Soyuz: The Research Network for Postsocialist Cultural Studies

Soyuz is broadly conceived as a group of anthropologists and other scholars working in postsocialist studies. It is formally constituted as the Post-Communist Cultural Studies Interest Group of the American Anthropological Association (AAA) and is also recognized as an official unit of the Association for Slavic, East European Studies and Eurasian Studies (ASEEES formerly AAASS). We gather at AAA and ASEEES meetings in North America and here on the web to distribute information on our projects.

Soyuz Listserv

To join the Soyuz listserv, please click here.


Announcements are posted from messages sent to the Soyuz listserv. To post an additional announcement, please email Soyuz webmaster Kate Graber (graberk [at] indiana.edu).

The End of the Liberal Order? Central, East and Southeast European Populism in Comparative Perspective | GSOSES’s IV Annual Conference

by Christoph Hilgert

The End of the Liberal Order? Central, East and Southeast European Populism in Comparative Perspective

IV Annual Conference of the Graduate School for East and Southeast European Studies

in cooperation with the School of Slavonic and East European Studies, University College London


1-3 June 2017, Regensburg (Germany)


The Fourth Annual Conference of the Graduate School for East and Southeast European Studies, a joint program by the Ludwig-Maximilian-Universität München (LMU Munich) and the Universität Regensburg (Regensburg University), is dedicated to populism in Central, East and Southeast Europe.

The dream of a united Europe seems to be on the ropes. Anti-EU platforms are on the rise, producing the first major faits accomplis such as Brexit. Hungary and Poland are governed by parties that portray Brussels as a second Moscow and oppose the European federalist ideal. Arguably, the most shocking event in this development is the election of a right-wing populist as President of the United States. The big-tent parties in Europe, which have so far maintained the post-war liberal order, have found no effective antidote to the wave of populism. In the post-socialist countries, the democratic achievements since 1989 seem under threat by policies that draw a clear line between “us” and “them”, foster hatred and offer easy solutions to complex problems. However, populism also indicates wide-spread frustration about inequality and alienation under the current capitalist system.

This year’s conference of the Graduate School, organized jointly with the School of Slavonic and East European Studies (SSEES, UCL), will put populism in Central, Eastern and Southeastern Europe in perspective: it will draw comparisons with other regions of the word and elucidate the contexts of populist politics. The four panels of this interdisciplinary conference will engage with the languages of populism; the typologies of populist politics; the historical trajectories of populism in the region; and populist subjectivities. In a special round-table, journalists reporting from the region will discuss the causes and likely consequences of populist politics.

The keynote speakers are: John B. Judis, Michal Krzyzanowski, Jan Kubik and Gwendolyn Sasse.

Conference language is English; for attending the Graduate School’s Fourth Annual Conference please register until May 15, 2017 via email: [email protected]




Thursday, June 1

18:00 Opening
Ulf Brunnbauer (Regensburg) and Martin Schulze Wessel (Munich)
18:30-20:00 Keynote – John B. Judis (Washington):
The Populist Explosion: How the Great Recession Transformed American and European Politics

Chair: Ger Duijzings (Regensburg)

Friday, June 2


Keynote – Michal Krzyzanowski (Örebro):
Populism in/and Politicisation and Mediatisation of Immigration: The Case of the ‘Refugee Crisis’

Chair: Björn Hansen (Regensburg)

10:30-10:45 Coffee break
10:45-12:45 Daniel Weiss (Zurich):
How (not) to Recognise Populist Discourse? A Glance at East European Varieties

Tanja Zimmermann (Leipzig):
“Alternative” Histories in Fake Environments

Peter Zusi (London):
The Literature of Dark Charisma: Hermann Broch and Viktor Dyk

12:45-14:00 Lunch

Keynote – Gwendolyn Sasse (Berlin):
Title tba

Chair: Melanie Arndt (Regensburg)

15:00-17:45 Eric Gordy (London):
“Don’t mourn, Balkanize:” What the Post-Democratic West Can Learn from the Balkans

Martin Mejstrík (Prague):
Current Populism in Central East Europe. Threat to Liberal Democracy?

Coffee break

Alan Sikk (London):
Populist Parties and Other Creatures: Towards a Typology of ‘Populism’ in Central and Eastern Europe

Florian Bieber (Graz):
Populism at the European Periphery: Negotiating Popular and External Legitimacy

18:00-19:30 Public Roundtable / Öffentliches Podiumsgespräch (in deutscher Sprache)

Zentral-, Ost- und Südosteuropäischer Populismus im Vergleich

With Andreas Ernst (Belgrad/Zurich), Boris Schumatsky (Berlin) und Reinhold Vetter (Warsaw/Berlin)
Chair/Moderation: Marie-Janine Calic (Munich)


Saturday, June 3


Keynote – Jan Kubik (London):
Title tba

Chair: Martin Schulze Wessel (Munich)

10:00-10:15 Coffee break
10:15-12:15 Egbert Klautke (London):
Antisemitism, Charisma, Infrastructure: Karl Lueger and the Invention of Populism in Vienna 1900

Elizabeth White (Bristol):
‘Narodnichestvo’ and ‘neo-narodnichestvo’: Revolutionary Populism in Russian, Soviet and Eastern European History

Balázs Trencsényi (Budapest):
Comparing Populist Discourses in East Central Europe in the Twentieth Century – Continuities, Contexts, and Typologies

12:15-13:15 Lunch

Ger Duijzings (Regensburg):
Smears and Insults: Performative Acts of Denigrating Others

Margit Feischmidt (Budapest):
Policing of Borders, Production of Boundaries: Structural, Political and Cultural Conditions of Anti-Migrant Mobilization in Rural Hungary

Don Kalb (Budapest/Utrecht):
From Populist Reason to the Rationality of Populists

Cathrine Thorleifsson (Oslo):
In Pursuit of Purity: Understanding the Appeal of UKIPs Populism in Precarious England

Chair: Carna Brkovic (Regensburg)

15:30-16:00 Concluding discussion


Conference venue: Graduate School for East and Southeast European Studies, Landshuter Str. 4, 93047 Regensburg, Room 319 (3rd floor)

For further and up-dated information, please visit http://www.gs-oses.de/event-detail-317/events/Annual_Conference_2017.html


The rise of Trump and the failure of the Left

by Charles McKelvey

     Since February 20, I have published a series of nineteen blog posts on the Trump administration and the inadequacy of the Left.  They can be found at: http://www.globallearning-cuba.com/blog-umlthe-view-from-the-southuml/category/trump.

The Trump project emerges in a time of a global situation of crisis, chaos and fear, a situation that is rooted in a number of factors, including: the incapacity of the neocolonial world-system to carry out the reformist visions of Franklin Roosevelt, John Kennedy, and Jimmy Carter; and the abandonment by the global elite, beginning in 1980, of all efforts at reform, turning instead to what has been, in effect, an economic and military assault on the Third World.  These post-1980 dynamics established conditions favorable to the emergence in the Third World of an extremist strategy, a new type of terrorism characterized by the indiscriminate killing of civilians; and they generated desperate economic and social conditions in the Third World, creating an uncontrolled international migration.  These two phenomena have provoked fears and anxieties among the peoples of the North, making it possible for the Trump project to attain a certain degree of popular support.

The emergence of Trump also has been aided by the failure of the Left to formulate a narrative that is an alternative to the mainstream American narratives.  The Left has failed to formulate a politically-effective comprehensive and historical explanation of the global structural sources of the new form of terrorism and the uncontrolled international migration, and it has not offered politically intelligent proposals in response to these phenomena.

Charles McKelvey

Professor Emeritus

Presbyterian College

Clinton, South Carolina

Section on Political Science from the South

Division of Philosophy and History

University of Havana

Havana, Cuba

Call for Invited Session at the 2017 AAAs

Soyuz: The Research Network for Postsocialist Cultural Studies is announcing a call for an invited session at the 2017 American Anthropological Association Meeting in Washington DC. We seek panels that “reflect the state-of-the-art and thematic concerns” in our field. We would like to encourage all innovative panels, and especially those that have cross-regional reach. “Anthropology Matters!” is the broad theme of this year’s meeting.

Please email your session abstract (of no more than 500 words) and presenter names and roles by Friday, March 31st to [email protected]

Thank you and looking forward to reading your work!

SOYUZ board

Three New Soyuz Pieces on Anthropology News: Romanian Mobilities: Vehicles of Migration in New Europe

by Deborah Jones

Soyuz has three, count ’em three new pieces up on Anthropology News, all surrounding the theme of “Romanian Mobilities: Vehicles of Migration in New Europe.” Check out Andrey Vozyanov’s “Relics of the Future: The Sociotechnical Functions of Secondhand Trams in Romanian Cities”; Anatolie Coșciug’s “Transnational Motorways: The Secondhand Car Trade in a Country of Migration”; and Elena Popa’s “Fellow Passengers: Roma and Romanian Migrants in France.” Find Andrey’s piece from the Anthropology News homepage (links to the other pieces are in the article), or the whole trio here: http://www.anthropology-news.org/…/romanian-mobilities-ser…/

And in case you missed it in December, Nelli Sargysan’s “Making Sense of Post-Election Realities through Post-Soviet Studies” and some other pieces from 2016 are still unlocked here: http://www.anthropology-news.org/…/soyuz-postsocialist-stu…/

As always, I’m happy to hear your ideas for submissions to AN. You can reach me at jdeborah at umich.

TOC: Sibirica – Interdisciplinary Journal of Siberian Studies

by Young Lee

Dear Colleague,

We are pleased to announce that the latest issue of Sibirica is available. This issue explores a wide range of topics, including: digital mapping with the Itelmen peoples, the category of neblagopoluchnaia family in Yakutsk, social pressure and religious practices among indigenous peoples of Siberia, representation of childhood in ethnographic films among the indigenous peoples of the Russian North, and social and demographic development in the Republic of Tuva.

Please visit the Berghahn website for more information about the journal: www.berghahnjournals.com/sibirica

Current Issue: Volume 15, Issue 3


Bringing Indigenous Kamchatka to Google Earth: Collaborative Digital Mapping with the Itelmen Peoples, Brian Thom, Benedict J. Colombi, and Tatiana Degai


Family on the Edge: Neblagopoluchnaia Family and the State in Yakutsk and Magadan, Russian Federation, Lena Sidorova and Elena Khlinovskaya Rockhill

Social Pressure in the Choice of Individual Religious Practice, Tatiana Bulgakova


The Representation of Childhood in Ethnographic Films of Siberian Indigenous Peoples: The Case of the Documentary Film Malen’kaia Katerina (Tiny Katerina), Ivan Golovnev and Elena Golovneva, translated by Jenanne Ferguson


The Socio-Demographic Situation in the Republic of Tuva under Conditions of Social Transformation, 1990s-early 2000s, Zoia Dorzhu, translated by Jenanne Ferguson


Book Reviews


Be sure to recommend Sibirica to your institution’s library: http://journals.berghahnbooks.com/sibirica/library-recommendations/

Free Sample Issue: http://journals.berghahnbooks.com/sibirica/sample/

Contact: [email protected]