Rethinking Europe’s East-West Divide - Network Launch Conference

The two-day conference launches an interdisciplinary network ‘Rethinking Europe’s East-West Divide’ which was awarded UACES funding. The network aims to overcome disciplinary siloes and to fully integrate the study of Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) into mainstream European Politics and European Union Studies. The network advances a novel research agenda for studying political processes in CEE and Western Europe together. We encourage qualitative and quantitative comparative research, but also studies of diffusion of policies and discourses between CEE and Western Europe, as well as studies that focus on structural dependencies in Europe and their political impacts. With a view to building an inclusive interdisciplinary community the network brings together a diverse group of scholars from a range of disciplines (comparative politics, EU politics, political economy, history and gender studies, among others) at various stages of their careers, based in more than 20 institutions across 14 countries. Importantly, the network will provide a timely opportunity to pursue an edited book project on Central and Eastern European Politics offering a complex multi-faceted perspective on the region. The conference will benefit colleagues and students interested in studying European politics, as it provides opportunities for lively academic exchange, networking and it will be a stepping stone to new research projects and collaboration.

Draft programme

Day 1: Thursday 14 March

9:30-10:40 Introduction & Network launch:
Dr Eli Gateva (University of Oxford), Dr Julia Rone (University of Cambridge) and Dr Emilija Tudzarovska (Czech Academy of Sciences)

10:40-11:00 Coffee break

11:00-12:30 Panel 1: Rethinking Europe’s East-West Divide
Dr Julia Rone (University of Cambridge), Studying East and West Together: Beyond the Disciplinary Iron Curtains
Dr Eli Gateva (University of Oxford), Enlargement and European Integration: Does the EU matter for democracy in Central and Eastern Europe?
Dr Emilija Tudzarovska (Czech Academy of Sciences), EU Comparative Politics: Tensions between Economic Integration and Representation
Dr Ivan Bakalov (Leiden University), The Politics of Geopolitics: Dynamics of Hegemony in Post-communist CEE

12:30-13:30 Lunch break

13:30-15:00 Panel 2: The Political Economy of Central and Eastern Europe
Dr Visnja Vukov (University of Vienna), Economic Integration in EU’s Eastern and Southern Peripheries
Dr Ivaylo Dinev, (ZoiS, Berlin), Trade Unions in CEE
Ivo Iliev (EUI), From Fordism to Outsourcing: The Rise of the Software Industry in CEE

15:00-15:20 Coffee break

15:20-16:50 Panel 3: Counter-Democracy in Central and Eastern Europe
Dr Ondrej Cisar (Charles University) and Linda Coufal (Charles University), Organisations and Social Movements in a Comparative Perspective
Dr Diana Margrit (Alexandru Ioan Cuza University), Anti-Corruption Movements
Dr Valentina Gueorguieva (Sofia University St. Kliment Ohridski) and Dr Francesca Feo (University of Bergen), Feminist and Anti-LGBT Mobilizations
Dr Orlin Spassov (Sofia University St. Kliment Ohridski) and Dr Nikoleta Daskalova, (Foundation Media Democracy), Media Power in CEE

16:50-17:10 Coffee break

17:10-18:40 Panel 4: The Digital Transition in Comparative Perspective
Moderator: Dr Julia Rone (University of Cambridge)
Ivo Iliev (EUI), Leapfrogging into the Digital Age Trajectories of High-Tech Sector Development under Socialism
Dr Filip Bialy (Adam Mickiewicz University Poznań / University of Manchester), Can Politics be Data-Driven and Democracy Predictive? Conceptual Consequences of Digital Campaigning in Old and New Democracies
Dr Sofija Stefanović (University of Cambridge) Against Extractivisms, for Connection: Building Transnational Solidarity and Feminist Cybersecurity with Environmental Defenders
Dr Tsvetelina Hristova (University of Southampton), The Social Implications of Digitalisation in the Public Sector: Lessons from India

19:00 Dinner for Conference participants

Day 2: Friday 15 March

9:00-9:10 Introduction
9:10-10:40 Panel 5: Risks to Representative Democracy in the European Union
Moderator: Dr Emilija Tudzarovska, Czech Academy of Sciences
Professor Jonathan White (LSE), Democracy in an Age of Emergencies
Professor Mike Wilkinson (LSE) The end of the end of history and the project of European integration
Professor Stefan Auer (University of Hong Kong), Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the politics of emergency in Europe
Dr Petr Agha (Charles University), Manufacturing Normality in European Politics: The Interplay of Crises, Discourses, and the Rule of Law

10:40-11:00: Coffee break

11:00-12:30 Panel 6: Rethinking Europe’s East-West Divide – 20 Years since the Big Bang Enlargement
Moderator: Dr Eli Gateva, University of Oxford
Professor Lenka Bustikova, University of Florida (online)
Professor Dimitris Papadimitriou, University of Manchester
Dr Mihail Chiru, University of Oxford
Professor Timothy Garton Ash, University of Oxford

12:30-13:30 Lunch break

13:30-15:00 Panel 7: Rethinking Europe’s East-West Divide and European Integration in a New Geopolitical Era
Moderator: Dr Eli Gateva, University of Oxford
Professor Maria Popova, McGill University (online)
Dr Denisa Kostovicova, LSE (online)
Dr Monika Sus, Hertie School (online)
Professor Ivan Krastev, Centre for Liberal Strategies/ Institute for Human Sciences

15:00-15:20 Coffee break
15:20-16:30 Concluding discussion