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Transformation in European History, GRACEH, Vienna, 3-5 May 2012‏

"Transformation in European History. Preconditions – Processes –

6th Annual Graduate Conference in European History (GRACEH), Vienna, May
3–5, 2012

organized by the University of Vienna (Universität Wien,
Historisch-Kulturwissenschaftliche Fakultät)
in cooperation with the Central European University (CEU), Budapest and
the European University Institute (EUI), Florence

The “transicion” of political systems in Southern Europe and Latin
America since the 1970s and the revolutionary changes in Central and
Eastern Europe in 1989/91 have resulted in the rise of “transformation
studies” in social sciences. The term transformation is commonly
understood as the politically steered transition from communist
dictatorship to democracy, from a planned to a market economy, and from
a closed to an open society. In contrast to this teleological reading
the 6th GRACEH conference intends to explore a historical approach to
transformation. A very broad working definition of the term would
characterize transformation as a “period of especially intense and
accelerated structural changes on a political, social, economic, and
cultural level” that were caused by major political and social upheavals
such as the breakdown of the continental empires in 1918, the French
Revolution in the late 18th century, or the Reformation. Unlike the
social sciences, we wish to broaden the application as far back as to
the beginning of modern age. In what way can this concept of
transformation be applied to contemporary, modern and early modern
contexts? What kind of adjustments of the concept are required for the
historicization of transformation?

The following three key aspects will serve as guiding questions
throughout the conference:

- Which preconditions lead to periods of transformation? Which triggers,
causes and turning points can be identified?
- On which levels does transformation occur? How can the complexity of
transformation processes be analyzed without being trapped in
teleological assumptions?
- How is transformation perceived and interpreted by internal and
external observers? How do transformation discourses influence the
process itself?

The conference invites postgraduate and early career researchers in
history and related disciplines to submit their papers dealing with this
broad concept of transformation on the basis of textual and visual
sources from the modern age onward. The proposals should consider and
discuss political, social, and cultural dimensions, causes, evolution
and perceptions of transformation. In order to enrich the discussion the
Graceh organizers have invited Gudrun Gersmann (DHI Paris/Universität
Köln) and Christian Gerlach (Universität Bern) as external keynote speakers.

We look forward to receiving submissions on topics including but not
limited to the following research areas:
- Continuity and discontinuity in transformation periods
- Agents of transformation
- Transfers and transnational dimensions of transformation
- Synchronic and diachronic comparative approaches for a history of
- Historical source material of transformation research
- Macro- and microhistorical approaches to transformation
- Legitimizations of transformation such as nation building,
independence, liberty, and economical welfare, social movements, social
network analysis, gender issues

The main conference language is English.

The conference has no registration fee. We offer logistic help to find
good and low budget accommodation near the University of Vienna. A
limited part of the travel cost for external participants can be covered
on the basis of individual request (if you like to apply for a stipend,
please provide documentation about your economic situation).

Please submit your proposal of max. 300 words and your CV by using the
application form to You can download the
application form on the congress website:

Deadline for submission: January 15, 2012

If your proposal is accepted by the program committee, you are expected
to submit a paper (5-10 pages) no later than April 1, 2012. For further
information on the GRACEH 2012, please consult the congress website.

Organizing Committee
The GRACEH 2012 program committee: Katharina Ebner, Sandra Hertel,
Florian Kührer, Rafael Prehsler, David Pruonto, Marion Romberg, Burkhard
Wöller, Prof. Philipp Ther, Prof. Wolfgang Schmale

For further questions, please contact the organizers by e-mail:

Congress website: