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Exploring experiences of repression in the soviet union and communist eastern europe


Conference venue: Leeds Beckett University, Leeds, UK
Period: Friday 20th January 2017
Deadline for submitting abstracts: Monday 19th December

Description of the Conference

In recent years there has been renewed academic interest in studying experiences of repression in the former communist bloc as scholars increasingly recognise the need to move beyond previously narrow definitions of communist ‘terror’ and ‘repression’ to reflect better its multifaceted political, ideological and socio-economic dimensions. Today, while we know more about the politics of the purges, we know significantly less about the impact of the repressions as an everyday experience. In addition to continued focus on directly enforced aspects of state repression (including arrests, executions, non-judicial murders, show trials, mass deportations and incarceration in penal institutes and forced labour camps), recent studies have emphasised the impact of practices such as more general police surveillance, enforced conscription, confiscation of property, eviction from dwellings, loss of employment and social status.

Since 1989, with the collapse of the socialist regimes in Eastern Europe, and 1991, with the collapse of the communist regime in the Soviet Union, a good deal of new material has become available about the repressive nature of these regimes and the impact this had on those who suffered under them. Today, historians have access to a wider range of source materials including recently released archival documentation, contemporary and historical newspaper reports, autobiographies/biographies, published testimonies of survivors and their family members, photographs and film. There has also been increased emphasis on oral history, due to concerted efforts to record individual experiences of repression, as many of those who experienced communist-era repression are nearing the ends of their lives.

Guidelines for submission

If you would like to participate then please send proposals consisting of paper title, a brief (250 words) abstract and presenter’s details to

Dr. Kelly Hignett at K.L.Hignett@Leedsbeckett.ac.uk by Monday 19th December.

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