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Memory Politics and Democracy - Remembering Civil Wars in Austria, Spain, and Greece

Panel Discussion
Thursday, October 28, 2021, 5:00 pm – 6:30 pm

Civil Wars have not only significantly shaped the European continent of the 20th century, their complicated legacy also follows us into the 21st century. The question of how to interpret and remember these conflicts remains contested until today. Such controversies are not confined to history in a narrow sense but are connected to present-day political conflicts and reflect different understandings of democracy. In the kick-off event of our public series, we will take a comparative look at the civil wars in Austria (1934), Spain (1936–39), and Greece (1946–49). We have invited three eminent specialists to give a short overview on ongoing public and historiographical debates for each country case. Then, we will discuss together what our role as historians is, not only for investigating the past, but in current debates, and how history as an academic discipline and public discourse may contribute to open and democratic societies.


  • Julián CasanovaProfessor of Contemporary History at the University of Zaragoza and Visiting Professor at the Central European University in Vienna/Budapest
  • Kostis Karpozilos, Director of the Contemporary Social History Archives (ASKI) in Athens
  • Florian WenningerDirector of the Institute for Historical Social Research (IHSF), Vienna


  • Elisabeth Luifdoctoral candidate at the Department of History at Central European University, Vienna/Budapest

‘History as Democracy?’ is a series of events under the auspices of the Democracy in History Workgroup of the CEU Democracy Institute. Other projects of the Workgroup focus on what the historical study of ideas and processes of democratization, de-democratization, and so forth, may add to our understanding of democracy. In this one we ask where democracy ‘is’ in history as a discipline and a cognitive field, what the practice of history itself contributes to democracy and open society – to what extent and in what sense is or is not history ‘democratic’. It explores inclusiveness and exclusiveness in the cultivation of history in terms of choice of subject matter, access to information and dissemination, agency in creating ‘authentic’ historical knowledge – to mention but a few of the meta-level questions we hope to address in conversations with historians in the context of their relevant empirical work.

Location: Tiered Room (N15 103) CEU, Nádor utca 15, 1051 Budapest

RSVP at democracyinhistory@ceu.eduuntil 28 October 12:00 noon!

If you cannot attend in person, you may join also online here