Memory of Communism Conference Seeks Speakers, Hungary

Deadline: 15 May 2013
Open to: researchers studying memories and collaboration during the communist period in Eastern Europe, and/or the establishing process of secret police archives and institutes of national memory.
Venue: Budapest, Hungary; October 21-24, 2013

Description

The conference “Memory of Everyday Collaboration with the Communist Regimes in Eastern Europe,” invites speakers who carry out research on memories and collaboration during the communist period in Eastern Europe, and/or study the establishing process of secret police archives and institutes of national memory to present at the conference.

They seek original research papers devoted to key issues of regional histories that apply a micro-historical or comparative perspective. The objective is not simply to take into account the differences and similarities, but to understand their cultural and social consequences and how they were perceived by citizens of the former Eastern bloc. Language of the conference: English.

COSTS

The organizers will pay the travel expenses, and provide both accommodation and meals for the conference speakers.

The organizers will publish a volume based on the conference by a distinguished international publisher in English. They will provide proofreading for those who are not native speakers.

The conference is a joint initiative of the Institute of History at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, and the European Network Remembrance and Solidarity. The conference will take place in Budapest (Hungary) between 21 and 24 October 2013, and will be hosted by the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. The attendance at the conference is limited to a maximum of 20 participants.

Topic Details

One of the aims of this conference is to develop a new interpretation of ‘collaboration’ with the communist regimes by using the terms ‘cooperation’ and ‘political participation’, but also to find new directions for a field that is often disrupted by the politically charged atmosphere in which stories of cooperation are revealed. It promises to reveal not only a wealth of ‘local’ and comparative information about cooperation hitherto unknown, but also seeks to interrogate the ways in which post-socialist cultures produce knowledge about ‘collaborators’ or ‘political participants’, and draw a distinction between ‘extraordinary’ and ‘ordinary’ histories. By intertwining the questions of knowledge production and the writing of the history of cooperation, the conference will yield methodologically sophisticated insights into how we construct such a past. The aim is also to better understand the often neglected national differences in East-Central Europe, instead of simply considering the Soviet bloc as a uniform entity.

The conference will focus on the micro-historical and the comparative, a combination that will offer in-depth understandings of the different ways in which the processes of cooperation played out in different socialist societies. These comparative everyday approaches have been carried out for Fascist and Nazi regimes, but not in a similarly systematic fashion for the communist ones, and a broader comparative history of the ways in which these regimes were experienced on the everyday level is still missing. The conference hopes to elicit papers that explore issues which focus on the everyday experiences of collaboration (e.g. socio-historical biographies of everyday secret agents and analyses of communities surrounding them).

The other important question to be addressed is who is a collaborator? The papers will investigate the role of collaboration in shaping the everyday life of people during the socialist period.

Two main sets of questions are central in this conference:

1) the function, social representation and history of national institutions, secret police archives and institutes of national memory studying the history of collaboration with the communist dictatorships (for example the BStU in Germany, the Institute of National Remembrance (Instytut Pamięci Narodowej – IPN) in Poland, or the secret police archives in other East-Central European countries).

2) the social and micro-historical use of secret police documents; life histories or case studies of individuals or small groups of individuals who were once connected to the institutional infrastructure of Communist dictatorships (‘collaborators’ or ‘cooperators’ with the communist regime).

For more detailed information on the topic, see the website HERE.

Eligibility

Speakers are invited who carry out research on memories and collaboration during the communist period in Eastern Europe, and/or study the establishing process of secret police archives and institutes of national memory.

Application

The deadline for sending abstracts is 15 May 2013.

Please send an abstract of no more than 300 words and a short biographical statement together with a brief biography (CVs not accepted). The conference organizers will ask the authors of selected papers (max. 10 000 words) to submit their final conference papers a month before the conference to allow for distribution to chairs and commentators.

Proposals should be submitted to the organizers by email at [email protected].

For questions, please contact Sándor Horváth (Head of Department for Contemporary History, Institute of History, Research Centre for the Humanities, Hungarian Academy of Sciences) at [email protected].

One thought on “Memory of Communism Conference Seeks Speakers, Hungary

Leave a Reply