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Global 1989

Our workshop on the Global 1989 will be held on 13 June 2017 at Humboldt University Berlin. It will bring a large group of academics together to discuss 1989 in the context of globalisation, economics, democratisation and europeanisation.



James Mark, Ljubica Spaskovska, Ned Richardson-Little, Tobias Rupprecht,  Angela Romano, Albert Manke, Ulf Engel, Frank Hadler, Felix Wemheuer, Christina Schwenkel, Gregor Feindt, Kim Christiaens, Quinn Slobodian, Dieter Gosewinkel


9.30-10.30am: How to write a history of “1989” now?

How do recent regional and global events change the point of interest about 1989? Did previous histories miss aspects which are connected to contemporary developments? How might developments in the historical profession – notably around global history – influence new accounts?

10.45-11.45am: Economics, Globalisation

How do we place “1989” in histories of globalisation? How were these changes bound up with broader economic transformations across the world in e.g. east Asia and south America? To what extent do we give local political and economic elites agency in the story of transition and the construction of ‘neoliberal norms’? What alternative economic transitions were considered?

12-1pm: Democratisation in global context

How can we place democratisation of “1989” in the broader context of ‘third wave’ transitions? How was democratisation related to changes in other world regions? Was the elite, negotiated settlement part of a broader phenomenon? Were there alternative non-democratic routes out of the crisis of the 1980s? Why was eastern Europe different from China? Do such alternative histories of “1989” help us understand the more authoritarian populist present moment in eastern Europe?

Lunch 1-2pm

2-3pm: Europeanisation

Was a return to Europe part of a broader turn to regionalisms and nationalisms in the late 20th century?  Was this similar to political and cultural phenomena elsewhere in the still socialist world? To what extent was this return to Europe as much a production by Communists as much as oppositional forces?  To what extent did revived notions of Europeanness reflect new ideas about Europe’s past, race, imperial memory or Africa and Asia? How far has this late socialist identity production influenced conceptions of Europe since “1989”?

3.15-4.15pm: 1989 as the End of Empire

To what extent should we place “1989” in the context of a broader 20th century story of empires and decolonisation?  Can we write comparative or entangled accounts which bring the end of Soviet control into dialogue with the collapse of Empires after the First or Second World Wars?

4.30-5.30: Global entanglements and resonances of “1989”

What were the broader impacts of “1989” on economic change, democratisation and cultural change in other world regions? What have been the longer-term influences of the way in which 1989 has been narrated, whether as a victory, betrayal or disappointment? Did it influence the acceleration of democratisation in some places and slow it in others?

5.30-6: Future events: Conference end 2018? Workshop in Europeanisation, 2019 events?

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