by Lumi Beqiri, Alumni Scholarship Recipient and MA student in the Department of History
Studying history means having to read a lot of stuff. Many documents, archival sources, books, articles and newspapers. History requires a lot of reading. Graduating in history from CEU means you have a lot of readings on a weekly basis about different topics, regions and periods.
One of the readings that really impressed me this semester is the article „Interwar Yugoslav state-building and the changing social position of the Sokol gymnastics movement” by Pieter Troch, which was assigned in my Global History of Yugoslavia class. The reading deals with the Sokol movement in Yugoslavia and how it was organized and how it functioned. It touches upon various political and social topics from the era through the prism of analyzing this Sokol movement. What impressed me was the fact that this was the first time that I read something about this movement. Strangely, although I myself come from the region, I never heard or learnt about that movement before. This made me think of how limited our education system back home is, especially when it comes to history. Namely, this movement – even though it was not official or representative of the state – was very important for various other reasons. The national histories included in official school curriculums in Southeastern Europe totally ignore these topics and focus only on the major events in history. This article gave me a totally new perspective of my own region, a perspective I was previously unaware of
Another article this semester that I found very interesting was “Vigorous Flagging in the Heart of Europe: The Hungarian Homeland under the Right-Wing Regime” by Edit Andras. This fascinating article explains in a very interesting way the political ruling elite in Hungary through the prism of public space. It analyzes monuments and symbols in the public space and by this it theorizes how does the current right-wing rule in Hungary associate and link the public space with the national past, and especially how it uses it for its own propaganda purposes. It is a great article in that not only will it give you concrete information about the public space and political situation in Hungary, but also it will make you think about your own public space and the messages that are all around us.