Call for Papers. 16th Annual Conference “Constructing the ‘Soviet’? A Soviet Project in ‘Global Socialist Ecumene’”

Department of History

In 2022, the History Department of the European University at Saint Petersburg will call the 16th Annual Conference “Constructing the ‘Soviet’?” for young scholars. This year our point of departure will be a category of the “global socialist ecumene”, which we apply to the Soviet and other socialist projects history. With this concept Katherine Clark defines a transnational community of people who were committed to common views and produced new meanings and discourses through horizontal interactions. Such interactions could be viewed not as a form of “Soviet imperialism”, but as a dialogue of the equal actors within the ecumene (K. Clark, 2020). Although the author uses this category to study cultural history, we propose to expand the scope of its application and invite researchers to discuss various forms of socialism through the lens of social, political, economic and everyday life history.

Traditionally, our conference is devoted to the history of the USSR, hence we also invite researchers to comprehend the multiple phenomena of the “Soviet” in a comparative perspective, relying on the experience of Eastern European countries and the socialist countries of the “Third World”, as well as the capitalist world. We suggest to continue the discussion that has already begun in historiography on overcoming the paradigm of a deviated/alternative path of the Soviet experience. For instance, this refers to both social practices (A. Golubev, 2020) and revision of the economic model as autarky (O. Sanchez -Sibony, 2014), etc. We assume that such perspective will allow us to expand the conversation on the phenomena and forms of the “Soviet” that were initiated not only by the state and citizens, but were also part of the global modernity dynamics.

There are several possible perspectives that we suggest for discussion:

  1. Production of knowledge in the fields of culture, education and science: Actors, institutions, practices;
  2. Economic, technological and ecological history. Transnational transfers of industrial production, consumption practices, scientific technologies from the center to the periphery and vice versa;
  3. (Non)State Social Welfare Practices: Between Care and Control;
  4. Cultural memory and symbolic practices of rethinking the past, mechanisms of discourse formation and identity construction in socialist countries.

We expect applications that are related to but not limited to these perspectives.

Applications, requirements and deadlines:

The conference will be held in person in St. Petersburg, Russia, at 1, Shpalernaya street, on June 3-4, 2022. The online participation format is also possible. The languages of the conference are Russian and English, translation will not be provided.

The conference is open to young scholars from any disciplinary background within the humanities and social sciences. Please send a proposal of 500-700 words in Russian or English and a short CV to no later than March 31, 2022. Successful candidates will be informed by April 20, 2022.

Proposals should: 1) present a clearly formulated research question and issue; 2) outline the historiographical context; 3) provide a brief description of sources and the approach to their use.

Candidates should be prepared to submit the detailed text of their presentations (about 2,000 words) two weeks prior to the conference.

Funding: the conference has a limited budget for high-quality proposals from students unable to cover their travel expenses (including those coming from abroad).

For further information, please contact us: