“Freedom” has always been a central topic in public debates, and often spurs social tensions. This is especially the case in Central and Eastern Europe, where political and economic freedoms and national sovereignty were only tasted after 1989, following decades of struggles which often turned violent, including the Hungarian uprising, the Prague Spring, or the Romanian Revolution.
Even after the Communist regimes in Central and Eastern Europe were brought down, however, “freedom” remained elusive, and required a long and arduous negotiation process. This included the implementation of new constitutions and judicial reforms, accompanied by negotiations about what exactly was to be understood as “free” in different areas of life. These debates contain, but are not limited to, questions of religious freedom, women’s rights, the degree of state regulation of capitalist economic systems, questions of the independence of the judicial systems, and the level of European integration. The results of these debates have been varied throughout Central and Eastern Europe, and as illiberalism grows, concerns with freedom’s curtailment are rising. Regardless of this backlash against democracy, questions about the legitimate constitution of civil liberties remain of central importance. During the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, we have seen how disputes surrounding “freedom” can turn fierce, as government-mandated public health measures often clash with legally codified individual and civil liberties.
The aim of this conference will, therefore, be to explore a wide variety of synchronous and diachronic disciplinary perspectives of the many facets of the “struggle for freedom” in Central and Eastern Europe after 1989. Possible topics include:
Language of the conference is English.
This event is part of the series of celebrations of the 20th anniversary of Andrássy University of Budapest.