One of the core activities of the Association for Slavic, East European,and Eurasian Studies
(formerly the American Association for the Advancement of Slavic Studies) is the annual convention. Held in the fall, the convention takes place each year in a different city and is generally hosted by one of the Association's regional affiliates. This international forum makes possible a broad exchange of information and ideas, stimulating further work and sustaining the intellectual vitality of the field.
The 43rd Annual Convention
of the Association will be held in Washington, DC, from Thursday, November 17, to Sunday, November 20, 2011 at the Omin Shoreham Hotel
The theme of the 2011 convention is: "Authorities". It is explained as follows:
"Across the disciplines, scholars have long recognized the fundamental distinction between power and authority, between the exercise of actual force and the considerable array of techniques employed by those who carry and those who seek to carry influence. Power and authority do not always coincide, but most who hold power would like them to. In everyday conversation, "the authorities" might signal the state, but they are just as often the kinds of actors who authorize all manner of social and cultural capital, be they religious leaders, knowledge experts, fiction writers, news anchors, or film directors.
This year's convention theme invites reflection on the multiform characteristics and practices of authority across Slavic, East European, and Eurasian realms. At the political level, since the end of socialism, scholars have aimed to make sense of democratization in a variety of political and seemingly apolitical contexts. What kinds of authority have leaders been drawing on to claim power, and what are the sources of their legitimacy?
In recent years, the formerly socialist world has seen the rise or renovation of remarkably inventive authoritarian regimes, lending particular concern to questions of citizenship, human rights, and sovereign forms. From Motherland to Fatherland, and from empire, state, and nation, between prophets and gods, presidents and prime ministers, from clergy to military, and in the idiom of the family itself: Where are the changing practices and ideologies authorizing these political and social systems?
Beyond a fundamental interest in new technologies of power, we are most interested in the changing forms of authority experienced in and cultivated throughout everyday life: in the statistics and standards generated to explain economic transitions; in the popular iconographies of flags, coin, song, and screen; and especially in the vast literary field consumed by reading publics.
As millions of readers have attested, under socialism "authorship" and authority were tied in key ways: the former Soviet bloc had rates of literacy among the highest in the world, and writers could attain the status of cult figures. In this context we ask: What is the role of authorship and authority across changing historical landscapes and changing symbolic economies? Where are today's writers turning as knowledge practices move in a myriad of new directions, relying on media forms well beyond print and television into digital, internet, and new visual cultures? What roles are these media playing across this world area, and in what ways might they recall transformations of old?"
So it looks like participants will have a lot of interesting aspects to debate.