Columbia University in the City of New York

Harriman Institute

Inventing Eastern Europe book cover. Image links to event page.



Inventing Eastern Europe Thirty Years Later: A Conversation with Professor Larry Wolff and Guests
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Please join the East Central European Center and the Harriman Institute for a panel discussion on Larry Wolff’s seminal work Inventing Eastern Europe. Moderated by Malgorzata Mazurek.

When Larry Wolff’s book Inventing Eastern Europe was published in 1994, it gave the world a new set of tools for understanding the half of Europe that had recently emerged from behind the Iron Curtain. Most notably, Wolff’s book showed how the conceptual division of the European continent into two distinct civilizations, East and West, although reinforced by the Realpolitik of the Cold War, actually originated in the discourse of philosophes and travelers in the 18th century. Inventing Eastern Europe was revelatory in the mid-1990s, and it has been required reading for serious students of Eastern European history and culture ever since. Please join the East Central European Center and the Harriman Institute for a conversation with Larry Wolff, Suzanne Marchand, Emily Greble and Jan Kubik, moderated by Malgorzata Mazurek, about the genesis, initial impact and continued relevance of this seminal work on the thirtieth anniversary of its publication.

Larry Wolff is the Julius Silver Professor of History at New York University. At NYU he has previously served as Executive Director of the Remarque Institute and as Co-Director of NYU Florence at Villa La Pietra. His most recent book is The Shadow of the Empress: Fairy-Tale Opera and the End of the Habsburg Monarchy (2023). He is also the author of Woodrow Wilson and the Reimagining of Eastern Europe (2020) and Disunion within the Union: The Uniate Church and the Partitions of Poland (2019), The Singing Turk: Ottoman Power and Operatic Emotions on the European Stage from the Siege of Vienna to the Age of Napoleon (2016), Paolina’s Innocence: Child Abuse in Casanova’s Venice (2012), The Idea of Galicia: History and Fantasy in Habsburg Political Culture (2010), Venice and the Slavs: The Discovery of Dalmatia in the Age of Enlightenment (2001), Inventing Eastern Europe: The Map of Civilization on the Mind of the Enlightenment (1994), The Vatican and Poland in the Age of the Partitions (1988), and Postcards from the End of the World: Child Abuse in Freud’s Vienna (1988). He writes frequently about opera, publishing essays and reviews in the Times Literary Supplement, the New York Review of Books, the New York Times, the New Yorker, the Los Angeles Review of Books, and the Hudson Review. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.



Suzanne Marchand is LSU Systems Boyd Professor of European Intellectual History.  Marchand obtained her BA from UC Berkeley in 1984, and her Ph.D. from the University of Chicago in 1992.  She served as assistant and then associate professor at Princeton University before moving to LSU in 1999.  She is the author, most recently, of Porcelain: A History from the Heart of Europe (Princeton UP, 2020).  She has received fellowships from the ACLS, Wissenschaftskolleg, Berlin, Max Planck Institut für Wissenschaftsgeschichte, and the Guggenheim Foundation, among others, and is now working on a book titled Herodotus and the Instabilities of Western Civilization.




Emily Greble is the Nelson O. Tyrone. Jr. Chair in History, Professor and Chair of the History Department, and Professor of East European Studies at Vanderbilt University. Her books include Sarajevo, 1941-1945: Muslims, Christians, and Jews in Hitler’s Europe (Cornell, 2011)  and  Muslims and the Making of Modern Europe (Oxford, 2021). Her research on southeastern Europe challenges and reframes Europe’s grand narratives.



Jan Kubik is Distinguished Professor in the Department of Political Science at Rutgers University and Professor Emeritus of Slavonic and East European Studies and former Director of the School of Slavonic and East European Studies at University College London (UCL). The 2020 President of Association for East European and Eurasian Studies and the recipient of the 2018 Distinguished Achievement Award from the Polish Institute of Arts and Sciences in America (PIASA). Co-Principal Investigator (with Richard Mole) of two international projects, Delayed Transformational Fatigue in Central and Eastern Europe (FATIGUE)  and Populist Rebellion Against Modernity in 21st-century Eastern Europe (POPREBEL) ( His work deals with the rise of right-wing populism; culture and politics; memory politics; civil society, protest politics and social movements; communist and post-communist politics; and interpretive/ethnographic methods in political science.




Małgorzata Mazurek specializes in modern history of Poland and East Central Europe. Her interests include history of social sciences, international development, social history of labor and consumption in the twentieth-century Poland and Polish-Jewish studies. She published Society in Waiting Lines: On Experiences of Shortages in Postwar Poland (Warsaw, 2010), which deals with history of social inqualities under state socialism, and articles on labor, consumption, and history of human and social sciences in twentieth-century east central Europe. Her current book project Economics of Hereness: The Polish Origins of Global Developmentalism 1918-1968 revises the history of developmental thinking by centering east-central Europe as the locality of innovations in economic thought in post-imperial Europe and the postcolonial world. It investigates the role of Warsaw-based social scientists in shaping Eastern European debates on population, migration and capitalism and further, in transforming this locally produced knowledge into development policies for the so-called “Third World.”  In 2014-2018 she has also been a also a member of an international research project Socialism Goes Global: Cold War Connections between the ‘Second’ and ‘Third World’ 1945-1991 funded by the British Arts and Humanities Research Council.



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