Blagoevgrad Conference, 2020

Call for Papers:

“Knowledge and Ideological Frontlines. Europe and the Black Sea Region after WW II”

Conference organized by

The International University Seminar for Balkan Studies and Specialization at

South-West University Blagoevgrad

66, Ivan Michailov st., 2700 Blagoevgrad, Bulgaria

23.-24. April 2020


Download CfP

Deadline for submission of abstracts: 31.01.2020


Frame & aim

The conference, a co-organization of the H2020-project “Knowledge Exchange and Academic Cultures in the Humanities. Europe and the Black Sea Region” and SWU Blagoevgrad’s “Balkanistic Forum” seeks to open the floor for debates on forms of knowledge exchange and academic cultures within the BSR and beyond in the post-war period. When the transfer of modern sciences to and the study of the Black Sea Region (BSR) began in the late 18th century, this area was not yet considered part of Europe. Because of the fact that the BSR has not been conceived as a historical region before the onset of the post-socialist transition period, a systematic investigation of knowledge and culture exchange as well as of academic cultures within and beyond the region is completely missing.

By the conference, we aim to investigate the interrelations of the geopolitical transformation of the BSR after WW II and knowledge and cultural exchanges between and within the region and Western Europe. We invite to discuss the complex interrelations between science on a macro and micro level, where exchange can become complicated even within a single department if it comes to negotiation processes or conflicts about the hegemony of scholars and concepts in a certain discipline. This complexity multiplies if it comes to interactions with additional elements of the micro level and the macro level. Because of a new quality of dense communication in the 20th century, interactions between the two levels have become intensive at the stage of investigation. Current research emphasizes a plurality of macro-historical and micro-historical transfer and interaction processes. Therefore, the question comes into foreground whether the exchange of knowledge and science can be delimited at all from general cultural exchange processes, including fashion, music, and cinema for instance, and theories. Does the exchange of knowledge in science merely constitute a subgroup of more general cultural exchange or does it have unique features?



With this conference, we would like to invite scholars to contribute to a first systematic research of this issue from different scholarly disciplines in the humanities interested in themes including (but not limited to):

  • Theoretical considerations aiming to explain specific exchange relations between Western Europe and the post-war Black Sea Region of the Balkans (centre-periphery relations for instance)
  • The entanglement of non-scientific and scientific knowledge and its distribution
  • The emerging transformation of traditional knowledge systems to information societies
  • The role of women and of women’s movements in post-war science and science exchange
  • The role of women’s movements at universities and in academic cultures
  • International scientific conferences, their cultural and political aims and the BSR countries’ participation in them
  • The institutional and administrative structures of science in the post-war period
  • The development of Greek and Turkish academic cultures between ideological frontlines
  • The role of emigration communities in the exchange of knowledge
  • The Perestroika era and the world of humanitarian sciences in the BSR
  • The integration and contribution of BSR countries to the Soviet academic system
  • The role of BSR countries for the Soviet Academy of Sciences
  • The Soviet academic system and its language policy
  • The introduction and omission of certain foreign languages on different levels of education
  • The dominance and omission of particular languages in knowledge and science exchange
  • “The wind of change”, 1989–1991. Between state-regulated scientific networks and the beginnings of free contacts


There is no fee for participation in the conference, but the organizers do unfortunately not have the possibility to cover the participants’ expenses for travel and accommodation. English will serve as the main conference language. Please send 300-word proposals for 20-minute papers along with a short academic CV to Dr Kristina Popova ( and Dr Dominik Gutmeyr ( no later than 31 January 2020. The organisers aim to let you know within two weeks after the deadline whether your proposal has been accepted.

A selection of papers presented at the conference will be published in a special number of the journal Balkanistic Forum ( in the first half of 2021.

The conference is organized within the project “Knowledge Exchange and Academic Cultures in the Humanities. Europe and the Black Sea Region”, an MSCA-RISE-project funded by the European Commission. Further information may be found on


Dr Kristina Popova

SW-University Blagoevgrad

66, Ivan Michailov st.,

2700 Blagoevgrad, Bulgaria