CFP: East European Dissent between Agenda & Legacy (Brussels)

October 03, 2019 - October 04, 2019

This conference shall analyze the making of the legacy of East European dissent on the local, national and European levels. Interested primarily in the cultural and political aspects of this process, this conference aims to explore the following questions in particular: how have cultural products related to dissent and repression been employed to depict social relations and legitimize political regimes before and after 1989? How have political-ideological, ethnic or gender-related factors impacted what has been included in and excluded from the legacy of dissent? How have the biographies, agendas and roles of ‘post-dissidents’ shaped and been shaped by processes of remembrance and canonization in the decades since 1989? Conversely, how has ‘1989’ and the process of transition been viewed from the perspective of individuals and groups who did not associate any major expectations or fears with them? Last but not least, what is the relevance of communist-era dissent for Europe today?

The Organizing Committee consists of Muriel Blaive (Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes, Prague), Kim Christiaens (KU Leuven), Ibesbald Goddeeris (KU Leuven), James Kapalo (University College Cork), Jessie Labov (Central European University), Ferenc Laczó  (Maastricht University) and Tamás Scheibner (Hungarian Academy of Sciences).

Please send proposals of 300 words alongside a brief CV (max. two pages) by March 28 to Ferenc Laczó (f.laczo@maastrichtuniversity.nl).​ You shall be informed about the decision regarding your application before the end of April.

An edited volume is being planned.

Tentative plan

Keynote on “Dissent, its Alternatives and Opposites in Communist and Post-Communist Times”

Panel 1: Dissent and Repression in Cultural Production and Political Representation. Approaches beyond Coming to Terms with the Communist Past

Panel 2: Post-Dissident Trajectories: On the Biographies, Agendas and Roles of “Former Dissidents” after 1989

Panel 3: Visibility and Invisibility in the Remembrance of Dissent

Panel 4: The Irrelevance of 1989? On Minority Reports

Roundtable on the Legacy of Dissent Today

 

Panel 1: Dissent and Repression in Cultural Production and Political Representation. Approaches beyond Coming to Terms with the Communist Past

The opening panel shall explore the relationship between cultural production, documents of dissent and repression (and, more particularly, surveillance) in order to analyze social and political representations in communist and post-communist times. Key questions include the following: how have surveillance materials been used in cultural representations of communist-era dissent both during and after the fall of communist regimes? How have cultural products related to dissent and repression been employed to depict social relations and legitimize political regimes before and after 1989?

 

Panel 2: Post-Dissident Trajectories: On the Biographies, Agendas and Roles of “Former Dissidents” after 1989

Focused on post-dissident trajectories, this panel enquires into the biographies, agendas and roles of former dissidents (i.e. dissidents of the pre-89 era) in the decades since. How has the illusion of post-dissident biographical coherence been constructed? To what extent has possessing a dissident past functioned as a form of symbolic capital after 1989, endowing its bearers with special moral and political credibility, and how has this form of capital been questioned and challenged? How have former dissidents drawn on their past experiences and accomplishments to legitimize various social and political agendas in post-communist times? How has the international fame and recognition of leading post-dissidents interacted with local cultural and political processes? How have the paths of post-dissidents diverged over the past three decades? Conversely, what are common characteristics of their post-dissident trajectories across the region?

 

Panel 3: Visibility and Invisibility in the Remembrance of Dissent

This panel aims to study the ways and effects of the institutionalization of the legacy of East European dissent since 1989. What has been included and excluded from the discourses and institutions related to this legacy? How have interactions across national borders shaped the construction of this legacy and what impact have processes of Europeanization exerted on it? What roles have gender and ethnicity played in such processes of institutionalization? Last but not least, how have stories about dissent and former dissidents interacted with the broader process of remembering communist regimes and the Cold War era, including but not limited to the process of ‘coming to terms with the communist/totalitarian past’?

 

Panel 4: The Irrelevance of 1989? On Minority Reports 

1989 has often been depicted as a rupture and typically been interpreted through the prism either of a successful or a betrayed revolution. However, the sense of fulfilled or unfulfilled historical ambitions was absent from the lived experiences of numerous actors. This panel therefore asks how 1989 has been viewed from the perspective of individuals and groups – including but not limited to members of alternative cultural initiatives, representatives of feminism and sexual minorities, and green movements – who did not associate major expectations or fears with the process of transition and whose agenda did not feature prominently in that process either. How have such former dissidents, notable minorities in their societies before and after 1989, interpreted the experiences and consequences of 1989 and how have they negotiated the legacy of dissent with the dominant frames of interpretation?

 

Roundtable on the Legacy of Dissent Today

In what ways does and in what ways could the legacy of communist-era dissent continue to serve as a source of inspiration? Who evokes that legacy in Eastern Europe today, with what purposes and with what consequences?  How have members of younger generations drawn on, neglected or renegotiated the legacy of dissent in Eastern Europe after 1989? In what ways might traditions of dissent be in need of rethinking and updating? Could and should ‘the spirit of 1989’ be revived?

 

Details

Start
October 03, 2019
End
October 04, 2019

Organizer

Ferenc Laczó

Email
f_DOT_laczo_AT_maastrichtuniversity_DOT_nl

Address

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