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ERC NEPOSTRANS Seminar Series 5. / Veronika Szeghy-Gayer

2023. június 20. 16:00 - 18:00

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State-Rupture and Civil Service Career Paths on the Territory of Slovakia, 1918–1948


Hybrid event with 🎤VERONIKA SZEGHY-GAYER (research fellow at the Institute of Social Sciences CSPS of the Slovak Academy of Sciences) in the ERC NEPOSTRANS Seminar Series 5.


(Zoom link will be sent after registration)


DATE: 20 June 2023, Tuesday, 4pm-6pm

VENUE: Institute of Political History – Library
(1114 Budapest, Villányi út 11-13., ground floor)

Facebook event



Two main narratives dominate the historical scholarship on civil service on the territory of daily Slovakia during the first half of the 20th century. On the one hand, in Hungarian historiography, the issue of discontinuity has mainly been discussed, especially the question of nearly half a million people, including many civil servants who fled from the successor states to post-WWI Hungary, and the same applies to works regarding Hungarian territorial revisions between 1938 and 1941 or the anti-minority discrimination after WWII. This narrative on forced migration processes prevailed in Hungarian memory literature, fictional works, and collective remembrance. On the other hand, Slovak scientific works that investigate the establishment of Czechoslovakia only discuss the question of Czech officials moving to the Slovak part of the republic or the proportion of ethnic Slovaks working in the Czechoslovak state system but put emphasis mainly on state-rupture and personal discontinuity too.

In this talk, I intend to provide new insight into the research of civil service on the territory of Slovakia after 1918. I will examine how civil servants at the local level have adapted to the changing political circumstances in different state regimes and to what extent they were engaged in the competing state-building efforts which alternated in a relatively short period mainly in the Slovak – Hungarian border region. Based on the personal trajectories of mayors, district chiefs, teachers or officials of local administration, I will investigate the strategies that characterized the attitudes of public employees in times of political regime changes, as well as their loyalty and relationship to the state.



Veronika Szeghy-Gayer is a research fellow at the Institute of Social Sciences CSPS of the Slovak Academy of Sciences. She received her PhD in history at the Eötvös Loránd University in 2016 and her dissertation on the Hungarian minority in interwar Czechoslovakia was published by the Kalligram Publishing House of Bratislava (2016). Her research interest includes the fields of Central and East European nationalism and minority studies. In 2021 she was the winner of the Danubius Young Scientist Award in 2021, while in 2022, jointly with László Csősz, received the Mark Pittaway Article Prize for the study Petitioners of Jewish Property in Košice: a Case Study on Holocaust and Local Society in a Slovak-Hungarian Border Region. Since 2016 she is a member of the Trianon100 research team of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. She is cooperating with Collegium Carolinum to create a handbook of the religious and church history of Slovakia during the 20th century. Between 2018 and 2021, she participated in the project of the Jewish Community Museum of Bratislava in the processing of the collection of the Jewish Museum of Prešov. Currently, she is a local expert for the EHRI and she is leading a research team at the Slovak Academy of Sciences that examines the history of civil service in Slovakia under changing regimes in the first half of the 20th century.



NEPOSTRANS – Negotiating post-imperial transitions: from remobilization to nation-state consolidation. A comparative study of local and regional transitions in post-Habsburg East and Central Europe

The project is financed by the European Research Council (ERC) Consolidator Grant agreement 772264

Principal Investigator: Gábor Egry


The project’s goal is to provide a new, overall narrative of how the Habsburg Empire was replaced by nation states at the end of WWI and reconsider in the light of its results categories and concepts like state and statehood, local, regional and national, transition and transformation. A novel combination of historical comparison and histoire croisée enables the in-depth analyses of a set of local transitions in diverse regions (agrarian, industrial, commercial, urban, rural, multi-and mono-ethnic, borderland and mainland, litoral) and the combination of these results with the existing literature on other localities.

The team addresses four main themes: state, elites, identities and discourses. The focus is always local, the question is how these societies faced the momentous changes and found their place within empire and nation-state(s). It will look at interactions, cultures and especially rupture and continuity of people, norms, practices, institutional cultures in order to discover patterns of transitions and the social factors influencing them. Besides a typology of transitions, it also aims at gaining a new perspective on empire and nation-state from this crucial moment of collapse and state-building.

The project is informed by New Imperial history, the idea of phantom boundaries, everyday ethnicity, integrated urban history. At the methodological level, it builds on symmetrical comparison of the selected cases and on an asymmetrical one with the existing literature, while the object of comparison is the transition that we conceptualize as an “intercrossing”. Through analysing this ‘transformation from below’ and connecting for the first time what has remained scattered both in historiography and in the social representations, the project aims to write a new history of modern Eastern Europe as a common legacy for an integrated European history.



2023. június 20.
16:00 - 18:00
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