CBEES Annual Conference 2021 - With and After Empire: Enduring Pasts Across the Local and the Global
Welcome to the 7th Annual Conference of the Centre for Baltic and East European Studies (CBEES) Södertörn University, Sweden, Stockholm
Ever since World War I spelled the end of the old imperial order in much of today’s Europe and dramatically redrew its political map, there has been a widespread assumption that empire—as a major organizing framework of power relations—was doomed to give way to a model of international arrangements based on the principle of national self-determination.
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.
The year of 2021 is as a symbolic occasion on which to talk about the relevance of “imperial” for Baltic and East European studies. It marks three hundred years since the proclamation of the Russian Empire and thirty years since the dissolution of the Soviet Union, regarded by many scholars an imperial formation. With this double anniversary in mind, the conference aims to revisit the complex histories of Eastern and East Central Europe, the Baltic Sea region, the Caucasus, and Central Asia and better understand their no less complex present, by looking at both the historical experiences of multi-ethnic imperial formations, such as those of the Russian, Habsburg, German, Ottoman, Qajar, or Soviet, and at the tangible and intangible effects they continue to have on the present.
The call for application is now closed!
We would like to explore these questions 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 historians, political and social scientists, anthropologists, cultural theorists, and specialists in other fields of knowledge to discuss 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.
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,
• Julia Malitska, Ph.D.,
• Oleksandr Polianichev, Ph.D.,
• Kirill Kozhanov, Ph.D.