CfP: Memories without Borders. Youth Emigration in transition from communism to democracy in Eastern Europe

Call for papers, deadline 31 March 2023

The life of young people in the communist regimes of Eastern Europe meant a long series of unfortunate events that generated, most of the time, the desire to escape to the free world on the other side of the Iron Curtain. The taste of life in the West, obtained tangentially through various means, such as music or film, to which were added the deprivations and oppression, increased the desire of young people to emigrate to the states where they could benefit from the fruits of freedom. Once there, they entered a world of democracy and freedom, where they could enjoy a number of benefits.

This book aims to bring into focus the stories of young people who left communist states and who helped, voluntarily or involuntarily, to create the European identity. They, settled in the Western European world, managed to form an important diaspora of communities from Eastern Europe, communities that later had an important contribution to the transition from communism to democracy in the former communist states.

This call is aimed primarily for undergraduate, master's or doctoral students in history, political science or journalism, but other students are also welcome to apply. They are invited to conduct oral history interviews with people who immigrated to the West from former communist countries (Romania, Bulgaria, Albania, USSR, Yugoslavia, German Democratic Republic, Hungary and Poland) between the ages of 18-30, anytime during or after the Cold War, until 1995.

The conducted interviews will be integrated as a chapter in a collective volume. After conducting the interview, students are asked to transcribe the interview and analyze it in 2-3 pages. The analysis has the role of introducing the interview to create a context of the country of origin, the problems that the interviewee points out and other aspects that the interviewer wants to present in relation to what the interviewee states.

Students are also encouraged to refer to the literature and footnotes when they wish to clarify any information that the interviewee states that is inconsistent with reality.
The role of the book is to present the aspects of the transition process from an oppressive regime to a democratic one, but also of daily life in the respective countries.

Project period:
March 31 - sending the initial proposals
April 10 - acceptance of the work and suggestions for proofreading
April 30 - the deadline for sending the interview and consent of the person
June - publication of the volume
In the application submission process please attach the following:
• The consent of the person you interviewed regarding the recording and publication of the interview
• Audio recording of the interview
• The text with the analysis and the transcribed interview.
To help with the interview, here are some interview guide questions:
• Do you agree to record this interview? It would be easier for us for this research.
• How do we reference you? Name and surname? Just the initials? Or do we completely anonymize you?
• Biographical data: age, gender, education, place of origin (urban/rural).
• Let's start with childhood memories. This initiative is supported by the Astra Rasnov Summer School within the Film and History Festival
• Some memories of school? Why couldn't you go further (depending on the level of education you had)?
• Was the choice of professional career (in communism or after emigration) your own decision or was there an external factor that led you to choose this path?
• What was your socio-professional status in communism?
• Were you a member of a communist party or organization? What were the specific activities within them?
• Have you experienced forms of intrusion by the communist regime in your private life? But in the professional one?
• What was the decisive moment that made you think seriously about the possibility of escaping from the Communist Bloc?
• How did you organize the departure? What did it take to be able to leave?
• What did you leave behind?
• How were you going to manage in the country you left?
• What was your first impression of the West?
• What did you do in the first days when you got there?
• Have you experienced any difficulties in accommodation?
• Did you think about returning to the country before or after 1989?
• If you have returned or not, have you been politically or civically involved in the European or post-communist development of the states you belong to?

The papers may be submitted in ROMANIAN, ENGLISH and it should not exceed 20 pages..

Papers must be sent to the following email addresses and any other questions:

Attached document(s)