Constructing the ‘Soviet’? conference – call for papers

February 27, 2012

Call for Papers – Constructing the “Soviet”? Political Consciousness, Everyday Practices, New Identities

The European University at St Petersburg, Russian Federation, 20-21 April 2012:

Since the collapse of the Soviet Union a generation of historians has grown up for whom the USSR is not so much personal memory but rather an object of study. Our annual conference provides an opportunity for undergraduate and graduate students to present their research on various aspects concerning the phenomenon of the “Soviet” alongside with comments by well-known academics: anthropologists, historians and sociologists. Previous conferences were supported by the French-Russian Center for the Humanities and Social Sciences and by the German Historical Institute in Moscow (DHI). Ten best papers of 2011 were published by DHI as a book.

At the conference in April 2012 we would like to discuss the following topics:

  • The development of the Soviet science and technology. Academic science: control and freedom of thought. Cult of invention and innovation. Scientific and technological cooperation and competition with foreign countries: joint projects, exchange of experts.
  • Conquest of space and time. The appropriation of space as a political project: great construction projects, cultivation of virgin land, conquest of the outer space. Mapping the “Soviet”: real and imaginary boundaries, resources and communication. Reorganization of the calendar: Soviet holidays and festivities.
  • Soviet material values. Asceticism and luxury, egalitarianism and elitism: struggle of opposites or peaceful coexistence? Standards of “good life” and their evolution.
  • Educating the “new man”: education, everyday life, leisure.
  • Lifeworld of the Soviet activist and exemplary citizen.
  • Pre-revolutionary practices in the Soviet life.
  • Mechanisms of administration. Vertical and horizontal communication of power, personnel and nomenclature policies, career ladder.
  • “Soviet-style” decision making.
  • Glasnost? and silence in the USSR. The boundaries of free speech: censorship, ?spetskhran?, samizdat. The culture of “Soviet” reading and writing.

We invite undergraduate and PhD students specializing in the humanities and social sciences to send us their short papers to participate in the conference. No remote participation is possible. The conference language is Russian.

A collected volume containing the papers will be published by the beginning of the conference. The electronic version of last year’s collection is available at

Requirements for the papers: no more than 15,000 characters (including spaces, footnotes and bibliography); MS Word (versions 1997 to 2003), automatic footnotes. Please also include your contact information, university, department and year of education.

Deadline for submission of abstracts: March 1, 2012 at:

The European University at St.Petersburg can pay for transportation within Russia (railway tickets) and accommodation only for a part of the conference participants.

The CfP in Russian can be read at