Welcome to the Transformative Podcast, which takes the year 1989 as a starting point to think about social, economic,
and cultural transformations in the wake of deep historical caesuras on a European and global scale.

This podcast is published under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International Public License
and is available on iTunesGoogle PodcastsSpotifyAmazon Music/AudibleListenNotesPodBean

We thank Radio ORANGE for lifting us off with our podcasting efforts through their public training program.

For questions and comments on this podcast, please contact the podcast producer Irena Remestwenski
at irena.remestwenski(at)univie.ac.at.

Episode 36: The transformative power of utopias


What brings together Pythagoras and Wonder Woman? In her dazzling new book, Everyday Utopia: What 2,000 Years of Wild Experiments Can Teach Us About the Good Life, Professor Kristen Ghodsee shows how, throughout history, humanity has felt the need to imagine and experiment with alternative ways to organize daily life, and offers a radically hopeful vision for how to build more contented and connected societies. In this new episode, RECET’s own Anna Calori had the pleasure to sit with Professor Kristen Ghodsee and discuss about the transformative power of utopias and the militant significance of hope in the darkest of times. More information on Kristen's book-

Kristen R. Ghodsee is a Professor of Russian and East European Studies at the University of Pennsylvania and the critically acclaimed author of Why Women Have Better Sex Under Socialism: And Other Arguments for Economic Independence, which has been translated into fourteen languages. Her writing has been published in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The New Republic, Le Monde Diplomatique, and Jacobin, among other outlets, and she’s appeared on PBS NewsHour and France 24 as well as on dozens of podcasts, including NPR’s Throughline and New York magazine’s The Cut. She lives outside of Philadelphia.


Episode 35: Why Studying Migration Matters


In this thought-provoking conversation, Thuc Linh Nguyen Vu (RECET) and Jannis Panagiotidis (RECET) dive deep into the question of why migration — as a scholarly field and an intrinsic aspect of contemporary world — deeply matters to historians and policy makers. Panagiotidis and Nguyen Vu also explore new research avenues such as the examination of precarious Whiteness of Eastern Europeans and the importance of migrant perspectives in the debates on migration.

Jannis Panagiotidis is the Scientific Director of the Research Center for the History of Transformation. From 2014 until 2020, he was Junior Professor for Migration and Integration of Germans from Russia at the Osnabrück University Institute for Migration Research and Intercultural Studies (IMIS). At RECET, he works on a project investigating liberal global orders and freedom of movement and guides a research project on post-Soviet immigrant communities in Germany. He wrote the books: The Unchosen Ones. Diaspora, Nation, and Migration in Israel and Germany (Indiana UP, 2019) and Postsowjetische Migration in Deutschland: Eine Einführung (Beltz/Juventa, 2021).

Episode 34: Banal Nationalism in Soviet Ukraine


In this episode, Fabian Baumann (RECET) talks to Irena Remestwenski (also RECET) about ‘banal’ forms of nationalism and visual representations of Ukrainianness employed by postwar Soviet propaganda, as well as the role of the economy in constructing Soviet Ukrainian identity in late socialism. Baumann sheds light on national narratives that were permissible under socialism and those that were out of bounds and also attempts to contribute to the pre-history of the 1991 referendum, in which Ukrainians overwhelmingly chose national independence.

Fabian Baumann is a visiting postdoctoral researcher at RECET and holder of a Postdoc.Mobility grant from the Swiss National Science Foundation. Following studies in Geneva, Saint Petersburg, and Oxford, he completed his PhD in history at the University of Basel in 2020. From 2021 to 2022 he was a visiting postdoctoral fellow at the University of Chicago. His first book Dynasty Divided: A Family History of Russian and Ukrainian Nationalism will be published by NIU Press/Cornell University Press in August 2023.

Episode 33: Past and Present: Migration, Crisis and Public History in Poland


With the unfolding crisis at the Polish-Belarussian border, and the Russian war against Ukraine, Polish society, public opinion and policy-makers have been confronted with critical challenges of migration and displacement. This is a new stage in Poland's rich history of migration, which until recently was dominated by large outflows and limited inflows. In this episode, Thuc Linh Nguyen Vu talks to prof. Dariusz Stola (Polish Academy of Sciences) in order to unpack the historical entanglements of migration, Jewish history, minority studies, and contemporary public history in Poland.
Dariusz Stola is a historian and professor at the Institute for Political Studies, Polish Academy of Sciences. He has researched Poland's political and social history in the twentieth century, particularly Polish-Jewish relations, international migrations and the communist regime, as well as the memory of these pasts. He has authored numerous articles and six books. In 2014-2019 he was the director of the Polin Museum of the History of Polish Jews in Warsaw.

Episode 32: Sexologists in Socialist Czechoslovakia


Experts enjoyed a great deal of authority in state socialist Eastern Europe - but some experts were more equal than others. In this episode of the Transformative Podcast, sociologist Kateřina Lišková charts the changing ways in which medical experts held “the ear of the state” throughout the socialist period, and analyzes what they did with their room to maneuver. Focusing on the work of sexologists in particular, Lišková tells host Rosamund Johnston (RECET) what sex and home life can ultimately reveal about the political priorities of socialism.

Kateřina Lišková is a researcher at the Institute of History of the Czech Academy of Sciences, where she heads a project investigating expertise in authoritarian societies called ExpertTURN. She is the author of Sexual Liberation, Socialist Style: Communist Czechoslovakia and the Science of Desire, 1945-1989, which was published with Cambridge University Press in 2018 and won the Barbara Heldt Prize. This book has been adapted into a series of short, critically-acclaimed documentaries for Czech Television called Kronika orgasmu [Orgasm Chronicle] (2022), in which Lišková features as an expert.