Space and place are crucial categories of analysis when looking at our societies and their functioning, as noted by Michel Foucault who saw a deep connection between power, social order, and space. Similarly, Doreen Massey observed the role of space in shaping gender relations, and vice versa, the way our gendered bodies shape the space around us. Many others, most notably David Harvey, Henri Lefebvre, and Edward Soja, noted the importance of space as a research category and its role in building social networks and inter-human relations. Thus, there has been an epistemic shift labelled by some scholars as the spatial turn, where space, place, locale, and their impact on various fields of research has gained increased academic attention. Embracing this approach and recognizing its usefulness, we invite early research academics to redraw with us a map of Europe. Consequently, we welcome abstracts on the topic of social, political, and cultural changes that have taken place in the broadly understood European space since the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and the dismantling of the Soviet Union in 1991.
We witnessed new players entering the global arena and new spaces that have emerged such as post-communist countries or new republics of ex-Yugoslavia. We have seen the eastward expansion of the European Union and a great migration from the global South to Fortress Europe. New boundaries have been set as the old ones crumbled and we face new challenges today as the rise of right-wing populism, the global pandemic and climate changes have an increasing impact on Europe and its inhabitants. Making use of the spatial turning humanities, we want to investigate how these shifts and changes in European space and beyond have impacted our understanding of the world; how our digital technologies are increasingly compressing time space and bringing together seemingly distant and incompatible ideas, peoples, and objects. We want to bring into the conversation about culture, history, and media a new perspective, which would intersect across humanities, art, and social sciences to include the notions of space, place, and site as important markers of our times. We want to contest the boundaries of what has been traditionally considered ‘Europe’ and thus we particularly look for researchers who work with spaces such as Eastern and Central Europe, the Caucasus, Turkey, Russia, the Nordic countries, or other places not otherwise belonging to the traditionally understood West European center. We propose to shift the discourse from the center towards the peripheries, and push the existing geographical, social, and historical boundaries in order to form new ways of mapping and interpreting Europe.
The ERA team held a conference over three days in early June, and we had amazing speakers that discussed topics of spaces, places, and loci. They focused on history, media, art, and other areas. We are now looking to create a collection of works with spaces, places, and loci as a focus. We are specifically looking for anything on gender, race, cartography (remapping Europe and what this means for places on the border), Covid-19 and the online space, and others that deal with any type of space, place, and locus.
The deadline for sending extended abstracts (up to 500 words) is 16th August 2021, midnight GMT. We seek papers that are intersectional, engaged on several levels of categories and cut across traditional academic divisions, while also incorporating the notions of space/place. In particular, we want space, place, and loci to be the centered focus of the paper. Here are some more of the proposed themes:
- Loci of resistance and change: multi-nationality experience in Europe post-1989,
- Crossing borders: refugees and the refugee experience, in particular the LGBTQ+ refugee experience,
- Margins and centre: literature/culture/media in post-1989 Europe,
- Building bridges: decolonial option, post-colonial studies and neocolonialism in postcommunist spaces,
- Collaborative practices: transregional and transnational modes of culture production, dissemination and spectatorship in contemporary Europe,
- Global space and local sites: the impact of globalisation, digitalisation and capitalist neoliberal policies on European culture & art since 1989,
- New Europe: cultural geographies, the Peaceful Revolution and eastern expansion of European identity.
For more on ERA and our mission, and to join our mailing list, please go to our website or send us an email: firstname.lastname@example.org
ERA stands for Early Research Academics and is a student-organised and student-led platform aimed at bringing together postgraduate students and early career researchers.
The recent experiences of global pandemic and national lockdowns have forced us to slow down and scale down, but also to deviate from our routines and to rethink our mundane activities. We have become intimately acquainted with the private space of home while simultaneously detached from the public spaces of shared communal life.
ERA is a brainchild of doctoral students from University College London. We are all based at the Faculty of Arts & Humanities, School of European Languages, Culture and Society (SELCS) and Centre for Multidisciplinary and Intercultural Inquiry (CMII). We come from different backgrounds and disciplines but we share a common vision of creating and fostering an inclusive and innovative research spirit among our fellow early stage academics.