Contested heritage in the 21st century: Eastern Europe and beyond

Olena Betlii's picture
Call for Papers
April 21, 2022 to April 22, 2022
Subject Fields: 
Cultural History / Studies, Diplomacy and International Relations, Eastern Europe History / Studies, Historic Preservation, Russian or Soviet History / Studies

Contested heritage in the 21st century: Eastern Europe and beyond

KU Leuven, Belgium, 21-22 April 2022

As part of the CELSA COHERE research project “Contested Heritage. A multilevel analysis of the securitization of heritage and its challenges for EU and UN actorness”, KU Leuven is issuing this Call for Papers and is organizing a corresponding workshop in collaboration with the University of Tartu and Charles University Prague. The workshop will be held in virtual format on 21-22 April 2022 and will be hosted by KU Leuven, Belgium.

We encourage scholars from different disciplines and career stages to make submissions. Scholars with expertise in the following areas are particularly encouraged to apply: Eastern European aspects of UN or EU heritage policies; Russia’s heritage diplomacy in East Central Europe; and/or the securitization of cultural heritage in times of international conflict in Eastern Europe.

Submissions should address at least one of the following three subject areas:
• mutual (or conflicting) heritage claims in Eastern Europe
• unwanted heritage and processes of decommunization in East Central Europe
• heritage diplomacy and political instrumentalization of historical monuments by Russia

More specifically, proposed papers may provide either theoretical or empirical contributions (e.g. case studies) relating but not limited to the following topics:

  • The process of securitizing cultural heritage in conflict zones in Eastern Europe

  • Actorness of the EU and UN in protection of cultural heritage in Eastern Europe

  • Unwanted versus Wanted Soviet cultural heritage, including decommunization policies and removals versus preservations of Soviet monuments or works of art

  • The European Green Deal and abandoned Soviet/Socialist industrial heritage in the EU member states

  • Mnemonic wars in Central and Eastern European countries and Russia’s heritage diplomacy in the region

  • Preservation of cultural heritage of ethnic minorities in Central and Eastern European countries

Please send your abstract (up to 500 words) and short biography (up to 100 words) via email to olena.betlii[at] (Olena Betlii) with the subject: Contested heritage workshop.

The deadline for abstracts is 14 February 2022. Successful applicants are expected to send their full papers (up to 6000 words) by 15 April 2022, and to present them at the workshop.

Successful applicants will be invited to work with the project team towards the publication of a special issue of a relevant peer-reviewed journal.

Contact Info: 

Contact person:  Dr. Olena Betlii (Research Associate, Modernity and Society 1800-2000|MoSa Faculty of Arts - KU Leuven)