[spectre] CFP: Ecologies of decay [ruination/(post)socialist] (London, 16-17 Jun 22)

Andreas Broeckmann broeckmann at leuphana.de
Fri Apr 1 09:31:07 CEST 2022

From: Dimitra Gkitsa
Date: Mar 31, 2022
Subject: CFP: Ecologies of decay (London, 16-17 Jun 22)

School of Slavonic and East European Studies, UCL, London, Jun 16–17, 2022
Deadline: May 7, 2022

Ecologies of decay: Modern ruination in the global (post)socialist 

The post-socialist reality in East Europe profoundly changed the rural 
and urban settlements. Abandoned factories, vacant villages, unfinished 
housing projects, decline and abandonment are some common threads that 
appear in post-socialist rural and urban landscapes. 
De-industrialisation and the post-1990s capitalist rules left small 
towns and villages empty and decayed. In the former socialist countries 
of Africa, Latin America, and south-east Asia rural and urban decline 
has also been linked with the history of colonial expansion, the 
destruction of nature, and racial violence. While some communities have 
embraced spatial regeneration trends, others remain ruined, 
marginalised, and declined. This project takes ruination both as a 
metaphor and as an actual reality to theorise the social and political 
transformations that have occurred in the global peripheries at the 
aftermath of socialist modernity. The visual and material state of 
ruination reflects both the end of the socialist modernity and the 
failed promises for prosperity which never came with the transition to 
global capitalism.

Ruins are concrete spaces of abandonment, forgotten material remnants, 
decayed sites and objects from another past. Here, abandonment is 
clearly not something momentary that occurred in a specific temporal 
framework but rather a continuing process – a ruin always in the making 
which can offer a framework to understand the very process of decay. 
Ruins can also be a critical position and standpoint to capture the 
functioning and withering of discourses and experiences located on the 
margins and the back alleys of mainstream modernity. This research 
symposium aims to open a critical discussion on the entanglements of 
decay, bringing in closer proximity the local and the global 
post-socialist peripheries.

How was the socialist modernity and its ideology materialised in the 
global rural and urban territories? What are the social and political 
transformations that have occurred in the post-socialist villages and 
towns after socialist projects? In what ways can the material and visual 
ruination of rural spaces capture the collective memories of local 

Reflecting on the above question the conference will bring together 
practitioners, activists, artists, architects, community organisers, and 
researchers from all disciplines who work with any aspects of modern 
ruination and rural/urban decline. Themes and topics of discussion 
during the conference include, but are not limited to, the following:

- rural and/or urban decline
- visual art practices and rural/urban decline
- visual and material cultures of modern ruins
- socialism and post-socialism in global peripheries
- transformations of rural architecture and landscape
- collective memory
- post-industrialism and de-industrialisation
- progress, utopias, modernity and its aftermath
- aspects of labour
- decolonisation

If you are interested in submitting a paper, please send a 250-word 
abstract and a short biographical note to Dimitra Gkitsa at 
d.gkitsa at ucl.ac.uk by 7 May 2022. Decisions on the papers will be 
announced on the 13 May 2022.

The conference will take place in person at the School of Slavonic and 
East European Studies in London. There is no registration fee. The 
conference does not cover travel or accommodation expenses.

Confirmed keynote contributions:
Dace Dzenovska, Associate Professor in the Anthropology of Migration, 
School of Anthropology and Museum, University of Oxford
Deana Jovanović, Assistant Professor of Cultural Anthropology, Utrecht 
Larisa Kurtović, Associate Professor of Anthropology, School of 
Sociological and Anthropological Studies, University of Ottawa

The conference is funded by the UCL SSEES FRINGE Centre.

Reference / Quellennachweis:
CFP: Ecologies of decay (London, 16-17 Jun 22). In: ArtHist.net, Mar 31, 
2022. <https://arthist.net/archive/36281>.

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