2017 Symposium

Embracing Confusion and Questioning Clarity: On Matters of Method in Postsocialist Studies

Russian and East European Institute

Indiana University Bloomington

March 3-4, 2017

See the preliminary program here. Coming to Bloomington? Find travel details and tips here, and dining options here. If you’re interested in sharing a room, see this Google doc. Please exercise caution in adding your contact information to the Google doc, as it is fully public.

Thank you!

At Indiana University, sponsors of SOYUZ 2017 include the College Arts and Humanities Institute, the Russian and East European Institute, the Russian Studies Workshop, the Department of International Studies, the Pan Asia Institute, the Institute for European Studies, the Inner Asian and Uralic National Resource Center, the Department of Anthropology, the Department of Sociology, the Southeast Asian Studies Program, the African Studies Program, and the Department of Central Eurasian Studies. SOYUZ 2017 is also sponsored by the Havighurst Center for Russian and Post-Soviet Studies at Miami University of Ohio.

Call for Papers

Soyuz Research Network for Postsocialist Cultural Studies invites presentation proposals for the 2017 symposium, hosted by the Russian and East European Institute at Indiana University Bloomington. We are seeking research papers and visual presentations (including, but not limited to documentary and ethnographic films) that engage with the issues of methodology in the postsocialist world broadly defined, encompassing  East-Central Europe and the Former Soviet Union, as well as Asia, Africa, Latin America, and the Caribbean. Our goal is to foster conversations about knowledge production in the field of postsocialist studies that spans generations of researchers: from graduate students and junior scholars to senior professionals. The 2017 Soyuz Symposium theme Embracing Confusion and Questioning Clarity is inspired by the immense and somewhat untapped potential that postsocialist studies have to offer to methodological conversations in social sciences. In our view, a more vibrant scholarly exchange will aid current compartmentalization of much scholarship into global North and South and produce new analytical categories. Recent resurgence of Cold War ideologies in Europe has ushered a renewed interest in this region on the part of policy makers, funding organizations, and academic programs, and we want to invite scholars of postsocialism to provide their critical commentary on the issues that have accompanied these geopolitical shifts.

The Embracing Confusion and Questioning Clarity theme encourages presenters to consider questions they have faced and discoveries they have made on a journey from conceiving a research idea to their interpretation of findings. In what ways have postsocialist transformations and the scholarly analyses that followed posed a challenge to long-standing social scientific categories, methods and theories? What portable analytical categories and methodological insights have postsocialist studies yielded? How have our methodological frameworks and research questions changed in the last decades? Which conversations, interpretive frames, and collaborative processes were beneficial and which were not? What sorts of creative responses have scholars of postsocialism generated to navigate confusing times? And how do insights gleaned by earlier generations of researchers translate, travel and land in the world nearly thirty years removed from the iconic fall of the Berlin Wall?

Invited themes include, but are not limited to the following: creating knowledge about a space; methodologies of data collection and analysis; fieldwork events; analysis of state narratives and discourses; interpretation of contested histories; conducting policy-relevant research; writing in social sciences, and others. As always, at Soyuz, other topics of research on postsocialism that are not directly related to this theme are also welcome. We will invite selected papers for publication as a special issue in one of the relevant journals. Partial funding might be available for graduate students; please indicate if you’d like to be considered in your materials.

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The Soyuz Research Network for Postsocialist Cultural Studies is an interdisciplinary forum for exchanging work based on field research in postsocialist countries, ranging from Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union to Africa, Southeast Asia, and Latin America. Soyuz is an interest group in the American Anthropological Association (AAA) and an official unit of the Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies (ASEEES). The Soyuz symposium has met annually since 1991 and offers an opportunity for scholars to interact in a more personal setting.