New project launched to explore archival collections of Eastern European dissidents exiled in France during the Cold War

November 20th, 2020

DISSINVENT: Exploring and Disseminating the Archival Collections of Eastern European Dissidents Exiled in France during the Cold War

Recipient of a recent award by the CollEx-Persée in its 2019–2020 call for funding, the project DISSINVENT DISSidences de l’Est en exil : INVENTaire, histoires, pratiques documentaires joins the growing international efforts to reinforce the collaborative work between researchers and heritage institutions in the handling of archives and collections.

The aim of the project is to identify and increase the national and international visibility of the many collections produced by Eastern European dissidents exiled in France between 1945 and 1991, also working toward improving their accessibility. Moreover, the initiative aims to develop an intellectual reflection about the singularities of such archival corpus, its history and its description in several different languages, as well as to encourage the creation of more and better networks between researchers and experts in archival management.

The aims of the project develop in two different dimensions:

1) Identifying public and private collections located in France, created by dissidents and exiles from the USSR and from socialist Central and Eastern European countries (writers, artists, scientists, scholars, editors and trade union activists, among others); improving their description and indexation; exchanging and sharing lessons with archival institutions abroad; and developing strategies for long-term outreach and dissemination.

2) Developing an interdisciplinary intellectual reflection on the compared history of the circulation of diaspora collections, as well as on the notions of clandestine/militant/exile documentary heritage. Additionally, the project seeks to establish better guidelines for researchers in matters concerning the handling and use of such corpora.

The scientific coordination of the project is under the direction of Sophie Cœuré, professor at the University of Paris (Paris Diderot), specialized in Russian-European relations and in the history of communism, as well as in the history of archives. Coordination is also under the direction of La contemporaine, one of France’s leading libraries and archival institutions, whose holdings include some of the most important archival collections in the world concerning the political history of Central and Eastern Europe in the 20th century.

Moreover, the project is supported by a wide network of research and archival partner institutions, among others the Bibliothèque universitaire des langues et civilisations (BULAC), leading library for area studies and especially devoted to the linguistics, literature and cultural studies of Russia and the countries of South East, Central and Eastern Europe, and the Centre d’études des mondes russe, caucasien et centre-européen (CERCEC), an interdisciplinary research center for social sciences devoted to the vast region of Eastern Europe.


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For any inquiries, please contact Agustín Cosovschi:

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