PODCAST: Ágoston Berecz: Language and Identity in Late-Habsburg Hungary

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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.

"Eastern Europe's Minorities in a Century of Change", a podcast series on the history of minorities and minority experiences in twentieth-century Central and Eastern Europe prepared by the BASEES Study Group for Minority History to mark the Institute for Historical Research’s centenary.