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The Other Europe: Changes and Challenges since 1989

September 11-12, 2020

Location: Henry R. Luce Hall, 34 Hillhouse Ave.

Faculty Hosts: Edyta Bojanowska (Yale University) and Vitaly Chernetsky (University of Kansas)

As we mark the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, now is a fitting moment to take stock of the cultural changes in Central, Eastern, and Southeastern Europe over the past three decades and to reflect on the region’s conflicted and contested “Europeanness.” This is also a propitious moment to reexamine the existing analytical frameworks for writing the cultural history of this period, and to consider new possibilities. This international conference will explore these questions while focusing on the vibrant cultural production in this part of Europe in post-1989 literature, film, and visual and performing arts. It aims in particular to foster a broad conversation between North American and European scholars of culture.  The language of the conference will be English.  

Date | Day One

Opening Remarks 
Panel 1: Relocating East and West
  • Mykola Riabchuk (National Academy of Sciences, Ukraine), ”Kundera’s Fallacy, or the Tragedy of ‘Central Europe’ Three Decades Later” 
  • Olesya Khromeychuk (Kings College London), “Political Violence as a Route to Europeanness” 
  • Katie Trumpener (Yale University), “Journeys to the East: Alienation and History in Post-Wall German Film” 
Panel 2: Mapping Regions and Peripheries
  • Daniel W. Pratt (McGill University), “Region Contra Nation: Silesia in Contemporary Polish Literature”
  • Uilleam Blacker (School of Slavonic and East European Studies, University College London), “Pursuing Europe’s Traces in Urban Literature of East-Central Europe: The Case of Ukraine”
  • Jessie Labov ( Central European University),  “The Other Centers of Europe” 
Panel 3: Migrations
  • Dirk Uffelmann (Justus Liebig University of Giessen),  “Encountering the Other ( of) European Migration” 
  • Dina Iordanova (University of St. Andrews), “Market Moves” 
  • Monica Popescu (McGill University), “Theory from the East/South: Romanian-Ghanaian Vantage Points” 
Panel 4: Orientalist Geopoetics and Geopolitics
  • Larson Powell (University of Missouri-Kansas City), “Places Outside Time: The Imagined Regionalism of Andrzej Stasiuk” 
  • Rajendra Chitnis (University of Oxford), “Journeys to the Centre of the Self?: Czech Writers and the East in the Twenty-First Century”
  • Tomasz Zarycki (University of Warsaw), “Polish Europeanness as Non-Russianness”
Special Photography Exhibit & Reception, “Visual Acts of Radical Care: An Exhibition of Female Artists-Activists from Central and Eastern Europe” 
  • Opening Remarks by the Curator, Aniko Szucs (Yale University)

Date | Day Two

Panel 5: Historical Traumas in Global Contexts
  • Benjamin Paloff (University of Michigan), “Whose Concentration Camp Is It, Anyway?: Instrumentalizing History on the Global Stage” 
  • Eneken Laanes (Tallinn University), “Soviet Holocaust? Negotiating the Memories of the Gulag in Baltic Film”
  • Neringa Klumbyte (Miami University), “Post-Soviet Dystopias: Testimonies of Historical Tragedies in Russian and Lithuanian Children’s Books” 
Panel 6: Multiple Temporalities
  • Mitja Velikonja (University of Ljubljana), “The New Folklore: Neo-Traditionalism as the Cultural Logic of the Post-Socialist Transition” 
  • Anita Starosta (Pennsylvania State University), “Nationalist Pastiche: Multiple Temporalities in the Countries of Degraded Form” 
  • Petra James (Universite libre de Bruxelles), ”The Specter and the ‘Haunting Past’: Literary Representations of Central European Dictatorships of the 20th Century” 
Panel 7: Usable Pasts for Troubled Times
  • Simon Lewis (University of Potsdam), “The Mnemonic Afterlife of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth: Polish-Belarusian Encounters”
  • Aniko Imre (University of Southern California), “Continuity in Disruption: Postsocialist Media Networks” 
  • Igor Stiks (Faculty of Media and Communications, Belgrade, Serbia), “From Nostalgia to Politics, and Back: Artistic Re-Evaluations of Socialist Past” 
    General Discussion