International Scholarly Conference “War and Everyday Life in the USSR: History and Memory”
2-3 June 2020, Moscow
International Center for the History and Sociology of World War II and Its Consequences
National Research University – Higher School of Economics (Moscow)
with additional support from the Center for Russian, East-European and Caucasian Studies (Paris), and the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (Washington, DC)
Call for Papers
World War II occupies a special place in Soviet history and in the contemporary memory of the Soviet past. State and society were shaken and reshaped by the cataclysm of war. The war had a profound impact on the Soviet economic, political, and administrative systems; it caused both unprecedented militarization and centralization yet also de facto decentralization and relaxation of the regime in a number of spheres. Even as “extraordinary measures” reached their apogee in wartime years, the period shaped the turn in Soviet history from Stalinist practices of the Great Turn, Great Terror, and coercive mass mobilization to the gradual normalization of Soviet “modernity” in the post-war and post-Stalin period, marked by the development of a Soviet variant of the welfare state and policies of “peaceful coexistence.” From a social perspective, the experiences of war, including unprecedented violence, occupation, captivity and forced labor, as well as appalling living conditions and starvation, had an enduring impact on the Soviet population, as did the resilience of the “front generation.” The sheer loss of human lives during the war was unprecedented. These social aspects and everyday experiences and strategies of survival during the war need further exploration and interpretation. Finally, the memory of the war had a major impact on the postwar evolution of the entire country.
Despite the burgeoning literature on the Soviet experiences of World War II, scholarship on the wartime everyday and memory of it remains fragmented. “War and Everyday Life in the USSR: History and Memory” aims at creating new synthetic interpretations of the Soviet war experience by focusing on new sources and approaches that emerged in recent scholarship. It aims to combine analysis of Soviet wartime transformations from above and below, in the center and in the periphery, as well as to advance cross-regional comparisons.
We do not attempt to cover every aspect of the war, but rather aim at promoting selected topics that have only recently emerged as the focus of new research. In particular, we invite papers that discuss the everyday functioning of the Soviet system on the central and local levels under the extreme pressure of the war. Additionally, the conference hopes to attract papers that discuss the Soviet population’s survival strategies, both on the occupied territories, on the home front, and in the liberated areas. We welcome contributions on material history and consumption practices, food and calories, sexuality and sexual violence, the reception of propaganda and ideology, mental mapping, social psychology, and popular opinion, as well as on changing perceptions of nationality. All these topics are directly related to the conference’s major focus on history and memory. Rather than simply opposing the two, we invite participants to delve into aspects of their interrelationship, that is, how history becomes memory, and memory becomes history (in that it influences historians), or how memory both suppresses and constitutes history. Particularly important in this respect are methodologies for approaching stigma, trauma, and taboo. At the conference, we plan to consider both the experiences on the Soviet home front and on the German-occupied territories, as well as political, social, and cultural changes conditioned by the war.
The working languages of the conference will be Russian and English.
The deadline for submitting paper proposals is 1 March 2020.Successful applicants will be notified by 15 March 2020.
Submissions should include (1) the name of the applicant, institutional affiliation, postal and electronic addresses; (2) a brief CV; (3) a short statement explaining how the applicant’s research relates to the conference topic; (4) a one-page outline of the paper. Proposals are invited in Russian or English and can be for both individual papers and panels. Proposals and inquiries should be e-mailed to:email@example.com
The organizers will assist international participants with obtaining visa invitations to Russia. Meals (coffee breaks, lunches) will be provided. The conference organizers have limited funds to cover (partially or in full) participants’ airfare and accommodation costs for the duration of the conference. We ask prospective participants who will need financial assistance to indicate this in their submissions.
Program Committee of the Conference
Program Committee Chair:
· Oleg Budnitskii, Professor of History, and Director of the International Center for the History and Sociology of World War II and Its Consequences, HSE University
Program Committee Members:
· Alain Blum, Research Fellow, Center for Russian, East-European and Caucasian Studies, School for Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences (Paris)
· Kirill Boldovskii, Research Fellow, Saint Petersburg Institute of History of Russian Academy of Sciences
· Michael David-Fox, Professor of History, Georgetown University, and Academic Advisor, International Center for the History and Sociology of World War II and Its Consequences, HSE University
· Mark Edele, Professor of History, University of Melbourne
· Gennady Estraikh, Professor of Hebrew and Judaic Studies, New York University, and Senior Research Fellow, International Center for the History and Sociology of World War II and Its Consequences, HSE University
· Yoram Gorlizki, Professor of Politics, Manchester University
· Jochen Hellbeck, Professor of History, Rutgers University
· Oleg Khlevniuk, Leading Research Fellow, International Center for the History and Sociology of World War II and its Consequences, and Professor of History, HSE University
· Stephen Kotkin, Professor of History, Princeton University
· Tanja Penter, Professor for East European History, Heidelberg University
· Lynne Viola, Professor of History, University of Toronto, and Senior Research Fellow, International Center for the History and Sociology of World War II and Its Consequences, HSE University
This event is intended to build on and extend a series of major international conferences organized by the International Center for the History and Sociology of World War II and Its Consequences of HSE University: “World War II, Nazi Crimes, and the Holocaust in the USSR” (2012); “Russia in the First World War” (2014); “Europe, 1945: Liberation, Occupation, Retribution” (2015), “Stalinism and War” (2016), “A ‘Memory Revolution’: Soviet History through the Lens of Personal Documents” (2017), “Soviet Encounters with West and East” (2018), and others.