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Laboratory for the Study of Collective Memory in Post-Communist Europe,

Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń


Cordially invite to the interdisciplinary scientific conference:



organised on 29-31 of March 2017


Many scholars have turned their attention to a certain boom in memory studies, which in Western Europe became evident during the 80s of the last century, by identifying as causes of this phenomenon above all postmodernism and loosening, if not the general fall, of existing up-to-date paradigms, theories and research concepts. A similar process did take and is taking place also in many countries of Central, Eastern and South-Eastern Europe after the fall of the communist regimes, i.e. after 1989/1991. Nowadays, almost in every renowned scientific journal from the fields of sociology, anthropology or history one can easily find an article or a publication, which is dealing with at least one dimension of memory: social, collective, cultural, historical etc. Other scholars in a more moderated way have pointed out another area, which became the impulse for the booming of research on memory, namely the growing presence and role of commemorative practices in the social and political life. Numerous studies have shown that both accentuated presence of memory in social and political life, as well as reflection on this process are nothing new in the human history, and, hence, postmodernism should not be seen as the only accountable for the memory boom. Yet, the scale of the process is entirely new. From here it’s easy to pinpoint a number of reasons for such a strong presence of memory in social life: the general democratization of social life, a multiplicity of actors and social dimensions of their activities, the impact of the audiovisual media of mass communication, and – from already few years now – the dynamic development of social media.

When discussing about post-communist Europe another crucial reason has to be taken into account. Namely, one of the main postulates and slogans guiding the post-communist transformation processes was to clean the historical memory from the falsifications imbued in it by the former communist regimes. Aiming to reveal the historical truth was and still remains one of the basic components in the process of building and materializing of transitional justice. For that reason studying the memory of/on communism goes far beyond the frames of “normal” social research, touching upon a larger spectrum of important political, social and cultural problems that the post-communist societies are dealing with.

The aim of our conference is to sum up the scholarly research that has been done on memory on/of communism in Central, Eastern and South-eastern Europe during the last 25 years following the fall of the communist regimes. We intend to look at this field of study from various point of views, by exposing both dominant and less visible tendencies. We intend to show not only how the recent history was treated, i.e. – to use a metaphor that varies from country to country – how “black spots were whitened” or “white gaps were filled”, but also to depict the research done on collective memory of/on communism, in other word: to show the history of memory. We believe that a quarter of century is a good moment to grasp and analyze the shift from communicative and biographical memory to cultural and collective one. We are interested not only in exposing the process of embodiment of memory in places (lieux de memoire) or other transmitters, but also in comprehending the motives and actions of social actors, as well as political aims and ideational impulses. In a word, we want to expose both the work of memory and the work on memory.

Two key-note speakers have confirmed their presence during the conference:

  1. Professor Vladimir Tismaneanu (University of Maryland), who will give a lecture entitled: “Democracy, Memory and Truth in Post-communist Europe”;
  2. Professor Stefan Troebst (Universität Leipzig), who will give a lecture entitled: “Remembering Communism: the Case of Bulgaria”

Both key-note speakers as well as other guests will participate also in a round table open for the general public, which will be also held during the conference.

We address our invitation to scholars coming from various disciplines of humanities and social sciences, whose scientific interest focus on largely defined study of communism in Central, Eastern and South-eastern Europe, but above all to scholars working on issues related to collective/social/cultural memory. We propose, but by no means limit to, few following topics:

a)      the social frames of the memory on/of communism,

b)      biographical memory as part of memory of/on communism,

c)       memory and building of transitional justice in post-communist countries

d)      langue/s of memory

e)      lieux de memoire, memory carriers and iconography of memory on/of communism, in the real and virtual world

f)       art as a form of memory of/on communism.

Technical issues

Please include the following into your submissions:

a)      name and surname

b)      name of your institution

c)       topic of your paper including a short abstract (up to 300 words)

d)      few key words

The working languages of the conference will be Polish and English. Organizers will provide simultaneous translation if needed. The time for the presentation is up to 20 minutes. Please submit your applications through the following form:

The deadline for submissions is 30th of December 2016. We will inform the applicants regarding their applications by 15th of January 2016.

The conference fee amounts to 200 PLN (50€) and will cover refreshments (coffee and tea during the conference and a welcoming lunch) and the conference materials. As an outcome, we plan the publication of a peer review conference volume. We expect a fast publishing process, so we encourage you to come to the conference with a final or almost final draft of the text. PhD students and researchers not working permanently in scientific or other institutions are exempted from paying the conference fee. The conference fee will be transferred to a special bank account, about which we will inform the accepted candidates.

The organizing committee: dr hab. Michał Głuszkowski, dr Rigels Halili, dr Adam Kola, dr Aleksandra Twardowska, dr Katarzyna Taczyńska, mgr Łukasz Gemziak.

We encourage and invite you to participate!

CfP_conference.docx - Call for Papers in English

Cfp_konferencja.docx - Call for Papers in Polish

Cfp_конференция.docx - Call for Papers in Russian

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