Conference report: East European Dissent between Agenda & Legacy

October 03, 2019 - October 04, 2019

Author: Ferenc Laczó

The joint conference of WG1 and WG4 “East European Dissent between Agenda & Legacy” took place at the Brussels Campus of Maastricht University on Oct 3 and 4, 2019.

The conference included two keynotes, four panels and a final roundtable. In his keynote “Dissident Politics of Rights and its Legacy after 1989,” Michal Kopeček explored, among others, how expert discussions of the rule by law and demands for the rule of law by representatives of the state socialist regimes and dissident thinkers, respectively, contributed to the 1989 revolutions, and with what exact consequences.

In her keynote “1989-2019: Legacies of 1989 for Dissent Today,” Barbara Falk painted a wide-ranging panorama of what retrospective misinterpretations of the causes and unfolding of 1989 have implied in global politics and what a more accurate reading of pre-1989 dissent might mean in an age of “twitter and tear gas” (Zeynep Tukefci), i.e. social media and authoritarian advances.

Individual panels focused on various forms of the politics of dissent; how the figure of the dissident has been cast and recast; what the trajectories of East European post-dissidents looked like after 1989 and how their legacy has been renegotiated; and – last but not least – what has been made visible and what has remained invisible in the remembrance of dissent, and why.

The final roundtable has critically probed the relevance of pre-89 traditions of dissent for today’s culture and politics, and debated specific features of the social imaginaries of the two epochs. The conference included participants from sixteen different countries and numerous disciplines of the humanities and the social sciences.

The conference was organized by Muriel Blaive (Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes, Prague), James Kapalo (University College Cork), Ferenc Laczó (Maastricht University), and Tamás Scheibner (ELTE University of Budapest).

Conference programme:


October 03, 2019
October 04, 2019


Maastricht University, Campus Brussels, Bel-etage
1150 Brussels , Belgiums
Avenue de Tervueren 153
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