CfP: Sixth Annual Tartu Conference, 12-14 June 2022

We are pleased to announce the call for submissions for panels, roundtables and papers for the Sixth Annual Tartu Conference on Russian and East European Studies, due to take place on 12-14 June 2022 in Tartu, Estonia. Next year’s theme is “Which Way is the Future? Progress and Tradition in Eastern Europe and Eurasia”.

Scholars of area studies, comparative politics, international relations, economics, history, sociology, anthropology, cultural studies and related disciplines, are invited to submit proposals for full panels, roundtables and papers for the Sixth Annual Tartu Conference on Russian and East European Studies. The conference will take place in Tartu (in hybrid mode, if necessary).

The Tartu Conference is a venue for academic discussion of the fundamental cultural, social, economic and political trends affecting all aspects of life in Russia and Eastern Europe. Organized by the Centre for Eurasian and Russian Studies (CEURUS) at the University of Tartu, this forum brings together scholars from across multiple disciplines, from the region and beyond. The organisers expect that, as in previous years, more than 200 scholars attend the event.

In the conventional idiom, ‘post-socialism’ is still firmly associated with the idea of transition, which, in turn, presupposes a strong sense of directionality of historical development. The idea of progress in this view is still strongly associated with notions such as democratization, diversity, Europeanization, human rights and pro-market reforms. The ‘transition paradigm’ has been harshly, and perhaps deservedly, criticized in the scholarly literature. Moreover, even if most East European societies embarked on a transition to democracy in the 1990s, the trend has been reversed in recent decades, as evident from democratic backsliding and the rise of authoritarianism and illiberalism across much of the region. The desire to go back to the ‘golden age’ appears to drive a resurgence of traditionalist thinking in various forms, from Poland and Hungary to Russia, Central Asia and beyond.

As Eastern Europe has charted its course in the world, historical teleologies came to be questioned, most notably by postcolonial scholarship. Critical scholars draw our attention to the fact that modernity has been experienced differently in different parts of the world. Eastern Europe, which in some respects has become part of the Western core, is also a region with its own unique and diverse history, and this matters for today’s social structures and practices, cultural and discursive patterns.

Against this background, conference participants are invited to share their thoughts about the meaning of ‘progress(es)’ and ‘tradition(s)’ and their varying configurations in our region as well as globally. What constitutes progress? What is the promise of tradition, and how does it translate into politics and policy in the contemporary world? Could it be that we still see history through the prism of directionality (even if only in the sense of national liberation or the struggle for human rights), and is a radically non-teleological view possible? How do the notions of progress and tradition shape actors, their practices, strategies and resources in Eastern Europe and Eurasia?

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. Comparative research focusing on the region and beyond as well as interdisciplinary perspectives are especially welcome.

The conference will begin with the evening plenary session on Sunday, 12 June, and end in late afternoon on Tuesday, 14 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 Slavic Languages at Columbia University, and Andrea Pető, Professor at the Department of Gender Studies at Central European University, Vienna, Austria, a Research Affiliate of the CEU Democracy Institute, Budapest, and a Doctor of Science of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences.

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, full 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 2022.

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 70 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 you have any questions, please contact the organizers at

Programme Committee

Viacheslav Morozov, University of Tartu
Andres Kasekamp, University of Toronto
Anna Temkina, European University at St. Petersburg