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CFP: Socialist Heritage Around the World: A Heritage Without Borders?

4th Biennial Conference”Heritage Across Borders”

Association of Critical Heritage Studies

1-6th September, 2018

Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, China

Call for Papers: Socialist Heritage Around the World: A Heritage Without Borders?


This session intends to shed light on the heritage of Socialist pasts around the world. We particularly would like to explore and compare cases of former Soviet States and Republics, but also those of Asia, Latin America and Africa.  Indeed, Socialist world seemed to have been, if not excluded, not enough analyzed in heritage history. Therefore, we propose, not to project ‘Western’ categories onto Socialist countries, but rather to analyze specificity of Socialist conceptions and uses of heritage (Smith 2006) – taking thus on board the new guidelines of the growing scientific fields that are critical heritage studies.

Indeed, in these regimes base(d) on Marxism-Leninism, the edification of Socialism – in the literal and figurative sense – determined artistic, cultural and heritage policies. Ideology undeniably influenced the way of theorizing and ‘making’ heritage (Heinich 2006): it indeed oriented the choice of preserving the monuments of the past, as well as the type of artistic and cultural productions in the present, as also their way to be preserved for the future. Socialist regimes thus left material remains, especially monuments and architectures, that are still omnipresent all around the world. But is Socialist heritage a heritage without borders?

We invite cross-disciplinary papers to explore two main (but not limited) directions:

* First, the session aims to put into perspective ways of thinking and using heritage in Socialist countries. How did the Marxist-Leninist conception of Space and Time directly influenced heritage? What were profound reasons of heritagization in Socialist countries? Is there a “Socialist” interpretation of heritage? How did the Soviet conception of heritage influenced other countries? What are the differences between Socialist conceptions of heritage and those found in the capitalist world?

* Second, the session intends to better grasp the complexity of these “ideological heritages” in the era of post-Socialist transitions and social rupture. Policies toward material remains of Socialist pasts diverge indeed greatly and are often paradoxical, ranging from abandonment to “museumfication” depending on national contexts. We invite paper to precisely analyse the link between history writing, memory, identity (re)constructing and Socialist heritage in post-Socialist countries.

Deadline : 30th of November 2017

Guidelines to submit your proposal:

If you need any information, please contact Jule Deschepper: