REEES organizes the annual Princeton Conjunction, an interdisciplinary and international conference that brings together 25 – 30 scholars from around the world and aims at determining new directions in Russian, East European, and Eurasian studies. The conference program committee issues an open call for papers each year, participants are selected in early February. The conference is typically held the second weekend of May.
Princeton Conjunction - 2016
CALL FOR PAPERS
In a 2001 issue of the journal PMLA, David Chioni Moore asked: “Is the Post- in Postcolonial the Post- in Post-Soviet?” Answers to this important question have come in many forms during the last fifteen years, and the tentative equation between the two has also been significantly extended: post-Soviet and postcolonial are routinely lumped together with postmodernist, and post-totalitarian; just as the “soviet” has with the “colonial.” Yet these “posts” did not sit comfortably together; their apparent family resemblance has not yet merged into a productive and convincing framework either for analyzing socialism as a form of colonial practice or for understanding post-soviet as post-colonial.
This interdisciplinary conference aims to review successes and failures of the dialogue between the postcolonial theory and postcommunist studies, which has been taking place in the former socialist countries. We invite scholars to approach the alleged postcolonial condition of postcommunist Europe and Eurasia not only as a break from the colonial past, but also as a method of retrospective reflection, and a form of an intellectual exchange. To what extent can postcolonial studies of the communist experiment be seen as a product of intellectual transfer or conceptual mimicry? Do those studies merely graft the postcolonial argumentation and narration developed for the diverse cases of South Asia, Latin America, or South Africa onto the no less diverse traditions, experiences, and concerns of postcommuinist societies? Given the impact that Marxism in general and the work of Antonio Gramsci in particular had on the formation of postcolonial theory, how should we interpret the wholesale rejection of the leftist legacy by postcolonial scholarship in the region? Why do the anticolonial studies produced in, and of the region tend to privilege the history of the national elites, marginalizing even further the experience of the colonized and the suppressed? What are the analytical and interpretive benefits and pitfalls of postcolonial anti-communism that has been emerging gradually after the collapse of communism? Will political conservatism, aesthetic traditionalism, and romantic nationalism remain the key contributions of this anti-communist postcoloniality?
We encourage theoretically rigorous submissions that scrutinize the history of intellectual exchanges between different sites of postcolonial thinking worldwide, and the approaches, methods, and concepts that emerge in the spaces of postsocialism. In particular, we are interested in examining those points of conceptual divergence and conceptual intersection between the postcolonial and postcommunist studies deriving from the different forms of inequality that industrial capitalism and state socialism produced. Did these two forms of socio-political and economic organization create comparable configurations of (post)coloniality, with similar structures of colonial subjection and anti-colonial resistance? Or, were there distinctively socialist genealogies of subalternity that the processes of radical economic modernization in the USSR and the socialist bloc created? Which narratives and voices were strategically excluded during the formation of the allegedly classless society of socialist countries? Which narratives and voices have been strategically excluded now, as postsocialist states undergo rapid nationalization? Could we find the same dynamic of “domination without hegemony,” as Ranajit Guha discerned in the case of colonial India, or was the asymmetry of power between the “colonial” and “imperial” elites negotiated differently under/after socialism?
We welcome historically grounded and ethnographically engaged submissions from scholars interested in analyzing the postcolonial transfiguration of the communist past. Please send your abstract (300 words) and a short CV (up to 2 pages) to Serguei Oushakine, the Chair of the Program Committee at firstname.lastname@example.org by January 20, 2016.
Those selected to give presentations at the conference will be contacted in early February 2016. Final papers will be due no later than April 15, and they will be posted on the conference website.
Pending funding, subsidies for graduate students and participants from the overseas may be available.
The Program Committee:
Serguei Oushakine, Chair (Princeton University)
Tarik Cyril Amar (Columbia University)
Edyta Bojanowska (Rutgers University)
Michael Kunichika (Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton)
Ekaterina Pravilova (Princeton University)
Past Princeton Conjunction conferences:
May 10 – 12, 2013
Illusions Killed by Life: Afterlives of (Soviet) Constructivism
May 4 – 6, 2012
Objects of Affection: Toward a Materiology of Emotions
May 20 – 22, 2010
Sots-Speak: Regimes of Language under Socialism
May 15 – 17 2009
Totalitarian Laughter: Cultures of the Comic under Socialism
May 9 – 11, 2008
The Pain of Words: Narratives of Suffering in Slavic Cultures.