CfP: Conference at IHU Thessaloniki (School of Humanities), 20-21 April 2018

Call for Papers: “Institution building and research under foreign domination. Europe and the Black Sea Region, early 19th-early 20th centuries”

Conference organized by

International Hellenic University, School of Humanities

14th km Thessaloniki, 57001 Thermi, Greece

20-21 April 2018


Deadline for submission of abstracts: 15.01.2018

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. The conference seeks to open the floor for debates on forms of knowledge and culture exchange within the BSR and beyond from the early 19th to the early 20th century, when the emerging scientific institutions were dominated by “European” researchers and a first generation of native researchers trained outside the region. It aims to investigate knowledge and cultural exchanges between the BSR and Western Europe in a time of political and cultural hegemonies of the European Powers, a changing geopolitical landscape due to the disintegration of the Ottoman Empire in Southeastern Europe and in a time of increasing institutionalization of academic research in the BSR.

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The full CfP is available at

Day 2 – Conclusion of Conference

With today’s keynote by Sara Dickinson (University of Genoa) on “Otherness and Intrepidness: Women’s Travel and the Crimea, 1786-1853” and four panels addressing the role of travelers and translators, the early visual study of the BSR, of the Great Powers and commerce as well as of Armenians in knowledge exchange in the region, we close the first KEAC-BSR-conference with many issues discussed and even more to keep thinking about.

We encourage you to check back for more details on the individual contributions, panels, and the conference itself!


Day 1 is in the books and has brought a lot of discussion on the many aspects of knowledge exchange in the Black Sea Region. Wide historical perspective, stimulating theoretical considerations and a variety of case studies will keep the participants busy to keep discussing in the evening.

Attached are some impressions from today’s panels and we’ll continue tomorrow morning (09:00) with a keynote by Sara Dickinson (University of Genoa) on “Otherness and Intrepidness: Women’s Travel and the Crimea, 1786-1853”.


Day 1: Keynote by Alex Drace-Francis (University of Amsterdam)

Only 24 hours left before we go in medias res and start off the conference “Knowledge Exchange. Europe and the Black Sea Region, ca. 1750-1850” with a keynote by Alex Drace-Francis on “A sea of information: networks and routes of knowledge and power, c. 1700-1850”. Alex Drace Francis is Associate Professor for Literary and Cultural History of Modern Europe at University of Amsterdam.
“In European and world history, the period 1700-1850 has been seen as a period of enlightened discovery and dissemination of knowledge; but also as one in which knowledge systems facilitated and perpetuated unequal and divisive systems of imperial control. Few of these interpretations take serious account of the changing power relations and systems of knowledge production in the Black Sea region. The history of knowledge about this region can be interpreted in several ways: as a contested frontier between empires (principally Ottoman and Russian), as a site of Western (British, French, but also Habsburg) imperial intervention; but also as a place where innovation took place through the initiative of local populations. In this lecture Dr. Drace-Francis will seek to compare a series of cases of knowledge diffusion in, to and from the Black Sea region, relating them to existing theories of imperialism and knowledge in the modern period.”

WP1 – Joint Research at Pyatigorsk State University

The H2020-RISE-project KEAC-BSR is based on a funding scheme that promotes international collaboration through research and innovation staff exchanges, and sharing of knowledge and ideas aiming at a shared culture of research and innovation.

The first work package “Emerging Knowledge Transfer in the Black Sea Region” is also the starting point of an exchange of expertise within the project’s consortium of twelve scientific institutions, while at this stage the main transfer of ideas and expertise comes to and from Pyatigorsk State University (Russian Federation) and University of Graz (Austria).

This first post of a series to follow as well as the images enclosed give an insight into the joint research conducted at Pyatigorsk State University. Scholars from Austria, Bulgaria, Macedonia, Georgia and Moldova (with Greek, Turkish and Romanian researchers yet to come to Pyatigorsk) are currently working at the project’s Russian partner institution together with their hosting colleagues to research on the early development and transfer of modern sciences to, from and within the Black Sea Region (ca. 1750-1850). The overall attempt is to systematically investigate knowledge and cultural exchanges between the Black Sea Region and Western Europe from the mid-18th century. The results of this first stage of the project KEAC-BSR will then be openly discussed at the conference “Knowledge Exchange. Europe and the Black Sea Region, ca. 1750 – 1850.” at University of Graz (29.-30.09.2017). More details on the first work package, the conference as well as on the project’s overall aims can be found on