News in Hungarian Studies — June 2020 (Issue 99)

A Message from Our President

Steven Jobbitt

This message is long overdue, though I hope our members will forgive me. As I am sure everyone in HSAC can attest, it has been an exceptional and often challenging few months, and for anyone paying attention to the news from across the border, a remarkable and dramatic few weeks. Had it not been for the global pandemic, many of us would have convened recently at our annual conference in London, Ontario, but for reasons out of everyone’s control, that was cancelled. Discussions to move Congress online and to host a virtual conference were abandoned very soon after they began, not because organizers didn’t think it was a good idea, but because everyone was feeling overwhelmed by the sudden and often dramatic adjustments they were being forced to make to accommodate the demands of the new reality we were in. As Gabriel Miller, President and CEO of the Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences, wrote on April 2: “It is time to pause and give ourselves some space to meet our immediate needs. Our members have told us that we need to turn our energy to other things right now: picking up groceries for our parents; caring for children who are home without school or childcare; answering emails from worried students; and making the shift to virtual classrooms. Cancelling Congress is the right decision,” he concluded, “but it is a difficult one.”

As President of HSAC and chair of our conference organizing committee, I was of course disappointed that we were not able to meet May 31 to June 2. Our conference “Questions of Colonialism and Victimhood in Hungarian History and Society” fit very nicely with Congress’s overarching theme, which this year was “Bridging Divides.” Congress’s call “to reflect critically on social, ethnic, political and epistemological divisions,” and their hope that participants would engage in discussions on “a future that bridges divides,” is perhaps even more relevant today than ever. I am disheartened, of course, that we were denied the opportunity to have these discussions in London, but look forward to picking up the conversation at next year’s conference in whatever form it may take.

Though COVID-19 set us back temporarily, I am encouraged by the initiatives we have undertaken in the last year, and the new projects we have on the horizon. Our executive continues to discuss ways to restructure and reinvigorate our association so that it remains both vibrant and viable into the future. Though we still have much work to do, we feel we are on the right track, and look forward to implementing some of our ideas very soon. One of our key projects has been to support the new editors of Hungarian Studies Review as they transition the journal to a professional publisher, and as they look for ways to build on the legacy left to it by Nandor Dreisziger, the long-serving editor whose dedication to Hungarian Studies in Canada and abroad is as impressive as it is admirable. We have also begun looking for ways to engage our membership virtually, and are happy to inform our members that we will soon be announcing a date for a virtual book launch of Ilona Sándor’s recently-published Szépen magyarul. We hope that this will become the first in a series of online book launches, lectures, and roundtables, and look forward to your participation and feedback.

It is hard to imagine doing any of this work without the dedication of our executive. Since assuming the presidency of HSAC two years ago, I have been able to Skype with the executive on a monthly basis, and we have – at least from my perspective – developed a wonderful and productive working relationship. Our Vice-President, Christopher Adam, along with our Treasurer, Ilona Sándor, have been particularly active in all aspects of HSAC business, and their considerable talents as organizers and intellects would have been in full display at the conference had it gone ahead. I appreciate all the hard work they have done since our last meeting in Vancouver, and look forward to working closely with them as we begin preparations for next year’s conference. Our Past President, Oliver Botar, has played a consistent and important role as an advisor and sounding board for the executive, and for this we are very appreciative.

We are especially grateful to Judy Young, who for years has served as the Executive Secretary of HSAC. Judy announced her retirement from the executive at last year’s AGM, but we convinced her to serve one more year in an advisory capacity, and I, for one, am glad she agreed to stay on a little longer. Judy has been an incredible mentor, and a wonderful friend. I can’t imagine my first two years as President without her, and the executive and I thank her for her years of service. As we have discovered from experience, Judy has left us with large shoes to fill, even collectively.

On behalf of the entire executive, I would especially like to thank the members of HSAC for their patience and support. The last three months have been difficult, but we feel we are very much “back in the groove of things,” and are excited for the future. We look forward to connecting with you all again, even if in new and novel ways!

HSR News

The editorial team at Hungarian Studies Review is pleased to report that they have signed a contract to publish our journal with Pennsylvania State University Press. The editors are currently working closely with PSU Press’s production team to lay the groundwork for the full transition of HSR to the PSU platform starting January 1, 2021. Materials for the first issue with PSU Press are due by the end of March 2021, and the first issue is scheduled to come out on July 30. Materials for the second issue are due in the middle of August, with a publication date of December 22, 2021. All issues will be available in print and on JSTOR, and all back issues of the journal (a total of 47 volumes) will be made accessible through JSTOR as well.

In addition to our work with PSU Press, HSR editors have been busy finalizing the 2019-2020 transitional issue. Though we fell a bit behind schedule because of COVID-19, we are now back on track. We have a full issue that is close to completion, and aim to have it print-ready by the end of June. The journal will be published in pdf format just as previous issues of the journal have been. It will be made accessible to readers on the websites of our supporting associations, the Hungarian Studies Association of Canada (HSAC) and the US-based Hungarian Studies Association (HSA). The transitional issue will be made available through JSTOR starting no later than June 2021.

The editorial team (Arpad von Klimo, Leslie Waters, Emily Gioielli, Richard Esbenshade, and Steve Jobbitt) would like to thank the executives and membership of both HSAC and HSA for their encouragement and input over the last year and a half. This support has been crucial, and we appreciate the trust you have put in us. We are excited to be working with PSU Press, and look forward to leading the journal into its next half century!

Reminder – HSAC Zoom AGM

We will be holding our first ever “virtual” AGM on Friday, June 12 starting at 12:00 pm EST. We will be honouring Éva Tömöry as this year’s recipient of the Nandor Dreisziger Award for Outstanding Contributions to Hungarian Studies in Canada. Éva is a long-standing member of our organization, and this is a well-deserved honour. To join the meeting, please follow this link: https://lakeheadu.zoom.us/j/93638900245. All are welcome to join us at the AGM, but only members in good standing will be permitted to vote at the meeting itself.

The Nandor Dreisziger Medal for Outstanding Contributions to Hungarian Studies in Canada

Éva Tömöry / Munk School of Global Affairs and Policy

2020 Recipient: Dr. Éva Tömöry

Originally suggested by our Past Treasurer Margit Lovrics, the idea was taken up enthusiastically by the HSAC Executive, which was unanimous in proposing Dr. Éva Tömöry for this year’s award.

I can think of no one more deserving of this honour than Dr. Tömöry, Lecturer in Hungarian Studies at the Centre for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies of the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy of the University of Toronto. I have known Éva since the early 1980s, having met her through our mutual friend, founding Director of the HSAC George Bisztray, whom I had come to know as an undergraduate student at the University of Alberta in the late 1970s. When first George (in 1978) and then I (in 1980) moved to Toronto, I went to visit him at the office of the Hungarian Chair at the University of Toronto. It was, I believe, there that I met her, one of the few people of my own age involved in the field at the time. That first meeting led to a long-standing friendship that is now nearing its 40th year!

Éva has been a member of the Hungarian Studies Association of Canada since its inception in 1985. She served from 1991 to 2010 as Associate Secretary in the Secretariat of the HSAC at the University of Toronto, running the Association, mailing out the Newsletters, mailing out copies of the Hungarian Studies Review as they appeared. She also helped in many unofficial ways. Margit Lovrics mentions how, during her long years of service as Treasurer, Éva prepared and sent out the address labels to Nandor Dreisziger for the biannual or annual mailouts of the Hungarian Studies Review. She has also served on the Executive of the HSAC, as Chair of the Nominating Committee, for example, over several terms.

But even more important than this generous record of service, Éva Tömöry is a long-standing teacher of the Hungarian language at the University of Toronto. She taught Hungarian at the Hungarian Chair of the U of T from 1984 until 2001. After the Chair was reorganized, since 2009, she has been teaching introductory, intermediate and advanced Hungarian language courses in the Centre for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies of the Munk School of Global Affairs at University of Toronto. An outstanding pedagogue, beloved of her students, she has taught generations of those wishing to learn Hungarian in Toronto. She has also encouraged her students to present papers at our conferences, plus, she has herself helped organize at least one student conference in Hungarian Studies at the Munk Centre, in 2015. She has thought hard about language pedagogy and presented scholarly papers on the subject as well as on subjects related to her field, entrepreneurship and business administration, at the HSAC Conferences, as well as at academic conferences abroad: in Croatia, the Czech Republic, Lithuania, the United States and Hungary. She has, of course, published in the Hungarian Studies Review.

Her service to Hungarian studies has extended to being local conference organizer the many times that the HSAC has met in Toronto: booking rooms, checking out restaurants, and doing the thousand-and-one tasks necessary for ensuring that these complex events come to fruition. She has also been a long-time supporter of the Rakoczi Foundation in Toronto, including serving as a Director. And she did all this while running her household, acting as a business partner with her husband Nicholas Tomory in their high-tech enterprises, raising two children, and looking after her husband, who had cancer, eventually succumbing to that disease.

Being giving, letting your students know that you care about them, is one of the cornerstones of good pedagogy. While I’ve never been her student, knowing her otherwise can only lead me to imagine what a wonderful teacher she is. Because what I know, is that Éva’s generosity knows no bounds. Just one example I’m intimately familiar with, a few years ago she extended an offer to store the entire artistic oeuvre of a Canadian-Hungarian artist, Istvan Resz, who ended up in a long-term care facility because of a debilitating illness, while we organized a way to transport this oeuvre to the National Gallery in Budapest.

Éva was born in Pécs, a city she has remained loyal to throughout her life. She graduated from Nagy Lajos Gimnazium there before emigrating with her family to Canada in 1974. She received her BA from the University of Toronto, her MBA from York University, and her PhD in Business Administration from the University of Pécs in 2015 – quite a feat if one takes into consideration her busy life during the years that she was working on her PhD! Her dissertation, entitled Bootstrap Financing: Case Studies of Ten Technology-Based Innovative Ventures, Tales from the Best, allowed her to graduate Summa cum Laude.

It is difficult to imagine what Hungarian Studies and the teaching of the Hungarian language would have looked like in this country without Éva Tömöry’s contributions over almost four decades.

Congratulations, Éva!

Oliver Botar

News from Members

Black Rose Books

The Forgotten Revolution: The 1919 Hungarian Republic of Councils (Edited by Concordia University Political Economist András B. Göllner) and published by Black Rose Books and University of Chicago Press late summer, 2020, is a critical reassessment of a long-forgotten but monumental rebellion that occurred one hundred years ago on the territory of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. This rebellion by the Empire’s Hungarian subjects — millions of working men and women — ha not been treated kindly by historians over the past century for fear that full disclosure of its true dimensions may spark a repeat performance on a global scale and bring both capitalism and socialism as we know them to their knees. This is how a prominent member of the American delegation at the Paris Peace Conference of 1919 put it diplomatically: “if the troubles in Hungary spread, they’ll make wastepaper of our conventions” (Margaret MacMillan in Paris 1919: Six Months that Changed the World. New York. Random House.). As for the Soviet Union? Virtually the entire leadership of the 1919 Hungarian Republic of Councils that fled from Budapest on August 1st, 1919 and sought refuge in the Soviet Union was executed on the orders of the Soviet Communist leader, Joseph Stalin. The Forgotten Revolution is a collection of critical essays by internationally respected scholars from Hungary, Europe, and North America, including Péter Csunderlik, Raquel Varela, Kari Polanyi Levitt, Lajos Csoma, Susan Zimmermann, Magda Aranyossi, Christopher Adam, András B. Göllner, Marie-Josée Lavallée, and Dimitrios Roussopoulos. This book will finally set the historical record straight on the heroic but tragic events of 1919 by paying tribute to the working women and men who, a century ago, gave their lives to an idea that refuses to die.

HSAC Treasurer Ilona Sándor published a Hungarian-language book geared specifically to people outside Hungary of diverse backgrounds, who are learning the language for the first time. The book is for beginners and the examples provided in each chapter are designed to be relevant to this demographic. Éva Tömöry offers the following recommendation in Hungarian: Örömmel ajánlom Sándor Ilona Kanadában készült, hiánypótló, egynyelvű tankönyvét. A Szépen magyarul, magyar nyelvkönyv kezdőknek alapos, igényes munka, amely hasznos mindazok számára, akik tanári segítséggel kezdenek bele a nyelvtanulásba, vagy akiknek a magyar nyelv már nem teljesen ismeretlen. A sokféle kulturális háttérrel rendelkező, magyarul tanuló külföldiek számára az életszerű példákra épülő gyakorlatok megkönnyítik a tanulást, és a hétköznapi helyzetekben is jól hasznosíthatók. A tankönyv a kanadai élményvilággal és tapasztalatokkal rendelkező tanulók számára különösen jó választás. A gazdagon illusztrált könyv világos felépítése, a magyar kultúrához kapcsolódó érdekességek, a megoldókulccsal ellenőrizhető gyakorlás lépésről lépésre vezetik a nyelvtanulót a kommunikációs készségek fejlesztésében. Köszönöm Ilonának, hogy időt és fáradságot nem kímélve elkészítette a több évtizedes nyelvtanítási tapasztalatára épülő tankönyvet.” The book costs $50 plus postage and can be ordered at: isandor2003@yahoo.com .

Judith Hermann’s recently released book entitled In Search of Enlightenment is out and available through palatinabooks@gmail.com for $24.99 + shipping.

We invite members to share their news with the HSAC community. If you would like your news included in an upcoming newsletter, please write to Christopher Adam (christopherpeteradam@gmail.com ).

Membership fees

Please contact Ilona Sándor at isandor2003@yahoo.com for payment of your 2020 membership fees if you have not done so yet. As we mentioned earlier, in light of the pandemic and this year’s cancelled conference, 2020 membership fees will also cover 2021.