Call for Papers
The 2018 Annual Soyuz Symposium
New Stages? Postsocialisms, Postliberalisms, and Performances
March 2–3, 2018
Soyuz, the Research Network for Postsocialist Cultural Studies, invites presentation proposals for its 2018 symposium, to be held at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut on March 2–3, 2018. We are seeking research papers and multimedia presentations (including documentary/ethnographic/artistic films and performances) on the broad topic of performance and postsocialism, and we encourage submissions that apply this framework to the political imaginaries of the contemporary global moment.
The Soyuz Research Network connects cultural studies scholars and ethnographers researching postsocialism, understood as a theoretically generative problem space describing social life in regions of the world including East-Central Europe and the Former Soviet Union, Asia, Africa, Latin American, and the Caribbean. Our goal is to foster collegial conversations about postsocialisms among generations of researchers in anthropology and cultural studies broadly conceived, with a special eye to building connections across traditional area studies boundaries. We welcome submissions from scholars of all career stages, including graduate students and colleagues in professions outside the academy.
We are delighted to announce that Alaina Lemon, Professor of Anthropology at the University of Michigan and author of the forthcoming book Technologies for Intuition: Cold War Circles and Telepathic Rays, will give the keynote address.
The 2018 Soyuz Symposium theme “New Stages?” seeks to trace the myriad intersections of performance studies, cultural studies, and ethnography as they relate to political imaginaries. We encourage presenters to consider the varied ways that performance circulates as an interpretive lens for political and social life, as an expressive genre for cultural forms, and as a mode for conducting and sharing ethnographic research. How might postsocialisms beget particular kinds of embodied practice, social action, and/or expressive culture? How might performance, as an embodied event, carry forth ways of knowing about postsocialisms that are otherwise overlooked or unexamined? How are the boundaries around what counts as “performance” drawn in different contexts? How might performance, the performative, or performance ethnography challenge, invigorate, or enliven explorations of postsocialisms and politics, including on a global scale?
We welcome papers that explore these topics across postsocialist regions – from hip hop in Cuba, to theatre in Russia, to fashion in Croatia, to contemporary art performance in Poland, to puppetry in Vietnam – using ethnographic and cultural studies approaches. Concepts of performance have long informed ethnography and cultural studies far beyond scholarship explicitly engaged with theater and other performance arts. We are thus especially eager to receive submissions that take up performance in all manner of theoretical paradigms and ethnographic settings, including language and communication, international political posturing, and gender, race, and class.
Possible themes include:
- Ritual and spectacle
- Aesthetic forms
- Performance in the “New Cold War”
- The “end of realist politics”
- Art vs. life
- Masks or puppetry
- Postsocialisms and postliberalisms
- Front and backstage
- Audience, publics, fandom
- New modes of mediated celebrity
- Phatic communion/communication
- Comedy, satire, stiob
- Interpreting the meaning of embodied performance
- Enacting bureaucracy
- Stage, sets, lighting, dramaturgy
- Scripting and improvisation
- Characters and social roles
- Performing and performative gender and/or sexuality
- Performance ethnography, ethnography of performing arts
- Reality TV / reality politics
- Fake news / post-truth
- Performance on social media
- Authenticity, imitation, and appropriation
As always at Soyuz, other topics of research on postsocialisms that are not directly related to the year’s theme are also welcome. We anticipate inviting selected papers for publication as a special issue of one of the relevant journals.
Abstracts of up to 250 words should be sent to the Soyuz 2018 organizing committee at channee [at] miamioh.edu by November 15, 2017. Please include your full name, affiliation, and paper title. Write “Soyuz 2018” in the subject line of your email. Papers will be selected and notifications made by mid-December, 2017.
The Soyuz Research Network for Postsocialist Cultural Studies is an interdisciplinary forum for exchanging work based on field research in postsocialist countries, including Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union, Africa, East and Southeast Asia, and Latin America. Soyuz is an interest group of 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. More information on the Soyuz Research Network can be found at the website.
The 2018 Soyuz Symposium is made possible through the support of the Department of Anthropology and Council on European Studies at Yale University.
1992 Symposium on Soviet Cultural Studies, Columbia University (pre-Soyuz founding symposium)
1993 Symposium on Soviet and Post-Soviet Cultural Studies, Columbia University (pre-Soyuz)
1994 Symposium at Columbia University (pre-Soyuz)
1995 “Soyuz: Soviet and Post-Soviet Cultural Studies,” Columbia University (the year of Soyuz’s official founding)
1998 Soyuz: Post-Communist Cultural Studies Symposium: “Out of the Ruins: Cultural Negotiation in the Soviet Aftermath,” Columbia University
1999 Soyuz: Post-Communist Cultural Studies Symposium: “Peripheral Visions: Views from the Margins,” Indiana University Bloomington
2000 Soyuz: Post-Communist Cultural Studies Symposium: “Views from Within: Ethnographic Perspective on Post-Communist Culture and Society,” Columbia University
2001 Soyuz Post-Communist Cultural Studies Symposium: “From the ‘Internationale’ to the Transnational: Repositioning Socialist and Post-Socialist Cultures,” University of California Berkeley
2002 “New Directions in Postsocialist Studies,” University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
2003 “Ethnographies of Postsocialism,” University of Massachusetts, Amherst
2004 “Memory and the Present in Postsocialist Cultures,” Reed College
2005 “Post Post Socialism,” Indiana University Bloomington
2006 “Walls and Bridges: Refiguring ‘Socialist’ and ‘Postsocialist’ Spaces in a Deterritorializing World,” Bryant University
2007 “Locating ‘Eurasia’ in Postsocialist Studies: The Geopolitics of Naming,” Princeton University
2008 “Contemporary Critical Inquiry through the Lens of Postsocialism,” University of California Berkeley
2009 “Global Socialisms and Postsocialisms,” Yale University
2010 “Old and New Discourses and Ideologies of Power: Postsocialist Perspectives,” Northwestern University
2011 “New Postsocialist Ontologies and Politics,” University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
2013 “Authoritarianism and Beyond: Lessons from Postsocialism,” Columbia University
2014 “The Topos of Justice,” Miami University of Ohio
2015 “Shifting Territories: Historical Legacies and Social Change,” University of Washington
2016 “Politics of Difference: Migration, Nation, Postsocialist Left and Right?,” University of Chicago
2017 “Embracing Confusion and Questioning Clarity: On Matters of Method in Postsocialist Studies,” Indiana University Bloomington
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.