ΘΕΜΑΤΙΚΗ - THEME OF THE CONFERENCE
The primary aim of this international conference is to re-think and discuss the multiple diversities and heterogeneities of Balkan identities –in their mutual, albeit uneven, mirrorings with "the West." Special emphasis will be given to direct or indirect attempts to re-formulate or de-authorize externally determined fictions of national closure and affirmation. We would like to explore the dynamic of such dialogic processes of identity constitution and de-constitution, recognition and mis-recognition, as they have unraveled in a geopolitical area paradoxically imagined as homogeneous and fractured, at the same time.
The historical framework of our discussion will be loosely shaped by the ideologically, culturally, politically, and discursively determined moments of nationalization (i.e. the emergence and formulation of nation-states following the breakup of the Ottoman Empire), the era of grand ideologies, the crisis and resurgence of nationalisms, and the ongoing globalization or the new imperial sovereignty. In light of historically specific moments of violence and trauma, the interwoven notions of nation, nationalism, and narration, but also community, citizenship, territorialization, belonging, and otherness will shape the conceptual framework of our exploration.
The conference intends to emphasize the divergences among different Balkan nations and narratives (or, nations-as-narratives) as well as the distinct processes of their envisioning, imagining, and contacting "the West" -as processes of translatability or untranslatability. The conference will invite reflection on the ways through which different "locales" shape or make up cultural texts, identities, representations, and idioms of community and territory in response to dominant nationally-defined social, cultural, and textual narratives of "the West." How are such processes of identification -in all their autonomous or heteronomous implications- affected by the idea of "the West" as the primary locus of Modernity and thus the primary political and cultural interlocutor of "the Rest"? How are these identifications and dis-identifications shaped by concomitant ideas of dominance and deficiency -in the realms of political economy or cultural production?
The conference will center its search on the different ways in which the so-called national literatures and cultures have been in contact and communication with emblematic ideological configurations and cultural movements of "the West" (i.e. Enlightenment, Romanticism, modern literary and political movements and collectivities, etc.). It would be also necessary to trace the particular historical, political, cultural, linguistic, geographical, national, and religious conditions that have effected all these different modes of conversation and communication -the different intonations and crescendos, the multiple noises and silences.
The particular role that specific institutions, agencies, and epistemologies
have been playing in such multi-faceted encounters will be examined
as well. The conference intends to trace the solitary routes, crossings,
and contact zones of the Balkan geopolitical and imaginary topos -in
all its flexible plurality- vis-a-vis the West in the fields of language,
literature, culture, and society; these fields constitute the conference's
main epistemological components.