CFP: Sessions on Socialism and Eastern Europe at the Fifth European Architectural History Network International Meeting (Tallinn, 13-16 June 2018)

Abstracts are invited for the fifth European Architectural History Network International Meeting, in Tallinn, June 2018. The submissions of paper proposals and roundtable discussions to session and roundtable chairs is possible until 30 September 2017.

All information on the formal requirements of abstracts, the submission procedure and a full list of sessions is available on the conference website

We would like to highlight the following calls for contributions to one roundtable and three sessions that may be of interest to researchers working on heritage and socialism:


Roundtable: Who (Still) Needs Eastern Europe?

This is a shortened version of the original text that may be found here

The reframing of the global geopolitics engendered by the dismantling of the Communist bloc (1989/1991) triggered a remapping of the territories of art and architectural history. Eastern Europe managed to integrate the changing discourse of architectural historiography through two differenct narratives. On the one hand, emulating the prolific studies in Nationalism and Identity, scholars interested in this region turned to their advantage its marginality by analysing its architecture in terms of idiosyncrasy. On the other hand, there emerged the powerful field of the study of the Cold War, which came to be seen, in the following years, as the most relevant perspective for looking at the region.

After this progressive (and disputable) integration of the current historiographical discourse, the operativeness of the concept of Eastern Europe seems to have reached a dilemmatic point: its relative success has been accompanied by a distancing from the very use of the concept. If such a withdrawal is justificalbe – the fear of the limitation inherent to all area studies, the belief in a “global” history, etc. – , it shows also a certain methodological turn.

This round-table aims to debate this withdrawal, proposing to analyse its causes and consequences. Is it still usefull to refer to a geo-historical concept in writing an architectural history that aspires more and more to be transversal and inclusive? And if so, how is it possible to make such a concept recover both its sedimental dimension and its particularities? By taking Eastern Europe as a (valid) pretext, the round-table invites scholars from all geographical/thematic fields to explore what is at stake in forging a renewed historiographical discourse.

Contact: Carmen Popescu (Ecole Normale Supérieure d’Architecture de Bretagne, Rennes), crmv[at]



Session: Centralizations and Territories in the Architectural Production of the Socialist World

This is a shortened version of the original text that may be found here

This session seeks to address the dynamic between the centralization of production and the expansive territories of intervention in the architecture and urbanism of state socialist countries. Among others, papers might address the following topics:

  • the relationship of the universal to the specific in the centralization of architectural production
  • trans-local and transnational undertakings of centralized institutions and the complex multilateral relationships they established
  • the dialogue and/or tension between centralized and local expertise in design, planning, and implementation
  • the formation of distinctly regional or local approaches within this framework
  • the characteristic instruments of architectural centralization such as universal norms, educational standards, serial projects
  • the transfer and translation of projects from centre to periphery
  • the representation of territories in the centre (and vice versa)
  • imperial dynamics in the socialist world
  • international knowledge transfer
  • national form and regionalism

Contact: Richard Anderson (University of Edinburgh), Richard.P.Anderson[at]; Elke Beyer (Technical University Berlin), e-beyer[at]



Session: The Political Aesthetics of Postmodernism: Between Late Socialism and Late Capitalism

This is a shortened version of the original text that may be found here

Looking at examples of postmodern translations in both Western and Eastern countries in the 1980s and 1990s, this session will tackle the intricate relations between politics and aesthetics and the role these have played out in the development and global expansion of postmodernism in architecture. The session organisers are interested in the following questions:

  • What were the geopolitical dynamics of architectural postmodernism as its tenets were translated from socialist to capitalist contexts and back?
  • What was the political import of postmodernism’s apparent return to life and reality? Was it an ‘aesthetic instrument’ of capitalism pure and simple, or was it a way of reinventing socialism?
  • How did such contrasting terms as totalitarianism and pluralism oscillate between political discourses and aesthetic domains?
  • How did late socialist architects understand, translate and domesticate postmodernism, as the quintessential – to quote Jameson – ‘cultural logic of late capitalism’? How did late socialist experience of Eastern countries and the Soviet Union shape the work of postmodern architects and theorists in the West?
  • And finally, in what ‘ghostly’ forms (to refer to Reinhold Martin) has postmodernism endured since the apparent end of history in the 1990s?

Contact: Léa-Catherine Szacka (The Oslo School of Architecture and Design), lcszacka[at]; Maros Krivy (Estonian Academy of Arts / University of Cambridge), maros.krivy[at]


Session: Unpacking the Archives: Travelling Architectures from East to West and Back During the 1960s and 1970s

This is a shortened version of the original text that may be found here

The session organisers are looking for papers that investigate the role of photography and photographic archives (private or institutional) as networking tools between the two Blocs, as travelling notebooks and evidence of new linkages, reflections on the daily use of the representation of architecture, that will open up new perspectives upon the practices and the concerns of architectural professionals, the contestations and challenges experienced by individuals and propaganda mechanisms. The papers can investigate both official and private photography circulating from East to West and backwards: documentation travels and study trips, personal photographic archives, tourism photography and press photography, UIA public presentations, publications which promoted the national architectures worldwide which impacted locally in a varied ways both the architectural environment and thinking.

Contact: Alina Serban (The National University of Arts, Bucharest), alina.serban[at]; Irina Tulbure (The University of Architecture and Urbanism, Bucharest), irinatulbure[at]


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