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Call for Papers for the international conference "Postcolonial situation in the arts after the collapse of the Soviet Union: experiences, impact, reassesment"


International interdisciplinary conference

Riga, April 10 – 12, 2025

Venue: Jāzeps Vītols Latvian Academy of Music


From 2023 to 2026, five scientific institutions of Latvia – Latvian Academy of Culture, Jāzeps Vītols Latvian Academy of Music, Art Academy of Latvia, Institute of Literature, Folklore and Art of University of Latvia and National Library of Latvia implement a project “Cultural and creative ecosystem of Latvia as a resource of resilience and sustainability”/CERS (No. VPP-MM-LKRVA-2023/1-0001) funded by the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Latvia in the framework of the State Research Programme “Latvian Culture – a Resource for National Development”). The project aims to create new knowledge about the influence of the USSR occupation (1940–1941; 1944–1990/1991) on Latvian culture today. Aware that the research of this topic relates to diverse disciplines and fits into the wider context of cultural processes, we invite you to apply for participation in the international scientific conference held in Riga, Latvia.

After the collapse of the USSR in 1991, a number of states in Eastern and Central Europe (former “Soviet republics” and the so-called camp of socialist countries during the Cold War) found themselves in a new situation of cultural and geopolitical choice. Debates about the impact of the heritage of the totalitarian political system of the USSR in the arts and culture, and creative processes at the end of the 20th century and even in the 21st century have been regularly interconnected with colonial and postcolonial studies. Besides, this situation raises discussions about the concept of colonialism and the framework of its application. Before the historical geopolitical upheavals resulting from the collapse of the USSR, postcolonial studies were mainly used to explain the situation in territories outside Europe. The attribution of the postcolonial discourse to the former USSR creates several research challenges and questions. Dorota Kołodziejczyk and Siegfried Huigen, researchers of colonial and post-colonial situations in Eastern and Central Europe, point out two types of research approaches:

“The first type comprises researchers who use postcolonial categories mainly for claiming the postcolonial status for postcommunist societies as a form of rectification of historical wrongs and their long-reaching consequences in economy, politics, culture, and social life. Within this type, the ontological claim to postcoloniality dominates, accentuating the continuing condition of either lack or insufficiency of agency for postcommunist societies which not only were subjected by the USSR, and previously Tsarist Russia, the Habsburg Empire, and Imperial Germany, but which still remain in a situation of dependence because of having to succumb to the West’s hegemonizing influence.

The second type of transferring of postcolonial thought onto the region which acknowledges the undeniable coloniality of power that befell East Central European societies seeks to develop a space of critical thought in which the postcolonial is less a feature describing a society, but, rather, a diffuse structure for interrogating power relations in cultural, social, and political fields in a range of historical moments as well as in the present. (..)

Ultimately, the second direction, which includes postdependence studies and related critical approaches, works to provide the discursive space for a critical revision of historical, political, and cultural processes which are consequences of dependence. Such an investment is not only to propose a revision of the past, but, primarily, to provide an analytical toolbox for investigating how various forms of the past are structuring and determining the present.” (Huigen & Kołodziejczyk (Eds). 2023. East Central Europe Between the Colonial and the Postcolonial in the Twentieth Century. Palgrave Macmillan, 20–21.)

In addition, Russia's full-scale war in Ukraine raised various questions on the evaluation of decolonization processes. The interdisciplinary conference invites applications from the scholars researching Soviet and Post-Soviet era arts – literature, visual arts, music, performing arts, cinema, and other –, as well as the reception and influence of this heritage.

The range of recommended topics (including but not limited to):

The official conference language is English. The conference is planned as an in-person event.

Keynote speakers:

Dr. Dorota Kołodziejczyk (University of Wrocław, Poland)

Dr. Benedikts Kalnačs (Institute of Literature, Folklore and Art of the University of Latvia)

Programme Committee:

Dr. Lauma Mellēna-Bartkeviča (Jāzeps Vītols Latvian Academy of Music)

Dr. Deniss Hanovs (Art Academy of Latvia)

Dr. Linda Kaljundi (Estonian Academy of Arts)

Dr. Kevin C. Karnes (Emory University, College of Arts and Sciences, USA)

Dr. Laine Kristberga (Institute of Literature, Folklore and Art of the University of Latvia)

Dr. Jānis Kudiņš (Jāzeps Vītols Latvian Academy of Music, Chair)

Dr. Simo Mikkonen (University of Eastern Finland)

Dr. Mārtiņš Mintaurs (National Library of Latvia)

Dr. Rūta Muktupāvela (Latvian Academy of Culture)

Dr. Jānis Oga (Institute of Literature, Folklore and Art of the University of Latvia)

Dr. Inga Pērkone-Redoviča (Latvian Academy of Culture)

Dr. Dita Rietuma (Latvian Academy of Culture)

Dr. Nana Sharikadze (V. Sarajishvili Tbilisi State Conservatoire, Georgia)

Dr. Andris Teikmanis (Art Academy of Latvia)

Dr. Rasa Vasinauskaitė (Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre, Lithuanian Culture Research Institute)

Proposals for 20-minute individual paper presentation must be submitted by October 15, 2024, and must include the following:

- email; name, surname;

- institutional affiliation (or status of the independent researcher);

- short bio (150 words maximum, including information on the academic titles);

- the field of the research (respective field of the arts);

- a title and abstract of the proposal (150–300 words);

- technical equipment needed for the presentation.

Proposals for thematically focused sessions consisting of 3-4 papers are also welcome. For themed sessions, please submit all abstracts together with short description of the session focus (100 words). In that case the leader of the group should fill the application for all persons willing to present their papers in the respective thematic session separately. However, the organizers reserve the right to modify the thematic sessions when designing the final programme.

Please submit your abstract through the online submission form:

The proposals will be peer-reviewed. Please note that all successful applicants must register for the conference.

The timetable for this process is as follows:

April 30: circulation of the call;

October 15, 2024: deadline for submissions;

November 15, 2024: results communicated to the applicants.

Registration information will be announced separately.

There is a registration fee of EUR 50.00 for participation in the conference (student registration fee – EUR 25.00). The registration fee must be transferred to the organiser’s bank account within the specified terms during the registration process.

The registration fee covers the following items and events during the conference for participants (not including the conference itself):

- conference materials;

- coffee and refreshments during official breaks;

- conference reception at the Jāzeps Vītols Latvian Academy of Music.

Further information will be provided later.

For additional information, please contact:

Last time modified: 03.05.2024 11:40:37