CfP: Revisiting the Nation. Transcultural Contact Zones in Eastern Europe

Revisiting the Nation. Transcultural Contact Zones in Eastern Europe

New Europe College, Bucharest

Deadline ; 30/08/2017

Convenors : Prisma Ukraïna – Research Network Eastern Europe, Berlin and the
Center for Governance and Culture in Europe, Universität St. Gallen, in
cooperation with the New Europe College, Bucharest

Ever since Mark von Hagen asked “Does Ukraine Have a History?” in 1995,
there has been much debate about what constitutes Ukraine as a nation. In the
light of recent developments, it might seem that in Ukraine, this question is
of particular significance. Still, it is important to understand that in the
European context, Ukraine is not an exceptional case in its nation building
effort. Instead, it is exemplary in terms of its multiculturality, entangled
histories, and the ever-changing relation between state and society.

With regard to Eastern Europe, the preoccupation with ‘the nation’, its
history and identity, and with similar categories that imply monolithic
entities (state, culture, language) in political, social and even academic
discourse has been prevalent at least since the final years and collapse of
Eastern bloc. It has been visible in a search for homogeneity and
‘essences’ in cultural, historical or political terms – a search thwarted
by the realities in situ. It is not only that the newly found sovereignty of
those nation states coincides with greater alignment with international legal,
economic and military standards – what has been termed ‘voluntary
imperialism’ (Cooper). Concepts like Mary Louise Pratt’s ‘contact
zones’ (with their emphasis on transculturation, hybridity, and mediation)
likewise draw attention away from monolithic concepts of nation and culture.
Instead, they point to how cultural practices permeate and inform each other
the local level, how they are being (re)negotiated and hegemonic discourses
power relations subverted by overt or implicit alternatives.

The ongoing transformations and cultural and political processes in Ukraine as
well as in many places in Eastern Europe take place in this field of
tension that causes constant frictions and renegotiations. This poses a very
specific and potentially very productive challenge to Eastern European Studies
– one that can benefit from the integration of various concepts and highly
different disciplinary approaches.

The Academy’s rationale is to gather young scholars from diverse disciplines
and with different approaches. We want to facilitate exchange and contribute
a fuller picture of current transformations in the region that goes beyond the
national narratives and takes into account conditions and current processes of
the renegotiation of identity, history, and political practices. The aim is to
challenge assumptions; to overcome simplifying categories and explanations;
to open discussion on new perspectives and research questions. In this,
may be the main focus, but research on other countries and regions is welcome
as well.

The program will focus mainly, but not exclusively on the following,
overlapping themes:

The (re)production of community
identity claims and multiple belongings; the (re)production of memory and
legitimacy; conflict and coexistence; nationalist mobilization and its limits;
historical figures of the nation; history and nation building; populism and

Legacies of empires
post-imperial infrastructure and the political and social life of its
successors; inert geographies; shifting economic, political and cultural
orientations; voluntary and involuntary imperialism; old and new elites;
economies; regionalisms and nationalism

Hegemonic and alternative discourses
sources of resistance; myths of pluralism; art, literature and the creation of
(alternative) vernaculars; critical thinking and its institutional impact;
subcultures; the fate of the left; diversity of memory and narratives; the
of mass media

Performing imagination
cultural production of the present; rhetoric of/as emotion; creative
communities, common places for specific experiences; key images; interventions
into the public space; mass culture as industry of imagination; transformation
of literary cosmopolises; networks and islands in cultural mapping;
and performances of the Other

We invite scholars of anthropology, economics, geography, history, literature,
political sciences, social psychology, sociology and other disciplines whose
research relates to these questions and who would like to present and discuss
their work in an international and multi-disciplinary context.

The Winter Academy is chaired by a group of scholars that includes Pascal
Bonnard (Jean Monnet University, Saint Etienne), Rory Finnin (University of
Cambridge), Susanne Frank (Humboldt University, Berlin), Olena Haleta (Ivan
Franko University, Lviv; Ukrainian Catholic University, Lviv), Andrii Portnov
(Prisma Ukraïna; Forum Transregionale Studien, Berlin), Ulrich Schmid (Centre
for Governance and Culture in Europe, University of St. Gallen), Mihai Varga
(Free University Berlin) and Annette Werberger (Europa University Viadrina

Winter Academy format

The Academy will gather up to 20 doctoral and postdoctoral scholars from
different countries and academic backgrounds. It promotes intensive
peer-to-peer debates and encourages new perspectives grown from debates in
small discussion groups. Participants contribute actively to the program’s
structure and content. They present their individual research in working
groups, co-design thematic discussion groups and are involved in the
organization of workshops. While most of the intensive work is conducted in a
small-group atmosphere, the Winter Academy also presents its work to the
through general lectures and open panel discussions. It builds on previous
academies conducted by Prisma Ukraïna and is designed to support scholarly
networks and contribute to closer ties among research activities in and
of Europe. The working language is English.
The Academy will take place from 26 February to 7 March 2018 at the New Europe
College in Bucharest. Travel, accommodation, insurance and visa matters will
covered and arranged by the organizers.

How to apply

The program addresses doctoral and postdoctoral researchers who wish to
their ongoing projects in a comparative perspective in relation to the
questions raised above. Their work should be clearly relevant to the themes of
the Winter Academy. While the focus of the Winter Academy will be on Ukraine
and Eastern Europe, comparative perspectives on the themes mentioned above are
welcome, transregional approaches being especially encouraged.

The application should be in English and consist of:

1. a curriculum vitae;
2. a three- to five-page outline of the project the applicant is currently
working on, with a brief introductory summary thereof;
3. a suggestion of two readings relevant for the Winter Academy that you would
like to discuss with other participants (please provide bibliographical data
only, no copies required at this stage);
4. the names of two university faculty members who can serve as referees (no
letters of recommendation required).

PLEASE SEND YOUR APPLICATION BY EMAIL as ONE PDF FILE to Deadline for applications is 30 August 2017.

Ulrike Gatzemeier
Forum Transregionale Studien
Wallotstr. 14, 14193 Berlin
030 890 01 431

Author: Aisseco

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