CfP: Conference at University of Graz, 29-30 September 2017

Call for Papers: “Knowledge Exchange. Europe and the Black Sea Region, ca. 1750 – 1850”

Conference organized by

University of Graz, Southeast European History and Anthropology

Mozartgasse 3, A-8010 Graz, Austria

29-30 September 2017

Deadline for submission of abstracts: 31.03.2017

Frame & aim

When the transfer of modern sciences to and the study of the Black Sea Region (BSR)[i] 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 late 18th and early 19th century, when the region was ‘discovered’ by “European” researchers. It aims to investigate knowledge and cultural exchanges between the BSR and Western Europe in a time of increasing reciprocal contacts and the establishment of the first modern academic institutions in the BSR.


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):

  • Ways and methods of knowledge distribution in Europe around 1800
  • Enlightenment, surveying the world and the establishment of early colonial museums in the West (and Russia) since the second half of the 18th century
  • ‘Disciplinary’ interests of foreigners
  • Donors of research activities of foreigners
  • Were the subjects of investigation agencyless ‘objectives’?
  • Theoretical considerations aiming to explain specific exchange relations between Europe’s core of the Scientific Revolution and the BSR
  • Systematic research of the BSR as a research field for foreign researchers
  • Interactions and contradictions between science and religions in the BSR
  • The role of religious educational institutions (monasteries, madaris and Sufi-meeting places) in the transfer and filtrating of knowledge
  • The role of missionaries of various denominations
  • The role of the diaspora communities (for instance Odessa for Greece; Bucharest, Odessa and Bessarabia for Bulgaria and Macedonia or Venice and Vienna for Armenia, etc.)
  • The role of religious networks such as Mount Athos as well as Orthodox and Muslim pilgrimages
  • Imperial interests – especially those of the Russian and Habsburg Empires
  • External representations of a BSR as a sphere of imperial interests
  • Examination of the entanglement of non-scientific and scientific knowledge in the BSR
  • Reflections on the influence of traditional knowledge systems and regimes as well as the relationship between (Western) European and Ottoman scientific and cultural traditions
  • Representation of women across the BSR region by a men-dominated world of missionaries, adventurers, explorers and early researchers
  • Biographies of missionaries, adventurers, explorers and early researchers in the BSR
  • Visual representation of indigenous populations

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 Prof. Dr. Karl Kaser ( and Dr. Dominik Gutmeyr ( no later than 31 March 2017. The organisers aim to let you know within three weeks after the deadline whether your proposal has been accepted.

A selection of papers presented at the conference will be published in a special volume in the first half of 2018.

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


Karl Kaser & Dominik Gutmeyr

University of Graz

Southeast European History and Anthropology

Mozartgasse 3

A-8010 Graz

[i] Azerbaijan, Armenia, Georgia, North-Caucasian Russia, Ukraine, Moldova, Romania, Bulgaria, Macedonia, Greece, Turkey

Download CfP

KEAC-BSR at MSCA Tbilisi

On 17.01.2017, Dominik Gutmeyr (University of Graz) and Marine Aroshidze (Shota Rustaveli University Batumi) presented KEAC-BSR at the conference „MSCA Tbilisi“ in the Georgian capital in front of an interested audience consisting of many fellow scholars, experts of the European Commission as well as H.E. Aleksandre Jejelava, Minister of Education and Science of Georgia.

Kick-Off-Meeting: Project launched

A very fruitful Kick-Off-Meeting of KEAC-BSR has taken place last Saturday at Batumi Shota Rustaveli University. The consortium has successfully launched the project by exchanging ideas and opinions as well as by discussing key research questions and methods. A detailed work plan for the first work package has been elaborated and will lead to the announcement of first events and publications in the near future.

01/2017 Project Start

Welcome to the website of the EU-H2020-RISE-Project “KEAC-BSR”. What is hidden behind that acronym is the international endeavor to  shed light on “Knowledge Exchange and Academic Cultures in the Humanities: Europe and the Black Sea Region, late 18th – 21st Centuries”:

When the transfer of modern sciences to and the study of the Black Sea Region (BSR) began in the late 18. century, this area was not yet considered part of Europe. The inter/multidisciplinary research and exchange project’s title refers to that fact. Knowledge and science exchange between Europe and the BSR intensified in the course of the 19th and early 20th century and was interrupted when as result of WWI/WWII a significant part of the BSR was integrated into the Soviet Union’s orbit. The BSR disappeared behind the Iron Curtain and the academic cultures of West and East drifted apart. The previous 25 years have witnessed strengthening ties between BSR countries and between the BSR and the rest of Europe as well as globalisation of knowledge and scientific exchange. The integration of the BSR into the European Research Area (ERA) is on the way but not yet completed. The project provides excellent opportunities to critically reflect the sketched processes and to look into future.

The project’s quality, credibility and novelty lies in its

* attempt to systematically investigate knowledge and cultural exchanges between the BSR and Western Europe from the late 18th century to the present,

* theoretical and methodological approaches with the potential to establish new pathways for future research and in its foregrounding of gender aspects.

The project establishes a network consisting of 12 research institutions from 11 BSR countries and Austria. It includes representatives of all the core disciplines of the humanities emerging around 1900. Innovative aspects of the project consist of 1) drawing attention to an emerging region (BSR) consisting of countries previously considered as belonging to separate historical regions, 2) systematic investigation of knowledge and culture exchange within and beyond the region, 3) innovative theoretical framework, 4) inter/multidisciplinary methodology and 5) explicit gender perspectives.

The project will start with January 1st 2017 and will last for four years, i.e. until the end of 2020.