Graduate School for East and Southeast European Studies

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Displacements - Virtual Conference

Three Graduate School members contribute to the 2018 Biennial Meeting of the Society for Cultural Anthropology


The Graduate School for East and Southeast European Studies is proud to have been represented at the 2018 Biennial Meeting of the Society for Cultural Anthropology by the doctoral students Eva-Maria Walther and Andrey Vozyanov as well as by postdoc Čarna Brković. All three delivered papers in the "Ambivalences of Displacement in Eastern Europe" panel discussion on April 20th. For the first time, the Biennial Meeting takes place as a virtual event.

From Thursday, April 19th to Saturday, April 21st, 2018 the Displacements Virtual Conference will showcase engaging and evocative panels and multimedia presentations from anthropologists, filmmakers, social scientists, artists, community activists and more, sharing research conducted and experiences from more than 40 different countries. Please visit the Displacements Conference program page for the full schedule.

The panel "Ambivalences of Displacement in Eastern Europe" saw presentations by three members of the Graduate School:

Who Wants to Go to Slovakia? Frustration and Success in Slovakia’s Refugee Admission
Eva-Maria Walther, doctoral student in Regensburg, is currently researching "Entangled Opponents:Tolerance and Nationalism in Slovakia.

“Thank you but”: Mercy and Disgrace of Second-Hand Trams in Peripheral Europe
Andrey Vozyanov, doctoral student in Regensburg, is currently researching "Infrastructures in Trouble: Tramway, Trolleybus and Society in Ukraine and Romania after 1990".

Everyday Life of a “Homo Sacer”
Dr. Čarna Brković, postdoctoral researcher in Regensburg, is currently researching her project "Between Compassion and Social Justice: Humanitarianism in Montenegro during and after the Socialist Federative Republic of Yugoslavia (SFRY)".

The panel was completed by Ana Croegaert, Ph.D. (University of New Orleans) and Aida Šehović (Bronx Museum), who both presented the paper "Aida’s First Coffee".

Conference Concept

Displacements are in the air: episodes of profound political upheaval, intensified crises of migration and expulsion, the disturbing specter of climatic and environmental instability, countless virtual shadows cast over the here and now by ubiquitous media technologies. What does it mean to live and strive in the face of such movements? What social and historical coordinates are at stake with these challenges? And what kind of understanding can anthropology contribute to the displacements of this time—given, especially, that our most essential techniques like ethnography are themselves predicated on the heuristic value of displacement, on what can be gleaned from the experience of unfamiliar circumstances?

Exclusionary politics of spatial displacement always depend on rhetorical and imaginative displacements of various kinds: a person for a category, or a population for a problem. In the face of such moves, the critical task of ethnography is often to muster contrary displacements of thought, attention, imagination and sensation. What forms of social and political possibility might be kindled by anthropological efforts to broach unexpected places, situations, and stories? This conference invites such prospects in tangible form, as experiences of what is elsewhere and otherwise. This is a meeting that will itself displace the conventional modes of gathering, taking place wherever its participants individually and collectively tune in.

For the first time, in 2018, the Biennial Meeting of the Society for Cultural Anthropology will take place as a virtual event. Air travel is one of the fastest growing sources of greenhouse gas emissions worldwide, and one of the chief ways that an academic livelihood contributes to carbon pollution. We are exploring the virtual conference format with the ideal of carbon-conscious activity in mind, taking inspiration from prior such efforts. This format will also enable broader geographical participation, most especially against the backdrop of a political climate of unequal restrictions on international travel. We hope, too, that the web-based media platform we are developing for the conference will allow for novel explorations of expressive form in anthropology.

For further information please see the conference website: Displacements