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Graphic element for CBEES - the Centre for Baltic and East European StudiesThe Centre for Baltic and East European Studies (CBEES) is tasked with stimulating, coordinating and developing Södertörn University’s research and doctoral education. It has a particular focus on studies of the Baltic Sea region and Eastern Europe and conducts its own research.

Since it was founded in 2005, CBEES has become a strong and thriving multidisciplinary research environment. The centre is a hub for cooperation throughout the Baltic Sea region and Eastern Europe, organising international conferences, seminars and workshops. The researchers’ expertise is in demand both within academia and in public debate. Research in the area is reflected in the international Baltic Worlds journal.

Many international visiting researchers have passed through the centre of the years, and more than 70 doctoral students have studied at BEEGS, the Baltic and East European Graduate School.

CBEES Newsletter

November 2017

Letter from CBEES. Research leader Jenny Gunnarson Payne

 Jenny Gunnarson Payne

Dear reader,

In recent years, “societal relevance” has become somewhat of a catchphrase when debating the value of research and scholarly activity. As those of us who are active in academia are well aware, this norm can sometimes be a double-edged sword, for the simple reason that it can be impossible to assess in advance what relevance a research topic or specific scholarly inquiry will actually have in the future.

In times like these, however, it is almost impossible not to see the relevance of the research and scholarly discussions at CBEES. In the recent election in the Czech Republic, the right-wing populist party Ano (meaning “Yes”) won with almost 30% of the vote (read more on Baltic Worlds’ election Coverage). It is quite a telling sign that party leader Andrej Babiš has been described by British newspaper The Guardian as “a tycoon turned politician who has been compared to Donald Trump”. This autumn’s elections in Austria moved in the same direction, when they were won by the conservative party led by Sebastian Kurtz, who has become known for using a similar xenophobic rhetoric to the far-right freedom party with which he now seeks to build an alliance. Commenters have expressed a fear that Austria is thus now moving towards a similar type of authoritarianism to that which has recently taken hold of countries like Hungary and Poland. These are only two examples of how right-wing populism and so-called “illiberal democracy” (a term used by Hungary’s Victor Orban to describe his political project) are gaining ground in the region and beyond.

These (and other) recent events show that the competence and research at CBEES are not only necessary to understand what is going on in the region itself, but also for understanding a much broader geopolitical development that has consequences for democracy, diversity, and equality in Europe, as well as other parts of the world. Although, as ever, our programme is diverse and covers many contemporary and historical issues, it may therefore be worth specifically highlighting a couple of our upcoming events.

First of all, we are glad to announce that we will continue our cooperation with former research leader Kazimierz Musial, Gdansk University and the Solidarity Centre, in the form of our annual summer school, this year on the timely topic of radical politics and populism across the East/West divide, as well as across the political spectrum. Second, we are also pleased to have received funding from STINT (the Swedish Foundation for International Cooperation in Research and Higher Education) for two collaborative workshops with Universidad Nacional de San Martin (UNSAM) in Buenos Aires, to exchange knowledge on feminism and women’s mobilisation in times of populism and illiberal democracy in Europe and Latin America. Needless to say, this is far from everything that CBEES has to offer. As ever, the newsletter will guide you through what is going on!

Kind regards,

Jenny Gunnarson Payne


Advanced Seminars

27/11/17 “Which language do we speak?” Language ideology and planning among the Bayash Roma

11/12/17 'Over-watched and over-here': covert 'Policing' of Roma migrants in the UK through social work interventions and access to welfare regimes in the context of Brexit Britain

Conferences and workshops

20/11/17: “Against the Scatter of the World”: Rescuing, Keeping, and Moving Things (Stories, Biographies, and Geographies of Collectorship)

30/11- 1/12/17: Competing Futures: From rupture to re-articulation. CBEES Annual Conference 2017.
Direct link: www.sh.se/annual_conference_cbees_2017

24-25/18: Conference: Narrating home in visual arts through an east west divide
Direct link: www.sh.se/narrating_home_in_visual_arts


Carlsson, Nina. "Navigating Two Languages - Immigrant Integration Policies in Bilingual Finland". Journal on Ethnopolitics and Minority Issues in Europe, 16:2 (2017): 41-66.

Immigration into states with historical linguistic minorities creates the dilemma of which language newly arrived immigrants should learn in the state-provided integration programmes. Research has shown how territorially concentrated historical minorities have used immigrants to favour their own nation-building projects.
While these minorities to some extent operate like a majority within their federal state or province, this paper explores how constitutionally bilingual Finland, having a Swedish-speaking non-territorial minority with the same linguistic rights as the majority, governs immigrant integration. It investigates the implications of the strong legal and weak societal status of Swedish for immigrant integration by connecting scholarship on liberal multiculturalism and integration in multilingual states to laws, reports and interviews on integration in Swedish-speaking Finland. It shows tensions between Finland-Swedish integration aspirations and state level policies
promoting a majority-monolingual integration. Unlike minorities with federal protection, the non-territorial Swedish-speaking minority largely relies on the voluntary choice of immigrants to choose Swedish as their language of integration. Structural obstacles, however, hinder this choice in bilingual regions, having resulted in political debates and actions. This article bridges research on Finnish multiculturalism and research on integration policy in contexts where historical minorities are present by introducing a non-territorial, formerly dominant minority to the research field.

Norbert Götz. “Humanitäre Hilfe im Zeitalter Napoleons: Bürgerliche Gesellschaft und transnationale Ressourcen am Beispiel Erfurts.” Historische Zeitschrift 305 (2017): 362–392 (with Frank Palmowski).

This article examines how monies raised by the London-based „Committee for Relieving the Distresses in Germany and Other Parts of the Continent“ (1805–1815) were distributed by local committees, with the city of Erfurt as an example. Due to a lack of source material for the first campaign in 1805–1806 the focus is on the years 1814–1815. Networks of German immigrants within the British and Foreign Bible Society played a pivotal role on both occasions. Outstanding among them was Ernst August Schwabe, minister of one of the German churches in London and a native of Erfurt. The study shows how the transnational relief effort was organized, the way civil societies in London and Erfurt were interlinked through the aid campaign, and why the Erfurt committee of distribution failed in its trans-regional role. The provision of aid illustrates the diverging interests of donors in immediate emergency relief and of recipients in long-term use of the appropriated resources. A large proportion of the aid eventually went into a fund for war orphans, the disbursal of which was, in practice, controlled by the local women’s association.

Ekman, Joakim & Schartau, Mai-Britt, "Politics" in The Baltic Sea Region: A Comprehensive Guide History, Politics, Culture and Economy of a European Role Model, ( eds.) Henningsen, Bernd; Etzold, Tobias; Hanne, Krister, (Berlin: Berliner Wissenschafts-Verlag, 2017) 363 pages.

The Baltic Sea Region, at the crossroads between East and West, North and South, has long been marked by cultural, ethnical and ideological borders. Overcoming a history of conflict and separation, since the end of the Cold War the countries surrounding the Baltic Sea established widely valued formats of regional cooperation based on shared challenges and opportunities. In comparison with larger regions, however, the Baltic Sea Area is still a blank spot on the global map. This volume’s intention is to fill this spot with colour and facts. It provides students, young researchers and other interested parties with basic knowledge of the region. The volume offers a comprehensive introduction into its history, politics, economy and culture, taking into account the various countries’ commonalities and differences. By introducing concepts of regionalism and region-building, as well as analysing the structures of regional cooperation the authors and editors demonstrate the
Baltic Sea Area’s model function as a European macro-region.

Edenborg, Emil. "Creativity, geopolitics and ontological security: satire on Russia and the war in Ukraine", Postcolonial Studies (2017) DOI: 10.1080/13688790.2017.1378086

Some states create geographical imaginaries that envision the homeland as coherent and good, and the spaces of Others as disordered, dangerous and therefore legitimate objects of violence. Such ‘violent cartographies’ serve not only to justify policy actions, but constitute bordering practices aiming to provide stability, integrity and continuity to the Self, sometimes referred to as ‘ontological security’. This article examines the role of creativity and artistic imagination in challenging dominant geopolitical narratives. It examines satire on the Russian-language internet, which played upon the Russian state’s geopolitical narrative about the war in Ukraine 2014–15. Three themes within this dominant narrative – (1) the imperialist idea of Russia as a modernising force, (2) the gendering of Ukraine as feminine and Europe as homosexual and (3) the idea that the current war was a re-enactment of Russia’s historical battle against fascism – all became the object of fun-making in satire. I argue that satire, by appropriating, repeating but slightly displacing official rhetoric in ways that make it appear ridiculous, may destabilise dominant narratives of ontological security and challenge their strive towards closure. Satire may expose the silences of dominant narratives and undermine the essentialism and binarism upon which they rely, opening up for estrangement and disidentification.

Note: Citation in Washington Post, 2017/10/13 on LGBT in Azerbajdzjan.

Kaun, A., & Uldam, J. (2017a). Digital Activism : After the Hype. New Media and Society. Epub ahead of print.

Research on digital activism has gained traction in recent years. At the same time, it remains a diverse and open field that lacks a coherent mode of inquiry. For the better or worse, digital activism remains a fuzzy term. In this introduction to a special issue on digital activism, we review current attempts to periodize and historicize digital activism. Although there is growing body of research on digitial activism, many contributions remain limited through their ahistorical approach and the digital universalism that they imply. Based on the contributions to the special issue, we argue for studying digital activisms in a way that traverses a two-dimensional axis of digital technologies and activist practices, striking the balance between context and media-specificity.

Kaun, A., & Uldam, J. (2017b). ‘Volunteering is like any other business’ : Civic participation and social media. New Media and Society. Epub ahead of print.

The increased influx of refugees in 2015 has led to challenges in transition and destination countries such as Germany, Sweden and Denmark. Volunteer-led initiatives providing urgent relief played a crucial role in meeting the needs of arriving refugees. The work of the volunteers in central stations and transition shelters was mainly organised with the help of Facebook, both in terms of inward and outward communication. This article examines the role of social media for civic participation drawing on Swedish volunteer initiatives that emerged in the context of the migration crisis in 2015 as a case study. Theoretically the article provides an analytical framework including power relations, technological affordances, practices, and discourses that helps to shed light on the interrelation between social media and civic participation

Kaun, Anne. (2017a). Allt är annorlunda nu : Hur ett medielandskap i förändring påverkar debattklimatet. Stockholm.

Publications in Baltic Worlds

Riikka Palonkorpi “Legislative Election Czech Republic: The Winners were the Anti-Establishment Parties", Baltic Worlds’ Online Election Coverage, published October 25 2017.

Baltic Worlds 3 2017
See the whole issue of Baltic Worlds, no. 3, vol. X, 2017, 96 pages, available online.

Anna Kharkina, “Archiving the past, Defining the present Open Society Archives, Budapest”, pp 4-7

Rosario Napolitano , “The years of fear the KGB building in Riga”, pp 8-11

Yuliya Yurchuk, “Monuments as reminders and triggers. A contemporary comparison between memory work in Ukraine and the US”, pp 12-17

Sabine Hark, Gender – Merely a “Social Fact”? The construction of neo-authoritarian us/them dichotomies”, pp 18-25

Ninna Mörner, “Bakhtinian theory in postcolonial and postsocialist space and Art in protest, Pussy Riot in Mordovia, Russia”, p 26-27

Abel Polese & Emilia Pawłusz, “Nation branding: Tourism brochures and the idea of an Estonian nation”, pp 28-29

Ekaterina Tarasova, “Lessons from anti-“Platon” protests in Russia”, pp 29-30

Ekaterina Kalinina & Irina Seits, ”Introduction. Influences of the Russian Revolution in art and aesthetics”, pp 31-33

Mikhail Evsevyev, “Becoming tools for artistic consciousness of the people. The higher art school and independent arts studios in Petrograd (1918–1921)”, pp 35-44

Robert Bird, “Revolutionary synchrony: A Day of the World”, pp 45-52

Irina Seits, “Mickey Mouse – the perfect tenant of an early Soviet city”, pp 53-62

Tora Lane, “The inverted myth. Viktor Pelevin’s Buddhas little finger”, pp 63-69

Helene Carlbäck, “Russian art 1917–1932”, pp 70-72

Aliaksei Kazharski, “The Russian Revolution and its legacies”, p 73

Irina Seits, “Muted histories and reunited memories a story of a Swedish family during the times of the Russian Revolution”, pp 74-81

Madina Tlostonova, “From clients to agents. Roma feminist activism in the special issue of Analize”, pp 82-84

Jussi Lassila, “Europe faces Europe.Voices from the East”, pp 85-86

Ingmar Oldberg, “Russia, Norway and the Arctic. Challenges to security policies”, pp 87-89

Gunnar Åselius, “Norm-breaking female soldiers. Russian revolutionary heores”, pp 90-92

Aija Lulle, “Transnational and cosmopolitan families. Exploring diversity among migrants”, pp 92-93

Thomas Lundén, “The Peace of Stolbova 1617 – A Seminar on the beginning of a peaceful co-existence”, p 96