The pace of change in East Europe is unrelenting and, to a great extent, affects publication about the region. This book, like other recent discussions of the East European transition, represents an attempt to incorporate both the currency of journalism and the reflection of scholarly research. Though the two are not mutually exclusive, they often are perceived as such, especially in publications about contemporary East Europe. However, to effectively present the extraordinary change in East Europe in a timely and substantial fashion requires not so much compromise between one and the other but rather a unity of the approaches. Each of the chapters offered here combines these forms in explicit fashion. Though the speed of events is bound to overtake these essays, and though the specifics of each chapter will vary over time, each chapter is nonetheless a clear-sighted discussion of issues that directly affect local East European life today and will continue to echo in the region for the next decades.
The transformation of East Europe has not only shaped scholarship of the region but has also influenced the career paths of scholars concerned with the region. With the increased integration of East and West and the greater accessibility of East Europe to diverse scholarly as well as other activities, those who work in the region have found themselves beset by a whole set of contradictory demands and possibilities. Many of the contributors to this volume now serve regularly as consultants to international organizations. Others are actively collaborating with colleagues in rebuilding scholarly institutions and organizations that had languished in the past years. Still others have positions of political responsibility in their respective countries. And there were even a few potential contributors who were ultimately unable to sign on due to the weight of these additional responsibilities. To each of these individuals I owe my greatest respect, admiration, and profuse apologies for my constant admonitions to put the rest of their lives on hold in favor of this project.
Aside from the contributors, thanks are also due to Kellie Masterson and Julia Joun at Westview for their encouragement and patience and also to Dinah Stiles, university assistant in the Anthropology Department at Central Connecticut State University for her extraordinary assistance and help in compiling this manuscript.
David A. Kideckel