Our conference seeks to confront the discourse of affective mobilization propagating anti-EU and anti-immigration policies in many European countries, with its opponent, the discourse of civic ethos and cosmopolitanism. How did it happen that xenophobia and anti-European sentiment have become a vocal presence in public discourse? We hope that the conference will shed some light on how a refurbished nationalism has become central to the new visions of what has become a functioning oxymoron in Central Europe: the non-liberal democracy.

We would like to invite contributions from the fields of history, political science, social and cultural anthropology, literary studies, sociology and linguistics.

The historical perspective seeks to answer the questions about how the new nationalisms build on the past, asking for instance:

  • How do they use the past to build a new model of national identity as part of a strictly defined and exclusionary ethnos?
  • How do they formulate the concept of a historically rooted national subject?
  • What historical narratives do they turn into (new) national myths?
  • What historiographic models and historical research can be deployed to challenge the appropriation of history by nationalist politics?

Chantal Mouffe claims in her Agonistics: Thinking the World Politically (2013) that the European transnational integrative project was based on the discourse of rationalization and individualism, thus it positioned national loyalties in the space of a lingering past and premodern tribal affect. The social sciences perspective could tackle this division and put it into a more multi-dimensional perspective, such as:

  • The division into the EU “integrative project” and its opponent, “national loyalties” may inadvertently empower ethnic/exclusionary nationalism as the only viable politics for fostering national identities;
  • How does mass migration influence the sense of identity, locatedness, and belonging? How does it happen that migrants are often lured into nationalist sentiments?
  • How do contemporary mediascapes, including social media, influence identity formations and give individuals a sense of political agency?
  • In what sense is postcommunist nostalgia a factor in attracting supporters of nationalist sentiment?
  • In what sense does the current turn to nationalism look like a haunted revolution? What prior appeals to the will of the sovereign as supreme political agency does it echo?
  • In majoritarian discourse – the one that claims legitimacy, on the basis of representing the majority – national identity may turn into what Arjun Appadurai calls “predatory identities”. What are the mechanisms that trigger this transformation?
  • How does nationalist discourse react to the emergence of new nations (Silesians, for example), and how are national identities constructed beyond the reach of nationalism?

The linguistic perspective invites a reflection on the formation, alliances and porousness of discourses, an investigation of imaginaries and conceptualizations of belonging in culture, the affect in language and politics, the language of dichotomous divisions vs. the language of linking etc. The questions to cover would be, among others:

  • How and in what circumstances are the languages of emergency, nationalist discourse being one of them, constructed and deployed?
  • How are the enemies created (named) and contained? How does it happen that in nationalist discourse the excluded margins are becoming ever broader?
  • How is the stereotyping language of nationalist othering neutralized into seemingly acceptable euphemisms (e.g. refugee becomes migrant; xenophobia becomes “modern patriotism”)?

The conference will be held in Wrocław, Poland, 25-27 September 2017. It is a joint venture between the European Academy of Science / Academia Europaea (Knowledge Hub, Wrocław) and the Faculty of Philology of the University of Wrocław. A selection of papers will be published. The conference is part of a series of symposia, which bring together established scholars with early career researchers, particularly from East Central Europe.

Invited (keynote) speakers

Uwe Backes (Hanah Arendt Institute, TU Dresden)

Miroslav Hroch (Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic)

Hana Cervinkova (University of Lower Silesia, Wrocław, Poland/Czech Academy of Sciences, Prague)

Przemysław Czapliński (Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznań, Poland)

Thomas Hylland Eriksen (University of Oslo, Norway)

Viacheslav Morozov (University of Tartu, Estonia)

Bogdan Stefanescu (Bucharest University)

Ruth Wodak (University of Lancaster & University of Vienna)


APPLICATION: The registration is available at: www.acadeuro.wroclaw.pl. Submit a 300-word proposal, a curriculum vitae with a list of publications by 31 March, 2017. All applicants will be notified about the selection of participants before 30 April, 2017.

REQUIREMENTS: Presenters are required to submit a 3,000-5,000 word description or excerpt (i.e., chapter, article, etc.) to be circulated among participants by 31 July, 2017. All conference participants are asked to read these submissions prior to the conference. The paper should be an unpublished one. Presenters who do not meet the submission deadline will not be able to present their work.


FINANCIAL ARRANGEMENTS: The organizers will cover the conference fee and the costs of accommodation (up to 4 nights), travel (up to a certain maximum: Western Europe – up to 100 EUR; Central and Eastern Europe – up to 150 EUR) and insurance.

Organising Committee

Uwe Backes (Hanah Arendt Institute, TU Dresden)

Hana Cervinkova (University of Lower Silesia, Wrocław, Poland/Czech Academy of Sciences, Prague)

Przemysław Czapliński (Adam Mickiewicz University Poznań, Poland)

Pieter Emmer (History, Leiden & Academia Europaea)

Siegfried Huigen (Dutch and South African Studies, Wrocław & Academia Europaea)

Dorota Kołodziejczyk (Postcolonial Studies Centre, Wrocław)

Ola Nowak (Knowledge Hub, Academia Europaea, Wrocław)

Bogdan Stefanescu (Bucharest University)

All correspondence, including submission of proposals and final papers, must be addressed to: Aleksandra Nowak: nowak@acadeuro.wroclaw.pl.

Adrianna Link: contributions / website / alink@amphilsoc.org