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Global Imagination after Versailles: Alternative Histories of Social Science in Eastern Europe

Sat, November 23, 12:00 to 1:45pm, San Francisco Marriott Marquis, Floor: LB2, Nob Hill D

Session Submission Type: Roundtable

Brief Description

With the ‘global turn’ in social and humanistic sciences, one often wonders: does Eastern Europe generate ‘world-scale’ ideas? As historians have critically examined geopolitical hierarchies in the making of ‘global knowledge,’ the history of science can be now, in principle, be told from any place where people have reimagined their relationship to a shared global modernity. This panel addresses the salience of this insight for modern Eastern Europe, building on a recently published special issue of Contemporary European History edited by the three panelists (Katherine Lebow, Małgorzata Mazurek and Joanna Wawrzyniak). This roundtable looks at scholarly innovations to tell an alternative history of science. Its point of departure is that post-Versailles Central Eastern and Southeastern Europe – parallel to late imperial Russia and early Soviet Union - were particularly fertile spaces for the production and circulation of social scientific ways of knowing. Our agenda is to recover the radical and world-scale potential of some of these forgotten projects. In this sense, the panel discusses scholars and ideas who have fallen through the cracks of binary ‘cold war’ and ‘center-periphery’ histories, and ethnocentrism. It also considers how the geopolitical shift from a world of empires to one of nation states, which started in the Balkans and East Central Europe in 1918 and continued in dependent and colonial territories after 1945, impacted knowledge globally. The proposed roundtable will explore these global aspects of Eastern European science, bringing together scholars of social and human sciences driven by broader questions of historical epistemology.

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