70th Program Year – Thirteenth Meeting
The Program: “Manipulation of History and Authoritarianism in Central Europe.” History is a powerful tool in hands of politicians, and can be a destructive weapon, as power over the past is the power to decide who is a hero, who is a traitor, who is a citizen, who is an enemy. Tradition, the re-membrance of ancestors, experiences of previous generations are keys that unlock the doors to citi-zens’ minds, and allow certain ideas, visions and political programs to flourish. Current authoritarian regimes in Hungary and Poland have pursued a politics and culture of memory in order to embed their regimes into their country’s nationalist past.
Presenter: Melissa Bokovoy is professor and chair of the history department at the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque. Bokovoy obtained her PhD from Indiana University, Bloomington in the field of Eastern Europe since 1453. She has been at the University of New Mexico since 1991. She is the author of Peasants and Communists: Politics and Ideology in the Yugoslav Countryside, 1941–1953 (Pittsburgh, 1998), which won the Barbara Jelavich Prize of the Association for Slavic, East Europe-an, and Eurasian Studies. She is co-editor of State-Society Relations in Yugoslavia, 1945–1992 (Pal-grave Macmillan, 1997) and co-author of Sharing the Stage: Biography and Gender in Western Civili-zation, 2 vols. (Houghton-Mifflin, 2003) and Sharing the World Stage: Biography and Gender in World History, 2 vols. (Cengage, 2009). She has published numerous articles and book chapters on 20th-century Yugoslavia. UNM has recognized her for both her scholarship and teaching. In 2001, she was appointed University of New Mexico Regents’ Lecturer. In 2011, she was named UNM Outstand-ing Teacher of the Year. In 2013, she became co-principal investigator of UNM’s AHA Career Diversi-ty Pilot Program funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. She is now completing a manuscript on the politics of commemoration in interwar Yugoslavia.