[CZE] Balkan Express 2017: The Invisible, the Overlooked, the Forgotten

Call for papers:
Conference “Balkan Express 2017: The Invisible, the Overlooked, the Forgotten”

December 1-2, 2017

Location: Dum narodnostnich mensin (The House of National Minorities), Vocelova 602/3, Prague 2, Czech Republic

Organized by the Faculty of Humanities, Charles University in cooperation with the Institute of International Relaions, Faculty of Social Sciences, Charles University, Prague

Languages: English, Czech, Slovak (simultaneous translation will be provided)

Deadline: October 31, 2017

Online application: https://goo.gl/forms/RDVBNBX9Z77xRRE42
Email: konference.balkan@gmail.com
Website: www.rakijatour.cz/balkan-express/
Facebook: www.facebook.com/KonferenceBalkan

Organising committee:
PhDr. Mirjam Moravcova, DrSc.; PhDr. Dana Bittnerova, CSc;.
Frantisek Sistek, M.A., Ph.D.; Mgr. Marketa Slavkova, Ph.D.; Mgr. Ivana Skenderija

We cordially invite you to the 4th International Balkan Studies conference, another stop of the Balkan Express, organized this year by the Faculty of Humanities in cooperation with the Institute of International Studies, Faculty of Social Sciences (Charles University in Prague, Czech Republic). This year’s event is focused on topics of significant importance to social reality in the Balkans which have often been neglected in academic discourse to date. We wish to draw attention to invisible or marginalized social groups in the Balkans, including ethnic minorities and others who are overlooked, forgotten. We welcome contributions focusing on the people, events, and processes which continue to shape Balkan dynamics.

The problematics of “social invisibility” also raise important questions about social exclusion, one of the most pressing issues in the world today, emerging from marginalization and systematic overlooking or even failing to remember/forgetting specific groups or individuals. The Balkans are home to a wide range of marginalized groups – not just so-called ethnic, national, and religious minorities or immigrants and refugees but also others including individuals who are poor, homeless, orphaned, partnerless, or veterans of war. At this conference, we wish to explore phenomena which we ourselves have deemed unimportant or too sensitive in the past.

The central theme this year is thus “invisible Balkans.” The word invisible evokes multiple meanings and, we
hope, encourages submissions on both familiar and ignored topics across a broad field of studies. We ask
three primary questions around the central theme: What don’t we see and what don’t we want to see (i.e.,
what do we overlook), or what we have stopped seeing (forgotten) when we consider the Balkans? These
three kinds of “blindness” refer to three different levels of considering invisibility in the region.

What we don’t see refers to the history of Balkan Studies. What topics have previously been avoided, and
why? What are the origins of our investigative blind spots, and what impact has their absence had on
academic discourse about the region? How are new themes emerging and developing? With this question, we
wish to encourage discussion about new topics, paradigms, and methodological approaches to contemporary
Balkan Studies.

What we don’t want to see focuses solely on the social reality of the Balkans as such, including taboos and
aspects, including artifacts, of life in the Balkans which for some reason have not (or are not supposed to
have) been seen.

What we have stopped seeing, forgotten takes us back to Balkan Studies as a science in the context of
overseeing something or someone. With this thread, we welcome submissions discussing aspects of life,
phenomena, or social actors clearly visible in the past and which influenced the character of the region but
which now have lost meaning. The dilemma of visibility in the past and invisibility in present can involve life strategies, memories, and relations to important figures or events.

We invite contributions from anthropology, ethnology, philosophy, history, political science, psychology,
sociology, and other disciplines, and particularly welcome discussions of “lost” topics crucial in the past, those which deal with taboos, and those which encourage rethinking the dynamics of social and cultural
development in today’s Balkans and which deepen our understanding of the region’s people.

Our conference is international and we allow submissions in three languages: English, Czech, and Slovak.
Presentations in Czech and Slovak will be simultaneously translated into English at the event. In addition to a rich program, the conference will also provide a glimpse into Balkan culture with food, photography, film, and music.