Re-Inventing Eastern Europe (The Fifth Edition)
29 – 30 January 2016
The Fifth Euroacademia International Conference ‘Re-Inventing Eastern Europe’ aims rather than asserting to make a case and to provide alternative views on the dynamics, persistence and manifestations of the practices of alterity making that take place in Europe and broadly in the mental mappings of the world. It offers an opportunity for scholars, activists and practitioners to locate, discuss and debate the multiple dimensions in which specific narratives of alterity making towards Eastern Europe preserve their salience today in re-furbished and re-fashioned manners. The conference aims to look at the processes of alterity making as puzzles and to address the persistence of the East-West dichotomies.
Eastern Europe was invented as a region and continues to be re-invented from outside and inside. From outside its invention was connected with alterity making processes, and, from inside the region, the Central and Eastern European countries got into a civilizational beauty contest themselves in search of drawing the most western profile: what’s Central Europe, what’s more Eastern, what’s more Ottoman, Balkan, Byzantine, who is the actual kidnapped kid of the West, who can build better credentials by pushing the Easterness to the next border. A wide variety of scholars addressed the western narratives of making the Eastern European ‘other’ as an outcome of cultural politics of enlightenment, as an effect of EU’s need to delineate its borders, as an outcome of its views on security, or as a type of ‘orientalism’ or post-colonialism. Most of these types of approaches are still useful in analyzing the persistence of a East-West slope. The region is understood now under a process of convergence, socialization and Europeanization that will have as outcomes an ‘ever closer union’ where the East and the West will fade away as categories. Yet the reality is far from such an outcome while the persistence of categories of alterity making towards the ‘East’ is not always dismantled. The discourses on core/non-core, new Europe/old Europe, pioneers/followers, teachers/pupils, centre/periphery, cosmos/chaos are often maintaining significant ground within the arena of European identity narratives often yet not exclusively voiced by the EU.