“History Goes Pop? On the Popularization of the Past in Eastern European Cultures” (Conference, 10.-12.12.19)

Vom 10.12. bis 12.12.2019 findet an der Europa-Universität Viadrina in Frankfurt (Oder) der Workshop: “History Goes Pop? On the Popularization of the Past in Eastern European Cultures” statt – in Kooperation mit dem Leibniz-Zentrum für Kultur- und Literaturforschung

Interessierte sind herzlich Willkommen!

Organizers: Nina Weller (European University Viadrina, Frankfurt (Oder)), Matthias Schwartz (Leibniz Center for Literary and Cultural Research and Free University, Berlin)

Venue: Europa-Universität Viadrina, Gräfin-Dönhoff-Gebäude, Raum 05, Europaplatz 1, 15230 Frankfurt (Oder)

Date: December 10-12, 2019

Popular cultural media today play an important role in the reconstruction of collective imaginations of history. Mainstream films, novels, comics, multimedia messaging apps, television series, computer games and music videos generate, revise, perpetuate, dismantle or question common notions of the past, and thus contribute to an affectively charged visualization and virtualization thereof. The popularization of historical images and narratives shapes and reassembles collective memory cultures to an even greater extent than state politics, school textbooks or museum exhibitions do.

Ten years ago, a volume edited by Barbara Korte and Sylvia Paletschek titled “History Goes Pop” dealt exclusively with similar phenomena in western popular media and genres. Our workshop aims to continue this approach and analyze such representations from a comparative perspective focusing on examples from Belarusian, German, Hungarian, Russian and Ukrainian cultures. We are interested in the role of globalized popular media in post-Soviet space and the way in which they relate to national forms of memory culture and state history policy: Do they reinforce or undermine the competition in memory politics that arose between the three countries after the collapse of the Soviet Union? In particular, we will discuss which historical events are in the center of attention and which media formats contribute the most to revising representations of the past in Eastern Europe. What strategies of dramatization, emotionalization and personalization of historical events do these media products offer, and to what extent do they manage to update older Soviet or even pre-Soviet (national) narratives and imaginations? Conversely, we need to ask what the marketing and commercialization of historical discourses suggest about a changing approach to the past in times of increasingly globalized media cultures.


Tuesday, 10 Dec 2019


Opening of the Conference (Closed Meeting)

Wednesday, 11 Dec 2019

9.30 Welcome


Panel I: Transforming the Soviet Past: Popular Photographic and Cinematic Devices

Moderation: Erik Martin (EUV, Frankfurt (Oder))

Olga Shparaga (ECLAB, Minsk): From External to Inner Contradictions. The Soviet Past in Belarusian Photography

Yaraslava Ananka (Universität Innsbruck): Catherine the Little and Crimean Puppets. From Vandalism to Voodoo in Ukrainian Popular Culture


Panel II: Reinventing the Soviet Subject: Audio-visual Representations of Collective Belongings

Moderation Nina Frieß (ZOiS, Berlin)

Оlga Romanova (ECLAB, Minsk): Deconstructing the “Soviet Man” in Belarussian Films of the Perestroika Period and the Early 1990s (in Russian)

Matthias Schwartz (ZfL/ FU Berlin): Reconstructing the “Soviet People”. Entertaining History Narratives in the TV Series “Sluga Naroda”


Keynote Lecture

Moderation: Matthias Schwartz (ZfL / FU, Berlin)

Jerome De Groot (University of Manchester): “Do You Ever Think how Different Life Could Be if You Could Change One Thing?. Experimental and Counterfactual Historical Fictions (via Skype)

Panel III: Narrating Violence: Imagined and Actual War Stories in Popular Fiction


Moderation: Clemens Günther (FU, Berlin)

Maria Galina (Novy Mir Magazine, Moscow): Speculative Military Fiction in Post-Soviet Russian Literature. Themes and Tendencies (2000-2014)

Tanya Zaharchenko (University of Oslo): Reading the Wound. Trauma and War Literature in Ukraine

18.30 Reception & Snack /Foyer/Senatssaal

20.00 Panel Discussion / Book Presentation (in German/Russian)

Sirens of War. Populism, Politics of History and the Ukrainian-Russian Conflict

With Roman Dubasevych (Greifswald), Vakhtang Kebuladze (Kyiv), Igor Sid (Moscow)

Moderator: Matthias Schwartz, Interpreter: Yurko Prokhasko

Venue: Europa-Universität Viadrina, Senatssaal (Raum 109), Große Scharrnstraße 59, 15230 Frankfurt (Oder)

Thursday, 12 Dec 2019


Panel IV: Post-Soviet Identity Formations: Strategies of Appropriating History

Moderation: Nikolai Okunew (ZZF, Potsdam)

Aleksey Bratochkin (ECLAB, Minsk): “Our history”: How Belorusian History and Identity Became Part of the Global “Experience Economy”

Karin Reichenbach (Universität Leipzig): Slavic Myth and Rright-Wing Extremism in Eastern European Popular Cultures of History


Panel V: Mainstream Sites of Memory: Consuming and Occupying Past Events

Moderation: Bodo Mrozek (Berlin Center for Cold War Studies, IfZ)

Stephan Krause (GWZO, Leipzig): “What Was Outside?” Popular Film(hi)stories of 1956 in Hungary

Oleksandr Zabirko (Universität Bochum): Fictionalized Eurasianism: Lev Gumilev’s Ideas of History in Popular Russian Literature after 2000


Moderation: Nina Weller (EUV, Frankfurt (Oder)

Roman Dubasevych (Universität Greifswald): Mummified Subversion. Reconstructions of Soviet Rock Underground in Contemporary Russian Cinema

15.30-16.00 Concluding Remarks & Discussion

Dr. Nina Weller: weller@europa-uni.de
Dr. Matthias Schwartz: schwartz@zfl-berlin.org

Cite this blog post
Nina Weller (2019, December 10). “History Goes Pop? On the Popularization of the Past in Eastern European Cultures” (Conference, 10.-12.12.19). PopHistory. Retrieved June 19, 2024, from https://doi.org/10.58079/sz6i

Nina Weller

Nina Weller is a postdoctoral researcher at the European University Viadrina in Frankfurt (Oder), Germany. Her research interests include contemporary literature, popular culture, memory and representations of history in the post-Soviet countries. Her current project emphasizes (post-memorial) narratives and images of WWII in Belarusian, Russian and Ukrainian literature and film

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