October 8, 2021

Picture Gallery: A Hungarian State Farm

by Chris Hann

This picture gallery accompanies the article entitled ‘Economy and ethics in the cosmic process’ by Chris Hann. The article was published in issue 28:1 of JRAI and is available here.

The images in this gallery were projected as background illustrations during Chris Hann’s Huxley Memorial Lecture, delivered at the British Museum on 18 December 2019. Hann’s subject was how a socialist institution, namely the state farm (Russian sovkhoz), had transformed a backward region (puszta) south of the Hungarian capital during four decades of socialism (from 1949). He is grateful to Aurél Szakál, Director of the Thorma János Museum in Kiskunhalas, for permission to reproduce these images. Some represent the central market town (commonly abbreviated as Halas), while others were taken in outlying settlements on the puszta such as Tájó and Kunfehértó, 20 km distant. Some of these photographs belong to the Museum’s general collections, but most have been selected by Hann from annual scrapbooks made available to him by the Museum in August-September 2019. These large books were compiled by farm workers (probably for the most part its cultural officials) for their own purposes and stored for posterity. The selection is intended to give some idea of the world that was lost when the Kiskunhalas State Farm (hereafter KSF) disintegrated in the 1990s. All images courtesy of the Thorma János Museum, Kiskunhalas.