The anniversary of 1989 regime change brought about a wide range of discussions about Communist legacies and Cold War impact on the transitions in the Eastern European countries. In this respect, one can detect a tendency of approaching Communism by underlying the institutions which influenced its demise, or of analyzing transitions as a socio-political struggle for European (re)integration. In either way, the destinies of the ex-Communist countries are subjected to linear narratives, converging towards the vision of a teleological (self-)liberation. The interest in the past’s influence paradoxically cohabitates with a series of epistemological local reticences regarding applied research on recent history. This can be correlated with a general scarcity concerning meta-reflections on Cold War studies paradigms and - implicitly - with an empirical inaccessibility of the archival documents related to Cold War propaganda. One intriguing case is in this sense that of Radio Free Europe/ Radio Liberty, the importance of which is still emotionally evoked and scientifically underexplored because of the persistence of traumatic views about the past and because of unavailability of the sources.
We invite therefore proposals related to social sciences and humanities to evaluate the current state of area studies, Cold War history and media theories in order to enhance not just a meta-critical view about Cold War and Communism, but also to spur national historiographies to analytically appropriate their past forged by international policies and still made obscure by a plethora of undigested documents. In order to enhance the formation of truly critical and inter-cultural frameworks on teaching and conducting research on recent history, we also invite contributions with courses aiming at providing systematic introduction to the study of totalitarian societies by combining post-totalitarian theoretical frameworks with local narratives pertaining to social and oral history. By bringing together the history of ideas, psychohistory, symbolic interactionism, social history and media anthropology, the conference seeks in this way to concretely aggregate an interdisciplinary framework for the study of a period characterized by complex intellectual mobility, the intricate interplay of fantasies about the “Other”, different societal accommodations, generational changes and conceptual imbrications between East-European traditions and Western cultural and political models.
The conference is organized by OSA Archivum in cooperation with CEU History (Karl Hall and Ioana Toma) and IRES (Irina Papkov) Departments, CEU CRC and International Alternative Culture Center (Olga Zaslavskaya)
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