We are pleased to announce that the application for the Conference ‘The Light Comes from the West! The Politics of East-European Migration during the Cold War’ has started! Application deadline is 31 May 2023. The conference will take place in Bucharest on 10-12 October 2023.
The aim of the conference is to revisit the broadly defined politics of migration, caused by the endeavour to liberate from the yoke of the Soviet Union, in the light of new archival materials and considering recent research approaches.
The lives of the citizens of the Soviet bloc countries were largely determined by imposed isolation from the rapidly modernising democratic Western world and radical restrictions on the free circulation of cultural goods and other commodities, as well as foreign travel. This was motivated, above all, by the ideological, economic and cultural divide symbolised by the Iron Curtain and the fear on the part of the communist authorities that the escalation of differences between their countries could compromise the unity of the entire Soviet empire.
No wonder that in contrast to the title of a lecture given by the Romanian writer Mihail Sadoveanu in 1945 – The Light Comes from the East – which predicted Soviet political dominance in Eastern Europe, in the decades of the Cold War many citizens felt that the light came rather from the West. One way of fulfilling this desire was migration, motivated first of all by the repressive nature of communist dictatorships, political or religious discrimination and economic hardship. In addition to the very many individual cases of migration, the Cold War was also marked by several major migration waves, such as the ones following the suppression of the 1956 Hungarian uprising and the Prague Spring of 1968 or the Polish migration in the 1980s in the aftermath of martial law.The Light Comes from the West! The Politics of East-European Migration during the Cold War
10–12 October, Romanian Academy Library, Bucharest, Romania
31 May 2023.