CfP: Queer Urban Underworlds in European State Socialism

Workshop: Queer Urban Underworlds in European State Socialism

Prague, September 17 to 19, 2024

We are excited to announce a call for papers for a workshop to form a collaborative and interdisciplinary team. The workshop's primary goal is to collectively prepare a panel submission for the ASEEES (Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies) conference in 2025 while concurrently working on a collective monograph for a distinguished publication thematic series.

The workshop aims to explore the living worlds and underworlds of state socialist cities, focusing on gendering and queering current research on the urban history of Eastern Europe under state socialism. It draws inspiration from the intricate dynamics of "living worlds" and "underworlds" within the urban landscape of state socialist cities in Eastern Europe. Stemming from exploring urban spaces as manifestations of societal power structures, the concept of "underworlds" goes beyond the physical confines beneath the city's surface, encapsulating hidden facets of urban life. Reflecting prevailing values and ideas regarding societal organization, these "underworlds" serve as fields of power marked by the indelible signs of social inequalities and the majority's dominance.

This nuanced understanding becomes the foundation for probing into the gendered and queer dimensions of state socialist cities, offering insight into the intricate complexities of urban life during this era. As we delve into these hidden realms, we aim to unravel the interplay between those in control and those under control, shedding light on the obscured facets of urban life and exploring unique strategies urban actors develop in adapting public spaces to their goals. Through this collective exploration, we seek to contribute significantly to the evolving narrative of Eastern European urban history.

We invite submissions from various disciplines that explore the intersections of gender and queerness within the urban history of Eastern Europe during the state socialist era, i.e., of the so-called Eastern Bloc outside the Soviet Union from 1947 to 1991.

At the same time, the main emphasis of the contributions should be on the period of late socialism, its possible connections, continuities, and discontinuities with the subsequent post-socialist transformation.

Potential topics include, but are not limited to:
1. Gendered and queer spaces in state socialist cities
2. Gendered everyday life and queer experiences in connection to the diversity of urban populations
3. Gender and queer aspects of subcultures, countercultures, and resistance movements
4. Architectural and spatial implications of state socialism on gender and queerness
5. Historical perspectives on the LGBTQ+ community in Eastern European cities

1. ASEEES Panel Submission: Develop a comprehensive and engaging panel proposal for presentation at the ASEEES 2025 Convention (Thursday, November 20 - Sunday, November 23, 2025, Washington, DC), fostering dialogue and intellectual exchange.

2. Collective Monograph: Collaborate on designing and crafting a thematic monograph for submission to prestigious publishers that will introduce gender and queerness into the urban history of the Eastern Bloc state socialist dictatorships.

Important Information:
Venue: Prague, Czech Republic, EU
The organizer provides all selected active participants with accommodation for two nights.
Reimbursement of travel expenses is possible. Specify the request in the application.

Submission Guidelines:
We invite interested participants to submit abstracts (250-300 words) and a brief bio (150 words) by February 18, 2024.
Please send your proposals to

Important Dates:
Submission Deadline: February 18, 2024
Notification of Acceptance: March 22, 2024
Submission of Papers: August 15, 2024
Workshop Date: September 17 to September 19, 2024

We welcome submissions from scholars, researchers, and practitioners across disciplines passionate about unraveling the multifaceted history of state socialist cities in Eastern Europe.

Join us in this collaborative venture to explore the Living Worlds and Underworlds of State Socialist Cities, contributing to the gendering and queering of Eastern European urban history.

OrganizersJaromír Mrňka, German Historical Institute Warsaw, Prague Branch
Adéla Gjuričová, Institute for Contemporary History, Czech Academy of Sciences, Prague
Ladislav Jackson, Society for Queer Memory, Prague

Věra Sokolová, Faculty of Humanities, Charles University, Prague


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