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Photo:Серебряная чаша,” by Azad Uprovsky licensed under CC BY 2.0. Hue is modified from the original.

Kremmler, Katrin. “‘Eurasian Magyars’: The Making of a New Hegemonic National Prehistory in Illiberal Hungary.” Digging Politics: The Ancient Past and Contested Present in East-Central Europe (2022): 181.


The Hungarian government has created parallel illiberal science institutions producing a narrative of cultural-civilizational continuity of ‘historical Hungarian statehood’ with the Huns, Avars, and conquering Magyars. This has been done with claims of ‘scientific truth’ by palaeoanthropologists, archaeogeneticists, and archaeologists, in an illiberal project of “genetic ethnology” (McMahon 2020a). Events like Kurultáj, a biannual festival celebrating the unity of the heritage of Eurasian nomadic steppe peoples, have facilitated and encouraged this relationship between ‘science’ and claims to a Hungarian ancestral connection with the East. This chapter argues that what is happening in Hungary is an illiberal transformation of science and the humanities, one that requires greater interdisciplinary scrutiny.

The Illiberalism Studies Program studies the different faces of illiberal politics and thought in today’s world, taking into account the diversity of their cultural context, their intellectual genealogy, the sociology of their popular support, and their implications on the international scene.