28 October 2014
Eastern Europe Beyond Contiguity - Call for Papers
The edited volume "Eastern Europe Beyond Contiguity" aims to introduce an Eastern Europe that resists the cartographic mandate as much as other contiguities: linguistic, temporal, intellectual, ethnic, and religious. Instead, the contributors will uncover and reflect upon alternative categories, images, histories, and self-designations, which Eastern Europeans and their non-neighbors devised or borrowed to situate the region in a new set of coordinates, tacitly or quite explicitly resisting the traditional ones.
History has born out that more than many other world regions, the area to the east of Western Europe and to the west of Russia, with the Baltic Sea to the north and the Adriatic, Aegean, and Black Seas to the south has been defined by its location on the map. For centuries, rulers, politicians, and military strategists partitioned its expanses among neighbors. Since the “long nineteenth century,” ideologues relied on borderland-derived toponyms to justify the changes, as Ukraine’s case demonstrates. Generations of present-day intellectuals, for their part, conceptualized the area in terms of adjacency (Edward Said), continental centrality (Milan Kundera, György Konrád, Andrzej Stasiuk, Yuri Andrukhovych), or betweenness. But how imperative are such geographic conventions, we ask? Can we get away from the notion of Eastern Europe as "the lands between" (Prusin)? Can we think beyond geography even as it resonates in the region’s very name "Eastern Europe"?
Likely, the resulting models won't be easily mappable in either geographical or historical terms. That is to say, they will outline cartographic chasms (engagement with non-Western European and non-Russian actors; cultural, political, or intellectual traditions; populations, etc.) as well as chronological discontinuities (ruptures in historiographies, memory cultures, religious worship, etc.). Frequently, these chasms asserted themselves against the intentions of the "powers that be" or "were." The resistance to contiguity thus often shaped political struggles over a diverse set of issues, from self-determination to internationalism. What kind of struggles were these and why do they matter?
In part, the volume will draw on invited contributions. With this call we would like to reach out to scholars who can add to the conversation. Working title, abstract of 200-300 words (max; in English), one page c.v. or statement of interest in/qualifications for this topic, due to both editors by November 4: Irene.firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com