pronged approach: 1. An interdisciplinary approach surrounding the nature and definition of political culture in the social sciences in general and political science in specific. 2. Describing the socio-economic and political development of Hungarian society following WWI; creation of dictatorship, war and revolution. 3. We will discuss the reactions of two world wars and the 1956 revolution by focussing on political memory and art. Throughout the course, we will discuss not only the theoretical and historical concerns of these topics, but where possible we will attempt to utilize unique studies to highlight comparable developments in other East-Central European states.


Knowledge: Since 20th Century Political Culture: Hungary in East-Central Europe is a course that takes place during the 3rd semester of the MA program, students are already familiar with basic historical, political and cultural issues and processes of Central Europe. Therefore, based on their own experiences, cultural background, and specific reading they could bring critical new information and ideas to engage during lectures. Students will be able to describe and compare political and social trends in Central Europe, particularly Hungary.

Attitude: Lectures, discussions and presentations enable students to feel free to ask questions, and engage in group discussions. Students learn how to utilize appropriate methods for interacting sensitively, effectively, and professionally with persons from diverse cultural, socioeconomic, educational, racial, ethnic and professional backgrounds.

Autonomy and responsibility: It is understood that student will be active during classes. Assigned readings will be discussed and students should engage in small class discussions, questions and answers sessions. Individual topics for oral presentations can also be accepted if student area willingly volunteer.

Academic Honesty:

Any cases of academic dishonesty will be referred to the proper university authorities. All works submitted for credit in this class must be original and may not be submitted for credit in any other course.

Weekly topics and special readings:

1-4 Dictatorship: Fascism, National Socialism, and Stalinism

Kelly, David (1999): “The wouldbe Führer: General Radola Gajda of Czechoslovakia.” The Journal of Slavic Military Studies, 1999, 12:3, 163-177 (available on tandfonline.com)

Pető, Andrea: „Gendered Exclusions and Inclusions in Hungary’s Right-Radical Arrow Cross Party (1939-1945): A Case Study of Three Female Party Members”. Hungarian Studies Review, Vol. XLI, Nos. 1-2 (2014) (available on epa.niif.hu).

5-6. Cold War

László Kürti (2013): Cold War happiness (in: De-centering Cold War, https://www.academia.edu/5577913/Cold_War_Happiness_2013

Reinhold Wagnleitner: American Cultural Diplomacy, the Cinema, and the Cold War in Central Europe (distributed by instructor).


7-8.Mid-term exam: Oral presentations, short essays


9-10. Revolutions: Hungary, 1956, Prague Spring, Solidarity

Milan Kundera: The Tragegy of Central Europe, NY Review of Books, 1984 (distributed by instructor)

Johanna Granville (1998): In the Line of Fire: The Soviet Crackdown on Hungary, 1956-1958. The Carl Beck Papers, 1998, No. 1307.

Scott Brown: Prelude to a Divorce? The Prague Spring as Dress Rehearsal for Czechoslovakia'sVelvet Divorce’. Europe-Asia Studies, 60:10, 1783-1804 (available on tandfonline.com).

11. Socialisms and Post-socialist Europe

Ezekiert, Kubik and Vachudova (2007): „Democracy in the Post-Communist World: An Unending Quest?” EEPS (http://eep.sagepub.com)

12. Memento Park and The House of Terror Museum (specific reading list to be distributed)

13-14. Presentations.


Mid-term and Final: It is expected that students will not miss classes and consultation with instructor.

Students are required to do a mid-term presentations based on specific assigned reading (50%). At the end of the semester, students and course director select one topic for a final presentation and essay (25+25%). In-class presentations are based on the written essays, and can take various forms (power point, poster, class discussion, etc). It is expected that oral presentations are around 10 minutes each; length os short essays are between 5-6 pages (double-spaced, Times Roman, 12 p.). To change topics is only possible via prior agreement of instructor. Complex and difficult subjectsespecially those reqiuring substantial literature search and data-analysismay be jointly completed by two students. To do so, students are required to obtain prior permission from the course instructor.

Final oral presentations will take place during the last two weeks of the course. There will be 10-15 minutes allocated for each presentation. Final essay are due during exam period and submitted electronically. Final essays will be written in the format of MA thesis; they should be between 8-10 pages long. 

Required Course Reading:

Klingemann, Hans-Dieter – Fuchs, Dieter – Zielonka, Jan (ed.): Democracy & Political Culture in Eastern Europe. London, Routledge, 2006. (ISBN 0-203-08597-3)

Kopecky, P. – Mudde, C. (ed.): Uncivil society? Contentious politics in post-communist Europe. London, Routledge, 2003. (ISBN: 0-415-26585-1.)

Lukacs, John: Democracy and populism. New Haven, Yale University Press, 2005. (ISBN 9780200107739)

Recommended Course Reading:

Ash, T. G.: The Polish revolution. New Haven, Yale University Press, 2003. (ISBN 13 978-0300095685)

Kürti, L. – Skalnik, P. (ed.): Postsocialist Europe. Anthropological perspectives from home. Oxford, Berghahn Books, 2009.

3–5 most important obligatory and recommended literature (books, textbooks) with the bibliographical data:

– Obligatory:

Sharma, A. – Gupta, A. (ed.): The Anthropology of the State. Blackwell, 2006. http://www.antropologias.org/files/downloads/2012/11/Gupta-Sharma-Anthropology-of-the-state.pdf

Klingemann, Hans-Dieter – Fuchs, Dieter – Zielonka, Jan (ed.): Democracy & Political Culture in Eastern Europe. London, Routledge, 2006. (ISBN 0-203-08597-3)

Kopecky, P. – Mudde, C. (ed.): Uncivil society? Contentious politics in post-communist Europe. London, Routledge, 2003. (ISBN: 0-415-26585-1.)

Lukacs, John: Democracy and populism. New Haven, Yale University Press, 2005. (ISBN 9780200107739)

Stark, D. – Bruszt, L.: Postsocialist pathways. Transforming politics and property in East Central Europe. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1998. (ISBN 0-521-58974-6.)


– Recommended:

Ash, T. G.: The Polish revolution. New Haven, Yale University Press, 2003. (ISBN 13 978-0300095685)

Kürti, L. – Skalnik, P. (ed.): Postsocialist Europe. Anthropological perspectives from home. Oxford, Berghahn Books, 2009.

Plasser, F. – Pribersky, A. (ed.): Political Culture in East Central Europe. Aldershot, Avebury, 1996. (ISBN 1859722598)

Welch, S.: The Concept of Political Culture. London, Macmillan, 1993. (ISBN 0312091443)

Course director: Dr. Kürti, László Professor, PhD

Participating teacher: