IMAGINING NORTH-EASTERN EUROPE. Baltic and Scandinavian states in the eyes of local, regional, and global observers

Deborah Paci's picture
Type: 
Call for Papers
Date: 
April 23, 2022
Subject Fields: 
Area Studies, Eastern Europe History / Studies, European History / Studies, German History / Studies, Russian or Soviet History / Studies

IMAGINING NORTH-EASTERN EUROPE

Baltic and Scandinavian states in the eyes of local, regional, and global observers

Edited by Paolo Borioni, Deborah Paci, and Francesco Zavatti

The image of North-Eastern Europe appears composite and complex. While its geographical conglomeration is cut across by the Baltic Sea, it is not a coherent area at a cultural and political level. Yet, the numerous investments made by local and international actors in attempting to define this space (GÖTZ 2016) call for a closer scrutiny in the processes of imagining spaces. Between crossroad for international routes and point of contact for insular realities, North-Eastern Europe is a repository of numerous perceptions and self-perceptions on a local, region, and global level. In the last centuries, the history of the Baltic Sea has also been a history of small states devising the most diverse and original strategies to coexist and emerge from the shadow of major continental players and global powers. These strategies ranged from ideas and practices of regional cooperation, to the pursuit of cultural diplomatic initiatives and transnational contacts with more influential states’ actors and with international organizations. Taking its moves from the idea that spaces are unstable and subject to redefinition in light of the positions and agendas of their observers, this call aims at investigating how the North-East European spaces are imagined by its actors and by its global observers. How the world looks at North-Eastern Europe does not often coincide with the Baltic and Nordic inhabitants’ perceptions of “their own world(s)”. Beyond concrete attempts taken locally for tailoring together and promoting the two halves of the Baltic Sea in a common region (MUSIAŁ 2015), the Nordic countries are often evoked by foreign observers as examples of perfect harmony between private interests and social justice, between integration and personal self-fulfillment – while the Eastern shores of the Baltic, simply, are not. The Nordic countries have been skillful in constructing, repackaging, and selling their image globally (MARKLUND 2017). Analyzing the success of the Nordic brand means historicizing the mechanisms of diffusion of its cultures and shedding light on the perceptions and aspirations that the global actors have placed in Nordic spaces (BYRKJEFLOT – MORDHORST – PETERSON 2022), but not in other nearby spaces of the European North-East. Beside the promotion of social structures and values, the imaginative power of literature, music, film, design, and environmental thinking and activism should not be forgotten. While these achievements are reached also by actors living on the Eastern shores of the Baltic Sea, the success of individuals and brands did not turned their spaces of origin into global icons. Far from attempting to see homogeneous regions where there are none, the transnational interactions and mobility across the Baltic Sea in the last centuries are, besides historical realities, central nodes around whom regional linkages of solidarity and mutual understanding have been imagined. These constructions show that imagination operates also for linking distant spaces and uneven realities. Our aim is to investigate the birth, transformation, international success or lack of success as well as conflicts concerning the multiple imaginaries of North-East Europe, intended as the space which includes all the Baltic riparian states, plus Norway and Belarus, from a historical perspective, with a focus on the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. We are interested in papers focused on one or more of these aspects (possibly, with a comparative perspective):

I. The multiple images of Scandinavia and the Baltic States

  1. The construction of the historical imaginary in North-East Europe;
  2. Imagining the Nordic and the Baltic countries in the world and imagining the world in the Scandinavian and Baltic countries;
  3. Discussing, reshaping and recomposing the Nordic and Baltic countries in the social sciences;
  4. The birth, success and spread of Nordic and Baltic literature, between politics and imagination;
  5. Imagining spaces through music and the making of music in spaces;
  6. Nordic heritage on the Eastern shores of the Baltic Sea and their uses.

II. Mobility, Diplomacy and Cooperation across North-Eastern Europe

  1. Migration, diasporas and tourism in the 19th and 21st centuries: imagining connected spaces;
  2. Nordic and Baltic diplomacies in the 20th and 21st centuries: reimagining small countries in a globalized world;
  3. The Baltic Sea as a geopolitical dilemma: imagining conflicts, choices and opportunities.

III. North-East European spaces between myth and reality

  1. Nordic “models” between branding and wishful thinking;
  2. Imagining the relationship between culture and nature in the Baltic and Nordic countries and imagining the Baltic and Nordic countries relationship with nature in foreign contexts;
  3. The recovery and public use of history in the Baltic and Nordic countries;
  4. The myth of Scandinavian political thought, in the Nordic countries and abroad.

HOW TO SEND AN ARTICLE
Interested authors should submit an abstract of 250 words (maximum 1500 characters), a short bio of max 100 words (maximum 500 characters) and contact information by email attachment to redazione.diacronie[at]studistorici.com by April 23 2022.
Articles should be between 35.000 and 55.000 characters (spaces included) and must respect the editorial norms (accessible at the following link: https://www.studistorici.com/en/instructions-to-authors/editorial-and-bi...)
Authors will be notified whether their proposal has been accepted or not by April 30 2022. The complete article must be submitted by June 30 2022. All proposals will be subjected to a double-blind peer review. Publication of this issue is scheduled for December 2022.
Abstracts and articles may be submitted in Italian, English, French, Spanish and Portuguese. Contributions in Portuguese will be translated into Italian by the editorial board.

References
BYRKJEFLOT – MORDHORST – PETERSON 2022 = BYRKJEFLOT, Haldor, MORDHORST, Mads, PETERSON, Klaus, The making and circulation of Nordic models: an introduction, in IID. (eds.), The Making and Circulation of Nordic Models, Ideas, and Images, London, Routledge, 2022, pp. 1-10.
GÖTZ 2016 = GÖTZ, Norbert, «Spatial politics and fuzzy regionalism: the case of the Baltic Sea area», in Baltic Worlds, 9, 3/2016, pp. 54-67.
MARKLUND 2017 = MARKLUND, Carl, «The Nordic Model on the Global Market of Ideas: The Welfare State as Scandinavia’s Best Brand», in Geopolitics, 22, 3/2017, pp. 623-639.
MUSIAŁ 2015 = MUSIAŁ, Kazimierz, Benevolent assistance and cognitive colonization: Nordic Involvement with the Baltic States since the 1990s, CLERC, Louis, GLOVER, Nikolas, JORDAN, Paul (eds.), Histories of Public Diplomacy and Nation Branding in the Nordic and Baltic Countries, Leiden, Brill, 2015, pp. 257-282.

Contact Info: 

For any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us at: deborah.paci@unimore.it