Historical Approaches in Cultural Analysis Working Group Interim Meeting

Where? Herder Institut für historische Ostmitteleuropaforschung (Marburg, Germany), and online (a hybrid event).

When? 13-14 June 2024


Europe can be approached from various angles: as a geographical, political, and economic historical entity; as an embodiment of cultural diversity rooted in national, regional, and local identities, histories, and languages; and as a subject of yearning or a cultural construct. Contemporary transnational and post colonial viewpoints perceive Europe as a dynamic, complex web of wider transnational interactions and exchanges, highlighting the influences of intertwined and intersecting, yet simultaneously contested and competing historical narratives, memories, and identities. These encounters in the past and present have played a significant role in the historical imagination and contemporary formation of Europe, as they shaped distinct practices, methodologies, and traditions in the disciplinary landscape of folklore studies, European ethnology, and social and cultural anthropology across the continent.

In this conference, we aim to investigate these two interconnected domains in a dialogue between historical perceptions and current reflections about Europe vis à vis disciplinary decolonization effects. Firstly, departing from the narratives related to Europe and the concept of ‘Europeanness’ in various contexts and throughout history, we endeavour to spotlight the divisions, borders, and interactions among different disciplinary traditions of folklore studies and ethnology in Europe, positioning them both as themes and context for research. Secondly, we are interested in exploring the disciplinary histories of Europe, and the ways in which situated narratives and practices play into unmaking and remaking Europe as well as how the idea and imaginary of Europe has been used to define the borders and interactions amongour disciplines.

Furthermore, attention will be paid in particular to transgenerational and transcultural settings in which Europeanness is produced and experienced. We are particularly interested in understanding how narratives about Europe are influenced by, and in turn produce intricate transnational connections that transcend disciplinary, geographical, and imaginative boundaries and open up new avenues for thinking about Europe’s past, present, and future. While the main focus of the conference is on folklore studies, European ethnology, and cultural and social anthropology, we welcome scholars from related disciplines, e.g. history, geography, and literature to join this debate.

How to apply: The paper proposals should follow the SIEF Conference long abstract format, that is, they should not exceed 250 words and should have the paper title as well as the name of the presenter, affiliation, and an e-mail. In case funding is needed from SIEF, we also need a motivation letter, no more than one page, stating the current employment status; presenter’s academic stages, and other possible funding available to the presenter, and if received, how SIEF funding will facilitate the physical participation of the presenter. For those who do not want (or cannot) be in Marburg, remote (on-line) participation is possible as well—both for the conference and the WG Meeting.

Submit your proposal to: haca.marburg.2024@gmail.com

Deadline: February 29, 2024, at 23:59 (CET)

Expected time for decision: late March – early April

We look forward to meeting you in Marburg! – Hande Birkalan-Gedik; Caroline Haubold; Viktorija Ceginskas; Gabriele Orlandi (the organizers)

Hande Birkalan-Gedik: contributions / birkalan-gedik@em.uni-frankfurt.de / Johann Wolfgang-Goethe-Universität Institut für Kulturanthropologie und Europäische Ethnologie Frankfurt am Main