Call for Papers on the Idea of Central Europe

The Renaissance of the Idea of Central Europe during the 1970s and 1980s

The idea of Central Europe had its renaissance in the 1970s and 1980s. The influential studies that Milan Kundera and Hungarian historian Jenő Szűcs published were key, but the rebirth of Central Europe went beyond these works. The rediscovery and reinterpretation of the notion facilitated the efforts to undermine the Soviet hegemony, helped prepare the reintegration of societies in East Central Europe to the Western world and the birth of the Visegrad Cooperation after the systemic change. In the world order that came to being after World War II, the program of creating Central Europe was one of the most salient concepts around which intellectual opposition could crystallize the East of the Iron Curtain. This was so because the concept expressed that while peoples of the region had a shared faith it was also a legitimate goal to live in sovereign nation states in their course of the struggle for independence. This was the case even in Yugoslavia where it appeared as part of the arguments that Slovenian and Croatian intellectual elites put forward for more autonomy. Anti-communist and liberal opinion-shapers also paid attention to these efforts and they saw these as their allies in promoting the European integration and liberal democracies. (Tony Judt, Timothy Garton Ash, Larry Wolff etc.).

They had a reason to think so. It was those believing in Central Europeanness who first questioned the legitimacy of the post-1945 world order sanctioned at Yalta and, thus, the Soviet dominance. One might divide the key issues into three sub-themes.: 1) Regional and local frames of the idea of Central Europe such as national traditions, the rediscovery of national history and the shared experience of Sovietization. 2) Dialogue between Central European elites: exchange of ideas, channels and products of cultural transfers 3) Studying the contexts of Central Europeanness: how Central European elites reacted to global events and their shared memory politics.

Our goal with publishing this thematic issue of the e-journal Central-European Horizons is to critically explore how the idea of Central Europe and Central Europeanness emerged and changed over time during the 1970s and 1980s among the elites of the region ranging from the Baltics to the Adriatic Sea, from Tallinn to Rijeka, from Gdańsk to Novi Sad and from Prague to Lviv. What were the ideas and memory politics they could rely on? How did the image of the Soviet Union influence the idea of Central Europe? What were the imprints of Central Europeanness in terms of political programmes as well as in works of literature and arts in the same period? How long the cooperation among different national opposition networks lasted after the fall of the Berlin Wall and during the transition period? Why did it all but fade away after the early 1990s? How did it enter the cultural memory of postcommunist history?

Please send your abstracts of 2000 n to by 28th June 2021. By 5th July, the editorial board will decide about the acceptance of abstracts. The deadline for submission of the fully developed papers is 30th September 2021. The length of papers shall range between 40 000 and 50 000 n including footnotes and bibliography in line with the APA format.