Monday, 25 September 2023

ImagInAction: imagining communities, nations and politics in Europe 1918-1933 webinar

 Webinar – October 9, 2023 – 16:00 CET

ImagInAction: imagining communities, nations and politics in Europe 1918-1933

Part One: About Cultural and Spatial Maps

Enrico Serventi Longhi (Rome 3 University): Introduction: A network between aesthetics and politics

Adriano Roccucci (Rome 3 University): Geocultural and geopolitical maps of a plural Europe

Roger Griffin (Brookes Oxford University): Digging the shaft of Babel: The doomed projects to build earthly Jerusalems in the interwar Successor States

Lorenzo Benadusi (Rome 3 University): Clash of civilization and civil war in the aftermath of WWI

Galina Babak (Masaryk Institute and Archive of the Czech Academy of Sciences): National Modernism in Soviet Ukraine as a tool for nation-building in the 1920s

Bart Van Der Bossche (KU Leuven): Reimaging space: the case of the occupation of Fiume (1919-1920)

Contacts and Webex Credentials: enrico.serventilonghi@uniroma3.i1

Details: .

Call for articles: The Transformations of the Book Publishing in Post-Socialist Spaces (ex-USSR, post-Yugoslav space, Czech Republic and Slovakia). Thematic issue of journal Connexe. Exploring Post-communist Spaces.

Call for articles: The Transformations of the Book Publishing in Post-Socialist Spaces (ex-USSR, post-Yugoslav space, Czech Republic and Slovakia). Thematic issue of journal Connexe. Exploring Post-communist Spaces, guest edited by Anne Madelain & Daria Petushkova (both Research Center Europe-Eurasia, National Institute for Oriental Languages and Civilizations (INALCO), Paris, France)

The period of 1989-1991 famously marked the end of the socialist regimes, which, in turn, profoundly affected the publishing industry and book distribution in the post-socialist space, including Central and Southeast Europe. Among the most visible transformations that occurred, the end of state control, the appearance of private actors (publishers, distributors, booksellers) and the influx of translations of works by Western authors can be emphasized (as substantial). These transformations have also coincided with the digital revolution that has disrupted publishing and reading practices all over the world (Symbolic Goods 2020, Curry & Lillis 2010, Hayles 2016, Epron & Vitali-Rosati 2018).

It has been widely acknowledged that in France, Germany, and the English-speaking world, publishing and bookselling are familiar objects of study for historians and sociologists. Both the history of the book and the sociology of publishing and translation have become research fields in their own right, generating a specialized literature for which extensive bibliographies can be compiled (Mollier 2015; Thompson 2010). Conversely, however, the social sciences have paid little attention to the transformations of publishing industries in the post-socialist countries.

Therefore, we welcome the contributions exploring transformations in the publishing industries in those countries and geographic areas that have experienced both the end of socialist regimes and the reorganization of their national borders as a result of the dissolution of the USSR, Yugoslavia, and Czechoslovakia in the early 1990s. In these contexts, the transformations of publishing and the publishing professions are a heuristic object for several reasons. On the one hand, in a period of technological revolution and acceleration of international circulation, these transformations concern the reconfiguration of production and cultural and intellectual players. On the other hand, they also touch on questions of language policy, the circulation of cultural goods, and the symbolic construction of the new States. 

The comparative approach makes it possible to understand some common phenomena such as privatization and disappearance of State-controlled publishing conglomerates, the emergence of small independent publishers and reorganization of the retail channels. However, many national specificities can also be observed, whether in the national publishing systems of the socialist period (control over the printed production, political censorship, relations with the outside world, the role of translations of the foreign literature) or during the transitional period to the free market after 1989, which was highly influenced by the international players. Other differences are linked to the long-term cultural phenomena, such as reading habits, the level of education of the reading population or the symbolic place given to the book in the process of national building. The reorganization of the distribution channels in the former socialist federations is also an interesting axis of comparison because the solutions adopted by the actors of the book industry could be very diverse depending on the local political, cultural, and geographical contexts.

Finally, these different post-socialist fields make it possible to analyze, from a context considered peripheral, the contemporary mutations of the world publishing: the atomization of a majority of actors and the appearance of new dominant (inter)national publishing conglomerates (Schiffrin 2000), self-publishing and piracy, bestsellers and its impact on the field of translation.

We would like to focus on the transformations of the key players (publishers, publishing professionals, firms, booksellers, libraries etc.), the links between publishing and academia, the financing of the sector, in particular that of translations, but also in structuring of the post-socialist publishing markets, public policies regarding book industries, and recomposing of distribution channels in the different linguistic areas. We invite the potential contributors to cross different disciplinary approaches from such fields as sociology, history, cultural and social history and economics in particular.

We are interested in contributions on the history and sociology of publishing in the post-socialist spaces in order to generate a multidisciplinary and comprehensive set of papers which will be published in the special issue of the open access peer-reviewed journal Connexe. Exploring Post-communist Spaces by the end of 2024. The articles (50 000 signs, or 8000 word max.) can be submitted in English and French. 

The selected contributions for the special issue will be discussed during a workshop which will be held in INALCO in Paris in the end of January, 2024. The organizers may cover some of the travel and / or accommodation costs, however the amount of available coverage is limited.

Application Procedure: 

Please submit your abstracts (max. 500 words) in English or French and a brief bio by October 25, 2023. Prospective contributors will be notified by November 15, 2023. The selected contributors are expected to send the draft versions of the articles before the workshop. Deadline for final papers submission is March 15, 2024. 

For additional information, please contact Anne Madelain ( or Daria Petushkova ( 

Selected Bibliography

BIKBOV Alexander, PETUSHKOVA Daria, « La matrice d’une révolution intellectuelle : le marché des traductions en sciences humaines et sociales en Russie après 1990 », Actes de la recherche en sciences sociales, vol. 246-247, n°1-2, 2023, p. 66-93. DOI : 10.3917/arss.246.0066. 

BIGGINS Michael & CRAYNE Jane (dir.), Publishing in Yugoslavia's Successor States, Binghamton, The Haworth Information Press, 2001. 

CURRY Mary Jane & LILLIS Theresa, Academic Writing in a Global Context, London, Routledge, 2010 

EPRON Benoit et Vitali-Rosati Marcello, L’édition à l’ère numérique, Paris, La Découverte, 2018.

HAYLES Katherine, Lire et penser en milieux numériques. Attention, récits, technogenèses, Grenoble, ELLUG, 2016.

LESAJA, Ante, Knjigocid : uništavanje knjiga u Hrvatskoj 1990-ih [Livrocide : la destruction des livres en Croatie dans les années 1990], Zagreb, Profil, 2012.

« Lire en numérique », Biens Symboliques / Symbolic Goods [En ligne], n° 7, 2020.

MADELAIN, Anne, « Naissance d’une génération d’éditeurs post-yougoslaves au tournant des années 1990 », Slavica Occitania, 2021, n° 52, p. 189- 215.

MOLLIER Jean-Yves, « L’histoire de l’édition, du livre et de la lecture en France de la fin du XVIIIe siècle au début du XXIe siècle : approche bibliographique », 2015. <halshs-01164765> 

OSTROMOOUKHOVA Bella, « Négocier le contrôle, promouvoir la lecture. Editeurs indépendants face à l’État dans la Russie des années 2010 », Bibliodiversity, Numéro spécial « Les politiques publiques du livre », juin 2019.

SAPIRO Gisèle (dir.), Les contradictions de la globalisation éditoriale, Paris, Nouveau monde, 2009.

SCHIFFRIN André, The Business of Books: How International Conglomerates Took Over Publishing and Changed the Way We Read, London, Verso, 2000. 

STOJANOVIĆ Dubravka, Noga u vratima. Prilozi za političku biografiju Biblioteke XX vek [Un pied dans la porte. Contribution à une biographie politique de la bibliothèque du XXe siècle], Belgrade, Biblioteka XX vek, 2011. 

THOMPSON JOHN B. Merchants of Culture: The Publishing Business in the Twenty-First Century, Cambridge, Polity Press, 2010.

Thursday, 21 September 2023

hybrid workshop: "Making Knowledge on Ukraine in the Interwar Period", 25.09.– 26.09.2023

 "Making Knowledge on Ukraine in the Interwar Period", 25.09.– 26.09.2023. IOS Regensburg & zoom, organised by Galina Babak, Martin Rohde and Jan Surman. Program and registration:

The Russian war against Ukraine resulted in a massive displacement of Ukrainian scholars and increasing attempts to make knowledge on Ukraine. At the same time a discussion emerged about the persons who could legitimately claim expertise about the country. The figure of the expert has oscillated between the “native informants,” whose legitimacy came from their local knowledge, and “Westsplainers,” whose local expertise was questionable. Acknowledging that the question of legitimacy is also a question about the situatedness of knowledge, we propose to investigate practices of knowledge making on the Ukrainian lands, its inhabitants and its recent history, with a focus on the interwar period.

World War I put Ukraine on the mental maps of Europe, both as an imagined construct and as a body of separate political entities. Ukraine appeared on maps and in international debates, and Ukrainian intellectuals were visible like never before due to the global interest in the region and their political impetus to legitimize their own knowledge on Ukraine. After the Great War, the displacement of scholars and politicians increased their entanglements with non-Ukrainian institutions and scholars all over Europe.

At the end of WWI, the imagined Ukrainian lands were integrated as new regions into various states. In the interwar decades they remained a subject of intensified interest in Czechoslovakia, Poland, Romania, and the Soviet Union. Inquiries involved a range of actors apart from professional academics, such as officials, citizen scientists, entrepreneurs, teachers, travel authors, translators, memoirists, and photographers. Whether minorities or émigrés, Ukrainian intellectuals were subjected to power relations and often violence, which also limited their possibilities to become part of official discourses about the regions of their origins. The attitude towards them ranged from active cooperation to complete ignorance, often in reciprocity with ideologies and loyalties to state-building, nation-building or geopolitical projects.

We invite the public to join us in a workshop exploring, among others, the following questions:

How did political dynamics shape Ukraine's visibility in the interwar period?

How did Ukrainians maintain and use global networks to circulate authentic knowledge about their nation?

Who else was involved in creating or contesting knowledge about Ukraine, and what tensions arose in this discourse? How did World War I reshape the foundational theories of Ukrainian Studies (Ukrainoznavstvo)?

How did Ukrainians document and institutionalise the historical period 1914—1923?

How did different hierarchies affect the production of knowledge about Ukraine in different geographical contexts?

How was knowledge about Ukraine suppressed or distorted, and what role did violence play in silencing a "national minority"?

We look forward to exploring a rich diversity of perspectives, particularly with regard to the transnational interconnections of the issues highlighted. The workshop will include contributions that not only address Ukrainian actors directly, but also interact with knowledge about Ukraine from different perspectives. A wide range of disciplines will be represented, with a focus on interdisciplinary approaches to promote a comprehensive understanding of the issues discussed.

The workshop is jointly organized and supported by IOS Regensburg, the Institute of History (Czech Academy of Sciences), and the Lumina quaeruntur project “Images of science” in Czechoslovakia 1918—1945—1968 (Masaryk Institute and Archives, Czech Academy of Sciences).

Thursday, 14 September 2023

CFP: Workshop: Undoing Knowledge. Stories of Knowledge Formation in the Long Nineteenth Century. (December 14-15, 2023, Leuven)

 CFP: Workshop: Undoing Knowledge. Stories of Knowledge Formation in the Long Nineteenth Century. (December 14-15, 2023, Leuven)

Two-day Workshop at the Department of Literary Studies, December 14-15, 2023, KU Leuven (Belgium)

Decades of scholarship on the mechanisms of knowledge formation have generated a wide awareness that the transhistorical nature of knowledge and authoritative statements of truth need to be approached critically. It has become a truism that scientific knowledge is never outside of historical contingencies, that range from large-scale dynamics to institutional idiosyncrasies. For every epistemic poetics that gained wider currency, non-poetic modes of knowledge foundered due to undercurrents that are not mapped and of which we are often unaware today. A closer examination of the processes of knowledge formation in the long nineteenth century reveals alternative, unsystematic ways of collecting and structuring knowledge: queer modes of thinking, one could call them, that stand outside of normative and institutional forms of knowledge acquisition and dissemination. Such peculiar modes of thinking can be discerned in the dense writings of the early nineteenth-century German-Jewish author Rahel Levin Varnhagen or in the work of early twentieth-century art historian Aby Warburg. Both offer examples of non-taxonomical, eccentric modes of knowledge accumulation, though the latter is widely more canonized today than the former.

Our two-day conference wants to address unconventional forms of knowledge and their eclipse in the nineteenth and early twentieth century, the period that lays the institutional foundations of scholarly and scientific knowledge as we still know today. The aim of our conference is not to build a cabinet of curiosities, but to gain insight into different dynamics and forms of knowledge that existed, possibly proliferated and/or disappeared from the realm of standard expertises. These forms of knowledge may vary in terms of media and genre: they can be constituted as letters, diary entries, essayistic writings, unpublished manuscripts, imagery, …

We are interested in stories of knowledge from diverse scientific fields that developed next to or outside dominant templates and invite papers that investigate alternative discourses of knowledge acquisition, case-studies that explore unconventional ways of explaining and thinking, and how these functioned – and disappeared – in the standards of cultural and scientific dissemination.

Contact Information

Please send your abstract (200-300 words) for a 15-20 minute presentation and a brief bio to by October 15, 2023. Prospective contributors will be notified by October 23, 2023.

For questions, please contact Carolin Loyens (


Department of Literary Studies, University of Leuven

Blijde-Inkomststraat 21

3000 Leuven (Belgium)

[Image: Jeremy Leung]

Tuesday, 12 September 2023

CfP: Imperial Mirrors: Toponymy of Urban Space in the Romanov Empire, 1855–1917

 CfP: Imperial Mirrors: Toponymy of Urban Space in the Romanov Empire, 1855–1917 

Location of workshop: Nordost-Institut, Lüneburg, 16–18 April 2024

Convenors: Catherine Gibson (University of Tartu), Anke Hilbrenner (University of Düsseldorf), Anton Kotenko (University of Düsseldorf), Joachim Tauber (Nordost-Institut)

Language: English

Keynote speaker: Maoz Azaryahu (Professor of Cultural Geography, University of Haifa, Israel), author of Von Wilhelmplatz zu Thälmannplatz: politische Symbole im öffentlichen Leben der DDR (Gerlingen: Bleicher, 1991), Tel Aviv: Mythography of a City (Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 2007), and An Everlasting Name: Cultural Remembrance and Traditions of Onymic Commemoration (München: De Gruyter, 2021); co-editor of Narrating Space, Spatializing Narrative: Where Narrative Theory and Geography Meet (Columbus: Ohio State University Press, 2016) and The Political Life of Urban Streetscapes: Naming, Politics, and Place (Abingdon: Routledge, 2018).

Abstract: The naming and renaming of urbanscapes has never been a disinterested and easy matter; this process has always been part of structures and discourses of power and identity politics (Azaryahu 2009). As historians of the Habsburg Empire have recently shown, the reconfiguration of city space has also been linked to issues of regime change, nationalisation, memory, and commemorative practices (Palonen 2015; Rusu 2019; Berecz 2020, 2022; Reill 2020, 199). In the context of the Romanov Empire, however, the history of toponyms has not yet been viewed as part of its political history and historians of the empire have not paid much attention to it. Thus, with the exception of renaming streets in the Northwestern region of the empire after the Polish uprising of 1863–1864 (Staliūnas 2007), the history of urban toponymy of the empire was previously tackled only by regional historians, who did not pay much attention to the political context of this process, the rationale behind these decisions, their practical implementation, or how the population at large reacted to name changes (see for instance, Vladimirovich 2009; Päll 2009; Gorbachevich and Khablo 2006). During this workshop we would like to focus on the history of names of cities and towns as well as street names in the Romanov Empire in the second half of the nineteenth century. The participants will examine the palimpsest of toponymical practices involving not only different political, economic, and cultural spaces but also different languages. On the one hand, we would like to explore the process of the gradual politicisation of toponymic practices in late imperial Russia, its achievements, and failures. On the other hand, the history of toponymy of Romanov imperial cities merits attention as a way to study the extent of the empire’s penetration of everyday life of its inhabitants. The workshop aims to explore these issues from a broad geographical perspective, and especially welcomes contributions dealing with the Baltic provinces, western borderlands, Caucasus, Siberia, and Central Asia from the middle of the nineteenth century to the breakup of the empire.

Contributors are encouraged to address, but are not limited to, the following questions:

What were the main toponymic practices in the urbanscapes of the Romanov Empire during the second half of the long nineteenth century? Who was responsible for naming and renaming its towns and streets? What was common and different in these practices for the cities throughout the empire?

How did the changing political context influence these discussions over the course of the second half of the long nineteenth century? What controversies emerged over naming and renaming practices? How did ideologies and practices of imperialism, nationalism, or regionalism reveal themselves in these processes?

To what extent did the naming of towns and streets in the Romanov empire follow trajectories similar to other empires of the time? What was common and distinctive about it? How does the history of urbanscapes of the late Romanov Empire enrich our understanding of urban and imperial history of the long nineteenth century?

Outcome: Special issue of a peer reviewed journal specialising in urban history.

Funding: Subject to financing being secured, the organisers plan to cover accommodation for all participants and travel expenses within Europe according to the rules of the Bundesreisekostengesetz. Participants will also be asked to use green travel options, where available. Online participation is available for participants from outside Europe.

Deadline: Please submit an abstract of 200 words together with a CV by 1 October 2023. We will inform participants by 1 November.

Please submit a proposal and address any inquiries to Anton Kotenko at

Contact Information

Anton Kotenko, University of Düsseldorf

Contact Email

Saturday, 9 September 2023

CfP: East-West Cooperation in Science and Technology: Actors, Actions, and Intelligence Gathering

 CfP: East-West Cooperation in Science and Technology: Actors, Actions, and Intelligence Gathering. Panel at BASEES, Cambridge, 5-7 April 2024. Deadline September 25, 2023

Technology and science were crucial in breaking down ideological boundaries during the Cold War. Scientists and experts from both sides of the Iron Curtain were able to interact because science and technology both produced a neutral working environment. The Geneva „Atoms for Peace“ conference first paved the way for improved East-West collaboration in 1955. But the technological rivalry between the blocs greatly boosted competitiveness. Therefore, politicians‘ strategic interest in science and technology stemmed not only from their capacity to maintain relations in situations where it was difficult for politicians to cooperate but also from the need for both blocs to maintain leadership in the field of scientific and technical advancement.

Especially during the Cold War, science became a matter of national prestige. The shock of Sputnik, which shook not only American society, became the main driver of scientific and technological progress in the 1960s and 1970s, both in Western Europe and especially in the USA. Thanks to the increased mobility of scientists, intelligence gathering has become part of their everyday practice. Particularly in certain fields, there has been a great deal of interest in intelligence gathering. They include for example nuclear proliferation or disarmament, environmental risks, and issues of environmental security.

We are planning to organize a panel on the relationship between intelligence gathering and science and technology at the BASEES conference in Cambridge, 5-7 April 2024. We welcome proposals for papers that address international relations, STS, or science and technology diplomacy and methodological issues to be dealt with.

With respect to international collaboration during the Cold War, we’re particularly interested in how scientists, as providers of knowledge and expertise, have been perceived by their own states and by foreign powers. How was their ´action´ defined in relation to intelligence gathering, and to what extent were they bound by various obligations to their state when traveling? Did scientists participate in due diligence exercises? How?

Apart from Actors, what actions should be considered intelligence gathering? For which type of intelligence gathering were scientists most often used: diplomatic reporting, traveller debriefing or espionage? What do we know about their actions in the field of GEOINT (Geospatial intelligence), MASINT (Measurement and signature intelligence), OSINT (Open-source intelligence), SIGINT (Signals intelligence), or TECHINT (Technical Intelligence)? Since cooperation across the blocs was motivated not only by political but also economic interests, the role of economic intelligence in science and research is therefore another possible topic for this panel.

Regarding the practical agenda, we would like to know what sources are available to historians working on these questions. What obstacles are currently placed in their way by the state – or by the experts themselves since some of them often refuse to comment on their role in the past?

In this panel, we would like to focus not only on East-West relations but also on relations between the Global North and the Global South. We therefore particularly welcome papers that take into account theories of decolonization and offer a new approach to understanding the question of intelligence gathering and knowledge circulation. Early Career Researchers are particularly welcome.

By September 25, 2023, proposals written in English should be sent to Doubravka Olšáková and Matěj Bílý Please include the title of your talk and a short abstract (no more than 300 words) in your email. Don’t forget to include your full name, affiliation, brief CV and your email address. Please let us know as soon as possible if you want to go to the Conference in person or remotely (online).

Jerzy Czajewski: Zbigniew Tucholski, Inżynier Seweryn Wachowski. Tworca żeglugi parowej Towarzystwa Kolei Wschodniochińskiej na rzece Sungari [Zbigniew Tucholski, Engineer Seweryn Wachowski. Creator of steam navigation of the East China Railway Company on the Sungari River],

 Jerzy Czajewski: Zbigniew Tucholski, Inżynier Seweryn Wachowski. Tworca żeglugi parowej Towarzystwa Kolei Wschodniochińskiej na rzece Sungari [Zbigniew Tucholski, Engineer Seweryn Wachowski. Creator of steam navigation of the East China Railway Company on the Sungari River], Warszawa: Narodowe Muzeum Techniki, Instytut Historii Nauki PAN, 2022.

Publikacją pt. Inżynier Wachowski. Twórca żeglugi parowej Towarzystwa Kolei Wschodniochińskiej na rzece Sungari, autorstwa Jerzego Czajewskiego i Zbigniewa Tucholskiego Narodowe Muzeum Techniki otwiera cykl wydawniczy stanowiący integralną część cyklu wykładów pt. Spotkania z historią techniki.

Temat opisany przez Autorów skupia niczym w soczewce losy polskiej emigracji w XIX wieku. Dorobek polskiej kadry inżynierskiej w tym okresie zawsze był w cieniu utraty państwowości, historii politycznej i zmagań społeczeństwa polskiego, którego nadrzędnym celem było wyrwanie się z zaborczych więzów. Mimo tragizmu, jakim bez wątpienia był ponad studwudziestoletni okres zaborów ze wszystkimi jego konsekwencjami, XIX wiek stał się przełomem w postrzeganiu roli edukacji technicznej i jej funkcji w odbudowie polskiej państwowości.

(Ze Wstępu dyrektora Narodowego Muzeum Techniki Mirosława Zientarzewskiego)

Wstęp i przedmowa:

ImagInAction: imagining communities, nations and politics in Europe 1918-1933 webinar

 Webinar – October 9, 2023 – 16:00 CET ImagInAction: imagining communities, nations and politics in Europe 1918-1933 Part One: About Cultura...