[spectre] (fwd) CFP: Modernism and Censorship in Eastern Europe (Bussels, 5-6 Sep 22)

Andreas Broeckmann broeckmann at leuphana.de
Wed May 18 08:00:33 CEST 2022

From: Kamila Kocialkowska
Date: May 17, 2022
Subject: CFP: Modernism and Censorship in Eastern Europe (Bussels, 5-6 
Sep 22)

Université libre de Bruxelles, Brussels, Belgium, Sep 5–06, 2022
Deadline: Jul 1, 2022

Cracks in the Canon: Modernism and Censorship in Eastern Europe

The institutions of censorship and modernism are often typecast as 
battling forces within twentieth-century culture. They are routinely 
situated at opposing ends on the spectrum of communication: the creative 
effort to expand language versus the oppressive effort to curtail it; 
the individual versus the establishment; the advance of art versus its 
elimination. Yet, recent research problematises these binaries, 
revealing a more nuanced and reciprocal relationship between exponents 
of modernism and agents of cultural control. Eastern European history 
provides rich case studies for this topic, albeit ones which are still 
regularly reduced to stereotype.

Exploring art, literature, film, and the complex censorial apparatus 
surrounding their creation from the late nineteenth century to the 
1960s, this conference explores how both ‘soft’ and ‘hard’ censorship 
operated as a formative force within modernist culture. Drawing on the 
methodological tools and approaches of the New Censorship Theory, we aim 
to break simplistic binaries and condemnatory categories in order to 
challenge notions of top-down, state repressive force in favour of more 
productive conceptions of censorship that increasingly see it as 
integrated and secondary to impersonal, structural forms, such as the 
market. Repositioning ‘state censors as actors internal to communication 
networks, and not as external, accidental features’ invites 
opportunities for revisiting entrenched stereotypes of both official and 
unofficial censorship.

This conference ultimately seeks to recast censorship in the Eastern 
Europe not as a crushing boot stamping out the rich potential of 
modernist creation but as a messy companion to it, kicking along 
content, crafting meaning, complicating things.

Possible topics and panels will include:

The Unsayable
(Modernism’s long engagement with the aesthetics of obscenity; artists’ 
encounters with the scandalous, the taboo; efforts to control and define 
outer limits of acceptability)

Reimagining repression
(New paradigms for studying censorship, foregrounding not its acts of 
prohibition, silencing, and erasure, but its capacity to act as a 
generative force producing new forms of discourse and communication).

The Aesthetics of Evasion
(Creative strategies for evading censorship throughout modernism: 
handmade books, the small press, self-publishing (Samizdat), 
international export (Tamizdat), censorial evasion through stylistic 

The Art Market as Arbitrator (The art market as a structural system for 
content-control; ways in which economic forces incite selective 
silences; authenticating authenticity, identifying forgeries, and 
understanding market demand as an adjudicating force for cultural 

Collusion & Complicity (Hidden histories of modernism’s productive 
engagement with censorial restriction: editorial exchange, Aesopian 
language, subversive mimicry; studies of ways in which external 
restriction could stimulate experiment; internalisation of censorship 
norms as a constitutive feature of modernism).

Censorship networks (Expanding the understanding of actors involved in 
censorship beyond authoritarian figures, encounters with policing and 
publishing forums; censorship legislation; how works were written, 
revised, published and performed in relation to this complex web of 
social forces)

Law and Literature
(The relation between law and fiction; how authors address their 
confrontation with censorship, and how they imagine and represent 
censorial authority in fiction; attempts by writers and legal scholars 
to defend literature on free speech principles)

Censorship and cinema
(Studies on censorship in film, audience accessibility, various forms of 
‘banning’ or curtailing dissemination, practices of regulating, 
trimming, and tailoring films)

Ministries of Truth
(Explores the enduring appeal of Orwellian tropes of censorship; how 
1984 has consolidated a specific image of censorship in public 
consciousness, appropriation and adaption of ‘Orwellian’ as a critique 
of cultural control)

Expressions of interest are welcome by July 1, 2022 at: Modernism 
Censorship ULB Conference <modernismcensorship at gmail.com>.

Please send your abstract (200w and a short CV including a list of main 
relevant publications).

Accepted speakers will be notified by 10 of July. The conference will 
reimburse hotel accommodation for the selected number of participants.

Reference / Quellennachweis:
CFP: Modernism and Censorship in Eastern Europe (Bussels, 5-6 Sep 22). 
In: ArtHist.net, May 17, 2022. <https://arthist.net/archive/36720>.


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