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CBEES Annual Conference 2020

7th Annual Conference of the Centre for Baltic and East European Studies (CBEES) at Södertörn University planned for 2020 is currently on hold, please return back soon to get more information.

With and After Empire: Enduring Pasts Across the Local and the Global

The 7th Annual Conference of the Centre for Baltic and East European Studies (CBEES), Södertörn University, Sweden.

The Versailles settlement of 1919–1920 marked the end of the old imperial order in much of today’s Europe, dramatically redrawing its political map. Since then, there has been a widespread assumption that empire as a major organising framework of power relations has given way to a model of international arrangements that is based on the principle of national self-determination.

CBEES annual

As newly emerged successor states eagerly dissociated themselves from all things “imperial”, the idea of “nation” came to dominate the political lexicon of following century. Still, throughout much of the 20th century, the global space continued to be dominated by old empires and saw the emergence of new ones.

Moreover, as many scholars contend, hegemonies, inequities, networks, imaginaries, and idioms embedded in imperial visions and practices of the past endure in our ostensibly post-imperial, post-colonial, and national present. As Ann Laura Stoler suggested, imperial pasts are not just “leftovers”, “traces”, and “legacies”, but “durabilities” that are very much alive in the modern world.

Zooming in on East Central Europe and the Baltic Sea region, the conference aims to revisit this area’s complex histories and better understand its no less complex present by looking at both the historical experiences of multi-ethnic imperial formations, such as those of the Habsburg, German, Ottoman, Russian, or Soviet, and at the tangible and intangible effects they continue to have on the present.

The conference wants to stimulate dialogue between historians, political and social scientists, anthropologists, cultural theorists, and specialists in other fields of knowledge, encouraging reflection on the residual impact of empire in the region’s past and present.

We would like to explore this question alongside other aspects of enduring imperial pasts, with regards to the histories, politics, economics, and cultures of the region. How do these imperial sediments affect social, political, and cultural relations? How are they embedded in media and communication technologies? What kind of appeal does the term “empire” now have and to what ends it is being invoked? Are there different histories, mythologies, and memories to be told, as opposed to national instrumentalizations of history?

With the emphasis on ruptures, continuities, echoes, reproductions, and other forms of endurance, the conference suggests bringing both local dimensions and global entanglements with regards to imperial histories and imperial afterlives into consideration. We are interested in durabilities, mutations, translations, migrations, reciprocities, and coexistence across time and space.

The conference welcomes empirically and theoretically informed discussions that address manifestations—hidden or apparent—of imperial endurances in:

  • nature and culture interactions, environments and commodities, production and consumption;
  • economies and technologies;
  • ethnic, social, political, and religious solidarities and identifications;
  • ideologies and politics;
  • transfers of knowledge, ideas and information;
  • international relations and security;
  • imageries, memory, and heritage;
  • minorities and diasporas, dialects and languages;
  • artistic expressions.

Proposals should include the full title, a brief abstract (400–500 words). Please submit your proposal here.

Participation in the conference is free of charge. For accepted participants, the organisers will provide accommodation during the conference (two nights), as well as some meals.

Michael Khodarkovsky is a Professor of History at Loyola University Chicago. He specializes in the history of the Russian empire, with a broader interest in comparative imperial and colonial history. His books include Russia’s 20th century: A Journey in 100 Histories (Bloomsbury Academic, 2019), Bitter Choices: Loyalty and Betrayal in the Russian Conquest of the North Caucasus (Cornell University Press, 2011), and Russia’s Steppe Frontier: The Making of a Colonial Empire, 1500-1800 (Indiana University Press, 2002).

Klaus Richter is a Senior Lecturer in Eastern Europe at the University of Birmingham and Director of the Birmingham Research Institute for History and Cultures (BRIHC). His scholarly interests include, among others, the history of nationalism, ethnic conflict, and displacement. He is the author of Fragmentation in East Central Europe: Poland and the Baltics, 1915-1929 (Oxford University Press, 2020) and Antisemitismus in Litauen: Christen, Juden und die ‘Emanzipation’ der Bauern, 1889-1914 (Metropol, 2013).

Professor Mark Bassin
Associate Professor Tora Lane
Associate Professor Per-Anders Rudling
Dr. Julia Malitska
Dr. Oleksandr Polianichev
Dr. Kirill Kozhanov.

Tid och plats

03 december 09:00 - 04 december 17:00


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Centre for Baltic and East European Studies (CBEES), Södertörn University



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