Call for Papers: Eastern European Regions 1945-1960: The Formation of a New Society and its Reflections in Family Stories

Bewerbungsschluss: 15. Januar 2018

Venue: German Historical Institute Warsaw
Date: 22-23 March 2018

The German Historical Institute in Warsaw in cooperation with the Klaipėda university (Center for Study of Social Change and Institute of Baltic Region History and Archaeology) 
Workshop: Eastern European Regions 1945-1960: The Formation of a New Society and its Reflections in Family Stories 

The Second World War and the subsequent geopolitical transformation led to major migration processes. They touched most of the Eastern European territories and some of the border regions (in particular, the former Eastern Prussia territory), where the consequences of the shifting of political borders radically changed the structure of the population. When the local population (voluntarily or enforced) left their home, new citizens arrived to their places. These newly populated areas began to be formed in today's Poland, Lithuania as well as in Russia and Ukrainia and other border regions of Eastern Europe. The post-war situation of these territories and their further development shows many similarities and many differences. In some regions prewar local inhabitants played a role furthermore. But in other places, like todays Kaliningrad territory they were nearly wept out. The Klaipeda and the Kaliningrad region then parts of the Soviet Union, experienced certain flows of Russian-speaking people/population (mainly to the cities), and they became the territory of the Soviet Union. The geopolitical dependence of these territories was determined by the policy of their accommodation, colonization and ideological indoctrination. This policy shaped and changed the specific social and ethnic composition, the identity, the cultural and communal relations between the inhabitants of such territories.

The workshop is dedicated to Eastern European regions, which, at the end of the Second World War, lost a part or most of the indigenous population, and where new societies were created and shaped during the post-war period. Some of these regions / territories have been extensively researched, others are still awaiting more detailed analysis (for example, the northernmost territory of the former Eastern Prussia, the Klaipėda region). 
We want to invite scholars to study Sovietisation especially in terms of border regions and migratory processes, to discuss the political system and aspects of the occupation regime - as the locals remaining in the regions affected by geopolitical transformation adapted to the post-war new society - and how the newcomers were integrated here. 
We like to discuss the following issues and questions: 

  • What new national / ethnic groups went to these regions, why they moved to the new places and what kind of relationship(s) they developed to the locals. 
  • How the post-war political ideological changes and the arising ideological conflicts between the past and the reality influenced the identity and communal relations of locals and foreigners. 
  • How the old pre-war and new post-war identities differed. Can we find processes of integration or separation of these identities? In which way is the influence of old or new ideological images into identities and the separation of communities reflected in family photographs? 
  • Which aspects of cultural and communicative memory shaped the identity of the locals and the arrivers under the new geopolitical conditions of the post-war period?

The workshop is part of the project „Klaipeda Region 1945 - 1960: The Formation of a New Society and its Reflections in Family Stories“ conducted by Sigita Kraniauskienė (PhD Sociology), leader of the team, consisting of four scientists - sociologists as well as historians, working in Klaipeda University and Deutsches Historisches Institut Warschau, financed from the Lithuanian Science Council (LIP-091/2016).

We invite scholars representing historical disciplines and other social sciences to submit proposals under one of these headings. Papers exploring multi- or interdisciplinary approaches and such of comparative character will be especially welcome. We are eager to encourage scientists from different perspectives and viewpoints to discuss these and more questions.

Doctoral students who wish to present at the workshop can apply for travel funding grants. Please indicate your interest in this grant in your application.

The workshop will be held in English.
Abstract proposals of no less than 250 and no more than 500 words with a short bio should be sent to: leiserowitz(at); sigitak(at) 
Deadline for submitting abstracts: 15 January 2018 
Notification of acceptance: 31 January 2018 
Conference venue: Warsaw, German Historical Institute

Weitere Informationen und Kontakt:

Prof. Dr. Ruth Leiserowitz
Deutsches Historisches Institut Warschau
Al. Ujazdowskie 39; 00-540 Warszawa
+48 22 5258313
+48 22 5258342