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The Harriman Institute at Columbia University,
in association with
the Polish Cultural Institute,
Romanian Cultural Institute New York,
and Austrian Cultural Forum


part of
Performing Revolution in Central and Eastern Europe

Friday, February 26, 2010 - Saturday, February 27, 2010

Harriman Institute at Columbia University
President's Room 1, Faculty House
64 Morningside Drive (at 116th Street), New York, NY

Admission: free, Reservations: Tel: 212.870.1700

Since the collapse of communism, the world has seen rapid globalization, the emergence of new geopolitical realities and conflicts, and a global economic crisis. Have these events called into question the certainties of the early post-Cold War world, or does the advance of liberal democracy around the globe suggest that the optimism of the early 1990s was justified? How do those countries that directly experienced the events of 1989 understand that transition now?

This multi-day symposium brings together public intellectuals, policymakers, cultural figures, dissidents, and academics from both sides of the Atlantic to assess the global meaning of the 1989 revolutions in Central and Eastern Europe. Speakers will discuss not only the changes in our understanding of the communist system and the sources of its collapse, but also the age of "post-communism" - a condition whose contours and duration have remained persistently unclear. Further, we will examine the legacies of communism and the dissident movement in order to forge an understanding of the larger meaning of the revolutions of 1989.

Friday, February 26

2:00 What Was Communism and Why Did It End?

Adam Michnik, Editor-in-Chief, Gazeta Wyborcza; a leading dissident in communist Poland

Archie Brown, Oxford University; author, The Rise and Fall of Communism

Vlad Muresan, political philosopher, Babes-Bolyai University, Romania

3:45 What is Post-Communism and When Does It End?

Katherine Verdery, CUNY; author, What Was Socialism & What Comes Next?

Paul Dragos Aligica, political economist; Senior Research Fellow, Mercatus Center

Slawomir Sierakowski, Founding Editor, Krytyka Polityczna

5:30 The End of History?

Alfred Gusenbauer, Former Chancellor of Austria

Michael Scammell, Columbia University; author, Koestler and Solzhenitsyn

Stephen Sestanovich, Senior Fellow, Council on Foreign Relations

7:15 Film Presentation: 12:08 East of Bucharest

(Dir. Corneliu Porumboiu, Romania 2006, 89 min.)

Introduced by A.O. Scott, film critic, New York Times

Saturday, February 27

2:00 The Legacy of Dissent

Erhard Busek, Former Vice-Chancellor of Austria

Horia-Roman Patapievici, philosopher; President, Romanian Cultural Institute

Ira Katznelson, Professor of Political Science and History, Columbia U.

3:45 Unfulfilled Promises? Democracy & Disillusionment

Angelo Mitchievici, Romanian novelist, film and literary critic

Elzbieta Matynia, Director, Transregional Center for Democratic Studies, New School

Timothy Frye, Director, Harriman Institute, Columbia University

5:30 Creating a Narrative About the Communist Past

Benjamin Barber, Political Theorist; Distinguished Senior Fellow, Demos

Stephen Kotkin, Professor of History, Princeton; author, Uncivil Society

Vladimir Tismaneanu, Professor of Politics, U. Maryland; author, Fantasies of Salvation

Presented by the Harriman Institute at Columbia University in association with the Polish Cultural Institute in New York, Romanian Cultural Institute New York, and Austrian Cultural Forum, as part of Performing Revolution in Central and Eastern Europe, a performing arts festival marking the 20th anniversary of the fall of Communism in Central and Eastern Europe, presented by The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts in partnership with key New York City cultural organizations and academic institutions, November 2009 - March 2010.


Participant Bios

About the Festival

Polish Events in the Festival

Festival Program

Festival Partners

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