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Conference: Between History and Personal Narrative: East-European Women’s Stories of Migration in the New Millennium, Bucharest, 21-22 September 2012

Narrative as a form of history rewriting has been increasingly present in today’s global mediated world, being associated with conventional genres such as the novel and the short story, but also with oral stories, newspaper articles, websites, blogs, forums, visual narratives and testimonies. Open narrative forms such as Monika Fludernik’s “natural narrative”, Joel Fineman’s anecdote whose importance is crucial in historical writing and H. Porter Abbott’s “universal narrative” have combined with non-canonical examples of free indirect discourse in the configuration of a new understanding of narratology as a continuous process of which everyday life is made and policies are shaped. Emery Roe’s concept of narrative policy analysis opens up ways in which narrative strategies can be used to analyze and promote certain political lines addressing specific social issues.
As societies have become open systems permanently subject to change, the issue of history rewriting from the margin has been more topical than ever and narrative textuality has become more dynamic to match the world’s rapid changes. Such changes in narrative processes have been visible in the case of women involved in processes of permanent or temporary transnational relocation. As women rewrite their personal stories, they simultaneously write the history of their present on the move and rewrite past historical memories and traumas, diverging from dominant versions of history written at the centre of power.
We are interested in studying East-European women’s recent immigrant histories, focusing on relocation to North America, the UK and Ireland and thus expanding the area covered by postcolonial and ethnic American women’s studies in the field of women’s migration. Our conference will focus on narratives by and about women engaged in temporary and permanent transnational relocation in the years after the fall of communism, which have witnessed an opening to the global world and phenomena of identity-reconfiguration such as EU-enlargement. We invite papers engaging with East European women’s narratives in a wide sense, looking at conventional genres (novels, short-stories, newspaper articles), but also stories told on websites, blogs, oral narratives, interviews etc., focusing on, but not limited to, the following topics:

-    oral/written/visual, conventional/“natural” stories as micro-histories of East-European women’s migration and mobility;
-    interactions between personal stories and collective histories reflecting East-European women’s nomadic experiences;
-    rewritings of East-European women’s traumatic memories of dislocation/relocation;
-    East-European stories/histories of transnational families, adoption narratives, transnational mothering and child care;
-    comparing postcommunist/postcolonial women’s stories/histories of migration;
-    global policies and East-European women’s migration;
-    rewriting history through individual stories of East-European women’s migration;
-    migration stories and feminist nomadic activism and NGO work.
-    narrating women’s emerging transnational identities;
-    coping with deprivation in situations of relocation in the context of the global crisis.

Please send a 300-word abstract, 5-6 keywords and a short bio (200 words) to dr. Maria-Sabina Draga Alexandru ( by 1 March 2012. A selection of articles based on the conference papers will be published in a collective volume to be edited by Maria-Sabina Draga Alexandru and Madalina Nicolaescu. Please specify whether you intend to submit a paper to be considered for publication when you send your abstract and bio (so that you may be included in our book proposal).

Conference organizers:
Dr. Maria-Sabina Draga Alexandru
Professor Madalina Nicolaescu
Dr. Mihaela Precup
Dr. Dana Mihailescu
Diana Benea, PhD candidate

University of Bucharest, Bucharest, Romania
21-22 September, 2012

Invited speakers:

Jasmina Lukić
Department of Gender Studies, Central European University, Budapest
Silvia Schultermandl
Department of American Studies, University of Graz
Anca Gheauş
Department of Philosophy, Erasmus University Rotterdam