CfA – The Hungarian Historical Review: Modernity Bottom-Up: How Popular Perceptions and Practices Changed the Ideas of Modernity

Janka Kovacs's picture
Call for Publications
September 30, 2022
Subject Fields: 
Eastern Europe History / Studies, Modern European History / Studies

Call for Journal Articles

The Hungarian Historical Review (; www.hunghist.orginvites submissions for its first issue in 2023, the theme of which will be

Modernity Bottom-Up: How Popular Perceptions and Practices Changed the Ideas of Modernity

The deadline for the submission of abstracts: September 30, 2022.

The deadline for the accepted papers: November 30, 2022.


While the study of bottom-up perspectives has significantly enriched our understanding of several fields of research, such as the history of nationalism and religion, the history of the idea of modernity is still dominated by a focus on the contributions of elites, which are implicitly entirely adequate for a nuanced grasp of this ensemble of cultural practices, norms, and attitudes, however admittedly complex it may be. This is all the more puzzling given that modernity has profoundly reshaped entire societies since its emergence in the eighteenth century. Modernization understood as “a body of experience involving a radically new kind of understanding of both time and space” (Berman 1988: 15) is a phenomenon from which, clearly, no one is exempt. Furthermore, the same propaganda that aimed to awaken a sense of national consciousness also spread an unconditional faith in progress, human and technoscientific. It is thus safe to assume that historians can investigate popular ideas about and reactions to change and can reexamine the agency of those who were often considered passive subjects of the various efforts and interventions which came with campaigns to “modernize.”


The Hungarian Historical Review invites research papers that examine how popular behaviors and practices challenged the mainstream, usually optimistic discourses crafted by the modernizing elites about progress and growth from the Enlightenment to the present day.


The geographical focus of the issue is Central and Eastern Europe. However, we do not confine ourselves to the strict geographical borders of the region, especially in the case of comparative papers.


We welcome proposals from scholars at all stages of their careers pursuing work on any of the aspects of the questions raised above.


This special issue particularly welcomes papers discussing the following fields:

  • overlapping histories of nation building and modernization, seen from below
  • methodological approaches, documents, and narrative sources that make possible to discern popular perceptions of modernity
  • critical perceptions of urban modernity
  • rural populations and modernization
  • anxiety about, reservations concerning, or resistance to modernization as incentive of popular discontents
  • strikes and workers’ movements reinterpreted alongside attitudes towards modernity
  • modern experiences that cut across boundaries of ethnicity, class, religion, or gender
  • popular perceptions of ecological degradation linked to modernization
  • challenges put by modernity to popular religiosity and other faith-based understandings of the world


Please send an abstract of no more than 500 words and a short biographical note with a selected list of the author’s three most important publications (we do not accept full CVs) no later than September 30, 2022.

Proposals should be submitted to the special editor of the issue by email:

The editors will ask the authors of selected papers to submit their final articles (max. 10,000 words) no later than November 30, 2022.

The articles will be published after a double-blind peer-review process. We provide proofreading for contributors who are not native speakers of English.

All articles must conform to our submission guidelines.

The Hungarian Historical Review is a peer-reviewed international quarterly of the social sciences and humanities, the geographical focus of which is Hungary and East-Central Europe. For additional information, including submission guidelines, please visit the journal’s website:

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