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Conference: Mainstream and Dissident Scientific Networks Between the Balkans and Germany, Berlin, 20-22 September 2012‏

The planned conference deals with the social and political role of scientific networks between Germany and the Balkans (especially Albania, Bulgaria, Greece, Romania and the current Republics of the former Yugoslavia). The period under consideration stretches from the establishment of the national states in the Balkans up to the two first decades of the Cold War. Both humanities and sciences are taken under consideration.

The point of departure is the idea of scientific networks. While placing emphasis on networking, we intend to challenge the widespread consideration of the Balkan scientific elites as bare recipients of western European discourses. The conference therefore suggests re-examining the transfer of knowledge between the Balkans and Germany, placing it in the national and transnational context of the relationship between power and science.

A further conceptual point of departure is the approach to scientific communities as internally diverse in terms of professional and political/ideological interests. On the grounds of this internal heterogeneity, the conference will address the diverse strategies pursued by the scientific agents who acted between the Balkans and Germany. We suggest making a distinction between state-conform (in terms of scientists affiliated to state institutions in particular), mainstream and alternative and/or dissident scientists.
The conference is especially interested in the latter aspect (alternative and/or dissident scientists).

The range of issues to be discussed includes the following:

· Revealing the diversity of scientific professional interests at the junction of science, politics and profession

· Hegemonic discourses and practices by German scientific and political agency in the Balkans in different historical periods

· The establishment and works of (a) University Departments of Slavic, Romanian, Greek and Albanian Studies in Germany; (b) German Research Institutes for natural and medical sciences in the Balkans

· Examining cases in which Balkan scientists actively contributed to shaping scientific discourses in Germany;

· Phenomena of hybridisation

· The channels that dissident scientists from the Balkans used in networking with the German scientific scene (either mainstream or dissident); especially networks between anarchist, socialist and communist scientists in the Balkans and Germany before and after the Second World War

· The influence of the national socialists’ takeover in Germany on the scientific networks with the Balkans, which led to the exclusion and marginalisation of some scientists or/and the promotion of others.

· Contradictory loyalties with respect to scientists from the Balkans who, on the one hand, were admirers of the German intellectual tradition, but on the other, however, disagreed with political developments in Germany and/or were opponents.

We encourage the submission of original studies that consider primary sources in presenting case studies and reflect on innovative methodological and theoretical aspects.

It is planned that the conference will take place at 20-22 September 2012.

The organisers cover the expenses of the participants (travel costs and accommodation; sponsors: DFG and Humboldt University Berlin).


Please contact the organisers:

Prof. Dr. Sevasti Trubeta

Prof. Dr. Christian Voss