It has been another challenging year because of the continuing pandemic, with the war in Ukraine only making the global situation more unstable and uncertain. Though we are limited as an association with what we can do to help, we have signed on to statements of support for Ukraine, and sent our members a list of Hungarian organizations that are helping in the humanitarian relief effort.
Despite what has often seemed like an endless string of bad news, the HSAC Executive has continued its work. As in past years our main task was the organization of the annual conference, which was held virtually May 14–16 in conjunction with the Congress of Humanities and Social Sciences. The keynote address by Dr. Ágnes Gagyi opened the conference, and we held two other very successful open events, a book roundtable on Zsuzsanna Varga’s The Hungarian Agricultural Miracle? Sovietization and Americanization in a Communist Country to end the first day, and a roundtable discussion on “Hungary and Ukraine: A Complex Relationship,” which ended the conference on May 16.
The seven other conference panels were excellent, and well-attended. A total of twenty-three people registered for this year’s conference, which was down slightly from the twenty-seven that registered last year. We are very much looking forward to welcoming our members and conference participants to an in-person conference in 2023, which will be held at York University in Toronto May 27–June 2.
Beyond organizing the conference, the HSAC executive has been at work over the past year on some important initiatives, including the revision of the association’s constitution. Reworked to reflect the evolving needs of the HSAC, the membership ratified the revised constitution in a unanimous vote last summer. A special meeting was held on June 11, 2021 to discuss the proposed changes, and this was well attended. We are grateful for the input we received from our members, and I was also very glad to be able to work very closely with our past vice-president, Christopher Adam, on the revisions.
In October 2021 we held elections for open executive positions. These elections were supposed to be held earlier in the year, but we delayed them as the nominations committee was looking for someone willing to run as president. Ginny Lewis was elected as vice-president, and Ilona Sandor was re-elected as treasurer. Both terms are for two-years. As there were no nominees for president, I was re-appointed for another one-year extension. I have now served six years as president, with this definitely being my last year (though I look forward to serving on the executive as past president).
Because my term was extended, Oliver Botar has been serving in the past president’s position for six years, and has been an active participant on our executive. I would like to take this opportunity to thank him again for all his hard work, and his dedication to our association. I would also like to thank Christopher Adam for his service as vice-president. Chris served five years in that position before stepping down last year. Ginny Lewis has done an excellent job as vice-president since assuming the role last fall, and we are all grateful for her work and the new energy that she brings to the executive and to the conference planning process. We also welcomed Angela Chong to the publications committee, and are grateful to have her on board. She will be starting her doctorate at USC in the fall. We congratulate Angela for this achievement, and look forward to working with her over the next number of years. It is always wonderful to see such talented scholars choose Hungarian Studies for their doctoral programme.
As promised at the 2021 AGM, the HSAC Executive has continued to work on formalizing financial support for graduate students, and for early career and unwaged scholars. We remain committed to helping offset the costs of conference participation, but have yet to come up with a formal process. In spite of this, we were able to offer $250 to two graduate students (İlkay Kirişçioğlu and Ágnes Gálfalvi) for this year’s conference, and are grateful to Judy Young and the Canada–Hungary Educational Foundation for their support in this regard. Another graduate student (Erzsébet Árvay) received $500 from Congress in the form of the Graduate Student Merit Award, which was piloted last year and has become a permanent feature of Congress. A donation of $90 from one of our members also covered the expense of HSAC memberships for these three graduate students. We recently received inquiries from members regarding retirees who would like to participate in our conference, but may need support. We are looking into ways that we can facilitate this in the future.
It has been both an honour and a pleasure to serve HSAC as president for the last six years, and I look forward to staying active in the association for years to come. As a small organization, HSAC faces a number of challenges, not least of which is building and maintaining an active membership at a time when academia itself—and humanities and social sciences in particular—is in transition and in many ways under siege in Canada, Hungary, and around the world. I am confident that we can meet these challenges, and for my part I will continue to work with the executive to ensure that HSAC continues to thrive into the future.
Hungarian Studies Review Report to HSAC, May 2022
Hungarian Studies Review published two issues in 2021, our first with Penn State University Press. Each featured a forum: one on the legacy of the numerus clausus organized by Judith Szapor and the other on gender in East Central Europe organized by Emily Gioielli. Our first issue of 2022 was submitted to PSU Press in April, and it will contain an article cluster on the 2015 migration crises organized and edited by Steve Jobbitt and Eva-Maria Walther. There have been several changes to the HSR editorial team. Steven Jobbitt finished his term as Managing Editor and was succeeded by Leslie Waters. Emily Gioielli also finished her term as associate editor and was succeeded by Zsuzsanna Borbála Török. She joins Árpád von Klimó who is continuing on as associate editor. Szabolcs László took over as book review editor and Richard Espenshade is HSR’s technical editor. We have also added significantly to our editorial board: Holly Case (Brown University), Steven Jobbitt (Lakehead University), Virginia Lewis (Northern State University), Viktor Pál (University of Helsinki), Daniel Pratt (McGill University), John Swanson (University of Tennessee at Chattanooga), and Susan Zimmermann (Central European University) have all agreed to join the board.
2023 will be Hungarian Studies Review’s 50th anniversary, and the editorial team is eager to hear suggestions on how to commemorate this milestone, both in the publication and possibly with an event of some kind. Please email managing editor Leslie Waters (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you have any ideas.