Thesis title: Performing the nation - celebration in the Australian-Hungarian diaspora

Candidate: Ilona Fekete

Abstract:   How do ethnic communities in Australia maintain their ethnic identity far from their homelands? The thesis proposes to examine practices of identity-making in Hungarian cultural festivals, national days and objects that enable communities to embody the nation, as well as the impact of Australian assimilatory and multicultural policies, and recent efforts by Hungary’s “new-nationalist” Fidesz government, to shape and influence the identity of the diasporic community in Australia.  

The presentation will explore the stages in the evolution of multiculturalism through an analysis of Hungarian presences at multicultural and ethnic festivals between 1950 and 2017. Early forms of multicultural festivals included citizenship conventions and international festivals. The second period commenced around the same time,  when the diversifying population of Australia represented itself at local festivals, and later at bona fide multicultural festivals and folk festivals. Finally, the main features of the Hungarian diaspora conventions and festivals will be highlighted as monocultural ethnic festivals since the 1970s.