She stayed with me until she moved to Notting Hill

Actually, my guess it that whatever it is, it wont be Notting Hill. Too expensive, and we prefer to mix with a lower class of people. Also, it seems clear to me that if there is any benefit to living in London, it is the opportunity to be in a neighbourhood with a funny sounding name, and "notting" is in the 49th percentile, considerably below "shoreditch" and "tufnell." But if anybody has a suggested location (postal codes, please -- the search engines ask for them) for places where residence is not too obscenely expensive, schools are good enough for our brilliant daughter, and the atmosphere caters both to doggies and gourmands, then we will grateful for suggestions.

This is, by the way, the "news" I have cryptically mentioned a couple of times. Our little family is pulling up its carefully cultivated Massachusetts roots and will be adding its own little brdašce to the London Balkanscape. The Ethniette will acquire one of those accents you hear on late night radio saying "oh seven hours, Greenwich mean time" (I intend to keep my Northwest monotone, thank you very much), Sig.ra Ethnia will ply her trade in that foreign land, and I will be Senior Lecturer in Southeast European Politics at UCL's dear old SSEES. As for Lajoš, the vet has stuck one of those horrifying chips into him, so now he will have the added marginal utility of being able to store phone numbers or recipes or something.

Of course I am absolutely thrilled to join up with the outstanding existing faculty there and with the hugely talented people who will be coming in at the same time as me. Add to this the incredible crew of people at other universities in London and elsewhere in the UK (you know who you are), and it is not hard to see where the new Balkanological paradise is coming together. As much as it is the džob of my dreams, I will do my best never to become one of those things they call an "expat." More of a gastarbajter, I should think.

The coming year will be tough. The family will be separated for some portion of it, and we will have to learn to like jellied eels. But mostly I am stunned by my good fortune, and constantly remembering the pop song line, "when you come from a background of bargain bins, you're bound to fear it ends where it begins." It still seems improbable to me, sitting as I am here in Budapest with three weeks worth of stinky t-shirts and socks from the student trip drying to the eclectic sounds of Radio Petöfi.

My colleagues in the Clark University sociology department, who I hope will come to visit us in London, have been informed. I still have to resolve with the administration under what conditions I will be departing. And I told the students who were travelling with me, who were very sweet in offering me their congratulations and a parting gift of 250 grammes of espresso.

The Yugoslavia pavilion at Auschwitz

The way that the Auschwitz museum is set up, just about all of the exhibits are at the first camp, Auschwitz I (and not at the very much larger Auschwitz II - Birkenau, which is where the large-scale killing for which the place is known was committed). At Auschwitz I is the main exhibit hall with artifacts trucked over from Birkenau for display, some barracks restored as exhibit halls, and a row of the "national" exhibits in former barracks. The "national" exhibits are prepared by specialists from the country represented in the space, and in many it is clear that a good deal of thought went into the selection of display materials, thematic emphasis, the distribution of emotional and historical clues, and many other factors. It is also clear that all of these exhibits are regularly updated and revised. All except one, which has obviously not been changed for a good twenty years, and is not likely to be changed any time in the foreseeable future.

The Yugoslavia exhibit is on the top floor of a barrack that is shared with the very razzle-dazzle Austrian exhibit (which centers on the dangers of nationalism). The first room presents general information on the period, with many photos repeated from the main exhibit hall a few buildings away. There is a very little bit of information about the 24,000 people from Yugoslavia who were put in the camp. Some of them were in a resistance organisation, if you want to know more about that or how resistance organisations functioned, or how the Yugoslavian ones related with the others, you will not find out from the exhibit.

The second room gives a general presentation, very NOB-centric, of the occupation and war in Yugoslavia. Some crimes, some collaborators, and a whole lot of Partisan heroics. The passage of time makes this emphasis more interesting, since this is now the only site at the museum where the myth of massive resistance is preserved. The visitor is able to follow the growth of Partisan divisions, peek in at AVNOJ, trace the expansion of liberated territory. The exhibit ends with a big photo of Tito signing the new constitution of FNRJ.

Since the country that designed the exhibit no longer exists, and since the museum site does not have extra barracks for the countries that have come about in the meantime, the Yugoslav pavilion will probably remain a fascinating relic of Communist historiography for some time. I left the hall torn between the feeling that some good historians could probably (without the sponsorship of any government) do much better on the one hand, and the urge to sing Partisan songs on the other.


Soon to be back and ethnier than ever

Greetings to East Ethnians the world round from the charming Krakow airport. The last students were seen off this morning, and now your humble correspondent is off to a (dare I say well deserved?) three days of vacation in lovely Budapest, from whence posting shall recommence. I believe that in the last post I said something cryptic about the possibility of there being news. Hold fast, it will come.