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CBEES Annual Conference 2022

Where are we now?
Perspectives on East European Area Studies today

Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022, and the ensuing war, has far-reaching consequences for the entire region and beyond. The subject of East European area studies is currently undergoing a process of violent transformation. For the past 30 years, as an area, Eastern Europe and post-Soviet states have been defined as post-communist, and the sphere belonging to the former Soviet Union as post-Soviet. “Post” has marked a transition through a process of continuation and negation. The war may end this condition of “post”, since it implies the collapse of the post-Soviet geopolitical consensus, which has implications for the entire region and beyond.

The conference invites critical discussion about the potentials, limitations and (mis)uses of methodologies that challenge hegemonic approaches in East European Studies/area studies. What is happening to area studies? Where are we now, as a consequence of the war? What new theoretical and methodological instruments do we need in the new situation?

The transformation of the region also poses serious challenges to scholars. Continual redefinition of the “areas” of study reproduces the hierarchies of geopolitical entities, languages and cultures reflected in the distribution of resources, academic interests and practices. Knowledge production always risks ensnaring in hegemonic structures (imperial, patriarchal, authoritarian) and non-academic interests and discourses (e.g., policy and profit-making).
This conference seeks to critically examine the area's current conditions for knowledge production. How is knowledge produced, and by whom? How can we work in and with the area today?

The Annual Conference is free of charge and CBEES is also covering the accommodation costs for the authors of the accepted papers.

Form of the conference: Planned as an on-site event with reservation for possible changes.

The conference aims to cover, among others, the following topics:

  • War and its impact on area studies.
  • What will happen to the dominance of Russia in area studies.
  • How is the “area” currently defined.
  • Challenges to knowledge production in the region in the face of the war.
  • Critical perspectives on knowledge production, knowledge regimes, politics and academic freedom.
  • New imperialism, (anti-/de-)colonialism, and other research perspectives on area studies.
  • Training for specialists in area studies – problems and the future.
  • Language(s) in area studies.
  • Loci of knowledge production: hierarchies and precarity.
  • Academia and professional ethics.
  • The politics of funding and its impact on the state of knowledge in the region.
  • Interrelationships between history and memory.
  • Teaching and cooperation with/in Eastern European Studies.
    Knowledge production, policy-making and activism.

Recognizing and Addressing Epistemic Injustice: Russia’s War against Ukraine and a Paradigm Shift in East European Studies

Keynote lecture by Vitaly Chernetsky, Professor of Slavic Languages and Literatures at the University of Kansas (USA)

December 1, 2022, 13.45 – 15.00

Venue: MB416

Join the online broadcasting via Zoom (obligatory registration) External link, opens in new window.

Moderator: Julia Malitska, Research Leader at CBEES and Project Researcher, Södertörn University

  • Abstract

If there is a common thread in the world’s reaction to Ukraine’s spirited resistance to Russia’s escalated invasion since February 24, 2022, it is surprise. Ukraine defied expectations, providing numerous examples of dignity under pressure, social initiative and organization, support of the war effort, as well as aid for the displaced and the wounded. The broader international expert community, especially in the West, had to admit that it knew and understood little about Ukraine, had a habit of recycling uncritically absorbed stereotypes and ideological talking points, many of them of Russian imperialist origin, and in its soul-searching had to admit to a history of marginalizing Ukrainian studies and ignoring or dismissing Ukrainian voices. In other words, there was an entrenched pattern of epistemic injustice towards Ukraine. At the same time, the Russian military assault against Ukraine was prepared and accompanied by a campaign of epistemic violence against Ukraine, attacking its integrity and legitimacy and denying its agency. The horrors of this war, in addition to the atrocities perpetrated by the Russian army, revealed deep ethical and intellectual challenges affecting the very essence of academic inquiry in East European Studies. This talk reflects on those challenges and the ways in which our field has been addressing them, sketches out a roadmap for the project of confronting and undoing epistemic injustice towards Ukraine, and considers the broader implications of this much-needed process through which our field needs to go.

  • BIO

Vitaly Chernetsky is a Professor of Slavic Languages and Literatures at the University of Kansas. He is the author of Mapping Postcommunist Cultures: Russia and Ukraine in the Context of Globalization (McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2007; Ukrainian-language version, 2013) and of articles on modern and contemporary Slavic and East European literatures and cultures where he seeks to highlight cross-regional and cross-disciplinary contexts. A book in Ukrainian, Intersections and Breakthroughs: Ukrainian Literature and Cinema between the Global and the Local, is forthcoming shortly from Krytyka. He co-edited a bilingual anthology of contemporary Ukrainian poetry, Letters from Ukraine (2016), and an annotated Ukrainian translation of Edward Said’s Culture and Imperialism (2007), and guest-edited a special issue on Ukraine for the film studies e-journal KinoKultura (2009). His translations into English include Yuri Andrukhovych’s novels The Moscoviad (2008) and Twelve Circles (2015) and a volume of his selected poems, Songs for a Dead Rooster (2018, with Ostap Kin). He is a past president of the American Association for Ukrainian Studies (2009-2018) and the current first vice president of the Shevchenko Scientific Society in the U.S. Prof. Chernetsky has just been elected the next president of the Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies (ASEEES).

Roundtable – Being a Scholar of “Area Studies” in the (Western) Academia: Challenges, Hopes and Visions for the Future

December 2, 2022, 10.20 – 11.50

Venue: MB503

Join the online broadcasting via Zoom (obligatory registration) External link, opens in new window.

This roundtable is devoted to discussing the situation of the younger researchers in the field and the context of Russia’s ongoing war on Ukraine. What are younger researchers’ main expectations and concerns? What are the main pitfalls of area studies and challenges of becoming a researcher in this area that is so difficult to define? What questions among those this conference is centred around are the most important? What changes in the area studies and the academy are the most urgent?

Moderator: Julia Malitska, Research Leader at CBEES and Project Researcher, Södertörn University


  • Oleksii Chebotarov, SNSF Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of Eastern European History, University of Vienna (Austria)
  • Natia Gamkrelidze, Ph.D. Candidate in Political Science at Linnaeus University and guest researcher at Russia and the Caucasus Regional Research (RUCCAR) Center at Malmö University (Sweden)
  • Roman Horbyk, Senior Lecturer at Örebro University (Sweden)
  • Botakoz Kassymbekova, Assistant Professor, University of Basel (Switzerland)

Academical coordination

Administrative coordinator

  • Ramona Rat, CBEES, Södertörn University (

Deadline for application: 15 June 2022

Time and place

01 December 2022, 09:00 - 02 December 2022, 16:30


Södertörn University, find us


Arranged by

Centre for Baltic and East European Studies (CBEES)


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