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Please join CREES for another Brownbag Lecture on Tuesday February 21st at 12pm in Bailey Hall Room 318. This week we welcome Dr. Brett Chloupek,  Associate Professor of Geography at Northwest Missouri State University. Dr. Chloupek's talk is titled "Reinterpreting monuments to the Slovak National Uprising after the Russian invasion of Ukraine."

In light of the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine, scholars have sought analogous historical examples to contextualize and understand the current conflict.  Neighboring countries like Slovakia, for instance, have recalled the events of the Slovak National Uprising (Slovenské Národné Povstanie or SNP), which saw a variety of anti-fascist factions including regular Slovakia citizens revolt against the invading Nazi army and its Slovak client government.  Today, the uprising’s legacy is a contentious aspect of Slovak history.  Most interpret it positively as an example of Slovakia’s active participation with the Allies that hastened the end of the war on the eastern front.  Others judge it negatively as bringing about the end of the first independent Slovak state or as a mistake that provoked further German retribution and increased the Slovak Jewish death toll by thousands when the war was nearing an end.  Such disputed interpretations have extended to the monuments that commemorate the uprising itself.  Most notable is the Slovak National Uprising Museum in Banská Bystrica.  The museum’s centerpiece is a monumental sculpture entitled “Victims Warn.”  Originally unveiled in 1969, it was later warehoused in 1972 after the communist normalization which followed the Prague Spring.  It was moved again in 1974 and only in 2004 was it reinstalled in its original location within the museum.  Since then it has been the site of annual commemorations of the uprising.  This paper tracks the various political narratives that have become attached to this and other related SNP monuments, particularly within the framework of shifting geopolitical orientations regarding NATO, Slovakia, Ukraine, and Russia.

Dr. Brett Chloupek is an Associate Professor of Geography at Northwest Missouri State University in the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences.  His research has focused on the spatial and political aspects of place naming and other monumental commemorations, particularly in Slovakia.  He obtained a BS in Geography and Computer Science from the University of Nebraska at Kearney, an MS in Geography from Oklahoma State University, and a Ph.D. in Geography from the University of Kansas.  While at KU, Dr. Chloupek was affiliated with CREES as a FLAS Fellow.  He studied Polish in Lublin, Poland with the assistance of a FLAS Fellowship and also won the Laird Student Essay Contest.  As a Ph.D. candidate, he conducted research abroad in Eastern Slovakia with the help of a Boren Graduate Fellowship.

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