The End(s) of Communism: Paths to De-Communization in the Former Eastern Bloc

Chelsea Michta's picture
March 31, 2021
United States
Subject Fields: 
Eastern Europe History / Studies, Human Rights, Humanities, Modern European History / Studies, Political Science

The End(s) of Communism: Paths to De-Communization in the Former Eastern Bloc


July 9-10, 2021


Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation

Washington, D.C.


Call for Participation


The Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation is pleased to announce the convening of The End(s) of Communism: Paths to De-Communization in the Former Eastern Bloc, a conference in Washington, D.C. generously supported by the Polish National Foundation.


The peaceful collapse of communism across Central and Eastern Europe in 1989—and the negotiated power-sharing agreements that trailed in its wake—were celebrated in the West as a triumph of high-minded compromise. With the notable exception of Romania, reconciliation had prevailed over the thirst for vengeance. Today the picture is more complex. For a number of countries, the circumstances surrounding communism’s implosion and the proper way to “deal” with those tainted by service to the old regime remain the subject of intense debate. Recent efforts to purge the allegedly residual communist elements from state institutions—such as those underway in Poland—have prompted observers to reconsider the processes through which democratic systems were established in the region after 1989. This conference will contribute to that effort by bringing together scholars of Central and Eastern Europe to explore the contested legacies of communism in the former Soviet bloc, with a focus on those countries where debates over the communist past have become entwined with broader developments in contemporary politics.  


We welcome paper and panel proposals from students and scholars from a wide range of disciplines (including history, economics, political science, sociology, psychology, and philosophy), for presentations, workshops, panels, and interactive round tables dealing with (but not limited to):


  • The collapse of communism in 1989
  • Lessons learned from the systemic transformations across the region 
  • Approaches to transitional justice, including but not limited to lustration, file access, and trial and court proceedings against communist officials and secret agents
  • The emergence of state-sponsored remembrance initiatives
  • Museums and memory politics
  • Historical revisionism 
  • The role of “de-communization” in the contemporary politics of Central and Eastern Europe
  • The question of reparations and/or restitution 
  • Curricular changes to the teaching of history in schools
  • Portrayals of communism in contemporary popular culture


Those interested should submit abstracts of no more than 300 words by March 31, 2021. The proposal should be formatted as follows:


  1. author(s)
  2. affiliation(s) as you would like it to appear in the program
  3. email address(es)
  4. title of proposal
  5. abstract of no more than 300 words


Submission emails should be addressed to with the subject head “Conference Abstract Submission.”


All papers accepted for and presented at the conference must be in English and will be eligible for publication in an ISBN eBook. Selected papers may be developed and expanded for future publication in a themed, edited hardbound volume.


All proposals accepted for presentation must have at least one presenter registered for the conference no later than June 1 to be guaranteed inclusion on the program. Conference registration waivers are available for graduate students, teachers, and contingent or international faculty members, as well as faculty confronting decreased institutional research support.


For more information please contact the director of academic programs, Dr. Murray Bessette, at

Contact Info: 

Chelsea Michta

Research Fellow, Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation

300 New Jersey Ave NW, Suite 900, Washington, DC 20001