The Joseph and Violet Magyar Lecture in Hungarian Studies

Past Magyar Lectures


The Privilege to be Small

Ildiko Enyedi

This lecture was cancelled due to COVID-19.

Acclaimed Hungarian film director and screenwriter Ildiko Enyedi discusses the truth about how her unique and rather lonesome language influences Hungarian culture.  Enyedi won the Golden Camera award for “My 20th Century” at the 1989 Cannes Film Festival. In 1992, she was a member of the jury at the 42nd Berlin International Film Festival. Her 1994 film “Magic Hunter” was entered into the main competition at the 51st edition of the Venice Film Festival. Enyedi’s 2017 film “On Body and Soul” premiered at the 67th Berlin International Film Festival, where it won the Golden Bear. The film went on to be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. Her latest film, “The Story of My Wife,” based on the novel of the same name by Milán Füst, will be released in 2020. 


A Specter Haunting Europe: The Myth of Judeo-Bolshevism in Hungary and Eastern Europe

For much of the twentieth century, Europe was haunted by a threat of its own imagining: Judeo-Bolshevism. This myth—that Communism was a Jewish plot to destroy the nations of Europe—was a paranoid fantasy. And yet fears of a Jewish Bolshevik conspiracy took hold during the Russian Revolution and spread across Europe. In this talk, Professor Hanebrink, Associate Professor of History at Rutgers, asked why the myth of Judeo-Bolshevism endured for so long in Hungary and Eastern Europe and what legacy this idea has left for contemporary politics in the region. 


Television and the Politics of Nostalgia in Hungary and Eastern Europe

Aniko Imre

In her lecture, Aniko Imre, Professor and Chair of the Division of Cinema and Media Studies at the University of Southern California, provided an overview of how television functioned in Hungary and, more broadly, in the Soviet-controlled region as a medium at the cross-section of the public and domestic spheres, between top-down attempts at political control and bottom-up demands for entertainment and consumption. It highlights some of the program types that were most favored by politicians, media producers and audiences, respectively; and zooms in on the continued popularity of some of these programs in the postsocialist era. She will demonstrate that television gives us a unique perspective on the enduring nostalgia for the everyday life of socialism.


Counter-Constitutions: How a 21st Century Constitutional Revolution in Hungary Claimed Medieval Roots

Kim Lane

Since independence in 1989, nationalist Hungarians have argued that the Holy Crown of St. Stephen and associated doctrines should be at the core of Hungary’s constitution. Kim Lane Scheppele – Rockefeller Professor of Sociology and International Affairs at Princeton University – discussed how the Crown is both a literal object given by the Pope to the first Christian king of Hungary, in the year 1000 and – since medieval times – a key symbolic touchstone in the constitution of state power. Professor Scheppele will examine how the Crown became an object venerated by the right and denigrated by the left of the Hungarian political spectrum.