Call for Papers: New Perspectives on Censorship under Communism

University College, University of Oxford
23rd October 2015

Deadline for abstracts: 28th February 2015
Final papers submission: 10th October 2015

Censorship played a crucial role in the production and dissemination of information and artistic production in communist states, whether imposed by the state apparatus or carried out by an individual; in these countries the existence of repressive state censorship organs was supplemented by a strong tradition of informal self-censorship. This conference seeks to explore the complexity and heterogeneity of censorship under communism, problematizing the usual understanding of the phenomenon as purely destructive and violent while examining the particular trajectory along which it developed in communist countries. The conference takes an explicitly comparative approach in order to explore differences and commonalities between practices and institutions of censorship in the communist states, highlighting the variety and mutability of these practices of cultural regulation. It will examine multiple forms of censorship and their impact in different media, prompting a deeper exploration of the commonalities and differences in censorship systems and practices.

Proposals are invited for 20-minute papers on censorship under communism. Speakers may wish to consider, but are by no means limited to, the following themes:

– Literary censorship: state intervention in publishing; translation
– Censorship in music and theatre
– Media censorship: role of the audience; the impact of technology
– Censorship as a system of cultural regulation: the role of official censorship organs; the influence of the party; censors and their position in the system
– Responses to censorship: opposition; samizdat; ‘Aesopian’ language
– Informal censorship practices: self-censorship; editorial censorship
– Theorising censorship in communist states

Please email 300-word abstracts and a short CV to by 28th February 2015.

Decisions will be notified by 31st March 2015. Full papers should be submitted by 10th October 2015 and will be pre-distributed to speakers before the conference. An edited volume or journal special issue featuring selected contributions is planned.

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