CfP: 14th Annual Conference: Constructing the “Soviet”? Political Consciousness, Everyday Practices, New Identities

Call for papers, deadline 1 February 2020

The History Department of the European University at Saint Petersburg invites graduate students of related academic fields to submit paper proposals for its upcoming 14th Annual Graduate Student Conference Constructing the ‘Soviet’? Political Consciousness, Everyday Practices, New Identities. The Student Conference has been organized annually since 2007, providing an opportunity to young researchers without a degree from around the globe to present and discuss their research papers, while gaining valuable feedback from first-class discussants. The conference aims to bring together diverse submissions dealing with relevant questions and dilemmas from the field of (post-)Soviet Studies. In addition to paper presentations and panel discussions, the conference also includes keynote presentations of renowned scholars of the field.

The 2020 conference pays close critical attention to the following panels and paper presentations :
- Intellectual History of the 1920s
How and by whom was the ‘Soviet’ space constructed, both intellectually and materially? In this section, we will examine the theories and practices at the intersection of art, science, and politics, and seek to answer the question of whether it is possible to rethink the boundaries between these spheres in the early Soviet period.
- Power and Society in the USSR in the 1950s-1970s: Forms of Interaction
How did people express their feelings regarding landmark events? What were forms of individual and group social action during the leadership of Khrushchev and Brezhnev? Did the authorities and various social groups find an adequate language to describe these actions, and if so, how?
- Postcolonial vs. (Post-)Soviet?
Researchers lack consensus regarding the applicability of postcolonial theory to Soviet history. Can postcolonial approach become a productive tool in the field of (post-)Soviet studies? Can this approach provide an opportunity to rethink established theses about the Soviet past? What are the limitations of such an approach?
- (De)construction of the Soviet
How did the perception of the Soviet reality transform in the late Soviet years? Who took part in the processes of alienation from a common ‘Soviet’ conceptualization? What was the transformation of the language of the public sphere (including visual)? What impact did this have on the dismantling of the Soviet system during ‘perestroika’?
- Constructing Childhood
Soviet childhood, described as happy and bright, seems to be among the key themes of the Soviet culture and public discourse. But what meanings were invested in the practice of education and indoctrination of the ‘new people’ throughout the history of the Soviet Union? How did the representations of childhood and youth change over time? What were the images and expectations of younger generations in radio, print, pedagogy, literature, cinema, TV? Finally, how did children and adolescents evaluate their experiences in synchronous and retrospective sources?

Other proposals related to the topics of the conference may also be considered.

Submission Requirements and Deadlines:
Proposals are open to young scholars from any disciplinary background within the humanities and social sciences. A proposal of 500 words and a short CV should be sent to no later
than February 1, 2020. Decisions about the acceptance of proposals will be communicated by the organizing committee by February 15, 2020.
We expect that the proposal will meet the following criteria:
- presence of a clearly formulated research question and a thesis;
- consistency and logic of an argument;
- the research work is situated in its historiographical context;
- a brief description of sources and your approach to working with them.
Candidates should be prepared to submit a detailed text of their presentations (2500 words or more) two weeks prior to the conference.
The working languages of the conference are Russian and English.
The conference has a limited budget for high-quality proposals from students unable to cover their travel expenses (including those coming from abroad).
For further information about the conference, please contact: or