East European Dissent between Agenda & Legacy

October 03, 2019 - October 04, 2019

Imre was here

Fotó/Forrás: Szabad Egyetem / Facebook

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), James Kapalo (University College Cork), Ferenc Laczó  (Maastricht University) and Tamás Scheibner (Hungarian Academy of Sciences).

Maastricht University, Campus Brussels, Bel-etage

Draft Program

Oct 3

14 00 Introduction to the conference by Muriel Blaive and Ferenc Laczó

14 10 Keynote Michal Kopeček, Dissident Politics of Rights and its Legacy after 1989, chair: Muriel Blaive

15 30 Panel 1: The Politics of Dissent

Chair: James Kapalo

Maike Lehmann, Of Prophets, Martyrs and Bothersome Annoyances: The Politics of Soviet Dissidents’ De/Canonization in the West in the 1970s and 1980s

Gabriela Nicolescu, From ‘salvation through culture’ to the creation of post-anticommunism: the role of Romanian intellectuals and the repressed communist inner-other

Ksenija Marković Božović, Belgrade June Sixty-Eight: Prime and Reprises

Anna Förster, The Parallel Polis. Towards the History of a Contested Concept

Comments by Padraic Kenney

17 30 Panel 2: Casting and Recasting Dissidents

Chair: Tamás Scheibner

Muriel Blaive, From Dissidence to Heroism: Construction of a Societal Ideal of Post-Communist Identity in the Czech Republic

Ionut Biliuta, Fascist Martyrs as Dissidents? Fascist Hagiography and Anti-Communist Resistance in Contemporary Romania

Ana Miškovska Kajevska & Zsófia Lóránd, Configurations of feminist dissent in the Yugoslav region pre- and post-transition

Comments by Barbara Falk


Oct 4

9 00 Panel 3: Post-Dissident Trajectories and Legacies

Chair: Ferenc Laczó

Valentin Behr, From Solidarity hero Lech Walesa to secret informer “Bolek”: Struggles around the legacy of dissent in post-communist Poland

Anca Sincan, In-house historians: religious communities re-writing their communist past

Agáta Šústová Drelová, Catholic Dissent in Slovakia after 1989

Luka Lisjak Gabrijelcic, Whose revolution was it anyway? Convergence and divergence in the post-dissident narratives on the legacy of the “Slovenian Spring”

Comments by Mária M. Kovács

11 00 Keynote Barbara Falk, 1989-2019: Legacies of 1989 for Dissent Today, chair: Tamás Scheibner

14 00

Panel 4: In/Visibility in the Remembrance of Dissent

Chair: Muriel Blaive

Beáta Hock, Eastern European Dissent between Legend(a) and Agency

Aigi Rahi-Tamm, “We are not dissidents.” How to catch the voices of silent society? The case of Estonian SSR

Odeta Žukauskienė, Invisibility of Dissenting Networks: A Shadowed Remembrance of Counterculture

Jan Matohona, Dispositives of Silence, Silencing and Foreclosure: Gender, Affective Interpellations, Wounding Attachments and Injurious Identities in the Politics of Exile and Samizdat Literature in pre-1989 Czechoslovakia

Comments by Michal Kopeček

16 00 Final roundtable on the Legacy of Dissent

Chair: James Kapalo

With Emilia Barna, Alexander Bikbov, Mariya Ivancheva, Padraic Kenney, Mária M. Kovács


October 03, 2019
October 04, 2019


Ferenc Laczó



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