понедельник, 31 января 2011 г.

Social Sciences, Humanities and Higher Education in Eastern Europe after 1991

The European Humanities University (EHU), and the Center for Advanced Studies and Education, welcome submissions for our international conference – "Social Sciences, Humanities and Higher Education in Eastern Europe after 1991" – to be held in Vilnius, 14-16 June 2011.

The conference will be a consolidated reflection on the development of social sciences, humanities and education over twenty years in Eastern Europe. The dramatic events of 1989-1991, coinciding with substantial social changes in the world as a whole, forced the Eastern European intellectual community to respond to a number of urgent challenges. The conditions of survival of fragments of the formerly monolithic and unified system of science and education were significantly different, which inevitably led to different strategies of adaptation. The goal of the conference is not merely the reconstruction of the general picture of this era of change, but rather to provide a critical analysis of transformation processes and to attempt to sketch in possible trends in future development.

The crash of the socialist system and Marxist ideology resulted in a collapse of communist social theory. What has filled this vacuum that suddenly appeared? To what extent was the gap bridged between “communist” and “bourgeois” concepts formed over decades? How has the language of social sciences and humanities changed? And to what extent is it now sufficient as a means of scholarly communication beyond the post-socialist space? What theoretical models could be useful for Eastern European countries, taking into account that Western social theory is not able to cope with its own challenges of modernity?

The disintegration of the Soviet Union and other socialist states challenged intellectual communities to construct adequate modern projects of nation-building. Social sciences, humanities and education were given a leading role in the revival of national identity and national languages. How far have scholars fulfilled this mission? In what way do their practices of working with post-colonial traumas relate to ideas of democracy and the principles of civil society?

The commercialization of higher education has primarily affected the spheres of social sciences and humanities. The mass training of lawyers, economists, diplomats, psychologists, etc. has had a strongly negative impact on the quality of education. In turn, this has resulted in a decline in prestige and a devaluation not only of the social sciences and humanities, but of higher education in general. Are there mechanisms to counter these trends? Are there current examples of the successful management of quality in education in the fields of social sciences and humanities? What forms of education development are able to respond to new trends in the area of knowledge? What is the role of network universities, and the European Humanities University in particular, in these processes?

Post-communist reality has led to the erosion of old forms of research management within Academies of Sciences. A number of parallel and alternative projects provoked ever-increasing fragmentation of intellectual communities. What is the destiny of research institutions of the soviet era? Are there successful models of modernization of this sector? What role do scholarly journals play in transformations of social sciences and humanities? To what extent do academic periodicals contribute to the development of intellectual communities?

In the past twenty years the context of the individual academic career has substantially changed. In a number of post-socialist states soviet institutions like the Higher Attestation Committee (or VAK) still play an enormous role in academic life. Should VAK be transformed or eliminated altogether? How is the quality of research to be maintained if so?

Suggested panels:

  • The languages of social sciences and humanities: a regional context to the European outlook
  • Codes of interdisciplinarity: views on cooperation between the social sciences and humanities
  • Language, identity and education in Eastern Europe after 1991: (re)constructing of national identity
  • Higher education and the knowledge society: practices of transformation under
    conditions of uncertainty
  • Network universities in the context of the new agenda of the knowledge society: the case of EHU
  • After the Academy (of Science): the destinies of learned institutions in post-soviet Eastern Europe

Researchers and educators from Eastern Europe, as well as Western specialists concerned with current transformations in social sciences and humanities

Conference language: English

Application submission
Conference participants should send the application form (below), an abstract of 250 words and a CV to research.division@ehu.lt

Abstract Submission Deadline: March 30, 2011
Successful applicants will be notified by April 11, 2011

Terms and conditions
There is no registration fee.
Conference organizers will cover the participants’ expenses for accommodation and some meals.
The European Humanities University will assist the participants in obtaining their visas.

Contact us for further information: research.division@ehu.lt

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