CfP: Divided Cities and Contested Cities during the Cold War Workshop in Gorizia, Italy 20-23 March 2025

Workshop in Gorizia, Italy
20-23 March 2025

Jointly organized by the University of Udine,
Cold War Studies/Harvard University, and Friuli Storia

This workshop will bring together scholars from various countries to investigate the history of divided cities and contested cities during the Cold War.

The workshop builds on the international workshops on “Cold War Borders and Borderlands in Europe and Northeast Asia, 1944-1991” (held in Udine and Gorizia in March 2023) and on “Cold War Legacy in Europe:  Commemoration, Adaptation, and Exhibition” (scheduled in Udine, June 2024). The aim of this series of workshops is to set up an international and multidisciplinary network of scholars exploring the dynamics of borderlands during the Cold War in Europe and Northeast Asia.

Border cities were deeply affected by the Cold War, particularly in areas in which the ideological division coincided with national boundaries. Some of these cities were situated along the Iron Curtain (such as Berlin, Gorizia-Nova Goriza, Mödlareuth), whereas others spanned countries that were formally allied but still bore the scars of a recent, violent history (like the cities along the new German-Polish border and some cities in the Balkans). Conversely, certain cities emerged as a result of the Cold War’s conclusion and the subsequent formation of new states, such as Narva-Ivangorod (between Estonia and Russia) and Valka-Valga (between Latvia and Estonia).

Possible themes for contributions include but are not restricted to:

  • Historical roots, causes, and consequences of urban divisions during the Cold War,
  • The role of political ideologies, geopolitical strategies, and local dynamics.
  • Divided cities as strategic sites of confrontation, negotiation, and compromise between rival powers.
  • Social and cultural impacts, including issues of citizenship, identities, migration, segregation, and cultural exchange.
  • Economic dimensions of division and reunification
  • Architecture and urban planning, including border structures, walls, checkpoints, and their architectural, spatial, and social implications.
  • Memory and representation in literature, film, art, and popular culture.
  • Resistance and solidarity within divided cities

We welcome proposals from researchers who are in the early stages of their research on these topics.  In such cases, the proposal should indicate the aim of the research, the state of the art, the methodology to be adopted, and the expected results. Researchers with a comparative approach are also greatly welcomed. The workshop will be organized around thematic panels.

Scholars wishing to take part should submit a proposal of 300-500 words and a CV using the online submission mechanism below by 30 June 2024. Decisions about applicants chosen for the workshop will be announced within seven weeks of the submission deadline for proposals.

Those chosen to take part in the workshop will be asked to submit a 3,000-word outline by 1 March 2025, to offer a 10-minute presentation at the workshop, and to play an active role in the discussion. At a follow-on conference in the first half of 2026, scholars will turn their outlines into full-length papers, which will then undergo external review.  A selection of the final papers will eventually be published in a volume of collected essays or in a special issue of an academic journal after undergoing peer review.

The workshop will be held in Gorizia, Italy. Gorizia is served by airports at Trieste Ronchi dei Legionari (Italy) and Ljubljana (Slovenia). Gorizia is also about 90 minutes from Venice’s Marco Polo airport by car or train.

Accommodation and subsistence will be provided.  Travel grants will be available for participants upon request and subject to budget availability.

The advisory board of the workshop is co-chaired by Tommaso Piffer and Mark Kramer and includes Nadia Boyadjieva Hope Harrison, Łukasz Kamiński, Patrick Karlsen, Paweł Machcewicz, Christian Ostermann, Raoul Pupo and Vít Smetana.

For further information, please contact Tommaso Piffer and Mark Kramer

Author: Aisseco

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