Early Research Academics Conference - "Space, Place, and Locus: Mapping the New Europe"

Mathis Gronau's picture
Call for Papers
June 2, 2021 to June 4, 2021
Subject Fields: 
Film and Film History, Humanities, Literature, Modern European History / Studies, Russian or Soviet History / Studies

The recent experiences of global pandemic and national lockdowns have
forced us to slow down and scale down, but also to deviate from our routines
and to rethink our mundane activities. We have become intimately acquainted
with the private space of home while simultaneously detached from the public
spaces of shared communal life. Inspired, rather than hindered, by these new
circumstances, we invite young scholars and early-stage researchers to join
ERA - a space of academic disruption where horizontal alliances are forged,
hierarchies from the old world don’t matter, and new ideas are born. Before the
pandemic, we fought for grants to attend prestigious conferences and events,
we tried to outsmart each other and we competed against one another in a
publish or perish environment. ERA is a project which aims to foster transnational
cooperatives between early stage researchers and build bridges between
people, places, and institutions, instead of vying for grants, scholarships and
publications. We want to bring a new approach to academia by creating an
inclusive space of encounters and the starting point of conversations for our
very first meeting is thus space, place and locus.

Space and place are crucial categories of analysis when looking at our societies
and their functioning, as noted by Michel Foucault who saw a deep connection
between power, social order and space. Similarly, Doreen Massey observed the
role of space in shaping gender relations, and vice versa, the way our gendered
bodies shape the space around us. Many others, most notably David Harvey,
Henri Lefebvre, and Edward Soja, noted the importance of space as a research
category and its role in building social networks and inter-human relations.
Thusly, there has been an epistemic shift labelled by some scholars as the
spatial turn, where space, place, locale, and their impact on various fields of
research has gained increased academic attention. Embracing this approach
and recognising its usefulness, we invite early research academics to redraw
with us a map of Europe. Consequently, we welcome papers on the topic of
social, political, and cultural changes that have taken place in the broadly
understood European space since the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and the
dismantling of the Soviet Union in 1991.

We witnessed new players entering the global arena and new spaces that have
emerged such as post-communist countries or new republics of ex-Yugoslavia.
We have seen the eastward expansion of the European Union and a great
migration from the global South to the Fortress Europe. New boundaries have
been set as the old ones crumbled and we face new challenges today as the
rise of right-wing populism, the global pandemic and climate changes have an
increasing impact on Europe and its inhabitants. Making use of the spatial turn
in humanities, we want to investigate how these shifts and changes in European
space and beyond have impacted our understanding of the world; how our
digital technologies are increasingly compressing timespace and bringing
together seemingly distant and incompatible ideas, peoples, and objects. We
want to bring into the conversation about culture, history, and media a new
perspective, which would intersect across humanities, art, and social sciences
to include the notions of space, place and site as important markers of our
times. We want to contest the boundaries of what has been traditionally
considered ‘Europe’ and thus we particularly look for researchers who work
with spaces such as Eastern and Central Europe, the Caucasus, Turkey, Russia,
the Nordic countries, or other places not otherwise belonging to the traditionally
understood West European centre. We propose to shift the discourse from
the centre towards the peripheries, and push the existing geographical, social,
and historical boundaries in order to form new ways of mapping and interpreting

We propose three panels over three days of our virtual event, with each day devoted
to one the following categories:
Media, Literature, and History.

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