Call for Papers

posted by sabine Ballata on 2005/07/11 17:51

[ Call for Papers ]

It has already been posted on the balkancities -weblog – here a reminder:

For the workshop „Approaching European History From Southeast European Perspectives: Comparing Social Movements and Social Change in the 19th and 20th Centuries“, from the 25. - 27. January 2007, the Institut für soziale Bewegungen, Ruhr-Universität Bochum is looking for proposals.

This is the description of the workshop:

The Balkans have been defined as Western Europe’s negative alter-ego
(Todorova) on the one hand, and as a historical space sui generis on the
other (Sundhaussen). Methodological discussions on comparative and
integrative European history pay little attention to Southeast European
structures and agencies as parts of overall European phenomena. When
they do include the region, scholars compare Empires (Habsburg and
Ottoman), conduct inner-Southeast European comparisons, or choose case
studies in Southeast, Central, and Eastern Europe, but these are rare
examples and pertain mostly to research yet underway. The general and
often rather unreflected coining of the Balkans as a synonym for
backwardness, fragmentation, and instability - a „sense of lag and
lack“, as Maria Todorova has recently coined it -
[1] has produced a massive literature in the 1990s, sparked mostly by
the violent break-up of Yugoslavia, which often served as a synonym for
the whole region. Interestingly, when it comes to comparative research,
the genuine West-versus-Balkan comparison, which so often conditions
mental prerequisites when thinking of Southeastern Europe, has in fact
hardly been taken up by scholars.

The workshop aims at contributing to a renewed reflection on such
long-established mental maps which, over the last decade, have indeed
been re-designed to approach Western and Eastern Europe, but have, at
the same time, mostly marginalized the Southeast. By taking up issues
crucial for Southeast European history and comparing them to structures
and agencies in the rest of Europe, the conference thus focusses on a
rather neglected geographical (and mental) angle.

The workshop hopes to attract the interest of scholars working on social
movements and/or social change in all European spaces - and not
necessarily in a comparative manner. In the ideal case, proposals will
prove apt to be combined into comparable topical and methodological
clusters, leading to panels fruitfully juxtaposing, say, national
identity constructions in Germany, Serbia, Italy, and Greece, religious
contest in Bulgaria, Sweden, Bosnia and Prussia, migratory processes in
Saloniki, Amsterdam, Istanbul and Marseille ...

Panels will be clustered along both (1) methodological and (2) thematic

(1) All issues should be linked by a common methodological and
problem-oriented approach, in order to provide for an inspiring and
fruitful basis for comparison:

  • Research should be based on an agency-oriented approach. Mentalities,
    attitudes, and perceptions expressed by historical individuals or
    micro-historical groups are conditioned by their interaction with
    social, economic, political, as well as ideological contexts. Studying
    communicative networks between individuals and their surrounding
    settings leads to exemplary analyses of social structures and systems,
    which will allow interesting and challenging comparative discussions
    conditioned neither by time nor by space and, particularly important,
    going beyond a nationally coined historiography.
  • Research should be process-oriented and take into view social
    movements and social change over a period of time that allows to assess
    continuities and discontinuities. This might be long-durée studies, but
    also studies that consider a shorter period characterized by a
    historical turning point, for example going beyond (at both ends) the
    years of the First or the Second World War, beyond years marked by
    changes of statal structures, political regimes or borders, or beyond
    important markers of (attempted) social change, i. e. revolutions and
    similar upheavals.

(2) The panels will be clustered along the following thematical units:

  • Mental Mapping - Perceptions of the Self and of the Other

    The forceful - and sometimes rather unconscious - hierarchical or
    teleological mental map with regard to the stereotypical Southeast
    European „backwardness“, in particular with regard to „the West“,
    elucidates that the region still is perceived on the matrix of a Western
    European model progressiveness as the „other“, as „deviant“ and
    „fallacious“. This comparison between progress and backwardness has long
    entered Southeast European discourses, too, fostering a difficult
    process of identity construction between a belated modernization and a
    self-confident individuality. The aim of this panel is to diversify this
    rather unilateral mental map by counterposing varying mental maps and
    mutual perceptions and stereotypes within Europe, and going beyond a
    simplistic West-versus-East cultural hierarchy.

  • National and religious identities

    For Southeast Europe even more than for the rest of Europe is valid that
    geographical and social spaces more often than not are not compatible.
    The idea of the identity of nation and state lies at the root of many of
    the conflictual potentials in the region up to the present. The general
    post-socialist tendency to nationalize history-writing has largely
    prevented trans-national perspectives and has rather fostered
    historiographical interests that force contexts, problems, and processes
    into a framework too narrow to grasp all layers, colors, and „grey
    zones“. Structural and multilateral as well as multilocal
    interconnections and relations went beyond national borders, and social
    spaces more often than not have to be defined trans-nationally to be
    adequately understood. This panel compares the construction and the
    mutual influence and intermingling of national, religious, and social
    identities in given contexts, and focusses on phenomena of multiple
    identities, of national and religious segregation, assimilation,
    acculturation, adaptation, hybridization, and resistance.

  • Social Movements

    Having in mind the stereotypical and unilateral image of the modern,
    progressive „West“ transferring its cultural, political, economic, and
    social patrimony southeastwards, this panel compares European social
    movements - revolutions, rebellions, feminism, pacifism, socialism,
    fascism etc. -, attempting at diversifying this image. What is of
    interest here are the receptions and modifications of ideas being
    transferred from one social and cultural context to another, as well as
    the specific characteristics and means of expression of social movements
    in given contexts (democracies, dictatorial regimes etc.). Obviously,
    social movements often are associated with national and/or religious
    issues; this intermingling and the making of sense out of several layers
    of identity hence is a focal point of this panel also.

  • Social change and demographic mobility

    Migratory processes of varying natures largely hold responsible for
    Southeast Europe’s ethnic mixture. Yet migration, deportation, refuge,
    expulsion, and genocide are all-European phenomena characteristic for
    the 19th and especially the 20th century. Research having largely
    focussed on Western, Eastern, and Central Europe, this panel aims at
    contributing to adding comparative perspectives on Southeast European
    migratory and demographic processes. The panel is focussed on the social
    changes brought about in Europe by urbanisation, socalled ‚social
    engineering’, racial politics, ethnic and social ‚cleansing’, war etc.

The conference language is English.

Proposals should focus on methodological questions, problems, and
innovations connected to a research project underway or recently

Deadline for submission: 30. November, 2005.

Please send your proposals to:

Dr. Sabine Rutar, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Institut für soziale
Bewegungen, Clemensstr. 17-19, 44789 Bochum,

[1] Maria Todorova, The Trap of Backwardness:
Modernity, Temporality, and the Study of Eastern European Nationalism
in: Slavic Review 64, no. 1, spring 2005, pp. 140-164, p. 145. This
article, in fact, presents an ideal common analytical and methodological
reference point for the aims of this Call for Papers and the
contributions it hopes to attract.


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