SMArt Talks

’Hungarian Indians’? Race and Colonialism in Hungarian ‘Indian Play’

Zoltán Ginelli

🗓 15th of March 2023

📍Hans Belting Library (Veveří 470/28, 602 00 Brno)


Critical literature on race and colonialism remains Westcentric and often ignores Eastern European positions. Hungary’s place within the global history of racial colonialism has been selectively interpreted, under-researched, or silenced. This talk shows how Hungarian ‘semiperipheral whiteness’, an in-between position of ‘not-quite-whites’ evading ‘white guilt’ complicates the global histories of ‘Indian play’: representing, comparing to, and identifying or performing as Native Americans by whites. The lecture then asks how this history informs the lack of critical engagement with the heritage of ‘Indian play’ in contemporary Hungarian culture amidst raging Western debates on cultural appropriation, ‘redfacing’, ‘white guilt’, and a decolonial politics increasingly captured by identity politics in neoliberal capitalism.

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