Not a long time ago, a British lady was considered bigoted by Gordon Brown upon asking ‘all these Eastern Europeans what are coming in, where are they flocking from?’(1). The zoological word is not a novelty in the cultural invention of Eastern Europe. Maybe, despite her concern with the dangers of immigration for Britain, the lady was right in showing that such a question still awaits for answers in Europe. The ironic aspect however is that a first answer to such a question would point to the fact that the Eastern Europeans come from the Western European imaginary. As Iver Neumann puts it, ‘regions are invented by political actors as a political programme, they are not simply waiting to be discovered’(2). And, as Larry Wolff skilfully showed, Eastern Europe is an invention emanated initially from the intellectual agendas of the elites of the Enlightenment that later found its peak of imaginary separation during the Cold War(3).
The Economist, explicitly considered Eastern Europe to be wrongly labelled and elaborated that ‘it was never a very coherent idea and it is becoming a damaging one’(4). The EU enlargement however was expected to make the East/West division obsolete under the veil of a prophesied convergence. That would have finally proven the non-ontological, historically contingent and unhappy nature of the division of Europe and remind Europeans of the wider size of their continent and the inclusive and empowering nature of their values. Yet still, more than 20 years after the revolutions in the Central and Eastern European countries, Leon Mark, while arguing that the category of Eastern Europe is outdated and misleading, bitterly asks a still relevant question: ‘will Europe ever give up the need to have an East?’(5)
Eastern Europe was invented as a region and continues to be re-invented from outside and inside. From outside its invention was connected with alterity making processes, and, from inside the region, the Central and Eastern European countries got into a civilizational beauty contest themselves in search of drawing the most western profile: what’s Central Europe, what’s more Eastern, what’s more Ottoman, Balkan, Byzantine, who is the actual kidnapped kid of the West, who can build better credentials by pushing the Easterness to the next border. A wide variety of scholars addressed the western narratives of making the Eastern European ‘other’ as an outcome of cultural politics of enlightenment, as an effect of EU’s need to delineate its borders, as an outcome of its views on security, or as a type of ‘orientalism’ or post-colonialism. Most of these types of approaches are still useful in analyzing the persistence of a East-West slope. The region is understood now under a process of convergence, socialization and Europeanization that will have as outcomes an ‘ever closer union’ where the East and the West will fade away as categories. Yet the reality is far from such an outcome while the persistence of categories of alterity making towards the ‘East’ is not always dismantled. The discourses on core/non-core, new Europe/old Europe, pioneers/followers, teachers/pupils, centre/periphery, cosmos/chaos are often maintaining significant ground within the arena of European identity narratives often yet not exclusively voiced by the EU.
The Fifth Euroacademia International Conference ‘Re-Inventing Eastern Europe’aims rather than asserting to make a case and to provide alternative views on the dynamics, persistence and manifestations of the practices of alterity making that take place in Europe and broadly in the mental mappings of the world. It offers an opportunity for scholars, activists and practitioners to locate, discuss and debate the multiple dimensions in which specific narratives of alterity making towards Eastern Europe preserve their salience today in re-furbished and re-fashioned manners. The conference aims to look at the processes of alterity making as puzzles and to address the persistence of the East-West dichotomies.
The conference is addressed to academics, researchers and professionals with a particular interest in Central and Eastern Europe, Europe related and European Union topics from all parts of the world. As the nature of the conference is intended to be multidisciplinary in nature, different academic backgrounds are equally welcomed. Cultural approaches, political studies, critical studies, out of mainstream approaches and artistic/literary contributions to the better understanding of Central and Eastern Europe in its past present and future dimensions are all equally welcomed. Euroacademia favors alternative and innovative thinking proposals and non-mainstream methodologies.
Post-graduate students, doctoral candidates and young researchers are welcomed to submit an abstract. Representatives of INGOs, NGOs, Think Tanks and activists willing to present their work with impact on or influenced by specific understandings of Central and Eastern Europe are welcomed as well to submit the abstract of their contribution.
Abstracts will be reviewed and the participants are selected based on the proven quality of the abstract. The submitted paper for the conference proceedings is expected to be in accordance with the lines provided in the submitted abstract.
Registration and Fee
Registration fee is 195 Euro
The Participation Fee Includes:
- the conference registration and full access to proceedings
- participant’s package with all the materials for the conference
- official invitation
- eligibility for inclusion in the conference proceedings published volume
- a copy of the electronic volume
- access to Euroacademia discussion group and newsletters
- coffee brakes with snacks and refreshing drinks for all the duration of the conference
- a 3 course lunch on 29th of January 2016 at the 4 stars Albert Riga Restaurant
- welcome drink with snacks on 29th of January 2016 at the Star Lounge Bar
- a 3 course lunch on 30th of January 2016 at at the 4 stars Albert Riga Restaurant
- certificate of attendance
- access to optional social program
Unfortunately, Euroacademia has no available funds for any financial assistance in arranging transport and accommodation to/in Riga. Participants are responsible for securing funding to cover transportation and accommodation costs during the whole period of the conference. Official invitation letters can be sent by Euroacademia to the financing institution to confirm the selection and participation in the conference upon request.
Limited discounted rates are available for selected conference participants willing to book accommodation during their stay in Riga at the conference location – Albert Hotel Riga.
|1st of December 2015||Deadline for Submitting Panel Proposals|
|10th of December 2015||Deadline for Submitting Paper Proposals|
|11th of December 2015||Latest notification of acceptance|
|15th of December 2015||Sending the Registration Form|
|20th of December 2015||Payment of the conference fee|
|15th of January 2016||Sending the draft paper to be uploaded on the conference website|
|18th of January 2016||Publication of the conference program and uploading the draft papers on the website|
|29th of January 2016||The conference commences at 9.00 am|
[In order to facilitate better travel arrangements for selected participants, the paper proposals are analyzed on a constant basis through regular meetings of the Selection Committee and therefore a response to the application will be delivered in maximum 5 days after the application.]
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