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Neo-Imperialist Warfare and Horror in Central and Eastern Europe Past and Present

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Organizer: Eva Hudecova

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In February of 2023, Russia invaded Ukraine. With this neo-imperialist act of aggression, Russia not only caused innumerable new traumas and horrors, but also reopened a panoply of old wounds, the forceful annexation of Crimea in 2014 and the Holodomor of 1932-1933 being just two of the most notable instances. A popular idea often misattributed to Mark Twain, but expressed by the Austrian psychoanalyst Theodor Reik suggests that while “It has been said that history repeats itself [,] this is perhaps not quite correct; it merely rhymes.” What is this - most horrific - rhyming that is currently overtaking Central and Eastern Europe? How are its citizens confronting it? As Freud suggested, if a trauma is not worked through, one is doomed to keep repeating it. This session aims to explore both the causes and effects of trauma in Central and Eastern Europe in the 20th and 21st century, paying particular attention to the ways in which the subjects of these events remember(ed), reflect(ed), and resist(ed) the wounds of history.

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