Running projects

The following projects are currently affiliated with ECERF:

‘The Liminality of Failing Democracy: East Central Europe and the Interwar Slump’ (Research Fellows: Anca Mandru, Jasmin Nithammer). This project challenges the narrative that democratic failure and the rise of authoritarian leaders in interwar East Central Europe resulted from a lack of experience in political participation. Rather, it argues that authoritarianism was enabled during specific critical moments which endowed it with significant domestic and international support. Economic crises resulted in ‘liminal moments’, which transformed shared expectations towards the agency of states. Examining how these expectations aligned or diverged will show how anti-democratic, anti-liberal and anti-integrationist policies moved into the mainstream and gained support across different layers of society. Beyond the national contexts, the project explores how far the pan-European experience of the Great Depression changed concepts of modern states and thus, rather than pushing them to the margins, pulled the states of East Central Europe deeper into the European state order. Thereby it challenges the division of interwar Europe into democracies that either survived or failed. Two research fellows carry out the research, focusing on the two largest states of the region: Poland and Romania. The research for this project is funded by the Gerda-Henkel Foundation and runs from January 2021 to December 2023.

‘The Fight against the Traffic in Women and Children in Interwar Poland’ (PI Klaus Richter). This project retraces the networks of Polish anti-trafficking organisations and their connection to local and regional practitioners, such as the Polish Women’s police as well as railway and port missions. It focuses on how far Polish campaigns were shaped, facilitated or hampered by international efforts and how far they in turn shaped international policies, especially concerning the control of prostitution and of the movement of women. The research for this project is funded by the Thyssen Foundation and runs from May 2018 to April 2021.