At the Research Center for the History of Transformations (RECET), we use the post-1989 transformations in Central and Eastern Europe as a starting point for the comparative study of social, economic, and cultural transformations in the wake of deep historical caesuras at different times and in different parts of the world. Our concept of transformation is inspired by Karl Polanyi and looks beyond the hegemonic post-1989 teleologies of marketization and democratization. This approach also allows us to take a longue-durée perspective on transformations, with emphasis on the interdisciplinary connections to sociology, economics, and cultural and social anthropology.
Research at RECET is organized in five thematic clusters:
- Labor Relations and Transformations "From Below"
- Economic Thought and Reform Politics
- Social Movements and Volunteerism
- Migration and Transnationalism
- Cultural Transformations
Following a concept of Comparative Area Studies, we widen our focus on Central and Eastern Europe by comparisons and the study of entanglements with other world regions, such as East Asia, and of the co-transformation of Western countries. A further aim of RECET is the revival of social history, in close connection with the Polish tradition of historical sociology.
For our Opening Week, we assemble some of the leading experts on East European and East Asian transformations past and present, and on historical and ongoing transformations of capitalism and democracy more generally. We invite the public to join us online for four evenings of exciting discussions on how our world has become what it is, and how it keeps changing in times of multiple crises.
Tuesday, 20 April
Presentation of the RECET Team
Jürgen Kocka (Freie Universität Berlin): Transformations of Capitalism. Chair: Philipp Ther (RECET).
Welcoming statement by Heinz W. Engl, Rector of the University of Vienna
Wednesday, 21 April
Roundtable "Capitalism in East Asia" with Doris Fischer (Universität Würzburg), Chaochao Lin (Fudan University), Quang Minh Phan (University of Hanoi), and Pál Nyiri (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam). Chair: János Mátyás Kovács (RECET).
Peter Baldwin (UCLA/NYU): Transformations through Covid-19; Chair: Cathrin Kahlweit (Süddeutsche Zeitung).
Thursday, 22 April
Adam Tooze (Columbia University): Transformation and Financial Crises. Chair: Jannis Panagiotidis (RECET).
Anna Grzymala-Busse (Stanford University): Transformation and Erosion of Democracy. Chair: Agnieszka Pasieka (RECET).
Friday, 23 April
Roundtable "Transformations of the term: The post-1989 transformation in sociological perspective" with Marta Bucholc (University of Warsaw/Université Saint-Louis-Bruxelles), Claus Offe (Humboldt-University/Hertie School of Governance, Berlin), Joanna Wawrzyniak (University of Warsaw). Chair: Philipp Ther (RECET).
Larry Wolff (New York University): The Transformation of East Central Europe after 1918 and Woodrow Wilson. Chair: Claudia Kraft (RECET).
Concluding remarks by Jannis Panagiotidis and Philipp Ther (RECET).