Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Something promising ..CfP: Lisbon Street Art & Urban Creativity International Conference

The Lisbon Street Art & Urban Creativity International Conference will unite the interests of anthropologists, art historians, architects, urban planners, designers, artists and institutions as well as a wide diversity of visual arts and cultural studies researchers.If you would like to submit a paper, please e-mail to, providing an abstract for a 20 minute presentation; in the subject line indicate for which session you are submitting an abstract. 

Abstracts are to be of no more than 300 words, and to include your name, institutional affiliation (if any) and a short biographic note. All abstracts will be submitted to blind-peer review.

See author guidelines for more information regarding the preparation of your abstract and full paper. Deadline for submissions: 15th February 2014

For queries concerning the conference, contact: Conference Organisation, Pedro Soares Neves and Daniela V. de Freitas Simões:

Sunday, December 15, 2013

CfP: Eastern European art history

East European art history enjoys a surge of research interest, but at the same time still represents a marginal area within art historical research. Accordingly, there are only few suitable platforms to discuss issues focusing on this subject area. With the forum for doctoral candidates, which from 2014 on will take place annually, we intend to establish such a platform offering doctoral candidates studying Eastern European art history, visual history or architectural history (or a neighboring discipline) the opportunity to address conceptual, methodical and practical problems, to socialize, and to synergize their competences.

Doctoral candidates dealing with a topic in East European art history (or a neighboring discipline) are cordially invited. If you are interested in taking part in the event, please send us an exposé outlining the issue as well as possibly the sources and methodology of your dissertation project. Dependent on the thematic focuses resulting from the exposés submitted we will select 8 to 10 contributions for twenty-minute presentations. The other participants will have the opportunity to introduce themselves and their topics (5 minutes). In addition, printed copies of all exposés will be provided. Important to us is to have plenty of time for discussing and exchanging ideas. Languages are German and English.

Please submit your exposé of ca. 4000 characters (including blanks) and some personal information as well as contact details by January 30, 2014 to:

Prof. Dr. Michaela Marek (

Katja Bernhardt, M.A. (

The forum is organized by the Chair of Art History of Eastern and East Central Europe, Humboldt University Berlin and will take place on May 9, 2014. On request, contributors will be granted a travel allowance. Other participants are requested to bear their travel and accommodation costs.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Summer Institute in Urban Studies

Summer 2014 marks the first Summer Institute in Urban Studies. It will take place at the University of Manchester over the week 29 June to 4 July.

Open to just 25 doctoral students (usually post-fieldwork), postdoctoral researchers, and recently appointed faculty/lecturers (normally within three years of first continuous appointment), the Institute comprises an intensive, week-long program of activities.

It is designed to provide participants with an in-depth understanding of the innovatory developments and enduring controversies in urban studies, as well as mentoring and support in the different aspects of the academic labour process, from applying for grants to designing courses, from editing books and special issues of journals to writing book proposals, and from publishing in journals to working at the academic/non-academic interface. It consists of panels, lectures, reading groups, with participants involved in shaping the final programme.

More details can be found at: OR contact Kevin Ward (

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

CfA: PhD fellowships "Urban Reconfigurations in post-Soviet space"

The Leibniz-Institute for Regional Geography (IfL) in Leipzig kindly invites applications from highly qualified and motivated individuals for 2 PhD fellowships to commence as soon as possible. 

The IfL is a non-university research institute and member of the Leibniz  Association with currently around 70 employees.  It is institutionally financed by the Free State of Saxony and the Federal  Republic of Germany in the context of a common research funding agreement. 

The fellowships include 
● a monthly stipend of 1400,00 € granted for six months plus financial support  for conferences and field research, 
● access to the academic service infrastructure of the IfL (e.g., the Central  Geographical Library; The Archive for Geography; cartographic and IT services, scientific seminars), 
● individual support in terms of exchange and discussions within the international research network of ira.urban and 
● flexible working arrangements in Leipzig. 

The fellowships will be financed within the framework of the international  comparative research project “Urban reconfigurations in post-Soviet space” (ira.urban). They aim at analyzing and explaining continuities and discontinuities in the reconfiguration of urban spaces in the light of traditional, reproduced Soviet and newly formed post-Soviet conditions as well as of changing global economic and social orders. On basis of transnationally comparative case study research,  the project focuses on the question to what extent urban development has become  part of a socially negotiated adjustment processes, and a mirror of a comprehensive modernisation process of urban societies in the republics of the former Soviet Union. 

The fellowships will be offered to researchers working in one of the following fields: 
Research field (1): 
Structural change of post-Soviet city regions: Comparative research on socio-economic dynamics and interregional linkages (subject: ira.urban_typologies). The awardee addresses in his PhD thesis the aforementioned topic (1), and deploys it empir-ically and methodologically for a single or multiple regional case studies in the post-Soviet space. In the context of the ira.urban project he contributes to the organization and analysis of an international database which comprises statistical indicators as well as further materials about the socio-demographic and economic developments of post-Soviet city regions. The database, including its visual compilation in terms of maps, represents the starting point for comparative, quantitative analysis as well as qualitative multiple case studies. Against this backdrop, the successful candidate will be in an advanced stage of his/her PhD project and show relevant experiences and skills in quantitative, structural analysis, cartographic methods as well as in urban research in post-Soviet space.
Research field (2): 
Peripheries of post-Soviet city-regions: Trends, Factors and Actors of the Post-industrial Transformation (subject: ira.urban_peripheries). The awardee addresses in his PhD thesis the aforementioned topic (2), and deploys it empirically and theoretically for a single or multiple case studies in the post-Soviet space, except the city regions of Moscow and St. Petersburg. The candidate analyses the contexts, processes and socio- and/or economic effects of the suburban transformations within the city region(s) under study from an actor-focused perspective. Thus, the successful candidate will be in an advanced stage of his/her PhD project, have gained relevant skills in social research methods as well as experiences in comparative urban research in post-Soviet space and/or have elaborated concepts for researching the aforementioned topic (2). 

Furthermore, we expect of both candidates geographic flexibility, fluency in English and in at least one language of the post-Soviet space, as well as working knowledge in Office software. The positions require hard working individuals with analytical strengths, communication skills, self-initiative and a strong team spirit. Please submit your complete application package in English or German as one pdf-file by e-mail to
The deadline for applications is January 20th 2014. 
Please enclose the following documents: 
o CV 
o letter of motivation/ statement of purpose, including a short display of the links between your PhD project and ira.urban (2 pages max.) 
o exposé of your PhD project, including your time table and work progress ( 5 pages max, excluding sources) 
o list of your publications and presentations 
o Certificates, references etc. 

Should you have any further queries, please do not hesitate to contact Dr. Isolde Brade ( or Dr. Carola Neugebauer ( We are looking forward to your application!
For further Information about the Leibniz Institute for Regional Geography: For further Information about the Leibniz foundation:

Monday, December 2, 2013

New book by Ben Campkin - Remaking London: Decline and Regeneration in Urban Culture

Between the slum clearances of the early twentieth century and debates about the post-Olympic city, the drive to ‘regenerate’ London has intensified. Yet today, with a focus on increasing land values, regeneration schemes purporting to foster diverse and creative new neighbourhoods typically displace precisely the qualities, activities and communities they claim to support. In Remaking London Ben Campkin provides a lucid and stimulating historical account of urban regeneration, exploring how decline and renewal have been imagined and realised at different scales. Focussing on present-day regeneration areas that have been key to the capital’s modern identity, Campkin explores how these places have been stigmatised through identification with material degradation, and spatial and social disorder. Drawing on diverse sources – including journalism, photography, cinema, theatre, architectural design, advertising and television – he illuminates how ideas of decline drive urban change.

Friday, November 29, 2013

CFP: Designed to improve? Buildings, interventions and the makings of the ‘social’ in interdisciplinary urban practices, 22-24 May 2014, Hamburg

Call for Papers for an international workshop of the ‘AG Architektursoziologie’ of the ‘Deutsche Gesellschaft für Soziologie (DGS)’, sections cultural sociology and urban- and regional sociology in cooperation with the University of Hamburg and HafenCity University Hamburg

Designed to improve? Buildings, interventions and the makings of the ‘social’ in interdisciplinary urban practices

22 – 24 May 2014, Hamburg
Deadline: January 12, 2014
Organizers: Dr. Hanna Katharina Göbel (Universität Hamburg), Dr. Monika Grubbauer (TU Darmstadt), Dr. Anna Richter (HCU Hamburg)

In the last three decades interdisciplinary and sometimes informal design and building practices of intervention in urban spaces have established their own field of social expertise for the built environment and questioned the monopoly of urban professionals and authorized city planners. In the face of neoliberal urban policies, state withdrawal, austerity measures and economic crises and disillusioned by institutionalized planning procedures, architects, urbanists, designers, activists, artists with various backgrounds in the performing arts, visual arts, or music, cultural workers and do-it-yourself (DIY) movements intervene in the urban built environment with a view to improve their communities and the lives of their neighbours. Socially engaged building and design practices have an overall focus on action and processes rather than aesthetics only. The outcomes are buildings as well as smaller and temporary interventions into urban spaces. Material change and design are meant to function as agents of specific social transformations. Frequently, inspiration for these kinds of interventions in European and North-American cities is taken from practices of informal urbanism in the cities of the Global South.

These buildings, material interventions and acts of design-activism are partly realized by or with the help of architects and designers, partly without them and sometimes explicitly against them and their authoritative claims on expertise/knowledge. Many collaborations actively involve artistic knowledge and research strategies derived from choreography, scenography, landscape appropriation or conceptual arts. Thus, this field of contemporary socially engaged practices of urban intervention cannot be easily divided by distinguishing between the formal and the informal. Bottom-up building and design practices operate across the boundaries of established disciplines and have created many different versions of interdisciplinary collaboration throughout the years, often also involving sociologists, geographers, anthropologists, or political scientists.

The aim of the workshop is to explore the ways in which interdisciplinary collaboration is performed and knowledges from diverse fields are drawn on in these urban interventionist practices. We are particularly interested to interrogate how knowledge from the social sciences is translated and variously picked up and interpreted in these practices and how they build on explicit and implicit references to concepts of the ‘social’. Can we state that these practices are characterized by the common belief in a certain desired social impact of buildings and urban artefacts? What kinds of references to concepts of the ‘social’ can be found and in what way do they serve to suggest ‘social improvements’ of the current state of affairs? As urban interventions have a history in activism pushing social change, politicization would seem to be key in this field. What kinds of (de-)politicizations and moralizations of social agendas emerge and how do they take shape concerning the performance of buildings and urban artefacts?

The workshop invites contributions from scholars across the social sciences (sociology, geography, anthropology, political science) and the design and arts disciplines that address the above questions and engage with the makings of the social in interdisciplinary building and design practices. We invite perspectives of architectural sociology, critical urban studies, assemblage-urbanism, practice theory and other contemporary paradigms; we are also interested in historical analyses of interdisciplinary building and design practices in the 20th century coming from the history of science, architectural history or related fields. We suggest papers address one of three ways in which references to the ‘social’ and ‘social improvement’ are made in bottom-up building and design practices but papers with different foci are equally welcome:
Laboratorization of processes. Many practices are concerned with the innovation of the process of design itself, often by introducing various forms of empowerment technologies/strategies. For many architects and urban designers – frequently organized in collaborative structures referred to as ‘urban labs’ – the notion of the laboratory has become a widely used metaphor for considering interdisciplinary, experimental and participatory forms of engagement with artists, authorized planners and communities in an isolated and controlled micro-context. In what way does the laboratorization of design processes presuppose positive findings about the social impact of buildings and urban artefacts for other uncontrolled outsides? How does the concept of the laboratory as controlled and consciously created environment relate to the open-ended nature of participatory approaches in design and planning? What kinds of aims does the (metaphorical) use of the laboratory serve?
Fetishization of the built object. A second focus is on the social impact of the material/built object itself. In many socially engaged design and building practices the building and other urban artefacts are meant to represent the successful and ‘socially’ resonant integration of various actors, processes and ideas in order to prove social change. In many cases of gentrification, for instance, the appropriation of derelict structures in inner city environments for new uses is legitimated by deliberately exposing the ‘raw’ and ‘authentic’ materiality of these structures. Similarly, socially engaged architectures, particularly in the cities of the South, are distinguished and legitimated by the use of traditional construction techniques and vernacular materials such as clay, mud bricks and bamboo. How are buildings and urban artefacts fetishized through such references to their materiality? What roles do the empathic perception of materials and authentic modelling play in making buildings and urban artefacts ‘socially’ relevant?
Practiced starry-eyed idealism? Although utopian ideas that buildings of modernism have embodied, are explicitly denied, urban interventionist and design practices undeniably employ a certain register of utopia. This third way of referencing the ‘social’ occurs when certain intellectual concepts are mobilised as a reaction to ecological crises suggesting a ‘better’ future. They stand for the most appreciated impacts of urban interventionist practices and are often iteratively and sometimes exhaustively used. For instance, the prominent notion of ‘relational aesthetics’ (Bourriaud) has become a romanticized vision focusing on the (improving) harmony of communities in the arts and in activism related contexts. Equally, the architectural concept of ‘cultural/social engineering’, increasingly used in the context of digital urban innovations, suggests a future of urban spaces organized in a ‘more sustainable’ and resource-efficient way. Why and how do these concepts and others become successful in the context of urban interventionist practices? What sort of politics is being performed through these idealisms and visions of the future?

The workshop wishes to facilitate open and productive discussion on socially engaged building and design practices. This does not mean to judge the various interpretations of the ‘social’ that result from the interdisciplinary nature of these practices and the translations that occur between disciplines and sectors of practices by producing short-handed critiques. Rather, the intended workshop aims to create an arena for the exploration of the social accomplishments that are bound up with these propositions along with reflections on how the various affirmative versions of improvement produce moralized knowledges and practised formations of the social. We seek to experiment with the question of how these building and design practices accomplish and enact their own social theory, whether and how this field can be compared with others and how such practiced social theory can be brought back into the disciplines. A publication on the outcomes of the workshop is planned.

We invite abstracts of no more than 500 words (including an indicative reference list) by 12th January 2014. Invitations will be send out on 3rd February 2014.

Please send your abstract to
Hanna Katharina Göbel

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Mapping Post-Socialist Urban Spaces in Vilnius

EHU's International Winter School on Critical Urbanism
Mapping Post-Socialist Urban Spaces in Vilnius
21.2.-8.3.2014, Deadline 10.1.2014

An International Winter School, organized by European Humanities Universities Laboratory of Critical Urbanism, invites students from Germany, Belarus and Lithuania for a two-week course on mapping social practice in relation to the built environment of the Lithuanian capital Vilnius and the smaller town of Druskininkai.

The school will be composed of a mix of lectures, seminars, excursions, a cultural programme, and supervised fieldwork, which will guide students on how to research the spatial dimensions of social relations in contemporary Vilnius. As a final assignment, students will create an exploratory mapping project of a particular dimension of the life of this post-socialist city.

The school will take place from February 21 to March 8 in Vilnius, Lithuania. The working language is English. Students will earn a certificate of 5 ECTS after handing in their final paper.

Full Information:
Contact: Dr. Benjamin Cope,
Deadline for Application: 10.1.2014

Monday, November 25, 2013


In the context of its research and residency program, ZK/U offers a ‘living & work’ space for artists, scholars, and practitioners, as well as an open platform for public events, lectures, discussions, screenings, performances and presentations. 


ZK/U founding concept:

Application Process:

Thursday, November 21, 2013

FYI: On Contemporary Polish Architecture- ANCB Berlin

Date: Thursday, 28 November, 7.00 pm

Venue: ANCB The Metropolitan Laboratory, Christinenstr. 18-19 (Pfefferberg), 10119 Berlin

From socialist cube houses, via modern farm houses to the new International Style - architectural dreams of the Poles collide with the limitations of the system. The landscape of present day Poland combines both the influence of past architectural paradigms and the new experiences of freedom and expressiveness. Which features define the Polish architecture of individual houses before and after the fall of the Iron Curtain? How can individual preferences and needs be combined with urban development regulations, the mistakes of which are becoming ever more visible? Polish and German commentators and designers will debate these issues and reflect on the current state of Polish architecture and its impact on the European discourse.


Welcome and Introduction
Katarzyna Wielga-Skolimowska, Director, Polish Institute Berlin

Joanna Kusiak, Sociologist and Urban Activist, PhD Candidate, Warsaw/Berlin
Grzegorz Piątek, Architecture Critic and Curator, Warsaw
Prof. Arno Brandlhuber, Architect and Urban Planner, Brandlhuber+, Berlin

Panel Discussion
moderated by Nadin Heinich, Director, plan A, office for architectural communication & urban culture, Munich/Berlin.

This public debate is taking place in connection with the current exhibition 'For Example. New Polish Architecture' at the Polish Institute Berlin.

The event will take place in English. Admission is free and registration is not required. We look forward to welcoming you.

Please visit and for more information. 

Follow ANCB on Facebook

Monday, November 18, 2013

CFP: Art on the Move in Eastern Europe and the Mediterranean (2014-2015)

Deadline: Jan 10, 2014

From Riverbed to Seashore. Art on the Move in Eastern Europe and the Mediterranean in the Early Modern Period. (2014-2015)
A Harvard University Research Seminar organized as part of the Getty Foundation's Connecting Art Histories initiative
Led by Alina Payne, Harvard University

This research seminar zeroes in on rivers as the cultural infrastructure of the Mediterranean world in the early modern period, as carriers of people, things, and ideas tying geographies and cultures together. The king of such rivers was undoubtedly the Danube, running a parallel course to the Mediterranean and cutting across Europe from West to East.
Flowing into the Black Sea, it entered the system of communicating vessels of the Mediterranean—the old Roman mare nostrum itself, the Sea of Marmara, the Black Sea, and, the last ripple that separates and unites three continents, the Sea of Azov.

But the Danube was not alone in swelling the Mediterranean world with the cultures along its shores. The Sava, the Adige, the Neretva, the  Pruth, the Dniester and Dnieper, and the Don (which flows into the Sea of Azov) etc. connect the "traditional" Mediterranean cultures—the Italian, the Ottoman, the Greek/Byzantine, the French and Spanish—with the world of the Balkans and beyond. Starting from this perspective, this seminar seeks to develop a framework for understanding how the Balkans and its northern neighbors mediated between East and West, as well as the region's contribution to the larger Mediterranean cultural melting pot in the early modern period.

The premises underlying this seminar are twofold: 1) that the contours of the Mediterranean Renaissance need to be re-drawn to include a larger territory that reflects this connectedness; and 2) that the eastern frontier of Europe extending from the Mediterranean deep into the interior played a pivotal role in negotiating the dialogue between western Europe, Central Asia and Ottoman Turkey. On the cusp between cultures and religions, Balkan principalities, kingdoms, and fiefdoms came to embody hybridity, to act as a form of buffer or cultural "switching" system that assimilated, translated, and linked the cultures of near and Central Asia with those of Western Europe. Taking a trans-regional approach, this project aims to reconstruct the fluid ties that linked territories in a period in which hegemonies were short-lived and unstable, and in which contact nebulas generated artistic nebulas that challenge traditional historical categories of regional identities, East/West and center/periphery.

The seminar will run from spring of 2014 to summer of 2015 and will be guided by a distinguished group of scholars. Participants are invited to propose their own projects related to these themes on which they will work during this period. We seek contributions on building types (eg. carvanserais/ hans), infrastructure (bridges, fortifications and roads), domestic architecture (villas/palaces), religious and domed structures, etc., building practices, materials and artisans, on Kleinarchitektur and portable architectural objects. Proposals are also invited from participants working on spolia, on "minor" arts—cloth/silks, goldsmithry, sculpture, leather, gems and books—as well as on collecting and treasuries, that is, on artworks and luxury items that allowed ornamental forms and formal ideas to circulate and created a taste for a hybrid aesthetic, as well as on historiography.

The countries under consideration here are: Albania, Bulgaria, Croatia, Hungary, Moldova, Poland, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovenia, and Ukraine.

The seminar involves three stages: 1) a two-week "mobile" workshop traveling along the Dalmatian coast and using this region as case study of the issues, historiography and methodologies that this project seeks to foreground (May/June 2014); 2) a two and a half week stay at Harvard University (2 day workshop focusing on interim presentation of participants' findings and 2 week library access in January/February 2015); and 3) a final conference (presentation of developed individual projects) and short trip to key sites on the Black Sea. On-going participation in the seminar will be based on the quality of scholarly contribution and on the level of engagement with the group.

Applicants should be post-doctoral scholars working in the Eastern European countries on which the project focuses (maximum 10 years from a doctoral degree; doctoral degree must be in hand at time of application). Travel expenses are covered. The seminar language is English: participants will need to demonstrate a strong command of the language to enable wide-ranging discussion with the other members of the seminar. Facility with languages of the region is an asset. Applications must include: CV, personal statement, description of proposed project (500 words + one page bibliography), one published writing sample and three letters of reference are due no later than January 10, 2014.

Finalists will be interviewed; participants will be notified by early February.

Please send applications to the attention of Elizabeth Kassler-Taub, Department of History of Art and Architecture, Harvard University,

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Looking at Berlin, London and upcoming conference in Berlin

29.11.2013 "Towards a sustainable and just city region? Looking at Berlin, London and Paris"

Berlin is currently in the process of developing a new spatial development strategy - the Stadtentwicklungskonzept 2030 (StEK 2030). Other plans and policies to shape the growing metropolitan region are also well under way, such as the new housing strategy and a new strategy of how to deal with municipal real estate. Many of these policies have been influenced by civil society stakeholders who demand a more sustainable development of the city, both in terms of climate change and socially. Extensive public participation processes have been launched to come up with development strategies, which will be perceived as 'just' while at the same time supporting Berlin's economic growth. The conference will discuss the proposed strategies and participatory approaches and whether they are as 'just' and 'sustainable' as promised. It will look at similar proposals in London and Paris and explore what these new approaches mean regarding current debates on governance, localism or sustainable urban development.

Monday, November 11, 2013

CFP: 7th International Deleuze Studies Conference

Models, Machines and Memories
Istanbul, July, 14-16th 2014

“Given a certain effect, what machine is capable of producing it? And given a certain machine, what can it be used for? (Deleuze and Guattari, Anti-Oedipus, 1977 [1972]:3)
Deleuze and Guattari crafted an immense ‘tool-box’ that we can deploy to interrogate existing knowledge, but also to create new knowledge. Envisioning the body as a little machine that could be ‘plug into’ other machines, to produce and re-produce itself again through each assemblages, Deleuze and Guattari invented a vast array of new machines with which to think the contemporary world: social-machines, desiring-machines, bachelor-machines, abstract machines, war-machines in the realm of production and reproduction, and so on, all leading to “a trans-spatial and trans-temporal plane of consistency”.
Deleuze and Guattari also introduced novel models of rhizomatic connections between machines, providing the possibility to transverse all diverse levels, by moving trans-linearly through the space and associating freely. Rather than “passive recordings”, memories emerge in Deleuze and Guattari’s work as machines. As Guattari put it, ”All memories are machines. All machines are memories.”
Models, Machines and Memories: 7th International Deleuze Studies Conference in Istanbul 2014 encourages participants to generate their own unique models, machines and memories of discussions in the fields of:
•Space, Architecture and Urban Planning
•Aesthetics and Artistic Practices,
•Film Studies,
•Digital Realm and New Media,
•Literature and Literary Criticism,
•Philosophy, Ontology and Metaphysics,
•Sociology and Politics,
•Gender Studies,
•Law Studies,
•Science and Technology,
Call for Papers and Panels: Deadline January, 20th 2014.
Length of presentations are to be limited to a maximum of 20 minutes. We do also welcome panel proposals. For early notification, submit your abstract or panel proposal (including abstracts) via Propose a Paper/Panel link.
Conference Chair and Camp/ Summer School Coordinator:
Dr. Emine Görgül, Istanbul Technical University
For more information please contact

CFP: METROPOLITICS The Seventh Biennial Conference of the Urban History Association

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
October 9-12, 2014

The Urban History Association Program Committee seeks submissions for sessions on all aspects of urban, suburban, and metropolitan history. We welcome proposals for panels, roundtable discussions, and individual papers, and are receptive to alternative session formats that foster audience participation in the proceedings.

The Program Committee is pleased to announce that the University of Pennsylvania will serve as the local host for this year’s conference, which will be held on October 9-12, 2014.

We particularly encourage papers that explore the theme of Metropolitics, although submissions are not restricted to the conference theme. The year 2014 marks the beginning of a series of fiftieth anniversaries of major political events impacting cities, including the Civil Rights Act, the War on Poverty, the founding of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Voting Rights Act, the Hart-Celler Immigration Act, and the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. The Program Committee therefore invites papers that reflect broadly on the relationship between the state and local actors. We also seek contributions that make global comparisons and explore metropolitan politics in Latin America, Europe, Asia, Australia, the Middle East, and Africa. Sessions on ancient and pre-modern as well as modern periods are welcome. Graduate student submissions are encouraged.

We prefer complete panels but individual papers will be considered. Please designate a single person to serve as a contact for all complete panels. For traditional panels, include a brief explanation of the overall theme, a one-page abstract of each paper, and a one- or two-page c.v. for each participant. Roundtable proposals should also designate a contact person and submit a one-page theme synopsis and a one or two page c.v. for each presenter. Proposals involving alternative formats should include a brief description of how the session will be structured. All those submitting individual papers should include a one-page abstract and a one or two page c.v. E-mail submissions by March 1, 2014 to Andrew K. Sandoval Strausz at and Victoria Wolcott at Submissions should be included in attachments as Word or PDF documents.

As part of the conference the UHA will organize workshops for graduate students writing dissertations in urban and suburban history. Students who have written a prospectus and who wish to participate in a workshop should apply with a two to four page letter of interest by March 1, 2014 to

Saturday, November 9, 2013

CFP: Paradise Found, or Paradise Lost? Nostalgia, Culture and Identity in Central and Eastern Europe

This conference aims to explore the many different forms nostalgia has taken in Central and Eastern Europe since in the last twenty years. Among the questions to be addressed are: What are the distinctive forms of nostalgia in the region? Where does this nostalgia come from? What purpose(s) does it serve? What, if any, is its political agenda? Is nostalgia primarily a yearning for or a rejection of something? Whose nostalgia is it anyway? What is the relationship between nostalgia and kitsch? And how seriously does this nostalgia take itself? Papers are invited from scholars working in a broad range of disciplines, including Slavonic and East European Studies, politics, economics, anthropology, law, business studies, linguistics, history and comparative literature.

The Call for Papers can be downloaded at:

Proposals, in the form of a 250-word abstract and a short cv, should be sent BY 31 JANUARY 2014 AT THE LATEST, to BOTH organisers, at: and Abstracts may be in any of the three official language of the conference, English, French or Russian.

Graham Roberts
Université Paris Ouest Nanterre La Défense
200 ave. de la République
92001 Nanterre cedex

Visit the website at http://

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Call for Papers: Failed Architecture Workshop in Budapest

Date: November 14-17, 2013 
Location: Kossuth Lajos utca 14-16. 
The workshop is held in English 

Failed Architecture aims to open up perspectives on urban failure and dubious architecture, from what it’s perceived to be, what is actually happening and how it’s represented to the public. FA believes that there is a demand for more holistic, 360-degree observations that lay bare the downsides of urban development and architecture instead of just looking at the physical results produced by architects. Next to an ongoing online exploration and live lectures and debates, FA conducts research workshops on site. These have been carried out in a variety of cities, amongst which Berlin, Nottingham, Sofia, Tallinn, Porto, Copenhagen and Belgrade. 

The aim of the workshop is to understand the context and path-dependency of a particular building, neighbourhood or urban phenomenon, which is considered to be problematic. Together with a group of participants, FA performs a multiple-day research that breaks down the history of the specific case. By analyzing different layers that influence it – the built environment, the social context, the economics, the reputation and the politics – a physical timeline is created. The timeline shows the history of the case from various, interconnected angles. 

The participants conduct the research with FA’s guidance, the input of local experts and their own investigations. This includes lectures, desk and archival research, interviews and field analysis. The timeline is the basis for further discussion about the challenges and constraints, but most of all the potential of the alleged problem. 

In Budapest, the Failed Architecture Workshop will address the Skála Metró building and its environment at Nyugati Square. The building, once the most modern department store of the city, has been witnessing the transformation of commerce and shopping habits, the changing significance of neighborhoods, the decline of building technologies and types. The workshop inaugurates the 6-month series organized by Lakatlan Budapest (KÉK) presenting Dutch approaches to Vacancy. 


For participants until October 31, 2013 

Would you like to participate at the Budapest edition of Failed Architecture’s traveling workshop? We’re looking for designers, activist, researchers and students in relevant fields engaged with the questions of the built environment (architecture, urbanism, design, art, sociology, economy, psychology, media, etc.) to join the 4-day international workshop. 

Subscription until October 31, 2013 with CV at and by filling the registration form

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

CFP: Urban Popcultures Conference

10th May –12th May 2014, Lisbon, Portugal

This inter- and multi-disciplinary conference aims to examine, explore and critically engage with issues related to urban life. The project will promote the ongoing analysis of the varied creative trends and alternative cultural movements that comprise urban popcultures and subcultures. In particular the conference will encourage equally theoretical and practical debates which surround the cultural and political contexts within which alternative urban subcultures are flourishing.

Presentations, papers, performances, reports, work-in-progress, workshops and pre-formed panels are invited on issues related to any of the following themes:

1. Urban Space and the Landscape of the City

Urban Aesthetics and Architecture, Creative Re-imagining and Revitalization of the City. The Metropolis and Inner City Life: Urban Boredom vs. Creativity.

2. The City as Creative Subject/Object

Urban Life and Urban Subculture Considered in Music, Art, Film and Videogames. Urban Fashion and Style. Urban Visual Styles, Street Art, Graffiti and Tagging. City Festivals.

3. Urban Codes
Alternative Popular Culture and Ideology, Politics of Alternative Popcultures, Alternative Ethics of the City. Urban Religion and Religious Expressions. The Language and Urban Slang. The Avantgarde and Urban Codes.

4. Alternative Music Cultures
Histories, Representations, Discourses and Independent Scenes. Popular Music Theory. Cultural and Social Aspects of Clubbing and Scenes. Being Alternative as a “religion”: Sub-cultures of Indie Rock and Post-Punk, Hip Hop, Rap, Electronica, Dark Wave Scenes – Post-Gothic.

5. Queer Theory and Urban Alternative Cultures

Gendered Music and Fashion. The Role of the City in Gendered Freedom and Libertine Lifestyles.

Pride Parades and Festivals.

6. City making the Fashion Styles

Identity Creation. Style and Branding. Politics of Cool. Pretties, Freaks and Uglies.

7. Visions of Alternative Sound Cultures in Massmedia

The Role of Internet Radio. The Visual Aspects of Alternative Entertainment. The Evolution of Music Television. Urban Alternative Styles and Extreme Sports.

8. Urban Alternative Cultures and Online World

Urban Identity and Global/Glocal Membership. Globalisation/Localisation and Access to the Alternative Music and Clubbing Experience. Current Models of Music Distribution. Music Piracy – Copyright/Copyleft/Creative Commons. The Role of Internet and Prosumer in the Transformation of Music Industry.

In order to support and encourage interdisciplinarity engagement, it is our intention to create the possibility of starting dialogues between the parallel events running during this conference. Delegates are welcome to attend up to two sessions in each of the concurrent conferences. We also propose to produce cross-over sessions between two and possibly all three groups – and we welcome proposals which deal with the relationship between Teenagers, visual culture, and/or urban popcultures, subcultures and/or storytelling.

What to send

300 word abstracts should be submitted by Friday 6th December 2013 If an abstract is accepted for the conference, a full draft paper should be submitted by Friday 14th March 2014. 300 word abstracts should be submitted simultaneously to both Organising Chairs; abstracts may be in Word or RTF formats with the following information and in this order:

a) author(s), b) affiliation as you would like it to appear in programme, c) email address, d) title of abstract, e) body of abstract, f) up to 10 keywords.

E-mails should be entitled: Urban Popcultures 4 Abstract Submission.

Please use plain text (Times Roman 12) and abstain from using footnotes and any special formatting, characters or emphasis (such as bold, italics or underline). We acknowledge receipt and answer to all paper proposals submitted. If you do not receive a reply from us in a week you should assume we did not receive your proposal; it might be lost in cyberspace! We suggest, then, to look for an alternative electronic route or resend.

Organising Chairs

Daniel Riha:

Rob Fisher:

The conference is part of the ‘Critical Issues’ programme of research projects. It aims to bring together people from different areas and interests to share ideas and explore various discussions which are innovative and exciting. All papers accepted for and presented at this conference are eligible for publication in an ISBN eBook. Selected papers may be invited to go forward for development into a themed ISBN hard copy volume.

Please note: Inter-Disciplinary.Net is a not-for-profit network and we are not in a position to be able to assist with conference travel or subsistence.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Call for Papers: Urban Villagers: everyday life, leisure and socialist cities XXIInd CISH Congress, (International Congress of Historical Sciences)

Call for Papers: Urban Villagers: everyday life, leisure and socialist cities XXIInd CISH Congress, (International Congress of Historical Sciences), Jinan, China 23 to 29 August 2015
Location: China
Call for Papers Date: 2013-11-30
Date Submitted: 2013-09-17
Announcement ID: 206700

XXIInd CISH Congress, in Jinan
Jinan, China 23 to 29 August 2015

Call for Papers
ST4 Urban Villagers: everyday life, leisure and socialist cities
Specialised theme

This specialized theme session examines the official discourses and experiences that shaped the parameters of everyday life and the reactions of socialist citizens to the circumstances in which they found themselves in socialist cities during the communist period. Concentrating in particular on the regulation of leisure, the session attempts to address the questions as to how the authorities sought to frame social conflict in terms of a struggle between the civilized and the backward, the urban and the rural. In so doing, it offers insights into the nature of state socialism as a project of cultural transformation.
The session will focus on the following questions:
What were the differences in the transformation of city life in different cities and states? How did official discourse represent the urban villagers and what was the function of this representation in everyday life?
Rulers have always dreamed of creating cities from nothing or fashioning civilization out of the wilderness. Despite this, socialist cities met the criteria of a city only in a very restricted sense in the eyes of contemporaries. In order to ensure that residents began to consider the settlement in which they lived a city, the very social definition of a city had to be changed. In this process a decisive role was played by official discourse, which privileged a representation of the citys construction as a struggle between the urban and non-urban, and, using older analogies, as a struggle between the civilized and the wild. This session explores the national and the social differences and similarities of socialist cities such as Nowa Huta (Poland), Stalinstadt (German Federal Republic), Dimitrovgrad (Bulgaria), and Sztalinvaros (Hungary). Although the session will focus on modern Central and Eastern Europe, the discussion goes beyond the borders of
European debates about the representations of urban history, so papers on Asian, African and South-American ways of representing urban life will contribute to the discussion.

Please send an abstract of no more than 500 words and a short biographical sketch; together with a brief biography and selected list of three publications (we do not accept CVs).
Deadline for submission of abstracts: 30 November 2013.

Proposals should be submitted to the organizers by email:
Sandor Horvath (Institute of History, Research Centre for the Humanities, Hungarian Academy of Sciences)
Robert Frank (Secretary General, International Committee of Historical Sciences)

Proposals should be a maximum of 2 500 characters - 350 words and should be sent with a short biographical note to the organizers and to the Secretary General Robert Frank : by the 30th November 2013.
Sandor Horvath
Institute of History, Research Centre for the Humanities, Hungarian Academy of Sciences
1014 Budapest, Orszaghaz u.30. Hungary
Robert Frank
Secretary General, International Committee of Historical Sciences

Visit the website at

Monday, September 23, 2013

CFP: Visual Urban Transformations: Transition and Change in Urban Image Construction in Central and Eastern Europe

As the chaotic canvases of cities are being stretched over a framework of identity, its further exploration seems more than appropriate. Amidst the incredibly rapid urban growth crowding more than half of the world population in towns and cities, the questions are only going to keep multiplying. How are city identities made and re-made, used and abused, imagined and narrated, politicised and communicated, expressed and projected, imposed and marketed? And above all, how do they thrive within the dynamic interpolation of the nexus of East-West, Europe-Balkans, and centre-periphery, urban – suburban, old and new. As out-dated as these dichotomies sound, in many places their daily life is far from over. As old cities became new capitals and new capitals struggle for more capital, the challenges of maintaining state-driven collective identities in the face of cultural fragmentation and diversification, coupled with consumer-attractiveness is turning them into urban palimpsest. This transformation is ever more complex in the cities of Central, Eastern and South-Eastern Europe. In these last decades, during the period of socio-political and cultural deconstruction, the redefinitions of their urban space reflect the need to refashion, consolidate or even establish their new/old identities. Flooded with imported ‘non-places’, (not) dealing with the material legacy of memories of the recent past that seem unable to resolve, trying to accept or reject the rest of Europe in the race towards ‘Europeanization’, these cities adopt different approaches in their aim to resemble and at the same time, differ. Zagreb generously welcomed its marketing nickname “pocket size Vienna”, while regenerating itself with the mega Museum of Contemporary Art tailored up to an imagined ‘Western European’ standard. Skopje’s attention seeking project transformed the ‘open city of solidarity’ into a literal national identity construction site. The list goes on. Queuing to win the old continent’s capital of culture contest and eager to squeeze into the ever-enlarging itinerary of the consumerist Grand Tour, the only thing cities are not allowed to be, is invisible. As the research on cultural identities of the city is becoming more abundant, this panel aims at adopting a wide-lens inter-disciplinary approach, while focusing on various transitional processes affecting identities in the urban context in its global-regional-national-local interplay.

Some example of topics may include (but are not limited to):

Collective memory, identity and urban image construction
Appropriation, instrumentalisation and functualisation of public space
Contemporary nomadism and the city as a common denominator for collective identities
Architecture as ‘politics with bricks and mortar’
Is there a new rise of the city-state?
Urban regeneration projects, landmark buildings and ‘starchitects’
Non-places and (non)identity
Immigrants and the cultural identity of cities
City marketing and city branding in transition
European capitals of culture and European identity
Identity creation and the cultural offer of the city
Urban cultural heritage as identity-anchor
Creative Changes of the cities
Art and industry in urban development
Urban aesthetics
Ugliness, kitsch and value in shaping contemporary urban spaces
Post-communism and the shape of urban change
East-West nexuses in urban development

Please submit abstracts of less than 300 words by October 5, 2013 to

For full details of the conference and on-line application please see:

Wednesday, September 18, 2013


Urban and Landscape Days XI
May 8-11, 2014
Tallinn, Estonia
Call for papers (deadline: Dec 2, 2013)

Although most European cities both in the 'East' and in the 'West' grew rapidly in the post-war decades, the important questions  regarding the difference between urbanization under the two conflicting political regimes has never been deeply analysed and resolved in the urban studies. Thus, the post-1989 success and current renaissance of the notion of 'post-socialism' seems surprising. At the same time, however, the number of critical voices has been growing. 
Still, can we seriously talk about post-socialism, lacking not only a fully developed definition and understanding of ‘post-socialist city’ but also what is 'the socialist city'?

The missing or poor definition of ‘socialism’ is one of the key weaknesses of the concept of post-socialism. Socialism comes into the question of post-socialism in different ways: What are the 'socialist' origins of 'post-socialist' practices? What importance did the imagined return to 'pre-socialist' capitalism play in building the 'post-socialist' capitalism? Is negation of socialism (the
 'anti-socialism') an important aspect of post-socialism? Whereas socialism could be seen both as a political idea and as an actual historical experience, post-socialism appears to be a societal condition only that is, furthermore, primarily restricted to a region of former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe.

The existence of different socialisms—such as Soviet, Czechoslovakian, Yugoslavian, Chinese and Vietnamese— however, problematizes the regional bias of the term post-socialism. Would it be possible to talk about the common 'post-socialist' experience facing such different historical and geographical contexts? Would China be comprehensible as post-socialist similarly as Hungary or Estonia? Does it need downplaying historical and cultural particularities of China (but of course other contexts as well) that unquestionably are present? Would property regimes or ‘urban villages’ in China be comprehensible from the perspective of Eastern Europe?

In this context, we wish to initiate a fresh debate regarding the future of (the concepts of) socialism and post-socialism through engagements with different geographical contexts such as Eastern Europe, Asia, South America, and elsewhere. We would like to engage ‘post-socialism’ with ongoing debates of comparative urbanism but also seek ways to re-develop and conceptualise ‘socialism’ and ‘post-socialism’ themselves.

The conference aims to explore histories and geographies of socialism  and post-socialism in relation to three themes: 1) architecture and urban planning, 2) land use and landscape, and 3) property rights.
1) ARCHITECTURE AND URBAN PLANNING: Many seeds of today's  architectural and planning thinking have been planted in the socialist period. Historically, modernism and socialism developed hand in hand. Yet the roots of “post-socialist post-modernism”, to take one example, can be traced back to 1980s, if not earlier. This raises the questions about the relation between the architectural dissent under socialism and post-socialist architecture mainstream. In some instances, the value of buildings and urban plans from socialist period is being rediscovered today. Which aspects of socialist urban planning and architecture persist and what is to be learned from (which?) discarded ideas of socialist urban planning?

2) LAND USE AND LANDSCAPE: Suburbanization and rediscovery of historic city centres: these processes are portrayed as almost 'natural' to East European post-socialist experience. Yet, is it so simple? A similar enquiry about the socialist roots of these processes could be made. Individual construction of family houses was allowed, if not encouraged, in many countries during socialist periods. Similar questions emerge in relation to historical cores whereby the notion of heritage and the idea of international image-making clearly existed during the socialist period. Could we draw parallels between socialism and what happens today? What are the origins of today's prominence that we assign to urban leisure function, of the idea that cities should be beautiful and enjoyable, of our sense for 'landscaping' of urban space? Furthermore, looking at landscapes raises questions of different modes of production and ways of representations. What are the relations between socialist ideas and landscapes? How post-socialism manifests itself in various aspects of land use and landscape?

3) PROPERTY RIGHTS: The transfer from state ownership to private ownership (privatizations, special economic zones) is a well-known account of the post-socialist transformation. However, can we observe counter-tendencies (social, political, legal) at play: that is, from private to state, public, or common? Can one note only neo-liberal privatisation or also alternative forms of collective and public property? Has state withdrawn from property market or found different roles in regulating and practising it? Although new generation of activism has appeared on the horizon, the privatism is challenged predominantly at the level of use, access and life-style. The value of community and public spaces is accepted by wide array of actors, but the more controversial issue of ownership and property rights is often left untouched. Perhaps the value of ‘private property’ is widely accepted and the critique is not only difficult to make but also counter-intuitive. We welcome critical empirical and theoretical engagements that reflect on the different forms of property—ranging from private to variously organised common, collective and public ownership—and the notion of post-socialism.

We welcome theoretically informed presentations and case studies from a variety of fields including urban studies, architecture, landscape studies, art history, sociology, anthropology, organizational studies and urban economics. Historically oriented presentations are welcome and authors are encouraged to highlight historical connections between the past, the present, and the future: unexpected genealogies, continuities and rediscoveries of ideas, forms and practices. We welcome oral and poster presentation of urban and architectural projects, artistic research and research through design that work with the questions above. We also encourage other non-standard forms of presentation.

Please send your abstract (300 words) and short bio (60 words) by Dec 2, 2013 to
The conference is organized by the Faculty of Architecture, Estonian
Academy of Arts. It is the eleventh installment of the now-traditional Urban and Landscape Days.
Keynote speakers include Lukasz Stanek (Harvard GSD / The Manchester University) and KARO Architects (Leipzig).

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Call: Actors of Urban Change

Actors of Urban Change is a Europe-wide pilot program by the Robert Bosch Stiftung in cooperation with MitOst e.V. It aims to achieve sustainable and participatory urban development through cultural activities. This is carried out by strengthening the competencies for cross-sector collaboration among actors from the cultural scene, the administration, and the private sector who form teams of three committed to implementing a project in their city. Using culture as a tool, the projects might address a broad range of social, political and environmental challenges related to urban change.
On a local level, the teams receive support for the implementation of their joint projects through grants and customized coaching. On an international level, they benefit from further qualification through workshops, seminars, peer-learning sessions and field trips during meetings and shadowing internships with teams from different cities, allowing for Europe-wide exchange and networking.
A more detailed description of the program and contact information, as well as access to the call, FAQs and the online application form can be found on The application deadline is October 27, 2013.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Post socialist spaces from a historical perspective...

James Mark, University of Exeter; Josie McLellan, University of Bristol 25.03.2013, Exeter, UK 
Bericht von: Marcel Thomas, Department of Historical Studies, University of Bristol 
E-Mail: <>
In the last two decades, historians have produced a rich literature on the spatial history of the Eastern bloc.[1] A wide range of studies has shown that the physical spaces of socialist Eastern Europe 'had politics' and were crucial to regimes' attempts to intervene in the everyday lives of their citizens.[2] However, space remains a highly complex notion and historians have also used it to conceptualise a wide range of interactions and power struggles between different actors in society.[3] The workshop 'Spaces of Late Socialism' held on March 13, 2013 at Exeter University set out to explore the different ways in which social groups, activists and socialist regimes conceptualised social space and its relationship to political conformity or opposition between the 1960s and 1989. 
In a short introduction, JAMES MARK (Exeter) stressed that the workshop was designed to revisit the historical debates about socialist spaces so far and explore future directions for a spatial history of the Eastern bloc. As all six papers discussed a different country, the workshop provided an opportunity to compare the politics of space across socialist Eastern Europe and analyse whether transnational patterns can be detected in the use of space by activists or regimes. Moreover, the participants aimed to discuss the role of an 'imaginary West' and examine whether it would be justified to speak of 'parallel histories of space' in East and West in the postwar era. Finally, the workshop was designed to develop new thoughts about chronologies in the spatial history of socialism. With its focus on the last three decades of the socialist era, it tried to explore the role of spaces in the transformation of Eastern bloc societies and the eventual collapse of the regimes. 
JOSIE MCLELLAN (Bristol) presented a conceptually challenging study of the role of space in the political self-understanding and activism of gays and lesbians in East Berlin between 1968 and 1989. She introduced 'scale' as a concept which is fundamental to an understanding of the ways in which individuals imagined their own place in socialist society. Although scale has long been an enormously important concept for geographers, it has so far hardly been used by historians. Understanding the world as scaled - with scales ranging from the body, the local and the neighbourhood to the national and the global - provides us with a sense of power relationships, size and hierarchy. McLellan pointed out that the gays and lesbians of East Berlin used a wide range of scalar notions to position themselves in relation to the regime and socialist society. For example, gays and lesbians often used the scale of the body to 'come out' or playfully turned the home into a political space when they used it to meet and cross-dress. In some cases, they also intentionally took their protest to the public scale of the neighbourhood and the city when they participated in the May Day parades in East Berlin. As McLellan stressed, these different scales were not isolated, neither in real life nor in the thoughts of the activists. Instead, the 'play of scale' employed by East German gays and lesbians is key to an understanding of their activism in a socialist dictatorship. Therefore, McLellan demonstrated that scale can help us to understand the 'geographies of everyday life' and the complex ways in which individuals imagined their own role in socialist society. 
JAMES MARK focused on spaces of dissent in Hungary between 1965 and 1975. Due to the lack of a Hungarian '1968', the literature on 1960s activism in Hungary is sparse. However, Mark stressed that activism did exist, but mostly within institutional spaces provided by the state. Communist youth reformers advocated local grass-roots power and had quite specific demands to put their ideals of communism into practice. However, they did not challenge the authority of the party and rather saw themselves in a dialogue with the regime. Some - such as reformers within the Communist Youth movement - categorically rejected public protest and were often suspicious of the Prague Spring. As Mark pointed out, these reformers were supported by the state because the regime wanted to channel youth activism into official spaces and build socialism on a day-to-day basis (the so-called 'revolution of the everyday') to avoid another escalation of protest like 1956. Nonetheless, there was also a small number of orthodox Marxist activists who expressed political protest outside these official spheres. For example, in 1965 they organised the first public demonstrations since 1956 to express solidarity with North Vietnam and attack the regime for having abandoned the revolutionary path. These activists started to organise themselves as an underground party and tried to gain the support of the workers, but their protest was brought to an end by their arrest and trial. Mark highlighted that some Hungarian activism revealed a similar development to 1960s protest in the West, as activists at first unsuccessfully tried to change politics and later successfully changed everyday life instead. 
DAVID CROWLEY (London) examined the role of socialist architects in Eastern bloc societies and their relation to power and dissent. Focusing on the relationship between opposition and architecture, Crowley explored the question whether architecture in the Eastern bloc could be seen as a form of dissidence. Central to his analysis was the notion of 'paper architecture', architecture in which the expression of certain ideas is more important than the actual realisation of buildings. Drawing on examples from Poland, Hungary and the Soviet Union, Crowley pointed out that architects could express criticism in their work despite their proximity to the regimes. He outlined three different types of criticism put forward by architects in the Eastern bloc: kritika or samo-kritika, 'licensed critique' (for example the criticism of housing plans that would not improve the housing situation) and dissent. Moreover, he pointed out that the state did not have a monopoly on construction, as for example the most ambitious architecture in the Eastern bloc was produced by the Church. Eventually, Crowley stressed that more research is necessary to determine whether critical architecture could really be called 'protest' if it was officially approved by the regime. 
In the PhD panel in the afternoon, AGÁTA DRELOVÁ (Exeter) explored the relationship between the state and the churches in Czechoslovakia through the notion of 'memory spaces'. In particular, she focused on the St Methodius festival of 1985, which was co-organised by the state and the Church and attracted up to 150,000 people. The regime tried to hijack this religious event to both strengthen its bond with the official Church and combat the secret Church. Drelová pointed out that this intervention of the regime represented the culmination of a fundamental change in its policies towards religion. The original position of the communist leaders had been characterised by an official disinterest in religion on the one hand and sustained efforts to suppress the memories of Catholic nationalism on the other. However, the regime's disregard for apolitical spaces enabled the Catholic Church to successfully recruit among students and organise the first mass pilgrimages in the 1970s. Drelová showed how the state reacted to the rise of Catholic activism in postwar Czechoslovakia and especially in the 1980s began to use religious identification for its own cause, which led to a 're-Christianisation of national narratives'. 
ANNA KAN's (Bristol) contribution analysed the physical spaces that were used by young members of a rock band in Leningrad in the 1970s and 1980s. As Kan demonstrated, the rock scene in Leningrad was heavily influenced by Western ideals. Young people tried to recreate Western rock music with simple means and also followed Western ideals in their desire to discover a new way of life. They appropriated the cafés, squares and parks of Leningrad to their own ends and thus gave them new meanings as spaces of the sub-cultural scene. Although fears of the police and the regime constantly influenced the group's actions, they cannot be said to have gone underground. Many of the spaces they used were open public spaces, such as parks or the courtyard of St Michael's castle in Leningrad. Kan also highlighted that there was an interesting dynamic between the singers and their crowd, as both knew each other and in fact acted as members of one group. Together, they were increasingly able to use public spaces for their alternative life styles and thus quite literally reclaimed urban spaces from the regime. 
LJUBICA SPASKOVSKA (Exeter) examined the conflicting understandings of socialist citizenship among the youth of late socialist Yugoslavia. In particular, she explored the 'youth infrastructure' of Yugoslav society as a space of activism and dissent. Youth centres for example provided real spaces for self-expression and offered opportunities to create a counter-cultural 'parallel world'. As Spaskovska emphasised, public and media spaces were used by young people in similar ways. Numerous youth magazines published themes similar to Western magazines and provoked with their radical cover photos. A new generation of young people in the late socialist era succeeded in 'hijacking' youth media to publicise their own beliefs and express social critique. Moreover, this also caused what Spaskovska called a 'spill-over effect', as members of the counter-culture began to occupy public spaces as well. For example, a square in Ljubljana was taken over by young punk activists and publicly renamed 'Johnny Rotten Square' in 1981. Spaskovska argued that for these youth activists the expression of personal freedom was the only thing that mattered and she thus opposed the common interpretation of their actions as standing for bigger ideas like nationalism. 
In the concluding debate, the participants agreed that youth movements had emerged from the conference as a common and prominent space for self-expression across the Eastern bloc. Mark highlighted that the emergence of new alternative spaces in the 1970s and 1980s which did not necessarily have to be seen as oppositional constitutes another linking theme in the history of socialist Eastern Europe. However, he also pointed out that more research on the diverse motivations of activists and the actors involved will be necessary to confirm this observation. Reflecting on more conceptual issues related to the notion of 'space', Crowley reminded the participants that space immediately seems to 'leak out' into other concepts and thus also poses a number of challenges to the historian who uses it to conceptualise power struggles in socialist society. Eventually, the workshop demonstrated that all over the Eastern bloc the reconquest of different spaces by the people in the 1970s and 1980s lay at the heart of a deep-rooted transformation process in state and society. To what an extent this development can be linked to the collapse of the socialist regimes in Eastern Europe will have to be explored further. Therefore, the workshop showed directions for further research and revealed how a spatial history of the Eastern bloc can help historians to understand the changing relationship between the state and the individual in late socialist Eastern Europe. 

Conference Overview 
Introductory Remarks 
Josie McLellan (Bristol): To scale? Gay and Lesbian Spaces in East Berlin, 1968-1989 
James Mark (Exeter): Where to Be Political? Activism and the Use of Space in Hungary, 1965-75 David Crowley (London): Architecture at the Limits of Critique in Late Socialism in Eastern Europe 
PhD Panel 
Agáta Drelová (Exeter): Re-producing the 'Underground' in Post-Communist Catholic Memory 
Anna Kan (Bristol): How Leningrad Became a City of Rock 
Ljubica Spaskovska (Exeter): 'Pockets of Freedom' - Subversive Youth Institutions and Narratives of Freedom in Late Socialist Yugoslavia 
Closing discussion 

[1] See, for example: David Crowley / Susan E. Reid (eds.), Socialist Spaces: Sites of Everyday Life in the Eastern Bloc, Oxford 2002; Anders Åman, Architecture and Ideology in Eastern Europe during the Stalin Era: An Aspect of Cold-War History, Cambridge 1992. 
[2] David Crowley / Susan E. Reid, Socialist Spaces: Sites of Everyday Life in the Eastern Bloc, in: David Crowley / Susan E. Reid (eds.), Socialist Spaces: Sites of Everyday Life in the Eastern Bloc, Oxford 2002, pp. 1-23, p. 2. 
[3] See, for example: Stephen Kotkin, Magnetic Mountain: Stalinism as Civilisation, London 1995; Breda Luthar / Marusa Pusnik, The Lure of Utopia: Socialist Everyday Spaces, in: Breda Luthar / Marusa Pusnik (eds.), Remembering Utopia: The Culture of Everyday Life in Socialist Yugoslavia, Washington 2010, pp. 1-35.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

CfP: Imagining Development - Comparing Theory and Practice of Development in the Post-socialist World

International Workshop

Imagining Development - Comparing Theory and Practice of Development in the Post-socialist World
Institute of Governance and Political Science, Tallinn University,
8-9 November 2013

This workshop is part of the Marie Curie Project PIRSES-GA-2013-318961 (PSDEV): Imagining Development: A multidisciplinary and multilevel analysis of development policies and their effect in the post-socialist world.

The workshop will be composed of two parts

Young scholars section: PhD students and recent PhD graduates will have the opportunity of presenting their research and get feedback from more senior scholars.

Networking section: Participants will have the chance to present briefly their research and meet with other scholars from a wide network of universities. In addition to the project partners, we will invite scholars from two more networks Tallinn University is coordinating plus from other major European universities.

Focus of the workshop
The workshop will explore the way development (be this local ornational, political or social) in a series of post-socialist states has been conceived, implemented and applied to different political, economic and geopolitical realities across the region and the response that has generated from this implementation.

The three guiding research questions are
First, what are the main features of development policies conceived in the past 20 years in and towards the post-socialist region? What have been their main achievements and limits?

Second, what have been the effects of development policies conceived at the national and international level on the different segments of a society or a given local territory? Whilst policies may be regulated in details, and its rules are findable among official documents, little is known about the extent and the way in which those instructions are renegotiated and alternatives channels of distribution created in the cases where formal and informal rules do not overlap.

Third, what are the new interactions being created and what is the relationship with traditional spaces of economic development policies? Often failure to deliver the expected results is ascribed to the wrong measures adopted or the result of incompetence (or  corruption). Those two interpretations fail to consider the case when such irregularities persist in time and bring different results but not necessarily worse than the ones envisaged when conceived given policies or actions.

Technical details
There is no registration fee; we are unable to cover travel costs but we will provide accommodation and food for selected speakers (8-10  November).
Deadline for submission of abstracts (with a short bio) is September

25, 2013. Send everything to Emilia Pawlusz (cc to Abel at )

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Recently published - Sharon Macdonald: Memorylands

Routledge is pleased to announce the publication of Memorylands: Heritage and Identity in Europe Today from Sharon MacDonald.
More details here:

Urban Knowledge Network Asia (UKNA) - CALL FOR RESEARCHERS

The International Institute for Asian Studies (IIAS) still has a number of short-term or medium-term postings available for academics to pursue research at selected universities and institutes in China, Hong Kong and India. The call is open specifically to post-doctoral as well as senior researchers who hold EU passports or/and who are staff members of academic institutions in the Netherlands and the EU.
Urban Knowledge Network Asia (UKNA) is funded by a grant awarded by the Marie Curie Actions "International Research Staff Exchange Scheme" (IRSES) of the European Union.

Available positions

Selection criteria
Applications will be considered on a rolling basis. Applications will be assessed both by IIAS as well as by the host institutes, based on their quality and their fit with the research principles of UKNA (see UKNA research themes below) and the current research interests of the host institute. Preference will be given to qualified applicants who can commence their research visits as soon as possible.

Grant Scheme
Researchers participating in UKNA receive a monthly stipend, determined by the Marie Curie Actions IRSES scheme as follows:
  • Euro 1,767/month (when travelling to Hong Kong), determined on a pro-rata daily basis
  • Euro 1,953/month (when travelling to all other destinations), determined on a pro-rata daily basis
The grant is meant to cover travel and subsistence costs, and is supposed to be in addition to the researcher's existing salary.

Eligibility Requirements
Participating researchers must possess the following:
  • An EU passport or/and an official employment contract from an academic institution in the Netherlands or elsewhere in the EU
  • A doctoral degree (minimum requirement for early stage researchers) or (in the case of senior researchers) a doctoral degree and at least four years of full-time equivalent research experience

Tasks and Deliverables
Official tasks:
  • Engage in research in the host institute
  • Disseminate some of their previous research work in the host institute, by giving lectures, directing seminars and/or other activities
  • Take part in UKNA events, such as conferences, workshops and roundtables, particularly those that deal specifically with their topic(s) of research
  • (Strongly encouraged): Attend annual UKNA roundtables, as possible
Official deliverables:
  • A pre-trip Research Plan and a post-trip Research Report outlining (planned) research activities. Please visit for the format of the Plan and Report.
  • Lecture texts and PowerPoint presentations, which will be made accessible via the program website
  • (Strongly encouraged): Attendance at workshops, seminars and roundtables
  • (Strongly encouraged): Contributions to UKNA joint publications, including in the form of: articles for peer-reviewed journals; drafts of chapters for edited volumes; articles for partner institutes' publications

Application process
Applicants should send their research proposals (in English) and proposed research start and end dates to the UKNA Secretariat at IIAS. The host institutes will evaluate proposed research dates. Research proposals should take the form of the UKNA Research Plan (please visit: A short motivation statement should accompany applications.

Contact UKNA Secretariat
For submission of applications, and for any questions, please contact the UKNA Coordinator and Deputy Coordinator, as follows:
» Dr. Paul Rabé, Coordinator of UKNA (
» Ir. Gien San Tan, Deputy Coordinator of UKNA (

About UKNA
UKNA is an inclusive network that brings together concerned scholars and practitioners engaged in collaborative research on cities in Asia. It seeks to influence policy by contributing insights that put people at the center of urban governance and development strategies. The emphasis is on immediate problem solving as well as on the identification of long-term, transformative processes that increase the scope for the active engagement of people in the creative production and shaping of the city. 
The International Institute for Asian Studies (IIAS) in Leiden is one of 14 institutional partners – and the Secretariat – of the Urban Knowledge Network Asia (UKNA).

UKNA Research Themes
UKNA pursues three avenues of inquiry:
    This research theme explores competing ideas of the contemporary city from historical perspectives to illuminate the continuities and ruptures in the process of city making.
    This theme examines who are the actors and how they interact in the production, shaping, contestation and transformation of the city. It explores the relations between human flourishing and the making of urban space and form, with a particular concern for the rights of residents and users in the process.
    This theme considers the challenges of urban dwellers and users in the areas of land, housing, infrastructure, services, planning and the environment, personal well being (including livelihoods and human capital), and "life spaces" (comprising culture, urban heritage, public spaces, and associational life).