CfP: 5th Annual Tartu Conference on Russian and East European Studies

Call for Papers


Post-Socialist (dis)Orders
7–9 June 2020, Tartu, Estonia

Scholars working in all subfields of area studies, including comparative politics, international relations, economics, history, sociology, anthropology, cultural studies and related disciplines, are invited to submit proposals for panels, roundtables and papers for the Fifth Annual Tartu Conference on Russian and East European Studies.

The Tartu Conference is a venue for academic discussion of the fundamental cultural, social, economic and political trends affecting all aspects of people’s life in Russia and Eastern Europe. Inaugurated in June 2016 as the flagship event of the Horizon 2020 UPTAKE consortium, this forum brings together scholars from across multiple disciplines, from the region and beyond. The 2020 Tartu Conference is organized by the UT’s Centre for EU–Russia Studies (CEURUS) in cooperation with the PONARS Eurasia research network. As in previous years, the organizers expect the number of participants to exceed 200.

The collapse of socialism was greeted both in the East and in the West as a return to civilization, a resumption of the normal course of history after the communist experiment. The general expectation was that after a period of transition, former socialist countries would become market democracies, rendering obsolete the very notion of Eastern Europe. Thirty years later, it is clear that the post-socialist world has developed as a complex hierarchy of geographic and social spaces, where diverse identities and historical legacies produce specific political, economic and cultural dynamics. As a result, the region remains a distinctive domain within the neoliberal global order, while also displaying a number of similarities with other areas, from Turkey to Latin America, which have never been part of the socialist bloc.

It is still common to discuss the uniqueness of the post-socialist domain in terms of normality and deviance, e.g., as resulting from the ‘civilizational incompetence’ brought about by the oppressive nature of the communist regimes. Other scholars, however, suggest that post-socialist experiences reveal flaws and ruptures in the neoliberal order itself, and thus are indicative of how this order functions beyond the Western core. Conference participants are invited to reflect on the historical origins of post-socialist institutions and practices, their functioning at the macro and micro levels, and the attempts to make sense of the post-socialist (dis)orders in public debates, popular culture and academic scholarship. Comparative research focusing on the region and beyond is particularly encouraged.

The Programme Committee will consider proposals addressing the above and related questions as well as other issues relevant to the development of Central and Eastern Europe, Russia and Eurasia from any disciplinary angle. Interdisciplinary perspectives are especially welcome.

The conference will begin with the evening session on Sunday, 7 June, and end in late afternoon on Tuesday, 9 June. The programme will include academic panels, roundtables focused on current issues and plenary sessions. Keynote presentations will be delivered by Mark Lipovetsky, Professor of the Department of Slavic Languages at Columbia University; and Ayşe Zarakol, Reader in International Relations at the Department of Politics and International Studies of the University of Cambridge and a Fellow at Emmanuel College.

The organizers welcome individual paper submissions as well as proposals for full panels and roundtables. The Programme Committee will give careful and unbiased consideration to all proposals; however, panel proposals are particularly encouraged.

Each paper proposal must include an abstract of no more than 250 words. Panel and roundtable proposals should list all speakers (as a general rule, 4–5 per panel/roundtable), along with abstracts and, if available, information about the chair and the discussant (alternatively, these can be assigned by the Programme Committee).  Please use this link to submit your proposal by 20 January 2020.

All proposals will undergo rigorous selection by the Programme Committee. Notifications of acceptance will be sent by email by 20 February. Accepted participants will be expected to register by 20 April and pay a registration fee of 50 euros (see Rules of Participation and Important Dates for other deadlines).

Participants should plan to make their own travel arrangements. The organizers will issue visa invitations, where applicable. Practical information regarding travel and accommodation is available on the conference website. If there are any further questions, please contact the organizers directly:

Programme Committee

Viacheslav Morozov, University of Tartu
Epp Annus, Ohio State University and Estonian Literary Museum
Henry Hale
, George Washington University