Call for Papers: Technologies and Narratives of Truth and Power

Havighurst Center for Russian and Post-Soviet Studies Young Researchers Conference 2019 Technologies and Narratives of Truth and Power Miami University, April 4-6, 2019

The relationship between technology and power in Eurasia is fraught, dynamic, and under-studied. While scholars usually focus on the twentieth century and what followed, as early as the reign of Peter I the state envisioned its might in scientific as well as military terms. Beginning in the late 1940s fields from literature to physics shaped and responded to the scientific discoveries of first the Cold War and then its unsettling aftermath. In the USSR the case for linking technology and power was all too obvious as future dissident Andrei Sakharov advanced Soviet nuclear capabilities. In the coming decades authors such as Valentin Rasputin critiqued the human and ecological costs of putative progress while mathematician-turned-writer I. Grekova extolled the creativity of those in the STEM fields. For late-Soviet culture the scientific-technical revolution remade both everyday life and the way ordinary people imagined it.

The connections between truth and power in the region–while in the news today—are also under-studied.  Scholarly interrogations that link this current concern to historically grounded, contextually-informed developments are essential. Socialist regimes relied on technologies of surveillance that have been transformed in myriad ways since the end of planned economic and political systems. Concomitantly, cognitive work and workers have become a crucial part of the global economy, and technology’s flexibility and fluidity have become significant objects of analysis for scholars of a variety of disciplines. What is the future of science and technology in the Eurasian region and in the world? How does technology connect us, and how does it divide us—through space and time?  How have technologies of power spread ideas about “truth” in the past and present?

This workshop-style conference invites one-page paper proposals on the broad themes of technology, narratives, truth, and power. Themes include but are not limited to histories of science and technology; the growth of information technology sectors in the region; the role of technology in literature; coding, hacking, and liberation technology; critical definitions of science and technology; technology and power in global politics; surveillance regimes; and how all of the above relate to ethnicity, race, gender, sexuality, truth, and power.

The Havighurst Center welcomes papers from scholars who are completing their dissertation or have received their Ph.D. (or candidate degree) within the past five years.

Conference Format: 
Participants will prepare a paper to be circulated well in advance and read by all conference presenters, chairs, and discussants. During the conference presenters will have 10 minutes to summarize their findings. The small number of participants and mix of junior and senior scholars make the Havighurst Center’s Young Researchers Conference an excellent venue for both advancing research projects and networking with leading and upcoming figures in a wide range of fields. The working language of the conference is English.

Submitting Abstracts and CVs: 
Please submit by November 15, 2018 a one-page, single-spaced abstract, as well as a one-page, singled-spaced curriculum vitae to the Havighurst Center: Participants will be notified by December 10, 2018 if they have been selected for the conference.

Accommodation and Travel Arrangements: 
The Havighurst Center will provide meals and hotel accommodation (shared rooms) in Oxford as well as ground transportation between the Cincinnati and Dayton airports and Oxford, Ohio. Partial travel funding might also be available if needed.