The “Imre Kertész Kolleg Jena – Eastern Europe in the Twentieth Century: Comparative Historical Experience” at the Friedrich Schiller University Jena is an institute for advanced study of the historical events of the 20th century in Central and Eastern Europe. Within the context of the project “War, Violence, and Oppression” – one of the Kolleg’s five areas of research – the Kolleg plans to hold a workshop on “Political Violence in East Central and Southeastern Europe, 1945-1989”, subdivided into two panels (“1945-1957”; “1953-1989”), in Jena on 4 December 2012.
Our definition of “political violence” follows the concept of Bloxham/Gerwarth, focusing on four expressions of political violence:
- military conflicts
- generated by projects of genocide and ethnic cleansing
- of terrorism and of state repression
- revolutionary and counter-revolutionary
“In short, the term ‘political violence’ […] connotes all forms of violence enacted pursuant to aims of decisive socio-political control or change.”  This definition excludes important forms of violence such as social violence (family, labor relations, petty crime, gang/hooligan culture), but does not limit its focus on violent clashes between military or paramilitary organized groups of armed adult men. The historical experience of Eastern and Central Europe in the decades of state socialism includes oppression by surveillance, bureaucratic repressions and restrictions, censorship and other forms of everyday life impediments.
Instead of gathering expertise on single former socialist states, we encourage the submission of papers that examine manifestations of political violence and oppression in a transnational context, covering East Central and Southeastern Europe (roughly speaking the area east of the GDR and including the western parts of the Soviet Union, its North-South Axis stretching from the Baltic to the Black and the Adriatic Sea). Such manifestations could be e.g. expulsions, communist violence and counter-violence; state persecution by military or secret police; militarization of societies; conceptions of “future wars”. To enable a broad discussion of the workshop’s presentations in the plenum, the talks should be limited to 20 minutes.
Please sent a short proposal (1-2 pages) and a CV (including list of publications) as email attachments (PDF) to
Costs for travel (economy) and overnight stays will be covered by the Kolleg.
 Donald Bloxham/Robert Gerwarth (eds.): Political Violence in Twentieth-Century Europe, Cambridge 2011, pp. 1-2.
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