s of the Other in Central and Eastern Europe.
Continuity and change in mutual perceptions between 1968 and 1989”
Venue and time: German Historical Institute Warsaw, 15th-17th November 2012
German Historical Institute Warsaw (GHI Warsaw)
European Network Remembrance and Solidarity (ENRS)
Institute for Political Studies of the Polish Academy of Sciences (ISP PAN)
in cooperation with the Chair for Central and Eastern European Studies of Chemnitz University of Technology
Concept and organization:
Prof. Dr. hab. Wanda Jarząbek (ISP PAN)
Dr. Jens Boysen (GHI Warsaw)
Dr. Burkhard Olschowsky & Dr. Dominik Pick (ENRS)
The two decades between the crushing of the Prague Spring in 1968 and the downfall of the Communist regimes in Central and Eastern Europe in 1989 were characterised not only by changing trends in ‘real politics’ but as well by a variety of ideas and images that existed in those societies regarding the political, societal, cultural, religious and other framework systems. Increasing cross-border impressions and experiences contributed to a gradual widening of people’s “horizons” and to more differentiated patterns of thinking and behaviour, as well as, accordingly, a more complex perception of other persons’ points of view.
The planned conference aims to reconstruct these changes in “Images of the Other” on a national and international scale. The term of the “Other” is meant here to describe any social strata, groups or individuals perceived by a given observer as being of relevance for his/her own societal-political orientation. This could apply as well to members of their own society as to those of other nations – be it within their own alliance or across the Iron Curtain.
The processes of perception of “Others” are based on experiences and memories and it is the created images that go on to change our further phases of perception. These processes were influenced by various internal and external factors: certainly the détente policy of the 1970s, but as well changing global trends of this time, such as cultural liberalisation, the change of generation and change in values, or the establishment of the “consumers’ society”.
In this context, the conference is intended to address, among others, the following issues:
What impact did the modernisation phenomena (e.g., change in values, urbanisation, spreading of education, differentiated etc.) have on the worldview of individuals and societies?
How do people compare their own life conditions to those of other individuals or groups within their own society?
What relation could be observed between peoples’ own experiences with other countries’ citizens and those specified in the state-issued guidelines regulating the officially desired “Images of Others”?
How significant were positive, negative or neutral stereotypes – including those from before 1945 – in perception of “Others”, especially coming from other nations?
What impact did personal experiences abroad have on people’s life back home and on their relationships with other society groups?
To what extent was the perception of a common European ‘destiny’ during the Cold War of relevance to individual and collective identities?
Did the common experience of life under a dictatorship create some kind of special empathy among the societies in the Soviet sphere of influence?
In which way did the realities of dictatorships in the countries of Central and Eastern Europe influence the way their citizens were perceived in the West?
The conference is expected to show the multi-level character of the societal communication processes that shaped these images, as well as to highlight the diverse contacts established by state and non-state actors in the fields of culture, media, politics, economy, education and sports. Keywords here are self-images and alien images, auto- and heterostereotypes.
A focus will be placed on examples of cultural transfers across the borders of nations and alliances. Especially, a bottom-up approach shall be used to illustrate the social contacts and encounters that create long-lasting images and cultural patterns. Using historical remembrance terminology, that means contributions on the relationship between individual, collective and cultural memories, principally in the societies of “real socialism” but also in democratic societies.
We invite you to submit paper proposals in particular for comparative studies that cover several countries and/or long-term processes that reach beyond the ‘landmark’ set in 1980-81 by “Solidarity”.
The paper proposals should concentrate on Central and Eastern Europe, principally the then Communist states: GDR, Poland, Czechoslovakia and Hungary, but as well the “old” Federal Republic of Germany and Austria. Additionally, we invite you to submit further proposals concerning relations in this region as well as with other countries in Western Europe, the Soviet Union, USA, and Canada.
Proposals should be sent by June 15th 2012, to the following address:
German Historical Institute Warsaw, c/o Dr Jens Boysen, Aleje UjazdowsAbstracts should include a summary of the topic and the planned methodology, as well as a brief biography (in total max. 1,5 pages). Please include information regarding your active and passive knowledge of foreign languages.
The organisers intend to produce a post-conference publication.kie 39, PL-00-540 Warszawa
Send comments and questions to H-Net
Webstaff. H-Net reproduces announcements that have been submitted to us as a
free service to the academic community. If you are interested in an announcement
listed here, please contact the organizers or patrons directly. Though we strive
to provide accurate information, H-Net cannot accept responsibility for the text of
announcements appearing in this service. (Administration)