International Conference, October 2-3, 2014, Villa Lanna, Prague (V sadech 1, Praha 6)
The Department for the Study of Late Socialism and Post-Socialism, Institute of Contemporary History, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic; and the Department for the Study of Modern Czech Philosophy, Philosophy Institute, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic
1989 was a year of democratic revolutions and the fall of “real socialism” in Central Europe. Did it signal the end of revolutionary regimes and the beginning of a “restoration,” or rather the replacement of worn-out communist revolutions with a new, neoliberal revolution? Or, considering the nonviolent character of the events, did they really constitute a revolution at all?
All modern political identities and ideological currents are marked by their attitudes toward the phenomenon of revolution and toward various historical revolutionary models. The chief aim of this conference is to historicize the democratic revolutions of 1989 in Czechoslovakia and East-Central Europe, moving beyond the dominant “transitological” understanding of these revolutions in terms of the “End of Communism” and the “Beginning of Democracy.” This historicization will be achieved by scrutinizing historical accounts and contemporary reflections of observers and actors involved in the revolutions. These reflections were not merely spontaneous observations. They were a part of long-term intellectual and conceptual developments, firmly rooted in specific cultural and political tendencies, expert cultures, and contexts, which not only helped to structure a general understanding of the historical changes but also shaped ideas about the future, which in turn helped to set the foundations for emerging political culture in the region. In other words, we would like to ask how certain interpretations of the European and global revolutionary experience influenced understandings (and self-understandings) of the revolutions of 1989.
The conference will focus on the following themes: