Two three-year PhD studentships, and three five-year associate research fellowships, are offered on a major Leverhulme Trust-funded project that will consider how the collapse of state socialism in Europe, and transition that followed, has come to be understood both in the region which experienced these events, and in the wider world. Applications are welcome not only from those who wish to work on Eastern Europe or the former Soviet Union, but also those interested in the representations and impact of this historical shift across the world.
The fall of state socialism in Europe between 1989 and 1991 marked a watershed in world history. This major Leverhulme Trust-funded project will consider how the collapse and transition that followed have come to be understood both in the region which experienced these events, and in the wider world. Applications are welcome not only from those who wish to work on Eastern Europe or the former Soviet Union, but also those interested in the representations and impact of this historical shift across the world.
Projects should address one or more of the following themes below. Also,listed below are some ideas for potential project areas; please note that these are merely indicative:
- How have social, cultural, intellectual or political groups who experienced the collapse of state socialism and post-socialism in eastern Europe made sense of their experiences? Projects might address, for example, the changing ways in workers have understood these changes; how political movements across different countries have built identities and practices in relation to particular understandings of ‘the fall’ and transition; or the representation of this historical change in eastern European literature, theatre or film. Projects might historicise the growth of liberal ‘collapse and transition’ paradigm, and examine the critics of this worldview. Comparative, transnational and transcultural projects are encouraged, especially those that address the relationships between local, national and global forms of knowledge.
- How have post-socialist states represented the collapse of state socialism and what came after? Applicants might, for example, compare the approaches of different post-socialist states in education, culture or law; explore the tensions between global and local understandings of these events; or examine how central-eastern European understandings of the fall of dictatorship draw upon, or compare with, other regions’ attempts to make sense of similar democratisation processes (e.g. in Latin America, southern Africa or southern Europe).
- How has the collapse of state socialism in Europe been made sense of, and represented, in the politics, society or culture in any other part of the world? How have these understandings shaped or impacted upon the societies, cultures or politics of that area? How have these ‘outsider’ or global understandings of state socialism’s collapse and aftermath impacted back on eastern Europe? Applicants might, for example, consider the impact of ‘1989’ on north American political culture, the representation of Communism’s fall in the ‘global South’, the role of external actors in producing and critiquing the ‘1989/transition’ paradigm, or the importance of a liberal reading of state socialism’s collapse in forging a modern European identity.
Other innovative projects connected with the representation and historicisation of European state socialism’s fall – whether in eastern Europe or globally - are welcomed.
Proposals are invited either based on one of the outlines above, or of a different project framed within the terms above.