CfP CONF (Re)constructing communities in Europe, 1918-1968. A venture into the discursive practices of community building Radboud University Nijmegen / Utrecht University – Soeterbeeck Study Center, 18.-20.12.2013. Deadline: 1.3.2012

Call for Papers
International Conference
(Re)constructing communities in Europe, 1918-1968. A venture into the discursive practices of community building

Radboud University Nijmegen / Utrecht University – Soeterbeeck Study Center
18-20 December 2013

Conceptions of community were at the heart of inter- and post-war discourses of (re)construction, both in communist Eastern Europe and the democratic West.
Building on political and scientific discourses of community-building, and infused by the traumatic ruptures in (local) society during the Second World War, the idea of creating and sustaining social coherence became a shared consensus. At various levels, and referring to a variety of collectives, ‘community’ – Gemeinschaft, gemeenschap, communauté etc. – was perceived as imperative for stability, prosperity and welfare. This conference addresses the various discourses and conceptions of community in Europe in from the end of the First World War up until the late 1960s from a multilevel perspective – local, national and transnational – and through a focus on communicative practices. The latter refers to the embeddedness of community discourse in language, but also takes into account how this discourse is – performatively – acted out in social and politico-administrative practices.

Relating to Benedict Anderson’s seminal work on the discursive construction of national communities and Bourdieu’s notion of identity politics, this conference aims to uncover the politics behind community reconstruction, the inclusionary and exclusionary mechanisms inherent in community discourse, the (new) conceptions of identity at the heart of post-war communities and the struggle for dominance between top-down (governmental) and bottom-up (grassroots) projections of community and narratives of belonging and solidarity.

Call for papers
This conference aims to unite academics focusing on research related to notions of community (re)construction in post-war Europe up until the early 1960s. We particularly welcome papers which

  • discuss the discursive construction of communities in various contexts, be it political, social, economic or cultural and on various levels, be it local, national and/or international;
  • start from a comparative or transnational perspective;
  • discover continuities and discontinuities in pre-war, war and post-war community discourse
  • take into account the sense of urgency which permeated efforts for the post-war reconstruction and recovery of Europe.

Keynote Speakers
Jon Lawrence (University of Cambridge, Emmanuel College)
Rosemary Wakeman (Fordham University, New York)

The Organisers
Dr. Stefan Couperus, Utrecht University,
Dr. Harm Kaal, Radboud University Nijmegen,
This conference is funded by the NWO – Innovational Research Incentives Scheme.

Abstracts of up to 300 words are due 1 February 2013. Please send abstracts to . Notification of acceptance: 1 March 2013. Full papers will be circulated among the participants in advance of the conference.

A small fee, which includes accommodation and subsistence, will apply.

Soeterbeeck Study Center:

Harm Kaal
Assistant Professor of Political History
Radboud University Nijmegen