Vilnius seminar series do address violence and modernity in Eastern Europe

Throughout the century, Lithuania, like many other European societies, was a ‘shatterzone’ in which different nationalist, liberal, and socialist aspirations clashed, each claiming parts of the region and its people as part of their ‘new orders.’

The seminar series is designed to discuss the latest research on the relationship between different forms of violence and the constitution of modernity in Lithuania and a broader East European region in the 20th century. It aims to generate interdisciplinary discussion by bringing together scholars from various disciplinary and cultural backgrounds.

Our speakers will explore a variety of military, ideological, ethnic, and social conflicts and their impact on social and cultural transformation in Lithuania and other Central and Eastern European societies. We will explore the link between the dynamics of military violence, paramilitary cultures, forced migrations, genocide, social disruptions, and mobilizations.

Special attention will be paid to those groups traditionally perceived as lacking ‘historical agency’ and often unrepresented in dominant historiographies: war refugees, deportees, displaced persons, brutalized soldiers, civilians, and ethnic minorities.

Colloquium Vilnense, Autumn 2014, is jointly organized by Vilnius University’s Faculty of History, European Humanities University’s Faculty of History, and the EHU Center for German Studies with the support of DAAD.

Klaus Richter (Birmingham): Displacement without moving Borders. Territory and population politics in Lithuania

This Wednesday, 19 November, Klaus Richter of Birmingham University will give a paper on “Displacement without Moving: Borders, Territory and Population Politics in Lithuania, 1915–1926”:

The First World War fundamentally changed East Central Europe as independent states emerged from the peripheries of the former continental empires. However, independence was not secured by the November armistice of 1918, but resulted from a longer consolidation process, which included the delimitation of borders by diplomatic and military means, disengagement from the imperial infrastructure and the identification of a population supporting the state.

These policies radically changed the economic, social and cultural context of the local population, as new borders intersected traditional trade networks, free movement was restricted, land expropriated and economic sectors monopolised. The presentation argues that these policies had an alienating effect on parts of the local population which we commonly associate with displacement. Moreover, these policies drew explicitly from experiences made under German military occupation, adopting several of its practices. This will be shown on the example of case studies such as the Vilnius conflict, the annexation of the Klaipėda region, and the Lithuanian land reform.

Vilnius University, History Faculty, Universiteto g. 7/329
Wednesdays, 5pm, free entrance


26 November 2014 | 17.00 | Universiteto g. 7 / 329
Juozapas Paškauskas (Vilnius)
Hooliganism in early 20th-century Vilnius. Social Sources of Violence
Comment: Ričardas Gaidis

2 December 2014 | 17.00 | Universiteto g. 7 / 329
Franziska Exeler (Moscow)
Determining Guilt in Post-Nazi Occupation Soviet Belorussia
Iryna Kashtalian (Minsk)
Family-relations in post-war Belarus
Comment: Irina Romanowa (Vilnius)

10 December 2014 | 17.00 | Universiteto g. 7 / 329
Markus Nesselrodt (Berlin)
Polish-Jewish Displaced Persons and the Story of Survival in the Soviet Union
Violeta Davoliūtė (Vilnius)
Jewish Deportees to the Gulag. Lithuania’s Forgotten Story

4 February 2015 | 17.00 | Universiteto g. 7 / 329
Almira Ousmanova (Vilnius)
Ethics and Poetics of the Moment (of Death)
Natalija Arlauskaitė (Vilnius)
How to look at the Archive of Atrocities

11 February 2015 | 17.00 | Universiteto g. 7 / 329
Michael Galbas (Konstanz/Moskau)
Social Strategies of legitimisation of the Soviet-Afghan war in 21st-century Russia
Felix Ackermann (Vilnius)
Successors to the Great Victory. Afghan Veterans in Post-Soviet Belarus

18 February 2015 | 17.00 | Universiteto g. 7 / 211
Jörg Baberwoski (Berlin)
Khrushchev and the End of Violence
Comment: Saulius Grybkauskas (Vilnius)

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