Global Imagination after Versailles: Alternative Histories of Science in Modern Eastern Europe

Event Location: 
Marshall D. Shulman Seminar Room, 1219 International Affairs Building, 420 W. 118 St., New York, NY 10027
Date from: 
2019-11-21 18:15:00
Date to: 
2019-11-21 18:15:00

Please join the East Central European Center at the Harriman Institute for a roundtable discussing Contemporary European History 28, a special issue on post-Versailles human and social sciences in Eastern Europe with historian Eugenia Lean, and the co-editors of the volume, Katherine Lebow, Małgorzata Mazurek, and Joanna Wawrzyniak.


Eugenia Lean, Director of the Weatherhead East Asian Institute; Associate Professor of Chinese history, Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures, Columbia University

Katherine Lebow, Professor of Modern History, University of Oxford

Małgorzata Mazurek, Associate Professor of Polish Studies, Department of History, Columbia University

Joanna Wawrzyniak, Associate Professor at the Institute of Sociology, University of Warsaw

With the ‘global turn’ in social and humanistic sciences, one often wonders: does Eastern Europe generate ‘world-scale’ ideas? As historians have critically examined center-periphery frameworks and geopolitical hierarchies in the making of ‘global knowledge,’ the history of science can be now, in principle, be told from any place where people have reimagined their relationship to a shared global modernity. This panel addresses the salience of this insight for modern Eastern Europe, building on a recently published special issue of Contemporary European History. The issue looks at scholarly innovations in Eastern Europe to tell an alternative history of science. Its point of departure is that post-Versailles Eastern, Central and Southeastern Europe was a particularly fertile space for the production and circulation of social scientific ways of knowing. Its aim is to recover the radical and world-scale potential of some of these forgotten projects and scholars to challenge perceptions of Eastern European science as an exclusively ethnocentric project.

The issue also considers how the geopolitical shift from a world of empires to one of nation states, which started in the Balkans and East Central Europe in 1918 and continued in dependent and colonial territories after 1945, impacted knowledge globally. Finally, it explores the entanglement between local and global aspects science, bringing together historians driven by broader questions of ‘historical epistemology.’ The special issue of Contemporary European History will be available on-line. The roundtable will focus on the introduction in particular, but also include discussion on the volume as a whole.

Contact Name: 
Carly Jackson
Contact Phone: 
212 854 6217
Event Contact Email: 
Event Date: 
Thursday, November 21, 2019 - 18:15