As we approach the 25th anniversary of the end of Communism in Eastern Europe, the era is simultaneously definitively over, and still among us. Ensconced in nostalgia, limned by products, landscapes, and worldviews birthed by party planners, transformed by would-be communist subjects, and wrestled with afterwards, the specter of communism haunts us—for good and ill—through its understood ruins. Creating ruins is both a historiographical project—an issue of how we periodize and understand the past—and a question of how we live through and among those artifacts of eras on the other side of perceived historical ruptures. Southeastern Europe is replete with both: from Buzludzha to Perperikon, from Tsarevets to abandoned collective farms. This conference asks panelists to address the question of ruins—to ask: “what makes the past, past,” and to tease out the implications of these understandings.
In order to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the end of Communism, the American Research Center in Sofia will host a Conference: Living after the Fall(?): Past-Present in Southeastern Europe, which will take place June 12-13, 2014.
The ARCS organizing committee seeks papers from across the humanities and social sciences that address this theme globally or locally, synchronically or diachronically. The conference seeks papers studying the history of Southeastern Europe broadly: from the earliest times to the present. As such, the conference asks scholars of the modern era in the Balkans to approach the story of “Living after the Fall” from an archeological perspective: charting and analyzing the remnants of lost (and not so lost) societies. It invites those studying earlier eras to think about the ways those past civilizations speak in the present in modes of living, official and unofficial narratives, and in public commemoration and silences.
The broad temporal disciplinary range of the conference reflects the mission of ARCS to embrace, promote and investigate the history and culture of Bulgaria and the Balkans over time. It provides a venue for scholars who may not normally have the opportunity to meet and exchange approaches and methods. Papers may address any aspect of Living after the Fall in Southeastern Europe, including but not limited to:
- Memory and commemoration
- Collapse and transition
- The role of public scholarship
- Public Space and Subjectivity
Please send an abstract of no more than 300 words in English to:
Cristofer Scarboro, King’s College and the American Research Center in Sofia firstname.lastname@example.org
Abstract deadline is April 18, 2014 with notification of a decision shortly thereafter. The conference is open to senior and junior scholars, including Ph.D. students.