CfA: Challenging the Social Order

The Fifth International Social Science Summer SchoolChallenging the Social Order: Revolution, Reform and Transformation Under and After Socialism

International Social Science Summer School in Ukraine – Mykolaiv (Ukraine)
The application must be sent by e-mail to, by 30 April 2013.

The 5th Annual International Social Science School, to be held in Mykolaiv, Southern Ukraine, on 2-9 July 2013, will have the theme of “Challenging the Social Order: Revolution, Reform and Transformation Under and After Socialism.” For an intensive week in early July, an international group of twenty doctoral students and up to a dozen faculties are converging to a different town in Ukraine to hear and discuss presentations on ongoing research on a critical theme. The Summer School is designed to be interdisciplinary and international and follows the format of a Workshop. The program also includes lectures and field trips, of historical and contemporary significance, within the region.

Co-Sponsored by The Embassy of France in Ukraine – The Chair of Ukrainian Studies at the University of Ottawa (Canada)  – The Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales [EHESS] (France) – The Petro Mohyla Black Sea State University in Mykolaiv (Ukraine) – The Doctoral School of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy (Ukraine) – The University of Paris Ouest Nanterre-La Défense (France) – The Franco-Belarusian Center for European Studies (Belarus)
Program description

“There is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success, than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things.” Niccolo Machiavelli, The Prince, ch. 6

The countries of the former Socialist Bloc have repeatedly experienced throughout the last century the difficult, perilous and uncertain task Machiavelli warns us against. Building, managing and deconstructing socialist states and societies appears to be a circular process of radical social and economic transformation. Thus, collectivization, arguably one of the most ambitious attempts implemented by a state to alter the socio-economic order, can be been as a starting point for major crises such as famines, population displacement and deportation, and the disruption of the countryside. Perestroika, enacted as a response to the decline of the Soviet economy, served as a catalyst for painful transition processes in Central and Eastern Europe, the introduction of neoliberal reforms and steep rise of social inequalities. Similarly, Soviet informal practices have been interpreted both as a reaction to the deep economic crisis of the late 1980s and as constituting a major cause of yet another crisis, the failure of the rule of state and economic transition.

These challenges to the social order have had seminal political consequences, such as Soviet industrialization and the rise of Stalinism, the post-war establishment of Communist rule in Central Europe, the Cuban missile crisis in 1962, the introduction of political pluralism under perestroika, the August 1991 putsch and the collapse of the Soviet Union, shock therapy, the 1998 financial crises in Russia, the colored revolutions and the return of authoritarianism.

The Summer School seeks to examine these moments of disruption of the existing social order when state and society are challenged in their institutions, rules, values and principles. Topics under consideration include:

the causes and dynamics of revolution, reform and transformation
mobilization, protest and rebellion
the management of social or political crisis
the production of new norms (informal, legal, economic, political)
the impact of dominant economic models
the management of the past: transitional justice, lustration, the politics of memory
how individuals and groups adapt to a new social order: career paths, survival strategies

The Fifth International Social Science Summer School in Ukraine welcomes proposals from the disciplines of history, sociology, anthropology, political science, economics, and adjacent fields. While the primary focus will be on the socialist and post-socialist era (in the former Soviet Union, Central, Eastern and Southern Europe), pre-Soviet history may also be examined.

The Summer School is designed to be interdisciplinary and international and follows the format of a Workshop. Each participant will have the opportunity to present a paper and receive comments from a group of international scholars, as well as from the other participants, who are expected to be active in these discussions. The School’s program consists of lectures, panel presentations and discussions, as well field trips within the region.

The International Social Science Summer School in Ukraine takes places in a different city of Ukraine every year. Previous schools have been held in Uman (2009), Dnipropetrovsk (2010), Ostroh (2011) and Zhytomyr (2012). The 2013 Summer School will be hosted by the Petro Mohyla Black Sea State University in Mykolaiv, Southern Ukraine.

The history of Mykolaiv, located on the Black Sea Cost, about 110 kilometers east-northeast of Odessa, is closely linked to its Port. The Port of Nikolaev is an important river port and one of Ukraine’s largest and busiest ship-building centers. After the Russian Empire annexed the Black Sea coast in 1788, the Port of Mykolaiv was founded as a shipyard near the site of the ancient Greek Olbia. Originally built for repair of Russian Navy ships during the Russo-Turkish War, the Port of Mykolaiv was opened as a commercial harbor in 1862, and the first foreign ships were welcomed into the port. This also led to the establishment of several foreign consulates in Mykolaiv. In the early 19th century, as with most urban areas in Ukraine, Mykolaiv developed into one of the largest Jewish centers in the Russian Empire and was the birthplace of the the seventh leader in the Chabad-Lubavitch dynasty.

In the Soviet era, Mykolaiv was a major shipbuilding center, closely linked to the military industry. The shipbuilding industry provided about 60% of Mykolaiv citizens with work. Because of this military orientation, the Port of Mykolaiv was closed to foreign visitors through the late 1980s. Most of the tragic events of the past century echoed in Mykolaiv’s history, such as the Civil War, the famine, the purges, German occupation and the Holocaust.

After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the industrial city of Mykolaiv faced a huge economic crisis. Most of the state-owned military-oriented industries faced restructuring and/or privatization, with unequal suc3 Fifth International Social Science Summer School in Ukraine cess. New branches of economy appeared. The image of the city is also evolving, sometimes in unexpected ways: the past city of shipbuilders became “the city of brides” with the development of foreign-oriented marriage agencies. In November 2012, the city was also in the center of the political news : the election vote count led to bloody clashes in Mykolaiv Oblast’s Pervomaisk, where pro-government and opposition candidates were both claiming victory in district 132.

A city of glory and a city in crisis, Mykolaiv is a perfect place for a Summer School focused on the challenges of a new social order.

Excursions and meeting organized by the Summer School team will focus on these different dimensions of the regional history.

One week, Tuesday 2 July – Tuesday 9 July 2013.
Call for application

The Summer School is open to PhD students (or students enrolled in a kandidat nauk program) and young researchers (up to six years removed from their PhD or kandidat nauk degree).

Proposals strong on theory and empirical research are particularly welcomed.

The working language of the Summer School is English.

Prospective participants must be fluent in English. Selected candidates will be notified before the end of May.
How to apply?

To be considered for the Summer School, candidates must complete an application form (that includes a 500 word project proposal) and add a CV.

They are also encouraged to send an additional written sample, such as a conference paper, a dissertation chapter, or a publication, although this is optional.

The application must be sent by e-mail to,
by 30 April 2013.

The application form can be requested at or downloaded on the following address: http://www.ukrainianstudies.
The scientific committee is being set up.

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