Slovakia’s Transition from Socialism to Democracy: Effects on Daily Life, Family and Culture Thursday, November 3, 12:00 – 1:00 pm, in the Community Room of the Olympian, 111 East Bethel Street
Much as Americans can remember where they were and what they were doing on September 9, 2001, Slovaks and other Eastern Europeans remember how their lives were about to change in the late summer and fall of 1989, when growing protests in East Germany led to the removal of prohibitions on travel to the West, the physical removal of the Berlin Wall and the ensuring collapse of the Soviet Empire in Eastern Europe. For Czechoslovaks, the decisive period was from November 17 to December 29, 1989: in just 33 days over 40 years of Communist Party rule can to an abrupt, peaceful end in what Slovaks called their “Gentle Revolution.”
One tends to think of these events in largely political terms of shifting lines and coloration on maps, the fate of empires and within the context of the East-West struggle of competing economic and political systems. But what was this cataclysmic change like for the people? What did it mean for individual lives and the effort to raise and support a family? What were the consequences for daily life, the effects on culture?
The Olympia World Affairs Council is proud to sponsor Dr. Marta Botikova, a visiting Fulbright Scholar at the Evergreen State College, to address this subject. Dr. Botikova is a full professor of Ethnology and Chairperson of the Department of Ethnology at Comenius University in Bratislava, Slovak Republic, where she studied and has taught since 1978. She is a member of a half dozen professional associations, is widely published and has taught in short programs at universities throughout Western and Eastern Europe. One of her most recent publications treats Culture and Way of Life through the Eyes of Women in Slovakia.