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 39: Economic Memories of Transformation


Economic thinking is far from the preserve of central bankers and policy wonks. In dozens of interviews in the Czech Republic and the former East Germany, sociologist Till Hilmar asked healthcare workers and engineers about their experiences of the transformation period to understand how economic shifts are remembered, and what memories can tell us about processes of economic change. As a result, he gained a picture of transformation “from below.” In this episode of the Transformative Podcast, Hilmar tells Rosamund Johnston why people’s views of the 1990s still matter now. He explains how his work sheds light on how people respond to crisis, both in the short and long term.

Till Hilmar is a postdoctoral researcher in the University of Vienna’s Department of Sociology. He is the author of Deserved. Economic Memories after the Fall of the Iron Curtain, which was recently published by Columbia University Press. He received his PhD from Yale University in 2019. His research has been published in numerous outlets, including the European Journal of SociologyEast European Politics and Societies, and the Journal of Contemporary European Studies.

Episode 38: Beyond Political History: Social and Cultural Dynamics of Socialist Poland


In recent years, the narrative of the history of Polish socialism has changed as it moved beyond a narrow scholarly focus on political elites and party-state structures. In this episode, Thục Linh Nguyễn Vũ (RECET) speaks to Małgorzata Fidelis (University of Illinois at Chicago) about her work that examines everyday socialism through the prism of social and cultural history across various political moments in Poland. Zooming in on ordinary people and practices, Fidelis adds new layers to how the ebb and flow of socialism and transformation in Poland are understood.

Małgorzata Fidelis is Associate Professor of History at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She is the author of Women, Communism, and Industrialization in Postwar Poland (Cambridge UP, 2010) and Imagining the World from Behind the Iron Curtain: Youth and the Global Sixties in Poland (Oxford UP, 2022). She also co-authored a book in Polish Kobiety w Polsce 1945-1989 Nowoczesność - równouprawnienie – komunizm (Universitas, 2020). Małgorzata Fidelis’ articles have appeared in journals including Slavic Review and the Journal of Women’s History.


Episode 37: Minority Languages in Russia


How can the challenges faced by minoritized languages of the Russian Federation and their speaker communities be understood through the lens of Russia’s colonial expansion? In this newest episode, Leonid Motz (RECET) talks to Dr. Jeremy Bradley (University of Vienna), exploring the historical and social transformation of minority language use and study in Russia and the threats of Russification and assimilation. How do communities overcome the considerable obstacles posed by the present-day Russian state to maintain and revitalize their languages successfully?

Jeremy Bradley is a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Vienna’s Department of Finno-Ugrian Studies. His research interests include linguistic convergence in the Volga-Kama Region, corpus building, and the creation of didactic and reference materials for low-resource languages

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).