CfP: Populism and Illiberalism in East, Central and Southeast Europe

2022 Annual Conference of the Irish Association for Russian, Central and East European Studies
15-17 September 2022, Maynooth, National University of Ireland Maynooth

Writing about what defines illiberal democracy, A. Applebaum (2021) observes “illiberal oneparty state is not a philosophy. It is a mechanism for holding power, and it functions happily alongside many ideologies. It works because it clearly defines who gets to be the elite – the political elite, the cultural elite, the financial elite.” This year’s annual conferences of IARCEES asks: what are the ideologies that support and strengthen the implementation of illiberal democratic rule? Are these ideologies new or do they draw on a legacy of a particular period in the past? What world do these ideologies envision and what world do they condemn? And in what way are the illiberal democratic tendencies similar and different across the CEE region? We want to investigate the role of organisations, institutions and grass root movements assisting the illiberal populist governments in implementing these ideologies. Are they of local or global outreach? Whose interests do they serve? What new phenomena can be seen emerging that directly oppose or undermine the illiberal rule? We invite comparative and interdisciplinary approaches from scholars across subjects in humanities, such as history, media studies, sociology, anthropology, linguistics, cultural studies, literature, art, gender and queer studies.

Possible themes include but are not limited to the following:

• New/Old alliances supporting the establishment of illiberal populist regimes
• The role of media, social media/digital technology and rhetoric in fuelling illiberal populism
• Forms of censorship in social and cultural life
• Restrictive gender policies, “war against gender” and against LGBTQ+
• Forms of protests and resistance to illiberal and/or authoritarian tendencies and policies
• Organisations and institutions of local and global reach supporting the rise of illiberal populist policies, and those opposing them
• Art at the service of illiberal governments; as well as literary, music and popular art responses to restrictive social policies
• Anti-intellectualism

We invite proposals of panels regionally focused or centring on a particular theme. Please send your proposals (in English) by the 30th of June (title, 400-word abstract max., 150-word bio, contact details and affiliation, if applicable) to Notifications of acceptance will be sent out by 15 th of July. For further information please contact Dr Aneta Stepien (Maynooth University) at

Format of the conference
The conference hybrid format offers the possibility of delivering presentations either in person or online. Therefore, please indicate the preferred format of your presentation (“in person” or “online”) in the header of your abstract submission.

On 24th of February 2022, IARCEES made an official statement condemning the Russian invasion of Ukraine. In light of this, the 2022 IARCEES conference will welcome all students and scholars who oppose Russia’s war on Ukraine. Anyone, who justify or support the Russia’s war will not be welcome.

The conference seeks to contribute to the growth of the field by opening up new avenues of research and encouraging further academic collaboration. The conference hopes to provide a forum where both established academics and junior scholars have the opportunity to present the results of their research. IARCEES members and academics from the countries of Central and Eastern Europe are particularly encouraged to apply. The organisers may consider the publication of selected papers as a special issue.

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Author: Aisseco

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