CfP: Suppressed Historiography, Erased Memory?

Suppressed Historiography, Erased Memory? The Perception of the Shoah in East Central Europe during Socialist Rule

Halle (Salle), Germany
November 30 – December 1, 2015
Deadline for submitting abstracts: March 22, 2015

In Holocaust and Memory Studies the assumption prevails that in the socialist states of Eastern Europe the Shoah was either not an object of historical research and public memory at all or that is has been falsified, politically exploited or rendered taboo. However, a closer look reveals that such views are far too simplistic. From the late 1940s through the 1980s historical studies, memoirs, reports and newspaper articles on the Shoah appeared in these countries, not to mention that some of the most known literary works on the issue originated from the eastern side of the iron curtain and were written by authors such as Imre Kertész, Jurek Becker, Ota Filip or Hanna Krall. The boom of Jewish culture in the 1980s was also not restricted to North America and Western Europe. It stimulated debates on the destruction of European Jewry in Eastern Europe – in state-controlled media as well as in the uncensored press of dissidents and oppositionists. The perception of the Shoah in East Central Europe was thus a dynamic process which was influenced by a variety of internal and transnational factors.
Eligible topics
This situation leads so several questions such as the following:

How was the Shoah perceived in socialist states? How was it researched, commemorated and discussed? How did perceptions differ from western ones, to what degree were they similar to each other or even entangled? How did Shoah perceptions change over time? Was the study and memory of the Shoah connected to political, social or cultural trends? How did specific political and social, but also religious communities remember and discuss the Shoah?

These questions will be discussed during a workshop at the Aleksander Brückner Center for Polish Studies in Halle (Germany) from November 30 to December 1. The geographical focus of the conference is on East Central Europe, namely Poland, Czechoslovakia, East Germany and Hungary. However, proposals on neighboring countries, such as the Soviet Union or Romania, will also be considered. Special attention will be given to:
Historiography and Documentation (Research Institutions or single Researchers, Museums and Memorials)
Political instrumentalization of research and memory of the Shoah
(Semi-)Public debates on the Shoah
Reflections on the Shoah in the Arts and Literature and their reception
Guidelines for submission
Experienced scholars as well as doctoral students from the humanities and social sciences are invited to submit a proposal in English of 500 words maximum explaining the paper’s main hypothesis and the sources used, as well as a short CV by 22 March 2015. Please address proposals and questions to:
Travel expenses and accommodation will be covered by the organizers.
Aleksander-Brückner-Zentrum für Polenstudien
Information & contacts
Stephan Stach
Aleksander-Brückner-Zentrum für Polenstudien
Hoher Weg 4, 06120 Halle (Saale)

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