Category Archives: Call for Papers

CFP : History of French Cultural Diplomacy

For the celebration of the 100th anniversary of the French Association for Artistic Action (AFAA) and the foundation of the French Works Abroad Service (SOFE), the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs and the French Institute, together with Sorbonne-Nouvelle University, are organizing a series of events to study the history of French cultural diplomacy. Other higher education and research establishments also have the opportunity to become partners in this initiative.

Among these events, an academic conference is planned for spring 2022 at Sorbonne-Nouvelle University, which will focus on the history and action of the French cultural network abroad, including the Cooperation and Cultural Action Services (SCAC), Instituts Français and Alliance Française branches. It will also look at the public policies underpinning this action. The proceedings of this conference will be published.

The scientific committee responsible for the conference is launching a call for submissions open to academics of all languages, nationalities and disciplines, although the main focus of the conference is historic.

Submissions could cover various fields of the French cultural diplomacy (such as language, artistic exchanges, cultural and creative industries, academic research, teaching and debate), its actors, including figures, public, semi-public and private institutions (departments of the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Culture, Alliance Française branches, foundations, major cultural institutions, cultural and creative industry companies, profiles of major figures and studies of staff) and the core focuses of its action (audiences, vehicles and means of distribution, purposes and goals, and multilateralism). A comparative approach looking at other national models could also be proposed, as well as a country- or geographical region-based approach (French cultural diplomacy in Latin America, Asia, Europe, etc.).

The scientific committee will prioritise submissions which will make use of the abundant archival material available at the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs, in the La Courneuve and Nantes archive centres (documents from consular services, Instituts Français, Alliance Française branches, cultural centres, the AFAA, the SOFE, the Directorate-General of Cultural Affairs, etc.) and which could be enriched with the input from various diplomatic missions requested in view of the conference.

Submissions should be sent in French or English (1,000 to 3,000 characters) to the scientific committee by 4 December 2020 to the email address,  accompanied by the CV of the author.

The authors of submissions selected by the scientific committee will be informed by 20 December 2020.

Scientific committee:

  • Bruno-Nassim Aboudrar (Sorbonne-Nouvelle University, France)
  • Bernard Cerquiglini (University of Paris, France)
  • François Chaubet (Paris-Nanterre University, France)
  • Charlotte Faucher (University of Manchester, UK)
  • Janet Horne (University of Virginia, USA)
  • Philippe Lane (Rouen-Normandie University, France)
  • Bruno-Nassim Aboudrar (Sorbonne-Nouvelle University, France)
  • Laurent Martin (Sorbonne-Nouvelle University, France)
  • Gisèle Sapiro (EHESS / CNRS, France)

See the call on the French Institute’s website

CFP: Shaping the ‘socialist self’? The role of psy-sciences in communist states of the Eastern Bloc (1948–1989)

International Workshop

Venue: Prague
Date: 6 November 2020
Deadline for applications: 30 June 2020
Organizing institutions: CEFRES, Institute of Contemporary History of the Czech Academy of Sciences, Collegium Carolinum in Prague

The history of psy-sciences under communist rule in the former Eastern Bloc has been widely perceived as a mirror image of state socialist mental health policies. In the last years, however, the situation has changed: the history of psy-sciences in communist Europe has become an evolving field of research dealing with a variety of topics ranging from the transnational history of psychiatry to the history of social control and criminality. Following post-Foucauldian ideas, many historians and other scholars started to turn their attention to the relation between psy-sciences and distinctive communist art of governing. The role of psy-sciences in communist dictatorships came to be perceived within a broader framework of biopolitics and technologies of the self. Furthermore, drawing inspiration from science and technology studies, many of these works aim to analyse knowledge and practices of psy-sciences in relation to complex networks of agents and objects.

Following these newest developments, this workshop aims to bring together researchers dealing with the history of psy-sciences in communist Europe. The main aim is to (1) discuss contemporary approaches, topics and themes in current research about the role of psy-sciences in the communist states of the Eastern Bloc and to (2) outline possible questions and issues relevant for future research in this field.

We are interested in papers from various methodological backgrounds dealing with the history of psy-sciences in communist Europe. We especially welcome papers focusing on aspects and questions such as:

Psy-sciences between East and West: circulation of ideas and practices
  • How did the production of knowledge and practices of psy-experts look like in Eastern Europe?
  • Were psy-experts involved in discussions with their colleagues from other parts of Europe or were they working in isolation?
  • Were psy-experts in Eastern Europe more influenced by their national scientific traditions or by globalising trends in the field?
  • Was there any forum for exchanging ideas and theories?
  • What kind of role had international conferences in shaping the knowledge of psy-experts?
Creating the ‘socialist self’: psy-sciences, identity and politics
  • How did the knowledge and practices of psy-sciences form the ‘self’ of people under the communist rule?
  • How was the concept of ‘socialist personality’ constructed and where was it operating (e.g. in mental health institutions, at schools or in the military)?
  • Was the discourse of psy-sciences subjugating or empowering?
  • What kind of ‘techniques of the self did psy-sciences produce and to what extent did people internalize them?
  • How did psy-sciences shape the communist art of governing?
Regulating the socialist society: psy-sciences, security and social control
  • What was perceived as ‘abnormal’ or ‘anti-social’ behaviour and how was it treated by psy-experts and the state?
  • How did the knowledge and practices of psy-science influence socialist criminology and penology?
  • How was the ‘medicalisation’ of crime integrated into the socialist criminal justice system?
  • To what extent did psy-sciences get involved public health campaigns propagated by the socialist state?  

We welcome all contributions in different phases of research (e.g. an outline of research, a presentation of a chapter/article or finished research). Please send us a short biography (ca. 150 words) and an abstract of your paper (up to 400 words for a 20-minute presentation) before 30 June 2020. The workshop will be held in English.

Participants who are not able to secure funding for travel and accommodation will have the possibility to apply for financial assistance.

Organisation: Jakub Střelec (Faculty of Social Sciences, Charles University / Cefres PhD Fellow)

Scientific Committee

  • Jérôme Heurtaux (CEFRES Director)
  • Adéla Gjuričová (Senior Researcher, Institute of Contemporary History of the Czech Academy of Sciences)
  • Martin Schulze Wessel (Institute Director of Collegium Carolinum)

CFP: Worker Photography in Museums: History and Politics of a Cultural Heritage in East-Central Europe

International Workshop

Date & Venue: 27 February 2020, Prague
Deadline for applications: 15 November 2019
Organizers: Institute of Art History (CAS) & CEFRES
In partnership with: Institute of Contemporary History (CAS), Université Paris-Nanterre
Language: English

Interwar East-Central Europe gave rise to an international movement of left-wing activist photographers, whose aim was to expose the workers’ living and working conditions through mass-produced documentary photographs. Despite growing research in the wake of the landmark exhibition “The Worker Photography Movement” in Madrid in 2011, we still have difficulties grasping this photographic production in its full scope because the conditions in which it was preserved and transmitted over generations have not been systematically explored.

Originally, social, proletarian, or worker photography, as named by its proponents, was presented by the Communist propaganda as a weapon in the class struggle. It was meant to supply left-wing printed media with images documenting the life of workers in order to counteract the influence of “bourgeois” illustrated magazines. Therefore, some of the photographs were kept in the picture archives of newspapers, while others remained in the hands of their authors. The Nazi occupation of Europe brought about a shift in the conservation of worker photography by leading the Communists to hide or to destroy archives that were deemed compromising. As a result, picture archives in journals such as Arbeiter Illustrierte Zeitung in Germany, Regards in France or Rudé Právo in Czechoslovakia, as well as other archives of press agencies and leftist organizations across Europe, disappeared.

After World War II, however, many of these photographs resurfaced and were granted a second life. Some were moved to documentary collections of the Communist historical museums which blossomed in countries of the Eastern Bloc in the 1950s, while others were included in the photographic collections founded in art museums from the 1970s. Such transfers brought about shifts in the status and uses of these images. Worker photographs turned into historical documents or works of art, despite having been originally conceived of as news or reportage photography and mass-reproductions. Having become cultural objects in their own right, they were used for political or historical purposes. Today, this visual material still raises issues of status and past political uses, which art and history museums in East-Central Europe have to address through new museum practices.

This international workshop examines the legacy of worker photography as museum object, cultural heritage and history in East-Central Europe from 1945 until today. How was worker photography preserved, historized, and mediated in East-Central European museums? The goal is to provide a multifaceted perspective on worker photography by confronting its political and historical uses and its musealization (van Mensch 1992) after 1945 on the one hand, and the memory issues it raises today on the other.

The workshop is part of the interdisciplinary and international sessions organized by the Photography Research Centre at the Institute of Art History of the Czech Academy of Sciences ( Established in 2018, the Centre ambitions to become a singular platform for interdisciplinary research in the Czech Republic, with the objective of overcoming national, branch-based and mono-institutional approaches of photography and photographic history in Central Europe.

Papers are sought on worker photography in museum collections in East-Central Europe, addressing the following questions :

  • Contextual and ethical reasons that led to conserving worker photography;
  • Actors and institutions involved in this process;
  • Conservation and cataloguing procedures (themes, metadata and documentation);
  • Exhibition, mediation and display practices;
  • The political, ideological and cultural uses of worker photography in museums;
  • Historiography: uses of worker photographs as illustrations of official narratives, or worker photography histories, be they local or transnational;
  • Worker photography as evidence, historical document, work of art;
  • Shifts observed: from the private to the public sphere, from one medium or format to another;
  • Material forms: analogue (prints, photomechanical reproductions) or digital;
  • International exchanges between institutions and circulation of photographs;
  • Comparative outlooks on worker photography collections in East-Central Europe and beyond.

This call for papers welcomes presentations from scholars, curators, archivists and collection managers who engage with the questions of the preservation, collection, exhibition and historiography of worker photography in East-Central European museums after 1945.

Deadline for submissions: 15 November 2019

Paper proposals: abstract of up to 300 words for 20 minute talks and a short biography (c. 150 words) can be sent to Fedora Parkmann (

Conferences costs: Help with travel and accommodation costs may be offered to participants who are not able to secure funding from their institutions.

The workshop will take place in Prague on 27 February 2020 at the CEFRES (French Research Center in Humanities and Social Sciences). The workshop language is English.


  • Fedora Parkmann (Institute of Art History, Czech Academy of Sciences/CEFRES)
  • Christian Joschke (Université Paris-Nanterre, Paris) – scientific collaboration

Scientific committee:

  • Jérôme Heurtaux (CEFRES)
  • Petr Roubal (Institute of Contemporary History, Czech Academy of Sciences, Prague)
  • Petra Trnková (Photographic History Research Centre, De Montfort University, Leicester/Photography Research Centre, Institute of Art History, Czech Academy of Sciences, Prague)

CFP: Post-revolutionary Hopes and Disillusions

Post-revolutionary hopes and disillusions. Interpreting, promoting and disqualifying revolutions.

International Conference – Doctoral and student workshop

Date: 6 & 7 December 2019
Venue: Prague
Deadline for the applications : 30 October 2019
CEFRES, Faculty of Arts of Charles University, Faculty of Social Sciences of Charles University, Institute of Contemporary History of the Czech Academy of Sciences and the ERC Project„Tarica“
In partnership with: French Institute in Prague, Centre of French civilization and francophone studies (CCFEF) of the University of Warsaw, Centre of Polish Civilization of Sorbonne University, Scientific Centre of the Polish Academy of Sciences in Paris, CNRS research unit LADYSS (University Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne) and Polish Institute in Prague
Language: English

Under the frame of the international conference “Post-revolutionary hopes and disillusions. Interpreting, promoting and disqualifying revolutions” is organized a special workshop for PhD students and Master students to debate about issues and perceptions of post-revolutions’ situations in Central and Eastern Europe or elsewhere. This session will be held beside an academic debate, as well as a large public discussion about the topic.

2019 represents an important symbol and a major commemorative moment in Europe. Marking thirty years since the collapse of the communist regimes of Central and Eastern Europe, as well as fifteen years since their European integration, this anniversary gives rise to political, memorial and academic initiatives throughout Europe. In a way, it does undoubtedly crystallize the tensions and controversies surrounding the “1989 event” interpretation, as it renews the assessment of countries transformations in the region since the Velvet Revolution.

The political landscapes of post-communist countries provide contrasting situations. Democracies and the rule of law have emerged everywhere in a context of universalization of political and economic liberalism in Europe. Nevertheless, several societies are experiencing current upheavals, which are often described as illiberal, authoritarian or populist, or even as „conservative revolutions“.

Hence, the scientific production on the concerned societies, based on tried methods of investigation and analysis, invite us to think and rethink the “1989 event”, which remains a major moment in our contemporary history, and the transformations that Central and Eastern Europe, as well as the other European countries and the European Union, have undergone since the collapse of communism.

This thirtieth anniversary is a unique opportunity to think about revolutionary experiences and regime change in various historical contexts. Thereby, this conference aims at offering wider and new academic perspectives on regime transformations and democratic transitions, through a comparative approach. Post-Communist Europe will undoubtedly be one of our focus, as well as the Arab world following the 2011 uprisings or the political transitions in Sub-Saharan Africa. Thus, this unprecedented proposition is to offer an equal value of those revolutions in our comparative analysis, without any ranking based on success of failure.

The chosen perspective is to question the object “revolution” in terms of contradictory investments that it is the object of a variety of actors. To analyze the multiple interpretations that the revolution raises: promotion, even sublimation; but also disqualification, even outright rejection.

In fact, the expressions of disillusionment that accompany a revolutionary episode is far from rare. If there is a law of revolutions, it may be this one. The narrative of disappointment occurs almost constantly, despite the great diversity of regime change trajectories. It emerges from democratic regressions led by new political actors, from the recycling of the old regime, a counter-revolutionary process, the lack of any major social changes, or merely because the hopes carried by the revolution were not translated into political acts. Yet common in the public space, expressions of disappointment have barely been the object of academic research.

Thus, here are some exciting questions that fully justify a comparative examination:

I-Describing and representing hopes and disappointments

  • Expressions of hopes, expectations, disappointment, disenchantment, disillusion, are multiple: discursive and political, as well as artistic, literary and cinematographic. What forms do they take in the Eastern European, Arab of African context? What are their lexical and moral registers?
  • How is shape disillusion following the so-called “Old regime return”? Are these objective or ideal facts?
  • What is the impact of social inequalities persistence, economic reform lack, fading of sovereignty?
  • Which individuals, professional and social groups are more like to express hopes and disappointment? Are hopes and disappointment expressed individually or collectively?
  • What are the post-revolutionary disappointment temporalities: immediate or differed?
  • Are all kind of disappointments expressed?

II-Understanding and explaining hopes and disappointment

  • It goes without saying that the expression of hope or disappointment is not only a matter of individual and collective psychological mechanisms.
  • What are the mechanisms by which hope and disappointment is built? What are the specific actors, strategies, circumstances into play? What are the particularities of the moral, ethical and political framework from which disenchantment is deployed?
  • As Bronislaw Baczko mentioned, recalling the “emotional climate created by the revolutionary fact, the upsurges of fears and hopes (which) necessarily drive the production of social imaginaries”, to what extent is emotional over-investment part of political effervescence?
  • Is disillusionment only the natural product of prior illusion? Disappointment would then impose itself as a mirror of revolutionary hope, but it is not reduced to it as long as one is not the natural consequence of the other: it is the moment where some create and exploit the disappointment that must be the object of the investigation.
  • What is the materiality of disappointment? How do political, emotional, psychological, social vectors articulate themselves?

III- Uses and Effects of Disappointment

  • What are the social and practical practices of disappointment? Does all or part of society share it? How do some political entrepreneurs exploit it as a strategy?
  • What are the disappointment consequences on scholars and experts’ perception of the post-revolutionary process?


Thanks to the richness and diversity of these questions, this conference will gather specialists from several disciplines of social sciences and humanities without borders, neither temporal nor spatial. We will still be dedicated to contemporary Central Europe, the Arab world and sub-Saharan Africa. The papers will have to mobilize original sources and be based on a clearly exposed method (literary analysis, oral history, political sociology, social psychology, etc.). PhD students and young researchers are particularly encouraged to propose a paper.


Deadline for paper proposals (max 500 words) : 30 October 2019

Selection of contributions and feedback from the conference organizers: 10 November 2019

Paper proposals (max 500 words) must be sent to, by 30 October 2019 at the latest.

This international conference is organized by CEFRES, the Faculty of Arts of Charles University, the Faculty of Social Sciences of Charles University, the Institute of Contemporary History of the Czech Academy of Sciences and the ERC ProjectTarica“.

In collaboration with the French Institute in Prague, the Centre of French civilization and francophone studies (CCFEF) of the University of Warsaw, the Centre of Polish Civilization of Sorbonne University, the Scientific Centre of the Polish Academy of Sciences in Paris, the CNRS research unit LADYSS (University Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne) and the Polish Institute in Prague.

This conference is the third in the framework of a cycle of three conferences, entitled “1989-2019: Beyond the Anniversary, Questioning 1989”, held consecutively in Paris, Warsaw and Prague, coordinated by Maciej Forycki (Scientific Centre in Paris of the Polish Academy of Science), Jérôme Heurtaux (CEFRES–French Research Centre in Humanities and Social Sciences), Nicolas Maslowski (Centre for French Studies (CCFEF), University of Warsaw) and Paweł Rodak (Centre of Polish civilization, Sorbonne University).

Conferences costs

Due to limited funding, the organizers will be able to support some prospective or underfunded participants. Hence, conference attendees are advised to start exploring financial support from their home institutions or outside sponsors.

Scientific Committee

  • Jérôme Heurtaux, Cefres
  • Michal Pullmann, Charles University
  • Miroslav Vaněk, Czech Academy of Sciences
  • Pavel Mucke, Czech Academy of Sciences
  • Eliška Tomalová , Charles University
  • Alia Gana, ERC « Tarica »

CFP: Trajectories of Romani Migrations and Mobilities in Europe and Beyond (1945–present)

International Conference

Dates and place: from 16 to 18 September 2019, Villa Lanna, Prague
Deadline for proposals: 28 February 2019
Organizers: Prague Forum for Romani Histories, in collaboration with CEFRES
Language: English

The Prague Forum for Romani Histories at the Institute of Contemporary History (Czech Academy of Sciences) invites proposals for an international conference on Romani migrations and mobilities, with particular focus on the period from 1945 until today. The conference will bring together scholars from across a variety of disciplines to present empirically grounded accounts of the multiple dimensions of Romani mobilities since 1945 in order to analyse connections between various forms of past mobilities and migrations and the most recent movements of various Romani groupings. The conference will be held in Prague on September 16-18, 2019. It is organized in cooperation with the Seminar on Romani Studies (Department of Central European Studies) at Charles University, the Faculty of Social Sciences and Economics at University of Valle, and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum’s Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies.

Over the past decade, a growing number of research projects, publications, and media have focused on Romani migrations and mobilities. However, most of these studies have only rarely combined the study of historical continuities and social trajectories shaping the present-day migratory movements. Anthropological and sociological accounts have documented contemporary strategies of Romani migrants, the production of legal classifications, and explored the politics shaping Romani mobilities. Additionally, the trope of ‘nomadism’ has continued to inform the discussions as a foundational concept (often as a simplified ‘straw man’) that researchers embrace or oppose to explain their arguments. We invite researchers to interrogate the utility and limitations of this binary, bearing in mind that a large proportion of local Romani communities have been part of the European sedentary population, and to move beyond it through conceptually innovative analyses of movement, circulation, migration and the concomitant social and existential mobilities they imply in the context of the post-World War II era.

The conference aims to contribute to the incipient field of comparative studies of Romani mobilities with a focus on the second half of 20th century and from intersectional perspectives. Whereas recent research has documented the suffering and persecution of Romani groups during World War Two, post-war developments have not received the same measure of attention. These include, for instance, Romani experiences of returning to destroyed homes, government attempts to resettle and disperse Romani populations by force, labor and other internal migrations in search of better lives enchanted by the opportunities available in more industrialised cities, or navigating through ‘compensation schemes’ introduced by various state and international agencies. Many members of previously persecuted minorities, including Roma, hoped for a better future as a result of massive post-war projects to restructure European states. In Central, Eastern and Southeastern Europe, most of the local Roma aspired – together with others – to greater social mobility and full membership through socialist citizenship. Socialist projects to reach the ‘greater common good’ and societal equality, however, also entailed forced displacements and new regimes of disciplining the Romani bodies to cultivate working-class citizens out of Romani/Gypsy groupings. On the other hand, post-war aspirations and trajectories of (social) mobility of the Roma in the “West” remain largely unexplored, as well as the participation of Roma in movements and navigations across the East-West divide.  Similarly, relatively few studies explore the social mobility of Roma linked with gendered changes and (re)negotiation of tradition in inter-community relations, as well as other mechanisms and dispositifs along which members of Romani communities renegotiated their (stigmatized) “Gypsyness” in post-war times.

Thus, we invite various contributions to explore a wide range of mobilities and different intersections and/or entanglements between often contradictory developments, which can be understood as a condition for mobility, including physical movement and a change in social position. Additionally, the conference organisers welcome empirical and theoretical discussions of Romani mobilities as oscillating between modes of dispersal and containment, between forced mobilities and efforts to carve out autonomous movements and spaces.

Conference themes and areas of interest

The conference aims to bring together various empirically grounded and historically informed studies exploring different kinds of mobility and immobility in Europe and beyond. Locating these mobilities in the broader political, social, historical and cultural contexts and forces, contributors are invited to reflect on both voluntary and forced migration, patterns of seasonal mobility, and various forms of mobility (e.g. existential, physical, social) as a reaction to oppressive conditions as well as newly opened possibilities.

We welcome in particular proposals that focus on one or more of the following areas:

  • Different trajectories and modes of Romani mobilities from 1945 to the present
  • Movement as a mode of escaping oppressive and asymmetric conditions and taking up new possibilities of social mobility
  • Intersectional studies of mobilities addressing gendered, classed, raced/ethnicised differentiations and other intertwined dimensions of social domination
  • Connections between mobilities and forms of violence (physical, symbolic, everyday, structural)
  • Romani migration during the period of socialist high-modernist policies – strategies deployed to attain upward social mobilities; forced displacements and resettlement schemes
  • Mobility between oppressive policies of racial containment and dispersal, on the one hand, and resistance and resilience of various Romani individuals and groups, on the other
  • Romani civil and political rights movements and their relation to physical and social mobility
  • Continuities and discontinuities of migrations; historicizing the present moment and connecting past trajectories of migration and mobilities to current developments
  • Methodological issues in exploring ‘histories of the present’ of Romani migrations and mobilities
  • Attempts at conceptualisation/critical revision of migration and mobility beyond the concept of ‘nomadism’ and traditional ‘statist’ tropes; examinations of various modes of being beyond relying on the assumption of “Roma/Gypsy proneness to movement”

The conference will include a panel highlighting research based on the archival holdings of the International Tracing Service (ITS). The ITS collections include more than 35 million multi-page Holocaust-era documents relating to the fates of more than 17 million people who were subject to incarceration, forced labour, and displacement during and after World War II.  The Archive included significant holdings on Romani victims and survivors, as well as documentation of Romani interactions with refugee resettlement agencies and compensation schemes. Proposals that feature ITS-based research are particularly welcome. As additional conference program a public session will be organized in cooperation with the US Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC., during which experts working on the ITS collections will introduce the research tools available to the interested public and assist Romani participants and visitors in searching for the documentation on their ancestors.

Those wishing to present a conference paper are invited to submit an abstract of no more than 350 words and a brief CV of no more than 150 words to the conference organisers, Jan Grill & Helena Sadílková, by February 28, 2019. We will inform applicants of the decision of the organising committee by March 30, 2019. Full written papers will be due July 1, 2019.

For further information regarding to the conference, please contact: Jan Grill and Helena Sadílková


Members of organizing committee:

CFP: Theologies of Revolution: Medieval to Modern Europe

Graduate and Post-Graduate Workshop

Dates: 20-21 May 2019
Venue: French Research Center in Humanities and Social Sciences (CEFRES, Na Florenci 3, Prague 1, Czech Republic), Centre for Medieval Studies (CMS, Jilská 1, Prague 1, Czech Republic)
Deadline for proposals: 15 January 2019
Organizer: Martin Pjecha (CEU, CEFRES)
Organized in collaboration with: CEFRES, Centre for Medieval Studies (CMS), Central European University (CEU)
Language: English

The second millennium of the Church is one of a connected series of “total revolutions”, enacted by those who had been promised Christ’s return and blissful paradise, yet experienced only desperation. Their hatred of this status quo, hatred of heaven’s absence, reached such a state that they fought to bring heaven into the world.[1]

Eugen Rosenstock-Huessy’s classic reading of European revolutions,[2] medieval to modern, gave central significance to the religious perspective. Previously, the violent deposition of rulers or the destruction of hierarchies—especially by the people-were almost unthinkable due to their significance in maintaining “political” and “religious” order. Since Rosenstock-Huessy, however, researchers have tended to prefer socio-economic, politico-ideological, ethno-linguistic, and generally materialist explanations—depending on current fashions—for such violence. This has been at the expense of religious and theological elements, though the 1979 Iranian revolution certainly brought these back into academic awareness. Cross-disciplinary insights suggest that what is today labelled “religious” often was (and is) the internal meaning-structures which revolutionary agents used to express and inform their own actions, fitting themselves into existing divine or supra-mundane narratives (Augustinian, apocalyptic, mystical, etc.), or re-working these narratives under the influence of new or rediscovered ideas (humanist, Joachite, Christian Platonist, etc.).

Modern researchers still struggle to balance emic and etic explanations of revolutionary action, yet at least since the 14th century, movements and thinkers began to arise which clearly defined their violent, revolutionary action in theological terms, or terms in which the “religious” and “political” are not clearly separate spheres of existence: the Apostolic Brethren or Cola de Rienzo in Italy, the Hussites in Bohemia, Thomas Müntzer in the German lands, György Dozsa in Hungary, the Lollards and Oliver Cromwell in England. The list could also potentially move to include such events as the French, pan-European (1848), and Russian revolutions, which have traditionally lacked theological analysis. Such movements built and innovated upon existing understandings of matters like the human condition and history, the perfectability of the world, and the human relationship with God, to not merely legitimize violent action (post facto), but to motivate, guide, and inform it along the way.

Our workshop aims to discuss and elaborate upon these and other themes related to revolution from the medieval to the modern periods in Europe, west and east. We hope to address the implications of re-opening historical debate on revolutions which take seriously the input of political-religion. We especially want to emphasize a broad geographic and chronological field, and welcome new and inter-disciplinary approaches to challenge established historiographic narratives. The workshop will organize participants thematically and ask them to react to each others’ papers. Some common topics/questions that interest us include:

  • Do the “total revolutions” of the second millennium have a common religious form?
  • Is modern man born out of revolution?
  • To what extent can revolutions be compared, treated as part of a trend, or be seen as unique?
  • How “novel” were the cultural/intellectual/religious heterodox figures who led rebellions and revolutions?
  • Are there periods unique for European history in regards to rebellions and revolutions?
  • What are some methodological approaches which move us past the sociological, ethnic, and materialist emphases on society, economics, and ethnicity?
  • To what extent did the “new” ideas and traditions emerging from earlier periods influence later religio-political thought, up to today?
Keynote speakers:
  • Dr. Phillip Haberkern (Boston University)
  • Dr. Matthias Riedl (Central European University, Budapest)
Scientific organizing committee:
  • Dr. Jérôme Heurtaux (French Research Center in Humanities and Social Sciences, Prague)
  • Dr. Matthias Riedl (Central European University, Budapest)
  • Dr. Pavel Soukup (Center for Medieval Studies, Prague)
  • Martin Pjecha (CEU/CEFRES)

Applicants are asked to send a brief abstract of their 20-minute project contribution (200-300 words) to Martin Pjecha ( by 15 January, 2019, especially focusing on how their work can fit into, contribute to, or challenge the workshop’s theme. Speakers should be prepared to engage in lively, English-language discussions of participants’ projects and broader themes.

Limited travel bursaries will be available for those without institutional funding opportunities. Please indicate your application for funding along with your abstract.

[1] Wayne Cristaudo, “Eugen Rosenstock-Huessy”, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Winter 2017 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL = <>.

[2] Especially in his Die europäischen Revolutionen und der Charakter der Nationen (1931).