Postcolonialism / Postcommunism: Intersections and Overlaps

full name / name of organization: 
Canadian Studies Centre, University of Bucharest


23-24 April 2010
Canadian Studies Centre
University of Bucharest

Conference organised within the CNCSIS project PNII_ID 2089/2008
Project Director: Prof. Monica Bottez

Keynote Speaker: Professor John Thieme, University of East Anglia
"Spheres of Possibility: Transforming Postcolonial Linguistic Spaces"

In the years following the fall of communism there have been debates over the overlap between "postcommunism" and "postcolonialism". These debates have derived from the oppositions on which postcolonial discourse is based and from the extent to which the experience of the latter might provide a theoretical vocabulary for the former. It is productive to trace analogies between Communist discourse and hegemonic colonial discourses. Other possible parallels include seeing the Iron Curtain as a practice of apartheid and the centre / margin relationship, which suggests that literature produced in the former colony or satellite nation can only be of value if it conforms to the models established by the hegemonic power, along with ways in which such cultural imperialism has been contested.

In more recent times the relations of Romania (and by extension of virtually all the countries in the ex-communist bloc) with Western Europe and the United States during the process of NATO and EU accession display traces of responses to neo-colonialism in the indiscriminate imitation of Western models, regardless of whether they are appropriate to domestic realities. Recently, Romania has gone through a series of complex self-redefinitions in relation to a tradition and a history whose rewriting is necessary, but also in relation to an abstract European and global model that recalls Homi Bhabha's concept of mimicry. This concept can be used to cast light on the ambivalence of the colonial discourse in which, ultimately, it is the colonised (even in the postcolonial state of apparent freedom) that legitimises the colonised state by mirroring the colonisers' models and values.

Conceptual definitions and redefinitions of terms have been central to the establishing of new disciplines. Some of the concepts underlying postcolonialism have been gathered in lexicographical works such as John Thieme's Post-Colonial Studies: The Essential Glossary (London: Arnold, 2003) or Bill Ashcroft, Gareth Griffiths and Helen Tiffin's Key Concepts in Postcolonial Studies (London and New York: Routledge, 1998). Postcommunist studies can be theorised starting from a reassessment of the relevance of postcolonial terms for the study of postcommunism. We invite papers that address some of the issues described above while also exploring the relevance of the following postcolonial concepts that offer points of contact with the postcommunist space: alterity, ambivalence, anti-metropolitan resistance, appropriation, self-colonisation, cartography, centre / margin, colonialism / postcolonialism, creolisation, cultural geography, cultural transfer, decolonisation, de-Europeanisation, plural models of culture, denationalisation, development, diaspora, difference / universality, dislocation, diversity, double colonisation, liminality, meta-history, métissage, migration, minority, monoculturalism, multiculturalism, national allegory, national identity, neocolonialism, orientalisation, parasitism, parody, pastiche, pluralism, racism, recolonisation, relocation of population, rewriting, strategic essentialism, subaltern studies, transculture, transnationalism, transregionalism, westernisation.

Presentations should be 20-minute long, followed by 10 minutes for discussion. Presenters are invited to submit abstracts, which will be published in the Conference programme. Abstracts may not exceed 200 words and will be accompanied by a list of 7-10 keywords and a short biographical note detailing the author's field of expertise and main achievements. They should be submitted in word format. Proposals must include titles of papers, name and institutional affiliation and fax and e-mail address.

We would particularly like to invite you to respond to the Conference Call-for-Papers even if you are unable to attend the Conference in person. Virtual registrations are also available which allow you to submit a paper for selection and possible publication in the final refereed volume of this Conference. Proposals will be reviewed within two weeks of submission.

Whether you are a virtual or in-person presenter at this Conference, the
deadline for the submission of proposals is 31 January 2010. Future deadlines and details will be announced on the Conference website ( after this date.

Please send proposals to:

Participation fee: 50 Euros (to be paid upon arrival)

We look forward to receiving your proposals and to welcoming you in Bucharest in Spring 2010,

The Organizers,

Prof. Monica Bottez, Ph.D., Director
Canadian Studies Centre
University of Bucharest

Assoc. Prof. Maria Sabina Draga, Ph.D
Assoc. Prof. Bogdan Stefanescu, Ph.D
Ruxandra Visan, Ph.D., lecturer
Ruxandra Radulescu, Doctoral Candidate, lecturer
Alina Bottez, Doctoral Candidate