International Conference White – Collar Education in Central and Eastern Europe’s Socialist Systems (Bucharest, July 4-6, 2019) Call for Papers

The fate of universities, higher education and the related knowledge production during Eastern Europe’s communist regimes has only discontinuously come under scrutiny by historians and other social scientists, for reasons having to do, among other things, with the marginal role of higher education in the functioning of socialist systems, the scarcity of theoretical frameworks for their examination, and the meager access to relevant sources and evidence. Existing studies have aimed to provide economic models of higher education policies or demographic trends, and stressed the connection between higher education and production policies in countries of the region, e.g., during the 1960s and 1970s. This conference aims to bring together scholars interested in studying the various ways the communist policies and social change impacted on the functioning of universities, the professionalization of the faculty and their students, and related networks, inside or outside universities, with other research or cultural institutions of the regimes, such as academies, research institutes, library systems, publishing houses, journalism schools or other cultural institutions, however lop-sided, responsible for knowledge production and mobilization.

The conference is a follow-up of the research project Economic Planning, Higher Education, and the Accumulation of Human Capital in Romania during Communism (1948-1989) financed by the National Research Council (ID_PN-II-ID-PCE-2011-3-0476), and in connection with the project Confounding Freedoms: Academic Autonomy at a Sovietized University, financed by the Canadian Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council through an Insight Development Grant (2018-2020).

The main topics on which we expect contributions are:
a. Ups and Downs of Massification
b. Faculty Recruitment, Professionalization and Agency
c. Forms of Student Agency
d. Ideological Uniformization Against Divergence in Educational Attainment
e. Workers versus Higher Education Graduates in Socialist Enterprises and Institutions

Any other topic considered appropriate will be welcomed. Presentations based on a comparative approach are encouraged. We are very much interested in analyses focusing on national and/or local case-studies.
The submission of paper proposal will consist of filling in a proposal form (see infra) and of attaching a short CV (no more than one page) to

Deadline for submission: April 15, 2019. 

The official language of the conference will be English.
Hosting institution
Research Institute of the University of Bucharest, in cooperation with the Interdisciplinary School for Doctoral Studies, University of Bucharest, and with the Museum of the University of Bucharest

Scientific Committee
• Peter Apor (Central European University, Budapest/Vienna)
• Ulf Brunnbauer (Leibniz Institute for East and Southeast European Studies, Regensburg)
• Romiţă Iucu (University of Bucharest)
• Brigitte LeNormand (University of British Columbia – Okanagan)
• Bogdan Murgescu (University of Bucharest)
• Florentina Nițu (University of Bucharest)
• Robert Reisz (Western University Timişoara)
• Jan Sadlak (IREG Observatory on Academic Ranking and Excellence)
• Manfred Stock (Martin Luther Universität Halle-Wittenberg)
• Manuela Ungureanu (University of British Columbia – Okanagan)

Organising Committee
• Drd. Marius Ștefan Deaconu
• Drd. Diana Alexandra Dumitrescu
• Dr. Matei Gheboianu
• Dr. Valentin Maier

Dates and deadlines
April 15, 2019 Deadline for paper proposals submission
April 30, 2019 Notification of paper acceptance
June 15, 2019 Notification of the draft program of the conference
July 4-6, 2019 Days of the conference
July 7, 2019 Departure

Practical aspects
The participants are expected to arrive in Bucharest on Thursday, July 4, 2019, before noon (afternoon we plan the first meeting), and to depart on Sunday, July 7, 2019. Accordingly, the organizers will provide accommodation for 3 nights, as well as conference materials, refreshments for coffee breaks, lunches and dinners.
The participants are expected to fund from other sources their travel costs, but, in case of need, the organizers will assist them in their fundraising efforts.