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Roland Végső, Professor and Department Head

Jessica DeMarco-Jacobson

If Roland looks familiar, he was a fairly well-known semi-professional skateboarder in his country during the late 80s. 

Dr. Roland Végső is a professor and current department head who specializes in literary/critical theory and 20th-century literatures with a special emphasis on transnational modernism. His last name is pronounced like the word “vague,” plus “shuh,” but he prefers Roland.

Roland was born to an intellectually driven family mostly composed of mathematicians and engineers in Nyíregyháza, Hungary in the midst of the Cold War. 

Although his family encouraged him to follow in their footsteps, Roland found that literature provided a way to imagine life outside of the historical circumstances he grew up in. Roland entered university right after the Cold War, when Hungarian academia was trying to reignite its intellectual traditions, and what he called a “transitional decade.” 

“People were really all over the country, looking for new ideas, and trying to imagine a completely new future that was unimaginable to that point,” said Roland. “So it was very exciting to be at the university at that time.” 

During his time at the University of Debrecen, Roland became interested in the Hungarian literary philosopher, György Lukács, whose work was largely forgotten in the 90s. 

Roland’s work led him to a university in Germany, but Hungary was not part of the EU at the time, making logistics difficult. One of his advisors suggested he apply to American universities where he would have more opportunities, and he accepted an offer from State University of New York at Buffalo.

His first job was at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and then he worked for the University of Nebraska-Lincoln for 9 years before arriving at UGA. 

Outside of his job, Roland spends most of his time with his children, but he also enjoys music, yoga, and walking. Although he grew up listening to many Athens-based musicians, he never visited until his interview for his current job. Before visiting, Roland saw Athens as an almost mythical location, but now he has settled and enjoyed all that the city has to offer. 

Welcome to UGA, Roland!

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