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Africa and East-Central Europe: Exploring and Reflecting on Collective Traumatic Experiences from the Past

Online (Zoom), August 10, 2020, 18.00-19.30 (Romanian time, in English)

The webinar is an invitation to explore differences and similarities between the lived experiences of colonialism & postcolonialism, as well as totalitarianism and the transition to democratic regimes in Africa and Central and Eastern Europe (CEE). In more specific terms, experiences like those in apartheid South Africa, the Biafra war in Nigeria, the genocide in Rwanda or the Mau Mau Rebellion in Kenya will be reflected upon in relation to the Holocaust and the anti-communist resistance in CEE.

In drawing parallels between the two regions, a focus will be put on self-identity, self-confidence, and strategies of coping with trauma and anger not only to illustrate the respective nations’ past trajectories, but also to explore the array of possible futures.

 In both regions, development and statebuilding practices have generated dynamics worth analyzing. The consolidation of the postcolonial states in Africa alongside traditional forms of authority highlights significant cleavages between local communities, state institutions and the international community, just as the transition experience and re-construction of democracies have done in Central and Eastern Europe. In both regions the outcomes are frail and contested processes that can easily come undone.


Monica Popescu

Ștefan Cibian

Departments/units: Summer School 2020; Educational Programs Department; Research Department, Policy and Outreach Department, Young Researchers Club, IC-GAP

Regions: Africa, Central and Eastern Europe

Topics: International Development, Literature, Communism and Totalitarianism

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