CfA: From the poison cabinets of communism. Methodological questions on working with surveillance files [...]

CfA: From the poison cabinets of communism. Methodological questions on working with surveillance files in South-eastern and Central Europe Workshop


Berlin, 28–30 April 2015

Deadline: 28 February 2015

Organizers: Institute for German Literature/Humboldt University of Berlin, Institute for German Culture and History in South East Europe (IKGS) associated with the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, European Network Remembrance and Solidarity (ENRS) in cooperation with the Agency of the Federal Commissioner for theStasi Records (BStU), Literaturhaus Berlin, the National Council for the Study of the Securitate Archives (CNSAS, Romania) and the Nation’s Memory Institute (UPN, Slovakia)

Organisation: Michaela Nowotnick (Berlin), Florian Kührer-Wielach (Munich)

The conference aims to critically take stock of the research into questions on minorities based on secret service documents of the communist regime in South-eastern and Central Europe. It also seeks to pose new questions concerning their epistemological potential. The conference focuses on the discussion of methodological approaches, but also examines the closely related question of ethical problems that goes hand in hand with the analysis and publication of secret service reports. The treatment and the behaviour of members of different minority groups and their relationship to a given “majority” as well as to the state open up a variety of new research perspectives. Additionally, the conference programme is closely tailored to its topic in order to enable the combination of socio-political discourses and discourses relevant to scholarship. The programme also entails an event for young researchers as well as for advanced students with research interests in this area. This event will take place after the conference and will be hosted by  the BStU (the authority of the federal commissioner for documents of the state security service of the former GDR). Along with a guided tour of the “Stasiunterlagen-Archiv”, we offer workshops in small groups in which participants can present their projects for discussion under the guidance of experienced researchers.

Applicants should submit a draft paper providing an idea of the field of research (200–500 words) as well as a curriculum vitae, with a list of publications (if relevant). Please send submissions to Michaela Nowotnick ( or Florian Kührer-Wielach (Ten adres pocztowy jest chroniony przed spamowaniem. Aby go zobaczyć, konieczne jest włączenie obsługi JavaScript. ) by 28 February 2015.

Subject to the approval by the budgeting institutions, participants will receive expenses covering accommodation and meals during the events.  Provision of expenses assumes attendance and active participation in all the events. Limited funds are available for travel expenses and can be applied for upon submission.

Passive German skills are a minimum requirement for participation. Contributions to discussion and presentation of one’s own topic are welcome in English.

Download call for papers in German and in English

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