CfP: International Postgraduate Conference Rethinking 20th Century Europe: The Continent of (Un)Freedom

Call for Papers, deadline 10 October 2021

Historia Europeana together with the Department of History at Masaryk University and with Moravian Matice (Matice moravská) invites you to:

International Postgraduate Conference
Rethinking 20th Century Europe
The Continent of (Un)Freedom

which will take place on 8-9 November 2021 in Brno at the South Moravian Region conference hall Žerotínovo náměstí 3/5 and also ONLINE

More information at: 

The 8th annual Rethinking 20th Century Europe conference will take place on November 8th - 9th, 2021. This year’s conference will focus on the topic of freedom. John Galsworthy (1867-1933), an English novelist and playwright, once said that freedom is a state of mind. Such a statement implies that, human mind being as diverse as it is, so is the idea of freedom. Its perception is a very wide and heterogeneous concept that varies between groups and people. Nevertheless, it is of core influence to all of them and is considered one of the baseline social and human values – a position that destines it to become an instrument of power and ideological play. It takes different forms, shapes and manifestations throughout the time. Its undefined or even problematic nature shows more than ever in these troubled times on the background of global pandemic when basic human rights and liberties are being limited based on the health protection efforts.

On the other hand – what were the various facets of (un)freedom in Europe of the past century? During our two-day meeting, we will try to capture the likeness of freedom from different points of view and attempt to answer many questions: What was the idea of freedom in different people, groups, movements or states? How did people lose their freedom? How did they fight for it and what were they willing to sacrifice? Did the achieved freedom stand up to the expectations or was it discovered to be an illusion or a halfway-step? What were the limits of freedom and the responsibilities it implied? The range of topics is indeed very wide, spanning from analyses of manifestations of (un)freedom of movement, thought, speech, consciousness, gathering, education, choice of occupation, religion, expression or enterprise all the way down to outlining the understanding of personal, ethnic, cultural, sexual or gender (un)freedom, internal or external. All the manifestations of (un)freedom can be understood as means of conflict between the established norm and abnormality or as means of conflict in general; also as a gift, challenge or a condition of a life well lived.

Various approaches and theoretical concepts can be used to approach the above stated matters – we certainly do not shy away from interdisciplinarity. We expect the contributing articles to focus on wider ideas, as well as to particular topics and events. However, the desired outcome should be to point out the international significance of the topic or wider context and comparison, rather than a narrowed-down study of specific or regional phenomena. We put emphasis on the general context, aiming to interpret the causes, purposes and the consequent effect of the studied events. The time span of our focus is between the early 20th century and the fall of the Eastern Bloc.