Episode 18. Ágoston Berecz: Language and Identity in Late-Habsburg Hungary

In this episode, Ágoston Berecz, Research Fellow at the Imre Kertész Kolleg Jena, is in conversation with Alexander Maxwell (Victoria University of Wellington) on the increasingly fraught relationship between language, education and nation-building in the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth-century Kingdom of Hungary. Having gained extensive political autonomy within Austria-Hungary since its formation in 1867, in the closing decades of the Dual Monarchy’s existence an increasingly nationalistic Hungarian state sought to impose a Magyar identity on its territory’s populace. Unsurprisingly, language was viewed as key to this process. By 1900, the Budapest government had already passed a raft of policies targeting education while diminishing the public visibility of all other languages besides Hungarian. Nevertheless, as Berecz reveals, these state-building efforts were far from universally successful, or consistently applied, as local actors often ignored or exploited them in pursuit of their own interests.

Published by sgmhbasees

The BASEES Study Group for Minority History (SGMH) is a forum devoted to the study of minority groups in the national and regional histories of Central, Eastern and Southeastern European from the Napoleonic Wars to the contemporary past.

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