Twentieth Century Communism – Communism and Political Violence

August 25, 2010

The second issue of Twentieth Century Communism journal, which has as its theme ‘Communism and Political Violence’, has now been published and is available in print and online.

Communist attitudes to violence have varied according to whether a given party was in power or opposition, and on the wider context in which its adherents found themselves. For communists of the Comintern generation, it was forever framed within a Bolshevik-derived paradigm centred on the experience of 1917; for the resistance movements of the second world war it was understood as part of the struggle against fascism; for those battling to liberate themselves from colonialism it was understood as part of the liberation struggle.

Two sample articles from the issue can be read in-full online:

Front cover of Twentieth Century Communism journal issue two


Conference: Art Histories, Cultural Studies and the Cold War

August 23, 2010

24 September 2010
Institute of Germanic & Romance Studies
University of London
United Kingdom

Organized by the department of History & Philosophy of Art at the University of Kent, the conference aims to explore how the Cold War delineated approaches to Art History, Historiography and Cultural Studies and how its conditions and constraints shaped the professional careers and influenced the writings and ideas of scholars and cultural theorists. We welcome a wide range of perspectives that might include, for example, the use of particular methodologies, the choice of specific subjects for analysis that were explicitly politically motivated or contextualised readings of particular art historical monographs or reviews of wider art historical topics, such as ‘the Renaissance’ or ‘the history of Modern Art’, as sites of displaced ideological conflict.

A related study day on Saturday 25 September, organized by the Centre for the Study of Cultural Memory (CCM) at the Institute of Germanic & Romance Studies, will explore Cold War Cities.

Find out more from about the conference.

Conference: The Memory of Labour

August 23, 2010

The Memory of Labour
9-12 September 2010
Bildungshaus Jägermayrhof, Römerstraße 98, 4020 Linz
Simultaneous Translation: English – German

46th Linz Conference, organized by the International Conference of Labour and Social History and the Chamber of Labour of Upper Austria, kindly supported by the Federal Ministry of Research, the Provincial Government of Upper Austria, the City of Linz and the Friedrich Ebert-Foundation Bonn.

Preparatory Committee

Jürgen Mittag (Co-ordinator, Institute for Social Movements, Ruhr University of Bochum), Bruno Groppo (Centre d’Histoire Sociale, Université de Paris I), Eva Himmelstoss (ITH), Jürgen Hofmann (Berlin), Silke Neunsinger (Labour Movement Archives and Library, Stockholm), Berthold Unfried (ITH & Institute for Social and Economic History, Vienna University), Marcel van der Linden (International Institute of Social History, Amsterdam).

Background and Approaches

Starting point of the conference cycle is the question about the presence of labour movements in public representations of the past (“collective memory”). This approach is relevant, because the field of politics of history, historiography, communicative and cultural memory has been readjusted during the last decades. The changes in global politics and global memory politics after the end of the bipolar world system have led to very controversial debates: from questions about the exploitation of the past for political objectives and as a means of identity politics, along the debate about the prerogative of interpretation of national memory in media and memorial sites up to the debate on the transnationalisation of certain forms of “collective memory”.

Yet, in this context, the role of labour movements has remained vague and scarcely discussed. Against this backdrop, the 2010 conference is meant to analyse which modes of remembrance and repression have influenced collective memory about labour movements, which events have been fed into the memory canon and what were the changes these processes of memory have been subject to in the last few years: Are the social emancipation efforts and the call for humanisation of living and working conditions in the centre of memorization? Is it the contribution of labour movements to the formation of (European) welfare states and the creation of relatively homogenous societies in Europe – or do very different cognitive or affective traditions of thought play a role?

The conference will pursue two major targets: On the one hand, the place of labour movements and social movements in European and global commemorative politics will be analysed in view of different nation states and regions. On the other hand, commemorative politics and strategies of labour movements themselves will be analysed.

In this regard, it has to be scrutinized if, and in how far, labour movements – as actors within broader historical developments – were formative for commemorative strategies of political movements in general. Has this concept of memory lost its foundation in the era of a new “commemorative-regime” in which future disappears in the past? And how do labour and social movements position themselves towards the global attempt to provide an outlook for future through the examination of the past?

More information available on the conference web site.

Red Strains: Music and Communism outside the Communist Bloc after 1945

August 22, 2010

CONFERENCE: Red Strains: Music and Communism outside the Communist Bloc after 1945 British Academy, London, 13-15 January 2011

Keynote speakers: Prof Gianmario Borio (Pavia); Prof Georgina Born (Cambridge); Prof Anne Shreffler (Harvard) Panel session: Konrad Boehmer; Henry Flynt; Giacomo Manzoni

Themed paper sessions include: Communist Parties; Popular music; Folk song; The Black Panther Party; US-Soviet friendship; Soviet realism overseas; Communist nationalisms; Communisms cultural legacy.

Full programme (pdf)
Conference information and online registration

Dr Robert Adlington (Conference Organiser)
Department of Music
University of Nottingham