CfP: Consequences of the Partitions. New perspectives on the aftermath of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth

A map of the Kingdom of Poland and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania including Samogitia and Curland divided according to their dismemberments with the Kingdom of Prussia

The conference is devoted to an analysis of the long-term consequences of the Partitions of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth for communities living in the territories of the Russian, Habsburg and Prussian Empires. The 250th anniversary of the First Partition falls in 2022 and is an opportunity to reflect on the general reception and historic interpretation of the Partitions across the 19th century in order to reconstruct the diverse, non-linear and fragmented character of these transitions.

We understand the relationship between the imperial states, their representatives in the former Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, and the populations inhabiting these areas, as a multi-vector configuration in which changes within one also affected the other, and not always to the same extent. We therefore assume that the acquisition of the Commonwealth’s territories in the long term also caused changes within the partitioning states. This assumption excludes both an understanding of the politics as a sphere of unilateral influence of top-down factors on the shaping of the 19th century societies, and an understanding of the politics as an unchanged hostile relationship between the partitioning states and their new subjects, or rather authorities and communities. We are convinced that the approach to politics as a result of everyday decisions and a complex process of social communication based on numerous communication nodes such as press organs or associations is able to adequately reflect the processes of accommodation and modification of new concepts and their translation into the sphere of everyday behaviour. 

We invite submissions of papers that propose an analysis of the long-term effects of the partitioning, taking into account not only the continuity of individual processes but also the lack thereof. We invite submissions covering aspects of economy, politics, administration and culture in the broadest sense – which allow highlighting the long-term consequences of the loss of sovereignty. 

Looking at changes to the social and economic structures, we encourage searching for answers to the following questions: To what extent has communication and the exchange of goods, concepts, technology and knowledge between communities shaped their specific character? To what extent did they participate in the processes of increased exchange, and in what cases did they opt for isolation or active contestation? To what extent did the fact of belonging to the various states influence the emergence of cultural eclecticism and the adoption of elements from neighbouring or foreign cultures (food, music, art, architecture, etc.)? 

Did social-cultural diversity and the associated variety of aspirations and interests actually rule out opportunities for cooperation at all levels? How did the governments and administration (including the local level) of Russia, Austria and Prussia, and from 1871 the German Reich, react to regional pluralism, and how did these reactions impact transformation of the states themselves in the long term? How did these dynamic changes alter traditional perceptions of centres and peripheries and how did they affect changes in their mutual relations?

Please submit the title and a short description of your planned paper (up to 150 words) to: in Polish or English by 31 December 2021. The papers will be published after the conference.

1772–2022: Consequences of the Partitions. New perspectives on the aftermath of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth

22–24 June 2022
German Historical Institute in Warsaw
Working languages: Polish and English
Deadline for submission of proposals: 31.12.2021

Felix Ackermann, German Historical Institute in Warsaw,
Agnieszka Pufelska, Nord-Ost-Institut Lüneburg,
Maria Rhode, Universität Göttingen,
Darius Staliunas, Institute of Lithuanian History, Vilnius,

Ausstellung: Glanz der Macht. Die Wettiner auf dem Thron der polnisch-litauischen Republik
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