Guidelines for Submission of Abstracts

Last Date for online Registration 

30th January 2013



As commonly understood East Central Europe comprises the countries in Europe which had socialist regimes after World War II and were not part of the former Soviet Union. These include Poland, Hungary, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Romania, Bulgaria, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Macedonia, East Germany, and Albania.

In the last two decades of the XX century the proclamation of the policies of perestoika and glasnost in the former Soviet Union, the fall of the Berlin Wall in the Western Europe and the subsequent disintegration of the Soviet Union in 1991 contributed to the socio-political transformations in this region.

The above mentioned countries or the ‘new democracies’, as they are also called, went through a complicated process of systemic changes at the end of the XX century. These changes entailed moving away from state socialism to market economy. Though each country underwent this change in their own definite manner, nevertheless, a common paradigm can characterize the route taken by all countries of this region. While tracing the trajectory of the transition, one of the leading Hungarian sociologist, Elemer Hankiss theorises the first phase of transition (1980-1989) as the ‘age of great expectations’. The next phase is named as the ‘age of transitology’ (1990-1994). Moving through various phases characterized as the ‘age of apprenticeship’, the ‘age of professionalism’, the ‘age of perplexity’, Hankiss calls the period beginning from 2001 onwards as the ‘age of uncertainty’.

This period also witnessed the pressures of the processes of ongoing globalisation. It was this ‘phase of uncertainty’ that saw mass anti-government demonstrations in Hungary in 2006; alliance between the far-right and the socialists in Slovakia; parliamentary stalemate in Czech in 2006; in Bulgaria the choice of the presidential candidate was between an ex-communist and a racist candidate. This period saw the rise of violent subcultures and movements in many of the countries of Europe. So much so that many Western commentators began to express views about the fading away of democracies in this region.

While raising the issue of the cultural transformations, the creation of the new cultural spaces, in the present day East Central Europe, one understands the complexities of the relationship of these countries with Russia. Needless to say that the national consciousness and identity of the self in this region is inseparable from the dimensions of their relationships, past and present, with Western Europe (that of assimilation) and Russia (of disassociation). In addition to this, in our opinion the entire East Central Europe is an extremely diverse cultural entity. As many Central Europeans would be equally opposed to East Europe, as much as to Western Europe. Equally important is to analyse as to how cultural identities have changed, developed and reacted to the systemic changes in the post-transition period East Central Europe and Russia?

Sociology of literatures of this region would be another area of investigation in this conference and would form an important part of this discourse.

The Objective

Twenty one long years have passed by since then! Perhaps the time has come for drawing up of a balance sheet. The countries of East Central Europe and Russia that have the experience of both the systems of governance also have the potential of throwing up new, viable solutions of a ‘new world order’.

Academic interest, which initially focused on the various causes of the changes, has shifted now to the political and economic concerns of these nations and their search for individuality and efforts to find new alliances.  The experience of these countries and multiple perspectives to their search for cultural expressions, artistic forms are often linked to critical insights, academic dialogue and interaction.

The Department of Slavonic & Finno-Ugrian studies at the University of Delhi is one of the leading institutions in India where, besides Russian, the languages of East Central Europe are taught. 

Thus, it is appropriate that the department proposes to provide a forum for discussion and debate, exchange of ideas on the current political and economic environment in these countries, as well as, the new linguistic, literary and cultural changes.

As these countries are also part of the European Union, it is important that our relationship with them is reassessed in the light of the transformations.

Scope and Area to be covered

Some of the possible themes, though not all exhaustive, may be taken up for discussion:

  • The discourse on East Central Europe and Russia as a historical region;
  • East Central Europe and India – cultural ties and transformations;
  • Issues of migration, settlement, conversion, social stratification in the new context in the region of East-Central Europe;
  • The origins of nations and nationalism in East-Central Europe post ‘fall of the wall’;
  • ‘Cultural renaissance’, new Cultural Spaces and reformation in East-Central Europe and Russia;
  • Collective memory/amnesia/rewriting of history and the literatures of the Central & East Europe and Russia;
  • The socio-cultural dynamics of the political project of ‘rejoining the Europe’ at the end the XX century; Political Cultures and Parliamentary Democracy.
  • Narratives of change/borrowings across the borders in the context of the renaissance of national identity /or loss of identity, multiple identities;
  • “Geopoetics” of the literatures of the East Central Europe;
  • East-Central European and Russian Cinema and ‘Literary’ History;
  • Women’s writing in the context of the literary canon.