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A House in Buda: a Micro-History of Middle-Class Dwelling

Wednesday, May 10, 2017, 11:00 am – 12:30 pm

Hillfoot House is by all appearances an ordinary apartment building. It was constructed for upper-middle-class tenants in an upper-middle-class area of Budapest in 1925. Today it still comprises solid middle-class dwellings and businesses in what is widely regarded as a dependable bourgeois neighborhood. Its apparently constant status, however, is a result of a multitude of social processes over time. Staying middle-class entailed a careful negotiation of turbulent historical periods, several urban restructuring processes and regimes of justice, throughout which the infrastructure and even the very imaginaries of middle-class dwelling have changed. Drawing on interviews, archival sources, and secondary materials, the talk navigates between micro and macro scales by analyzing how an apartment building connects residents to each other, as well as to the city and larger historical structures.

Judit Bodnar is Faculty Fellow at the IAS and a founding member of the Department of Sociology and Social Anthropology at CEU. Author of Fin-de-Millénaire Budapest and co-editor of Critical Urban Studies, she has written extensively about cities, public space, globalization, comparative thinking, and the politics of food.