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Former Soviet Union and East Central Europe (2014)

4th International Summer School

Societies in Transition - Former Soviet Union and East Central Europe between Conflict and Reconciliation, August 22nd - 28th, 2014

From August 22nd to 28th 2014, the International Summer School (ISS) organized by the Jena Center for Reconciliation Studies (JCSR) and the Herder Institute for Historical Research on East Central Europe gave more than 20 participants a platform to present their own research and to work together. The ISS dealt with conflicts and reconciliation in the geographical region of East (Central) Europe from an interdisciplinary perspective. The central question was the possibility of reconciliation processes for and in transitional societies that had recently experienced collapse or any destruction of the internal communication. The International Summer School combined different discussion forms like keynote lectures from theologians, historians, political scientists and sociologists, participants' presentations of ongoing PhD research projects, and also three parallel workshops to deepen some of the topics of reconciliation. The epistemological aspect of the MARTIN LEINER'S lecture conserned the problem of a definition and a name of any actor of reconciliation. LILY GARDNER FELDMAN (Washington) presented during her lecture the main achievements and ideas of the reconciliation politics between Germany and Poland as well as between Russia and Poland. The theme of dealing with a common violent past was in the center of the lecture by JÖRG LÜER (Berlin). He introduce the participants into the complex problems of dealing with conflicting memories and multi-perspective and developing constructive solutions based on concrete experiences made by the Maximilian-Kolbe-Foundation working with internationals groups in Auschwitz. The current situation of Ukraine was amongst others discussed by ANDRE HÄRTEL (Jena) in his lecture "Ukraine ne Rossija". He pointed on the challenges that emerged after 1991 to the Ukrainian statehood and national-building processes. Basides the historical overwiew, he intorduced three levels of analysis - domestic, regional and international. A keynote lecture based on very up-to-date research was delivered by RAISA BARASH (Moscow) on the divided ethno-national groups in Russia. The central research questions addressed were about Russia identity and the discourse of divided people. INA ALBER (Marburg) tried to summarieze the outcomes of the summer school focusing mainly on the framework of reconciliation.   
Another important factor was the personal experience of the participants, almost all of them were originally from Eastern European or post-Soviet states, so the issues like the historical past, reconciliation and transitional justice in this region were always analyzed through the introspective perspective of personal or family experience of living in this region, full of the historical dramas and personal tragedies.

The workshops provided ample opportunities for in-depth debate among the participants. Every participant attended one workshop and chose between the following topics:

  1. "Reconciliation and collective trauma and memory - A Trans-disciplinary Approach" (Thesnaar)
  2. "Feeling 'Out-of-Place': A Narrative of Indigenous Australia" (Tolliday)
  3. a) Dealing with multi-perceptivity. Momories between Conflict and Reconciliation. Experiences from the work of the Maximilian-Kolbe-Foundation in Oswiecim/Auschwitz (Lüer)
    b) Transitional Justice in East Central Europe in international and comparative perspective (Palme)

Further information:

  1. Evaluation of the ISS 2014
  2. Conference Report
  3. Programme
  4. Workshops
  5. Poster