Cultural Construction in the USSR and States of the Former Soviet Bloc

Cultural Construction in the USSR and States of the Former Soviet Bloc

17-18 March 2012, Nottingham

Deadline: 23 October 2011

On March 17-18, 2012, the School of History at the University of Nottingham is hosting a postgraduate colloquium, initiated and organised by its own doctoral students, on the theme of cultural construction in the Soviet Union and states of the former Soviet bloc. The aim will be to explore the origins and nature of cultural discourses and practices in government, academia, the intellectual sphere and everyday life with a view to assessing their influence on the political and social development of these countries.

The organising committee invites PhD researchers in history, modern languages, cultural studies, sociology and related disciplines from UK universities to submit proposals for papers. The organisers and sponsors of this colloquium hope that the exchange of ideas among scholars will facilitate the emergence of new avenues in scholarly discussion about state actions and human experiences under communist regimes in the twentieth century.

Proposed topics for the colloquium include, but are not limited to:

cultural revolts and resistance;
the dissident movement in socialist states and its discourses;
popular alternatives to socialism: methodological, analytical and discursiveaspects of the problem;
formal and informal collectives of culture figures;
art as oppositional practice;
the role of space, place and material culture in building socialism;
cross-cultural comparison of socialist cultural construction;
the dynamics of cultural change under socialism;
styles and dynamics of the socialist performance;
gender and subjectivity under socialism;
gender and art under socialism;
institution building under socialism;
censorship within the socialist states, and its power dimensions;
censorship and subjectivity;
ideological dimensions of art and socialist realism;
the disciplinary function of a socialist state: methods of control and punishment;
surveillance and the repressive system of a socialist state: structure and mechanisms;
bribery and privileges under socialism;
dilemmas of the intelligentsia: conformism vs. resistance;
individual and collective identity under socialism;
various aspects of contemporary views and discourses about former socialist states;
statistical perspectives of building socialist culture.

Proposals, including a title, abstract (approx. 300 words) and one-page C.V., should be submitted by October 23, 2011 to Susanne Sklepek ( Applicants will be notified about the acceptance of proposals within two weeks after the submission deadline. Presentations should be limited to 15 minutes, to be followed by discussion. Pre-circulation of a draft of the paper is mandatory one month prior to the start of the conference. Some very limited funding might be available.

Organising Committee: Susanne Sklepek, Olga Bertelsen, Andru Chiorean, Filip Boicu.

Funding bodies (to date): BASEES, School of History-University of Nottingham.

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