"Transformation in European History. Preconditions – Processes – Perceptions"
6th Annual Graduate Conference in European History (GRACEH), Vienna, May
organized by the University of Vienna (Universität Wien,
in cooperation with the Central European University (CEU), Budapest and
the European University Institute (EUI), Florence
The “transicion” of political systems in Southern Europe and Latin America
since the 1970s and the revolutionary changes in Central and Eastern
Europe in 1989/91 have resulted in the rise of “transformation studies” in
social sciences. The term transformation is commonly understood as the
politically steered transition from communist dictatorship to democracy,
from a planned to a market economy, and from a closed to an open society.
In contrast to this teleological reading the 6th GRACEH conference intends
to explore a historical approach to transformation. A very broad working
definition of the term would characterize transformation as a “period of
especially intense and accelerated structural changes on a political,
social, economic, and cultural level” that were caused by major political
and social upheavals such as the breakdown of the continental empires in
1918, the French Revolution in the late 18th century, or the Reformation.
Unlike the social sciences, we wish to broaden the application as far back
as to the beginning of modern age. In what way can this concept of
transformation be applied to contemporary, modern and early modern
contexts? What kind of adjustments of the concept are required for the
historicization of transformation?
The following three key aspects will serve as guiding questions throughout
– Which preconditions lead to periods of transformation? Which triggers,
causes and turning points can be identified?
– On which levels does transformation occur? How can the complexity of
transformation processes be analyzed without being trapped in teleological
– How is transformation perceived and interpreted by internal and external
observers? How do transformation discourses influence the process itself?
The conference invites postgraduate and early career researchers in
history and related disciplines to submit their papers dealing with this
broad concept of transformation on the basis of textual and visual sources
from the modern age onward. The proposals should consider and discuss
political, social, and cultural dimensions, causes, evolution and
perceptions of transformation. In order to enrich the discussion the
Graceh organizers have invited Gudrun Gersmann (DHI Paris/Universität
Köln) and Christian Gerlach (Universität Bern) as external keynote
We look forward to receiving submissions on topics including but not
limited to the following research areas:
– Continuity and discontinuity in transformation periods
– Agents of transformation
– Transfers and transnational dimensions of transformation
– Synchronic and diachronic comparative approaches for a history of
– Historical source material of transformation research
– Macro- and microhistorical approaches to transformation
– Legitimizations of transformation such as nation building, independence,
liberty, and economical welfare, social movements, social network
analysis, gender issues
The main conference language is English.
The conference has no registration fee. We offer logistic help to find
good and low budget accommodation near the University of Vienna. A limited
part of the travel cost for external participants can be covered on the
basis of individual request (if you like to apply for a stipend, please
provide documentation about your economic situation).
Please submit your proposal of max. 300 words and your CV by using the
application form to graceh2012. You can download the
application form on the congress website:
Deadline for submission: January 15, 2012
If your proposal is accepted by the program committee, you are expected to
submit a paper (5-10 pages) no later than April 1, 2012. For further
information on the GRACEH 2012, please consult the congress website.
The GRACEH 2012 program committee: Katharina Ebner, Sandra Hertel, Florian
Kührer, Rafael Prehsler, David Pruonto, Marion Romberg, Burkhard Wöller,
Prof. Philipp Ther, Prof. Wolfgang Schmale
For further questions, please contact the organizers by e-mail:
Congress website: http://www.univie.ac.at/graceh2012.