CALL FOR PAPERS Theorizing Race and Indigeneity in Contemporary Central, Eastern, Southeastern Europe and Eurasia May 18-19, 2023 - Maynooth University, Ireland

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Friday, December 16, 2022 - 10:30

Organizer:  Maynooth University Centre for European and Eurasian Studies and the Department of Anthropology
Convenors: Prof. Hana Cervinkova (Department of Anthropology and Centre for European and Eurasian Studies, Maynooth University) and Dr. Grace Zhou (Irish Research Council’s Government of Ireland Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Anthropology, Maynooth University)
Key concepts: 
Race, racialization, indigeneity, (post)colonialism/settler colonialism/(post)socialism, nationalism, rule of law
Racially motivated discrimination and violence stand among key challenges to the rule of law in contemporary Europe. Racist ideologies underlie hatred against ethnic and national minorities, refugees, non-nationals, stateless persons and asylum seekers and fuel the rise of nationalisms, populisms and anti-democratic politics. Racial prejudice imbues many European state historical narratives, which rely on homogenous imaginaries of belonging to the national community. It also impacts how states respond to transnational political processes, including European integration and global economic, environmental and political developments. But despite notable recent exceptions, race and racism are rarely applied as analytical categories to the understanding of socio-political predicaments of continental Europe and Eurasia. And this is especially true in the case of the geopolitical spaces, which in the past had been associated with the Soviet sphere of control.
This workshop will critically interrogate the place of race and indigeneity in contemporary Central and Eastern Europe, the Balkans, Central Asia, and the Caucasus, in places that carry the legacies and burdens of Soviet rule and influence. The Soviet Union was a rhetorically anti-imperial project; along with the former Eastern Bloc, it was officially declared a “raceless” society that sought to position itself as a supporter of socialist internationalism and anti-colonial movements around the world. Below the surface, however, the Soviet project perpetuated forms of inequality and dispossession, from racialized hierarchies disguised as a “Friendship of Nations,” to the settler colonial appropriation of land through the forced removal of natives. The erasure of race and indigeneity as legible categories of identification only compounded the political effects of such violence. 
What are the effects of these historically unacknowledged racializations on the contemporary nation-states? Scholars, organizers, and activists are increasingly interrogating the colonial legacies of the Soviet system, bringing a critical analysis of race and indigeneity to a context that denied both as legitimate categories of social and political incorporation. We hope to create a space for such long overdue conceptual conversations and reckonings. 
We invite interested participants to send us a short abstract (250 words) describing work-in-progress that would benefit from this discussion. The event is foreseen as a workshop, which will lead to a publication. Please email and by 31 January, 2023. Accommodations at Maynooth University will be available for participants to book at an affordable price.  We also have limited funds available to offset travel costs. Let us know if you would like to apply for funds, and the amount needed. 
This event is supported by the Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence at Maynooth University, with additional funding provided by the Department of Anthropology.