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CANCELLED: The Postsocialist Lives of State Socialism's Secrets

Wednesday, March 11, 2020, 11:00 am – 1:00 pm

The lecture by Professor Maya Nadkarni on Wednesday, 11 March at 11.00 is cancelled. We will reschedule the talk at a later point.



Three decades after the end of state socialism in Eastern Europe, the archives of the former state security have increasingly become central to memories of and debates about the recent past. In Hungary, where access to these files is still more limited than among many of its neighbors, both the status of the archives and the ongoing revelations of the past regime’s informers have triggered mass-mediated scandals and highly polarized political battles. A growing body of work in literature, film, theatre, and cultural criticism explores both the culture of secrecy in state socialist Hungary and how the legacies of informing extend into the present day.

This talk draws upon ongoing research that examines the ways a varied range of contemporary stakeholders—from historians and journalists, to artists and writers, to archivists and historical commissions—all produce knowledge from and about the archive. It discusses several emerging themes from this work, including the paradoxes of transparency discourse, generational conflicts over who has the “right” to interpret and speak for the past, and ambivalences concerning the desirability of such knowledge.

Image: Állambiztonsági Szolgálatok Történeti Levéltára (Csgb / CC BY-SA)