CFP: State Socialism, Heritage Experts and Internationalism in Heritage Protection after 1945

Join us in Exeter for our collaborative conference with the Herder Institute exploring the rising contributions of socialist and non-aligned actors...

Join us for our conference on the “Other Globalisers”, Exeter 6-7 July 2017

The Other Globalisers: How the Socialist and the Non-Aligned World Shaped the Rise of Post-War Economic Globalisation Location: Exeter University,...

The Future of the Past: Why the End of Yugoslavia is Still Important

By Ljubica Spaskovska A new socialist model is emerging in the western Balkans. Can its political vocabulary transcend the ethno-national dividing...

Writing Human Rights into the History of State Socialism

By Ned Richardson-Little The collapse of the Communist Bloc in 1989-1991 is viewed as one of the great triumphs of...

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Post-Doctoral Positions with PanEur1970s at the European University Institute

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Two Research Associate positions are currently available with the PanEur1970s – Looking West: the European Socialist regimes facing pan-European cooperation and the European Community, based at the European University Institute. This five year project is investigating the European Socialist regimes’ expectations and predicaments vis-à-vis the opening of a space of pan-European cooperation in the long 1970s.

Research Associate Vacancy: GDR and European cooperation in the 1970s (24 months)

Applications are now open for a research associate to study these debates in the German Democratic Republic (East Germany) by exploring and analysing archival as well as published sources.

More specifically, s/he will do research on East Germany’s socialist elites’ views, policies, and ideas on the processes of European cooperation and integration in the 1970s.

The position will be for 24 months, starting from October 2016.

The appointed candidate will receive a monthly net salary of approximately 2500 EUR depending on qualifications and allowances (household allowance, expatriation allowance, travel allowance, medical insurance, and dependents’ allowances, if applicable).

Funding for research missions and participation to international conferences will also be provided.

The candidate will have a PhD in History (preferably international or economic history) or in a closely related discipline, as well as research experience on GDR’s archival records.

S/he will be fluent in German and have good command of English.

Knowledge of other European languages may constitute an advantage but is not required.


 

Research Associate Vacancy: Bulgaria and European cooperation in the 1970s (24 months)

Applications are now open for a Research Associate to study these debates in Bulgaria by exploring and analysing archival as well as published sources.

More specifically, s/he will do research on Bulgaria’s socialist elites’ views, policies, and ideas on the processes of European cooperation and integration in the 1970s.

The position will be for 24 months, starting from October 2016.

The appointed candidate will receive a monthly net salary of approximately 2500 EUR depending on qualifications and allowances (household allowance, expatriation allowance, travel allowance, medical insurance, and dependents’ allowances, if applicable).

Funding for research missions and participation to international conferences will also be provided.

The candidate will have a PhD in History (preferably international or economic history) or in a closely related discipline, as well as research experience on Bulgaria’s archival records.

S/he will be fluent in Bulgarian and have good command of English.

Knowledge of other European languages may constitute an advantage but is not required.


 

The deadline to submit applications for both posts is 31 May 2016.

More information and details of how to apply can be found on the PanEur1970s website:

GDR and European cooperation post

Bulgaria and European cooperation post

Global Circuits of Expertise and the Making of the Post-1945 World

Interested in learning more about Professor James Mark’s research on  Hungary, South Korea and economic exchange in the Late Cold War? Then why not come along to Global Circuits of Expertise and the Making of the Post-1945 World: Eastern European and Asian Perspectives in New York, 29 – 30 April 2016:

Location:
Weatherhead East Asian Institute
International Affairs Building, Room 918 – 420 West 118th Street, New York, New York 10027

Register:
https://www.eventbrite.com/e/global-circuits-of-expertise-and-the-making-of-the-post-1945-world-tickets-22426838277


 

This workshop aims to explore transfer and circulation of expert knowledge across socialist worlds in the post-1945 period of decolonization. The workshop brings together scholars with regional expertise, Eastern European and/or Asian, to seek commonalities between histories and historiographies that cut across regions, geopolitical blocs and continents.

Bringing these stories together, we will tell a story of expert circulation in the “socialist world.” These were regions where socialism was the dominant state ideology, where socialist parties were politically dominant, or where “progressive” export cultures played important roles. Yet we also wish to consider how experts from “socialist cultures” interacted globally, and were part of broader transnational debates over modernisation, political development, technology, and decolonization. Connections were made, for example, between Eastern Europe and India, as well as Socialist China and India, that defied Cold War blocs. Bringing scholars working across these regions, and on the place of these regions in a global perspective, will help provide important new insights into non-western contributions to various fields of knowledge in the wake of decolonisation.

This event is sponsored by the Weatherhead East Asian Institute, The Harriman Institute,  and The Center for Science and Society at Columbia University, and the Arts and Humanities Research Council (UK)-funded research project “Socialism Goes Global”.

Workshop Programme

GlobalCircuits

Friday, April 29

9:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Panel 1: Science and Decolonization
Chaired by Eugenia Lean, Columbia University

Session 1: The Eastern European Peasant in Nehru’s India: Transnational Debates on Rural Economies, 1930s-1960s
Malgorzata Mazurek, Columbia University
Session 2: Water Management and Transnational Expertise in 1950s China and India
Arunabh Ghosh, Harvard University
Session 3: Curing Ills with Socialist Medicine: China’s Medical Missions in Algeria, 1963-1973
Dongxin Zou, Columbia University

2:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.

Panel 2: Global Revolution: Circuits of Expertise and Techniques
Chaired by James Mark, Exeter University

Session 4: The Screen is Red: China and East Germany Make Films Together in 1950s
Quinn Slobodian, Wellesley College
Session 5: Between Work and Struggle: The Varieties of Bolshevik “Self-Criticism” in Maoist China
Chris Chang, Columbia University

3:45 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Panel 3: Politics of Exchange and Circulation
Chaired by Eugenia Lean, Columbia University

Session 6: Tending the Trees of Friendship, Breeding New Knowledge at Home: The Case of the Albanian Olive Tree in China
Sigrid Schmalzer, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
Session 7: Earthquakes, Disaster Governance, and Socialist China — an International Perspective
Fa-ti Fan, State University of New York, Binghamton

Saturday, April 30

9:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Panel 4: Late Socialist Reforms: Economics and Exchange
Chaired by Malgorzata Mazurek, Columbia University

Session 8:  Entangled Electronics: Bulgarian Computers and the Developing World as a Space of Exchange, 1967-1990
Victor Petrov, Columbia University
Session 9: The Political-Economy of Détente: Interdependence, Technocratic Internationalism and Formation of Perestroika Political Economy
Yakov Feygin, University of Pennsylvania
Session 10: Between Eastern Europe and the ‘East Asian Tigers’: Hungary, South Korea and Economic Exchange in the Late Cold War
James Mark, Exeter University

2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Roundtable

Paul Betts, Oxford University
Eugenia Lean, Columbia University
Elidor Mehilli, Hunter College
Adam Tooze, Columbia University

Link to Conference Poster

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Human Rights after 1945 in the Socialist and Post-Socialist World Conference Programme

March 3-5, 2016
German Historical Institute Warsaw
Conference Room, 3rd Floor

Organizers:

German Historical Institute Warsaw
1989 after 1989: Rethinking the Fall of State Socialism in Global Perspective
Georg-August University of Göttingen

Synopsis

human rights after 1945 confernece-imageAs both human rights and globalization have emerged as dynamic fields of historical and sociological research, the “socialist world” is relegated to a supporting role in the triumph of Western capitalism and liberal democracy. The aim of this conference is to question established narratives that have ignored or downplayed the role of socialist ideas, practice, and experts—be they state officials, loyal intellectuals or dissident activists — in the development of international human rights ideas, discourses, and systems in the post-war era. With a geographic scope that covers the Soviet Union, the Eastern Bloc, Yugoslavia and China, we hope to show that the socialist world did not just react passively to Western human rights politics, but was a vital participant in the production of global human rights with legacies that continued past the revolutions of 1989. By examining the socialist contribution to the evolution of human rights, we hope to contribute to revising standard narratives of globalization that focus exclusively on the perceived winners of these processes.

Conference Programme

Thursday, 3 March 2016


 

14:00-14:30
Welcoming Address
Ruth LEISEROWITZ (German Historical Institute Warsaw)

14:30-15:30
Introductory Panel: State Socialism, Human Rights and Globalization: In Search of a New Narrative 
Hella DIETZ (Georg-August University of Göttingen)
Ned RICHARDSON-LITTLE (University of Exeter)
Robert BRIER (London School of Economics)

15:30-16:00 Coffee break

16:00-18:00
Panel 1: Defining Human Rights Internationally

Steven JENSEN (Danish Institute for Human Rights)
Defining the Social in the Global: Social Rights, UN Diplomacy and the Emergence of International Non-Discrimination Norms and Politics, 1950-1960

Alexander OSIPOV (European Centre for Minority Issues)
The Soviet Union’s Involvement in the Establishment of the European Minority Rights Regime

Discussant: Arnd BAUERKÄMPER (Free University Berlin)

19:00 Conference Dinner

 

Friday, 4 March 2016


 

09:00-11:00
Panel 2: State-Socialist Conceptions of Rights and Human Rights

Jennifer ALTEHENGER (King’s College London)
Rights, Not Human Rights: Communist China’s National Constitution Discussion, 1954

Michal KOPEČEK (Institute for Contemporary History, Prague and Charles University, Prague)
Socialist Conceptions of Human Rights and its Dissident Critique

Todor HRISTOV (University of Sofia)
Rights to Weapons: Human Rights as a Resource in Workplace Conflicts in Late Socialist Bulgaria

Discussant: Paul BETTS (Oxford University)

11:00-11:30 Coffee Break

11:30-13:00
Panel 3: Tolerance, Difference, and Rights under Socialism

Ivan SABLIN (University of Heidelberg)
Illusive Tolerance: Buddhism in the Late Soviet State

Zhuoyi WEN (Hong Kong Institute of Education)
Contesting Cultural Rights in Post-socialist China

Discussant: tba

13:00-14:30 Lunch break

14:30-16:00
Panel 4: Human Rights as Socialist Foreign Policy

Sebastian GEHRIG (Oxford University)
The Fifth Column of the Third World? The East German Quest for International Recognition through UN Rights Discourses

Jens BOYSEN (German Historical Institute Warsaw)
Polish Engagement in the United Nations as a Tool for Justifying Communist Rule in Poland and Gaining Leeway in the Warsaw Pact

Discussant: Robert BRIER
(London School of Economics)

16:00-16:30 Coffee Break

16:30-18:00
Panel 5: Transnational Movements and Flows

Christie MIEDEMA (University of Amsterdam)
Negotiating Space for International Human Rights Activism: Amnesty International in Eastern Europe before 1989

Rósa MAGNÚSDÓTTIR (University of Aarhus)
Soviet-American Intermarriage: Transnational Love and the Cold War

Discussant: James MARK (University of Exeter)

19:00 Dinner for the conference participants

 

Saturday, 5 March 2016


 

9:00-11:00
Panel 6: Dissent and Human Rights

Simone BELLEZZA (University of Eastern Piedmont)
The Right to Be Different: Ukrainian Dissent and the Struggle Against a Global Consumerist Cultural Standardization

Hermann AUBIÉ (University of Turku)
Between Loyalty and Dissent: Revisiting the History of Human Rights in China Through the Discourse of Chinese Intellectuals and Dissidents

Zsófi a LÓRÁND (European University Institute, Florence)
Feminist Dissent, Activism for the Elimination of Violence against Women, and the Human Rights Discourse in Yugoslavia in the 1970s-1980s

Discussant: Celia DONERT (University of Liverpool)

11:00-11:30 Coffee Break

11:30-13:00
Concluding Panel: The Place of State Socialist Societies in the Global History of Human Rights
Paul BETTS (Oxford University)
James MARK (University of Exeter)
Celia DONERT (University of Liverpool)

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Call for Journal Articles: 1956, Resistance and Cultural Opposition in East Central Europe

The deadline for submissions of abstracts for the 4th issue of Hungarian Historical Review on 1956, Resistance and Cultural Opposition in East Central Europe is fast approaching.

Abstracts of 500 words and a short biography listing the author’s five most important publications should be submitted by the January 15, 2016. Those selected will then be asked to submit their final articles no later than June 16, 2016, with the articles being published following a peer-review process. The call for journal articles can be found below:

Call for Journal Articles: 1956, Resistance and Cultural Opposition in East Central Europe

Since 1989, former socialist countries have been in the process of constructing and negotiating their relationships with their recent past, which includes their stories of resistance, revolts and cultural opposition. Opposition is typically understood in a narrow sense as referring to open political resistance to communist governments. We propose a more nuanced historical conception of resistance, opposition and revolts, expanding the concept towards broader frameworks of political participation in order to facilitate a better understanding of how dissent and criticism were possible in the former socialist regimes of Eastern Europe.

Since the authorities tried to control public spheres and there were no opportunities for democratic public debates, several critical movements (democratic, Church related or nationalist opposition) decided to establish underground public spheres and declared open opposition to the socialist state. However, several cultural groups with no open political program (e. g. avant-garde art, alternative religious communities, youth culture) were also regarded as forms of opposition and branded as such by the authorities, and, as a result, they were also forced underground.

Possible topics include:

– Individuals, institutions, groups and networks of cultural opposition;

– New perspectives of revolts (1956, 1968, 1981) against the Communist regimes;

– Members of the “hard-core” democratic opposition, who were banned during the socialist

period (including the world of samizdat publications, art movements, and non-official

lectures);

– Activities and networks of elite and intellectual groups of the opposition;

– Radical and experimental theatre;

– Underground and non-conformist youth and popular culture;

– Religious groups and institutions and their roles in the opposition;

– Cultural and scientific institutions, which implemented the research agenda of the opposition

(e.g. research on poverty in the communist regimes).

* Further information and guidance on submission can be found on the Hungarian Historical Review website.

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Funded Doctoral Positions with PanEur1970s at European University Institute

 

PanEur1970s is a five-year project (2015-2020) – based at the European University Institute (EUI) – to investigate the European Socialist regimes’ expectations and predicaments vis-à-vis the opening of a space of pan-European cooperation in the long 1970s. Funded by the European Research Council (ERC), they are offering three four-year PhD studentships in East Germany, Poland and Bulgaria, with enrolment onto the History and Civilization Department’s doctoral programme at the European University Institute.

Successful applicants will be expected to start on the 1 September 2016 and should consider their research proposals within the framework of the project. Requirements for the project in particular are:

  • MA in History, preferably with a specialization in international and\or economic history;
  • Readiness to work in a team of researchers and to enrol in the regular EUI PhD programme;
  • Good knowledge of English and excellent command of the language of the country the candidate will study (German, Polish or Bulgarian);
  • Knowledge of other European languages will constitute an advantage.

The successful candidates will be awarded an annual grant equivalent to, or slightly higher than, the EUI grant (currently € 1280 per month), in addition to dependants’ allowances (if applicable), travel allowance and medical insurance.

For information about the online application procedure and to submit your application, please see the EUI website. Further information about the PanEur1970s project can be found on their website.

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Call for Papers: (Re)Thinking Yugoslav Internationalism – Cold War Global Entanglements and their Legacies

Graz, Austria
Centre for Southeast European Studies, University of Graz and the University of Exeter
30 September – 1 October 2016

Call for Papers Deadline: 28 February 2016

(Re)Thinking Yugoslav Internationalism – Cold War Global Entanglements and their Legacies

For more than forty years, Yugoslavia was one of the most internationalist and outward looking of all socialist countries in Europe, playing leading roles in various trans-national initiatives – principally as central participant within the Non-Aligned Movement – that sought to remake existing geopolitical hierarchies and rethink international relations. Both moral and pragmatic motives often overlapped in its efforts to enhance cooperation between developing nations, propagate peaceful coexistence in a divided world and pioneer a specific non-orthodox form of socialism.

Although the disintegration of socialist Yugoslavia has received extensive treatment across a range of disciplines, the end of Yugoslavia’s global role and the impacts this had both at home and abroad, have received little attention. Coinciding with the 55th anniversary of the Belgrade summit and the foundation of the Non-Aligned Movement, this conference seeks to open up a range of questions relating to the wealth of diplomatic, economic, intellectual and cultural encounters and exchange between 1945 – 1990, both within the Non-Aligned Movement, across the socialist world and with the developed countries. It would map the history of Yugoslavia’s global engagements not only as a subject associated with political/diplomatic history, but also as a broader societal and cultural project. Important witnesses involved in those exchanges and alliances will also be invited to share their experiences.

We welcome papers from different disciplines and from diverse perspectives, whether dealing with aspects of Cold War international cooperation, development, Yugoslavia’s global role, or the ‘global’ Cold War from the perspective of the developing world and the ‘global South’. We particularly encourage proposals which would reflect on:

  • the roots of Yugoslav internationalism and how it was understood in cultural/economic/social as well as political/diplomatic terms;
  • the contours of Yugoslav diplomacy and the ways Yugoslav elites conceptualised their global role;
  • the role of Yugoslavia in the United Nations, its agencies and other international organisations as the fora for global encounters and in particular the attempts at tackling global inequality and alternative development;
  • the relationship between Yugoslavia, the different liberation movements and the newly emerging independent nations in the ‘global South’ (including cultural diplomacy, labour migration, individual travel);
  • the realities and challenges of foreign trade, investment construction and economic cooperation;
  • the ways international engagements reshaped aspects of political, economic or cultural life back in Yugoslavia;
  • the role and significance of the Non-Aligned Movement during the Cold War and today;
  • the international impact of the end of Yugoslavia and the collapse of her global role;
  • the legacies and new understandings of Yugoslavia’s global role.

Abstracts of 300-500 words, together with an accompanying short biographical note should be submitted to Natalie Taylor (N.H.Taylor@exeter.ac.uk) by 28 February 2016.

Funding opportunities for travel and accommodation are available, but we ask that potential contributors also explore funding opportunities at their home institutions.

This event is kindly supported by the Centre for Southeast European Studies and the Leverhulme Trust-funded project 1989 after 1989: Rethinking the Fall of State Socialism in Global Perspective at the University of Exeter.

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Call for Papers: Human Rights after 1945 in the Socialist and Post-Socialist World

German Historical Institute, Warsaw
March 3 – 5, 2016

Call for Papers Deadline: 27 November 2015

Human Rights after 1945 in the Socialist and Post-Socialist World

Histories of late twentieth century global change have focused on its perceived winners on a macro-scale: democratic capitalism, global markets and individual rights. In such formulations, the “socialist world” and its history appear irrelevant to understanding global processes and unable to inform liberal Western democratic societies.

The global rise of human rights might look like a particularly striking case in point. The formal guarantees of rights in socialist societies, after all, seemed to have no substantial effect on these societies’ political and legal practices, and the debate on civil society in “the West” which east European human rights activists had inspired during the 1980s, did not survive socialism’s fall in that region.

In this conference, we want to question those narratives. Actors from the socialist world – be they state officials, loyal intellectuals or dissident activists – actively participated in international conflicts over the meaning of democracy, economic freedom, religious liberty and national self-determination in the post-war period. Socialist officials took part in drafting the U.N. covenants of 1966, in turning South African apartheid or repression in Chile into global causes célèbres or in promoting women’s rights. African socialists shaped human rights discourses by blending them with the struggle for self-determination, while Latin American activists grafted human rights to their Marxist ideas. Chinese Communists joined traditional ideas of cultural difference with Leninist ideology to create a distinct human rights discourse. Dissident intellectuals, on the other hand, did not necessarily take the West’s side in the Cold War when they criticized socialist realities, but developed innovative human rights vernaculars deeply shaped by their unique contexts. In sum, the “socialist world” did not just react passively to Western human rights politics, but was a vital participant in the story of the production of global human rights.

This conference seeks to explore how the socialist world can be written into the broader global narratives of the rise of human rights in the 20th century, and even revise these narratives. Our understanding of the “socialist world” is deliberately inclusive. It entails the socialist systems of eastern Europe, Eurasia, Africa, Southern and East Asia as well as socialist and Communist parties and movements more broadly, and anti-colonial or anti-dictatorial movements in the Global South.

We welcome papers from different disciplines and from diverse perspectives, whether dealing with official discourses, state policies, right experts, or national or transnational political movements.

We particularly encourage proposals on the following topics:

  • rights cultures within socialist societies, including reflections on the global context of their construction;
  • the contribution of socialist elites, experts and social groups to the global rise of human rights;
  • connections across the socialist world in the production of conceptions of rights, including reflections on the role of international organizations or transnational movements;
  • the importance of rights discourses for socialist regimes and movements in establishing legitimacy at home and abroad;
  • the use of rights discourses by opposition movements, and the relationship between official/ alternative rights movements within socialist societies;
  • the legacy of rights discourses within socialist and post-socialist societies today;
  • comparisons, and connections between, the production of rights ideas in the socialist and non-socialist worlds;
  • rethinking the role of rights and the collapse of socialist states;
  • broader reflections on writing the socialist world into the history of rights;
  • broader reflections on how these stories contribute to the rethinking of the story of cultural and political globalization.

This conference is the first in a series of meetings exploring how processes and practices that emerged from the socialist world shaped the re-globalized world of our times. Throughout, the legacies of this socialist engagement with globalising processes in the socialist and post-socialist world will also be an important point of interest.

Please send a brief abstract of 300-500 words, as well as a brief CV, by November 27, 2015, to Natalie Taylor at the University of Exeter (N.H.Taylor@exeter.ac.uk ). All organizational questions can be sent to Natalie Taylor. Academic queries should be sent to Hella Dietz (Hella.Dietz@sowi.uni-goettingen.de ).

Download the Call for Papers: Call for Papers Human Rights after 1945

Substantial funding opportunities for travel and accommodation are available, but we ask that potential contributors also explore funding opportunities at their home institutions.

This event is kindly supported by the German Historical Institute in Warsaw and the Leverhulme Trust-funded project 1989 after 1989: Rethinking the Fall of State Socialism in Global Perspective at the University of Exeter.

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Contested Nazi Victimhood after 1989

Toasting Polish Dachau

By Nelly Bekus

International Day of Liberation of Nazi Concentration Camp Inmates and its Geopolitical Implications

The date 11th of April is marked by the Russian News Agency RIA as “International Day of Liberation of Nazi Concentration Camp Inmates.” According to RIA, “The International Day of Liberation was established to commemorate the international uprising of the Buchenwald concentration camp prisoners.” The Calendar of Events project—Calendar.ru, the most comprehensive resource on “holidays and memorial days” on Russian-language Internet, refers to April 11 as International Day of Liberation of Nazi Concentration Camp Inmates in two categories: in “Great Patriotic War” and as “International Days of Observance.” There is an article on this Day of Observance in Russian Wikipedia; it refers to RIA as a main source and even mistakenly claims that it was established by the UN. Information on International Day of Liberation of Nazi Concentration Camp Inmates, however, is not to be found in other languages anywhere except the Russian international news agency Sputnik, working in foreign languages (previously known as The Voice of Russia).

The piece of information provided by RIA serves as a starting point for hundreds of publications across the Russian and post-Soviet media that report on various remembrance events dedicated to the memory of victims of Nazi’s concentration camps taking place on this day. In Moscow, a memorial rally at Poklonnaya Hill is held at The Tragedy of the Peoples monument, erected in 1996 in the memory of former Nazi concentration camps’ inmates and constitutes an integral part of the Victory Memorial Park on Poklonnaya Hill in Moscow. Rallies are traditionally organized by the International Union of Former Juvenile Prisoners of Fascism. The Union was created in 1988 as the Union of Former Juvenile Prisoners in Soviet Union; in 1992 it was reinvented as the International Union, which provided platform for cooperation between analogous national Unions within the former Soviet space. In fact, the April 11 has been observed in those states, where national and local branches of this International Union function. Attended by former Nazi concentration camp inmates and their descendants these memorial meetings have profound public appeal due to the engagement of educational and cultural institutions and media coverage. Commemorations on the April 11 have been widely supported by local government; ceremonies are attended by top officials, with the exception of Baltic countries, where the remembrance events on the April 11 are supported by Orthodox Church instead.

Buchenwald memorial

Buchenwald Memorial

Alongside the rallies, there are traditional ceremonies of flower-laying at the monuments and memorial sites dedicated to the former Nazi camps’ prisoners held across the regions, and also concerts in memory of victims, “lessons of heroism” at schools, various dedicatory exhibitions and meetings in public libraries and museums are organized across Russia and other post-Soviet states. Governmental educational resources provide variety of supporting materials such as proposed scenario for the “lessons on heroism,” suggested literature, etc. In a way, this informational support is analogous to what can be found on the United Nations webpage with educational materials and information products recommended for the observance of the International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust on the January 27, established by UN in 2006. In fact, the status of April 11 in post-Soviet countries clearly creates the impression of maintaining a parallel memory on the former inmates of Nazi’s concentration camps.

Between Auschwitz and Buchenwald

The symbolism of the date—the day of liberation of Buchenwald camp on April 11, as opposed to January 27, the day of liberation of the Camp of Auschwitz chosen by UN—appears to have special meaning in commemoration of victims of Nazi regime. This symbolism goes back to the initial stage of memorial work in the early post-war years. The history of the Buchenwald’s liberation compiled by RIA agency and reproduced every year in numerous post-Soviet media on the April 11 tells the story of heroic uprising of the Buchenwald concentration camp inmates:

“65 years ago, on April 11, 1945, a red flag was hoisted over the Buchenwald camp administrative building. On that day the inmates disarmed and took prisoner more than 800 SS-men and camp guards […]

Two days later US troops reached Buchenwald.”

This concise story mentions only shortly “the red flag” raised by underground rebels and fails to mention that the resistance was organized mostly by Communists. Similarly politically neutral narration can be found on the webpage of Buchenwald Museum: “April 11. The SS flees, but before the fighting is over, inmates of the camp resistance occupy the tower and take charge of order and administration in the camp.”

Evidently, communists’ involvement in the underground resistance at Buchenwald lost its appeal in contemporary perspective. Nevertheless, immediately after the war this fact was not only recognized but also effectively used in promotion of corresponding memory narrative on the struggle of communist antifascists against Nazis. The camp was perceived as a symbol of political victims who were also heroic fighters and played essential role in memorialization of the Second World War among anti-fascist in many European countries. Buchenwald’s key role in the formation of international memory of former concentration camps’ inmates was officially confirmed in 1948, when the International Federation of Former Political Prisoners (FIAPP) declared the April 11 as “The International Day of Former Political Prisoners” and “The International Day of the Deportees.” Later it was renamed into the “Day of International Solidarity of Liberated Political Prisoners and Fighters” by the successor of FIAPP—International Federation of Resistance Fighters (FIR). In those days, April 11 was a day with profound international anti-fascist connotation, which could be proudly communicated across the East-West divide. With the beginning of Cold War and the rising tensions between the Western and Eastern blocs, the political prisoners’ organization, such as FIAPP/FIR, lost their influence in the West. Buchenwald memory and the symbolism of April 11 were gradually reduced to the communist milieu.

In GDR, Buchenwald was entitled the role of major pantheon to heroic resistance fighters and the “self-liberation” of the camp became the focus of a memorial complex (1958). Buchenwald, a site of official pilgrimage and ceremonies, stood for antifascism and to some extent was called to instil pride. Memory narrative developed on the Eastern side of the Iron Curtain, which preferred to commemorate Communist “fighters” rather than Jewish “victims.” On the other side of the Berlin Wall, the association between communist ideology and post-war antifascist discourse in communist countries resulting in the marginalization of Holocaust made it easier for Western Allies to listen to the voice of victims of racial persecution, above all Jews. For them, it was Auschwitz that became the symbol of Nazi crimes as well as collective shame and guilt.

In the context of Cold War, the politicization of memorial work on the other side of the Iron Curtain was combined with the corresponding political line. Communist states combined it with anti-Western political propaganda; the Alliance and other anti-communist organizations merged honoring of Nazism’s victims with the pursuit of their own political agenda: comparing Stalinism with Nazism did more than condemn Communism; it also downplayed the uniqueness of the Nazis’ regime.

It was at that time, in 1950, when also the term “victims of fascism” was discarded by Philipp Auerbach for its communist connotations and proposed to replace it with “victims of Nazism.” Since then, the previously common enemy was even to be named by former Allies differently.

After 1989: An Unsuccessful Memory Unification

The Fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 brought a hope that the memory of World War II could provide a solid ground for overcoming Cold War’s divisive legacy. In the 1990s it seemed fairly possible that integration of the “Western” and the “Eastern” perspectives into a common paradigm of remembering could become one of the building bricks in a new European home.

Some changes in the memory politics of the post-Soviet Russia and CIS countries have, indeed, occurred. The memory of Jewish genocide was given more consideration as a part of war story in the territory of former Soviet Union than previously. The real unification of European and post-Soviet memory spaces, however, has never been achieved. Instead, political transition in former socialist states and the reconfiguration of EU borders resulted in a formation of new symbolic mapping of memory.

In the European history of remembering the victims of the Second World War, the focus on Holocaust was transformed, as Aleida Assmann noted, “into a transgenerational and transnational memory.” Shared memories of Holocaust were capable of uniting European countries in commemorating its victims and teaching next generation of Europeans the history lesson, becoming a foundation myth for united Europe and a moral yardstick for new member states since 2005. Commemoration of the Holocaust victims came to be one of unifying rites called to manifest the common efforts in creation of Europe as a remembering community. In 2005, European Holocaust Memorial Day across the EU was established on January 27. The same year and for the same date the General Assembly of UN established annual International Day of Commemoration in Memory of Victims of the Holocaust. Even though in some calendars of several former socialist states one can still find “Day of International Solidarity of Liberated Political Prisoners and Fighters” mentioned with the reference to Buchenwald liberation, no commemorative activity has ever been reported on this day outside post-Soviet space.

Many post-Soviet countries also join UN commemorations of the Holocaust victims. None of them, however, has the Commemoration Day included into the official calendar of observance days. In Russia and other post-Soviet countries this day has been observed by Jewish national organizations, foreign diplomatic missions and has, as a rule, semi-official status. Several attempts have been made to include commemoration of Holocaust into the official calendar of Russian state which has considerable Jewish community: in 2001, by the foundation “Holocaust”; in 2008 by the Federation of Jewish Communities of Russia; in 2012 by the Russian Jewish Congress; in 2013 by a Russian opposition party “Just Russia.” None of these initiatives, however, has been successful.

The day of 27th of January has been widely commemorated by national and religious Jewish organizations of Russia, often with the participation of Russian top officials. The president of Russia often takes part in these observances, but the mode and the context of such commemoration clearly marks the space of the Holocaust memory as a matter of one of Russia’s religious and national minorities. In 2010, Dmitry Medvedev, the then President of Russia, sent his greetings to participants in the ceremonies commemorating the 65th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp. In his address, Medvedev urged not forget that along with six million people that “were killed simply because of their ethnicity, simply for being Jewish,” there were other victims, too, because “according to the Nazis’ plan, at least a third of the population in the occupied territories was to follow their fate.” This attention to “other victims” of Nazi’s genocide in Medvedev’s address, as well as keeping the status of International Holocaust Remembrance Day as a matter of one of Russian Federation’s national minorities reveal an unarticulated intention to keep the weight of the “Jewish aspect” in the post-Soviet memory of the Second World War under controlled balance. It displays the post-Soviet determination to prevent total re-writing of the Soviet-originated narrative of the history of Second World War and the re-casting the memory on its victims in accordance with “Western” mode. And while Jewish communities in Russia join worldwide commemoration of January 27 as International Holocaust Remembrance Day, in the calendar of Russian state, January 27 is also marked as a date commemorating the end of Leningrad siege (established in 1995).

Reshaping a Divided Victimhood

Surely, in contemporary conditions the division lines in the memory sphere work differently. Disregarding Holocaust in post-Soviet countries proves to be both impossible and unreasonable and Jewish communities across the former Soviet space observe the Memory of Holocaust on January 27. Emphasis on Holocaust, however, conveys implicit meaning of being “Western interpretation” of Nazi’s victimhood. And revitalization of public commemorations on April 11 in post-Soviet states clearly demonstrates that the once envisaged “unification” of divided victimhood is not going to be achieved by one-sided acceptance of the “Western” memory perspective by the former “East”. Along with the “Europeanization of the memory boom” denoted by rising significance of Holocaust Remembrance Day on January 27, the official memory politics in post-Soviet countries sought to establish alternative commemoration which would meet the needs and wishes of the majority of former Soviet people. April 11 was assigned this role of the post-Soviet parallel to the European Commemoration of Holocaust which allows to maintain “other” perspective on the “victimhood of fascism” alongside the memory of Holocaust. Buchenwald as a symbolic alternative came almost naturally to fit this new memory practice demand. Buchenwald camp was widely known to the Soviet people. Due to a popular patriotic song “Buchenwald alarm bells,” it was part of the official canon of the Soviet cultural war memory.

April 11 reiterates in many respects the idea of commemoration of Holocaust victims—but it avoids stressing the ethnic genocide of Jews or any other particular ethnic group. Every publication on commemoration of the Liberation of Nazi Concentration Camp Inmates speaks, instead, about 5 million of Soviet people among 19 million of Nazi camps’ prisoners; in some cases, 6 million of Jewish victims are mentioned, too.

On the one hand, recalling the memory of the Soviet victims among prisoners of Nazi’s concentration camps in public commemorations and rituals held on the April 11 can be read as the efforts to maintain post-Soviet space as a “remembering community.” On the other hand, persistent emphasis on the international status of this day is also telling. Nations that once belonged to USSR today represent international community aspiring to be an actor on the geopolitical memory arena. At the same time, talking about any long-established history of April 11 as an International Day of observance refers to the “internationalism” characteristic for post-war political anti-fascism and resistance fighters. And while communist ideology that once constituted the core of that movement became irrelevant and marginal, its internationalist appeal remains meaningful. Bridging these two aspects in the commemorative practices on April 11 makes possible the prevention of the post-Soviet space of commemoration of victims from segregation and isolation, at least symbolically.

This relatively new memorial date can be interpreted as a signifier in the geopolitics of memory coming to replace political ideologies, which constituted inseparable feature of the memorial work in the Cold War realm. It shows how geopolitical entities have been re-constituted and united anew, while the process of re-shaping memories attendant upon the end of Cold War remains embedded in the divisions of the past.

Original is published by Aspen Review

http://www.aspeninstitute.cz/en/article/3-2015-contested-nazi-victimhood-after-1989/

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Global Socialism and Post Socialism Workshop Report

Held May 13, 2015 at The University of Exeter

Report by James Mark, Nelly Bekus, Anna Calori, Raluca Grosecu, Ned Richardson-Little, and Ljubica Spaskovska

While the topic of globalization has emerged as rapidly growing field in recent years, the role of the socialist world is often neglected or seen as passive or unengaged in these processes. This workshop, hosted by 1989 after 1989: Rethinking the Fall of State Socialism in Global Perspective research group, sought to challenge these narratives by examining the myriad engagements of the socialist world with the global. The presentations proposed new methodological and theoretical means of grappling with how late socialism fits into the larger narrative of globalization, examined the spaces in which processes of globalization occurred in the socialist world, and analyzed the long-term effects of these developments after 1989 and the collapse of state-socialism.

rupprechtTobias Rupprecht (University of Exeter) opened the first panel – Approaches to Globalisation and The Socialist World – providing a broad introduction to the themes of the workshop. He explored how current literature on globalisation is still often shaped by the values of the 1990s, and how, within this, the socialist world is most commonly presented simply as a victim of globalising forces. He then demonstrated the various ways in which the socialist world provided templates for ‘alternative globalisations’, and also acted as co-producer of some of the aspects of the globalised world we experience today.

IacobBogdan Iacob (New Europe College, Bucharest) presentation – Negotiating the National. Romania, Globalization, and International Congresses of Historical Sciences (1970-1980) – analysed the responses of the Romanian socialist government to the rising web of interdependencies in 1970s, which would come to be known as globalization in the next decade. He then tested the implementation of this position for the case of the country’s engagement with International Congresses of Historical Sciences, particularly those between 1970 and 1980 – in Moscow, San Francisco, and Bucharest. Focusing on the Bucharest conference of 1980, the Iacob argued that one can identify a dichotomous approach to globalization in the case of Romania. On the one hand, the country was fully engaged with supra-, inter-, and non- governmental institutions during the global Cold War. On the other hand, the internationalization of Romanian state socialism also meant showcasing components of local modernity. The presentation underlined that the Romanian case of socialism going global is a cautionary tale. It is the story of a regime engrossed in the global encounters of the 1960s and 1970s that reaches, in 1980s, a final phase of systemic insulation and exacerbated essentialism. For the local, state socialist globalization ultimately meant carving pericentric frameworks highly dependent into very specific Cold War contexts.

The second panel – The Socialist World, Trade, and Globalisation – began with James Mark’s Professor James Mark(University of Exeter) presentation, “Between the Eastern Bloc and the East Asian ‘Tigers’: The Opening Up between Hungary and South Korea 1970-1995.” Mark used the opening up between Hungary and South Korea to explore the ways in which experts in a socialist state imagined the operation of the world economy in the late Cold War. He showed how reform economists in Hungary, influenced by World Systems Theory, re-imagined their country’s role in the world economy as semi-peripheral. This then led them to an interest in the Asian “Tigers” as examples of successful integration into the world economy by formerly semi-peripheral countries. He explored these experts’ new prescriptions for the Hungarian economy from this perspective, and the fascination with South Korea amongst political and economic elites in the last years of state socialism.

With his presentation, “Trading Internationalism: Rethinking Cold War Narratives through Sino-Middle East Relations, 1950s-70s,” Sam Zhiguang (University of Exeter) challenged the idea that international trade should be conceptualized solely in terms of commercial value. He argued that both Western economic models of comparative advantage or concepts such as Socialist division of labour did not capture the ideological and cultural meaning of trade in the People’s Republic of China during the Cold War. According to Chinese doctrine, establishing international unity was essential to national unity. One of the key means of fostering solidarity with the Third World was through the exchange of trade delegations. Through the lens of Sino-Middle East relations, he contended that while these exchanges did not often lead to significant commercial activity, this was not their primary goal. Chinese enthusiasm for engagement with the Middle East was not motivated by profit, but a more complex ideological understanding of global unity as a proxy for the wellbeing of China itself under Communist rule.

AnnaACweb Calori’s (PhD student, University of Exeter) presentation titled “Privatisation Reforms and the Global Market: Fragmenting the Workforce in Late-Socialist Bosnia-Hercegovina” explored the rationale behind the late 1980s economic reforms in Yugoslavia and their disruptive effects within the workplace of large, exporting companies. Engaging with primary sources such as factory bulletins and internal journals, Calori provided an analysis of discourses and debates around what was presented as a necessary change in the Yugoslav economic model of workers’ self-management. Responses to the urgencies of competitiveness on the global market meant a re-conceptualisation of the (post) socialist worker based on new exclusionary categories of merit and efficiency. This deeply affected the industrial workplace, exacerbating the already existing skills divisions and allowing for a further fragmentation of the workforce in the critical moments leading to Yugoslavia’s disruption.

Image of Ljubica SpaskovskaIn the third panel, “Spaces of Globalisation in Eastern Europe” Ljubica Spaskovska (University of Exeter) examined “Socialist global citizenship: the case of Yugoslavia.” Spaskovska’s presentation addressed a range of “spaces” of global encounters and cooperation through the lens of “global citizenship.” In different ways related to the United Nations, the Non Aligned Movement, the International Centre for Public Enterprises in Developing Countries and the post-1963 earthquake development plan for Skopje were some of those spaces of global citizenship where ideas that revolved around (equitable) development, anti-colonialism, fairer terms of trade and fostering ‘active peaceful coexistence’ gained ground. Socialist Yugoslavia’s “globally imagined citizenship” was a chartered foreign policy course that produced an impressive record of economic, intellectual and cultural exchange and enabled the country to vie for influence and recognition in a divided world. Although often discordant, the Non Aligned Movement managed to carve out alternative spaces and put forward novel development agendas and paradigms of international cooperation.

NRLwebIn Ned Richardson-Little’s (University of Exeter) paper “Where the World Meets”: Globalization and Socialism at the Leipzig Trade Fair,” he examined the paradoxes of East Germany’s engagement with the world through the lens of famous Leipziger Messe. While the trade fair was supposed to serve as a site of cooperation fostering East-West understanding and exchange between “the two world systems,” it was also to serve as the “show-window of socialism” and demonstrate the superiority of the Socialist Bloc over its Western counterparts. The Trade Fair initially acted as a proxy site of diplomatic and cultural contact with the world while East Germany remained diplomatically unrecognized outside the Socialist Bloc. Later, the Trade Fair acted as a crucial venue for GDR efforts to integrate into the modernizing global economy in the 1970s and 1980s through joint ventures with the West and Third World export deals. While the Trade Fair was a gateway to the benefits of globalization, it was also a site of dangerously uncontrolled contact for East Germans to the outside world, which contributed to the political destabilization of the 1980s.

RGwebThe fourth panel on “Global Socialism and Its Legacies” began with Raluca Grosescu (University of Exeter) presenting on “International Criminal Law Before and After 1989: The Case of the UN Convention on the Non-Applicability of Statutory Limitations to War Crimes and Crimes against Humanity.” Grosescu examined the role of state-socialist countries in the development of international criminal law, through the example of the 1968 UN Convention on the Non-Applicability of Statutory Limitations to War Crimes and Crimes against Humanity. She examined the context, the negotiations, and the interpretations that had been given to the Convention in 1968 and then focused on the Convention’s application and its new readings in domestic prosecutions of human rights abuses in Argentina and Estonia in the 2000s. Grosescu argued that international criminal law norms initiated or supported by state-socialist countries during the Cold War have been highly instrumental in trials dealing with crimes of authoritarian regimes during the “third-wave of democratization” in Latin America and Eastern Europe. The presentation also reflected on the historicity of law by examining how legal norms constructed in a particular historical context with a specific political purpose are re-interpreted and re-negotiated in order to fulfil new political goals in the present.

NBwebIn her presentation on “Soviet Frames of Global Experience in Architecture, Before and After 1989,” Nelly Bekus (University of Exeter) argued that both architecture and urban planning were considered to be a powerful instrument in cold war politics. The presentation examined the specific frameworks of the concept of Soviet internationalism, which mentally mapped the world beyond the ideological blocs. Specific educational and professional conditions and practices elaborated for architects in the USSR meant to produce such mental representation of the Soviet Union territory that made it fully operational and sufficient for self-perception of Sovietness as a form of global identity. Bekus also discussed International Architectural Design competitions as a space of global engagement of architects beyond the Soviet borders. These competitions often served as stages of “global professionalism” for architects and in which Soviet participants could claim their part.

In opening the concluding discussion, Angela Romano (University of Glasgow) underlined the importance of combining a micro- and a macro perspective, which would in turn shed light on the range of networks and the contribution of the socialist world to the processes of globalisation. She emphasized the importance of re-integrating 1989 into the study of the alternative spaces of globalization – not necessarily as a turning point, but as an opening for the debate about different forms and practices of global engagements that shaped both the socialist and the post-socialist world.


 

Workshop Overview

Panel 1: Approaches to Globalisation and The Socialist World

Dr Tobias Rupprecht (Exeter), The ‘Socialist World’ and ‘Global History’

Bogdan C. Iacob (New Europe College, Bucharest), Politics of National Identity as Mechanism of Globalizing Late State Socialism

Panel 2: The Socialist World, Trade, and Globalisation

Professor James Mark (Exeter), Between the Eastern Bloc and the east Asian ‘Tigers’: The Opening Up between Hungary and South Korea 1970-1995

Dr Sam Zhiguang (Exeter), Trading Internationalism: Rethinking Cold War Narratives through Sino-Middle East Relations, 1950s-70s

Anna Calori (PhD, Exeter), Privatisation reforms and the global market: fragmenting the workforce in late-socialist Bosnia-Hercegovina

Panel 3: Spaces of Globalisation in Eastern Europe

Dr Ljubica Spaskovska (Exeter), Socialist Global Citizenship: The Case of Yugoslavia

Dr Ned Richardson-Little (Exeter), “Where the World Meets”: Globalization and Socialism at the Leipzig Trade Fair

Panel 4: Global Socialism and Its Legacies

Dr Raluca Grosescu (Exeter) International Criminal Law Before and After 1989: The Case of the 1968 UN Convention on War Crimes and Crimes against Humanity

Dr Nelly Bekus (Exeter)  Soviet Frames of Global Experience in Architecture, Before and After 1989


Concluding Discussion 

with comments from Dr Angela Romano (University of Glasgow)

 

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Socialism Goes Global: Alternative Global Geographies Call for Papers

Alternative Global Geographies, Imagining and Re-Imagining the World Late 19th Century – Present Day

Call for Papers for the Conference of the Research Network Socialism Goes Global
12 – 14 November 2015

Call for Papers Deadline: 27 July 2015

In contrast to public claims of the early 1990s, space and geographies have not lost their central role in defining an ever more globalized world. We still live in territorialized spaces: not only in the narrow sense of states and societies that reside within their borders, but also geographies and spatial formats on regional and world scales. Research in the aftermath of the spatial turn in the humanities and social sciences is increasingly drawing our attention to the importance of understanding large-scale spatial dynamics for global history.

Many influential paradigms, often emerging from metropolitan cores or centres of the Cold War, have emerged to make sense of an increasingly interconnected world. These have included Euro- and other ‘centric’ centre-periphery models, the idea of the Anglophone or Francophone worlds, the tricontinental model, World Systems Theory, or the division of the globe into the First, Second, and Third Worlds, or the ‘Global North and South’. Such ideas came not only from the academy (in e.g. geography, area studies, history, economics, anthropology) but also from the work of political, economic and cultural actors. This conference will explore such attempts to make sense of the world on a regional or global scale, and explore how such ideas have been used to make sense of, and organize, power relations, cultural encounters and economic connections.

We wish in particular to encourage papers focussing on the ‘view from the periphery’. Despite the recent turn to studying global history from non-western perspectives, there is still little research done on visions of world order from other actors outside metropolitan cores or the West- from e.g. Latin America, South and Eastern Asia, Eastern Europe, and Africa. We invite contributions dealing with ways of conceptualising the world from areas that thought of themselves as peripheral (or semi-peripheral) on a global scale, or, indeed, challenged their definition as such. We wish to emphasise that we do not set an a priori definition of ‘periphery’ – the definition of where the periphery is located, how it is defined and who belongs to it shall be rather an element of the analysis. We also encourage contributions on those who conceptualised alternative visions of world orders, from a variety of political, religious, cultural or economic movements – regardless of their geographical location (i.e. also from critical or peripheral standpoints within the metropole/ core).

The event aims to bring together scholars from multiple disciplines (e.g. history, sociology, geography, anthropology and others), working on various topics (colonialism, post-colonialism, socialism and radicalism), on different world regions or on a world scale. The time frame may range from the late 19th century – as an era in which global imaginations and political projects of a politico- and cultural-spatial organization of the world powerfully emerged in relation to late colonial regimes – through the transformations of the interwar, the Cold War and decolonisation, and up until the present day.

Papers might address:

– conceptualizations and spatializations of the world: how have actors accepted or critiqued dominant visions of global spatial visions; what ‘alternative visions’ have been proposed e.g. ‘socialist world’, ‘anti-imperialist world’, ‘Afro-Asian world’, ‘global South’, ‘majority world’; how have actors worked to make such reconceptualisations authentic, or new interconnections a reality?

– the relation between political projects and practices to these conceptualizations – either as producers of these or through instrumentalizing them.

– the clashes between such conceptualizations and practices, paying attention to the web of power relations inherent in these conflicts.

– the roles of expert cultures (e.g. area studies institutes, agricultural specialists, economists, sociologists, fiction writers) and non-academic actors (e.g. activists); institutionalisations based on spatial imaginaries; the intellectual production of spatialized knowledge; the role of trans-regional exchange in the production of spatial models.

– the production of authenticity in new geographical imaginaries (how have these new imaginaries been made real? How have imagined distances between world regions been collapsed, or new borders and frontiers between world regions produced? How and why have alternative visions failed in the face of dominant models?).

– the conceptualisation of the periphery and semi-periphery (how did actors relate themselves to the concept? How did internal peripheries within regions or countries shape how actors conceptualised peripheries on a global scale?).

– relations between ideological camps and geographical spaces (e.g. imperialism, anti-imperialism and spatialized visions; shifting and rival definitions of the globe as a set of large geocultural units by the Cold War powers; contested visions of world mapping).

– the role of world mapping in domestic cultures in different ideological systems and regional settings (e.g. political uses; global spatial mappings as ‘disciplining tools’ for home populations; representations of world orders in e.g. maps, culture, political discourse; the political and cultural interpreters of spatialized visions for popular audiences).

Please send a brief abstract of 300-500 words, as well as a brief CV, by 27 July 2015, to Catherine Devenish at the University of Exeter (C.Devenish@exeter.ac.uk ). The conference will take place in Leipzig from 12 to 14 November 2015. Some funding opportunities for travel and accommodation are available, but we ask that potential contributors explore funding opportunities at their home institutions.

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