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Nationalisms in the post-soviet space: Logics, ethics, practices

Conference venue: Moscow, Russia
Period: October 31—November 2, 2016
Deadline for submitting abstracts: 26th June 2016

Description of the Conference

In recent decades, nationalism has become a more and more urgent issue on the international agenda. Originating in the last third of the eighteenth century as a radical offshoot of European national liberation concepts, it evolved rather quickly into a network of diverse ideologies all over the world. Their common ground was the dominance of the concept of (single) nation in politics, social relations, and intellectual sphere. This concept has often been used without proper reflection, with ascribed meanings of ‘nation’ multiplying, overlapping with other political concepts and categories and contradicting each other. It takes sometimes a great effort to understand exactly which sense of ‘nation’ and ‘national’ a politician or a public figure is meaning. At the same time, many different currents in nationalism today make a point of maintaining a genetic connection with the ideas of national revival that date back to past centuries. This encumbers critical reflection on them in societies where they are gaining popularity.
The Gefter Online Magazine, Centre d’Études Franco-Russes de Moscou and Yegor Gaidar Foundation propose a discussion of how national and nationalist identities take shape and how they function both at the level of official doctrines and, more importantly, at the level of everyday practices. At the same time, we would like to mark a terminological distinction between ‘nation’ and ‘nationalism’ on the one hand, and ‘nationality’, ‘ethnicity’, ‘citizenship’ etc. on the other.

Eligible topics for the conference

We suggest that conference participants discuss the following issues related to national and nationalist identities in ex-Soviet Union and in the post-Soviet space:

  • Continuity and discontinuity: to what extent are modern versions of nationalism generated by late-Soviet ones?
  • The ‘national constants’ as a way to control political loyalty.
  • Institutional forms of nationalism: how is ‘Russianness’ (‘Ukrainianness’, ‘Belarussianness’, ‘Estonianness’, etc.) formulated outside of Russia (Ukraine, Belarus, Estonia...)?
  • Nationalism and neo-colonialism: the expansion of Russianness and the rhetoric of ‘salvaging’ – from ‘saving the Russian world’ to salvation as an eschatological category.
  • Memory in nationalism: what memory practices existed in nationalist doctrines in the Soviet Union and how they were transformed in post-Soviet countries.
  • Nationalism and dissent in the USSR – nationalism and political opposition in the post-Soviet era.
  • Nationalism and national trauma: can talk about nationalism be a way to overcome a collective trauma, and if so, why is it jugulated in Russia and a number of other East European countries?
  • The ethics of nationalism: what ethical principles do ideologists of nationalism build their doctrines on? What moral categories are formed within nationalist theories?
  • Nationalism as a news opportunity: practices typical of media defining themselves as nationalist.
  • Nationalism and democracy: why was democracy often regarded as a national mission in perestroika years, and was has become of this idea later on?
  • Alternative political programs: what did perestroika-time political thinkers such as Andrey Sakharov, Yegor Gaidar and others think of nation-building rhetoric and what alternatives to it did they offer?
  • Nationalism and economics in post-Soviet countries.

The two-day conference will combine scholarly talks in plenary and morning sessions with afternoon roundtables and workshops. The afternoon events will focus on individual cases (or groups of interrelated cases), based on which various approaches to analyzing nationalism and civil society will be discussed.

Guidelines for submission

Applicants are invited to submit an abstract (English or Russian) of maximum of 500 words to by 26th June 2016 at the latest.

Applications can be submitted either for the presentation of a paper (incl. co-authored ones) or for the organization of a workshop/roundtable (panel).

Successful applicants will be informed by 15th July 2016. Final papers of a maximum of 8000 words should be submitted by 15st October 2016. Selected papers and panel proceedings of the conference will be published in a monograph. The organizing committee reserves the right to select the texts to be included in it.


Information & contacts

Scientific Commitee (provisional):
Catriona Kelly
Marlene Laruelle
Sergey Oushakine
Cecile Vaissie

Organizing Committee:
Eva Bertrand
Irina Buylova
Alexander Markov
Hélène Mélat
Mikhail Nemtsev
Nikolay Poselyagin
Stanislav Usachev
Irina Chechel


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