HomeVisegrad Scholarship at the Blinken – Open Society Archive (OSA) on the language(s) of freedom(s)

HomeVisegrad Scholarship at the Blinken – Open Society Archive (OSA) on the language(s) of freedom(s)

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Published on Friday, May 17, 2024

Abstract

The criticism about infringements of academic freedom, or about the radicalization of autocratic powers cannot do without an understanding of the loaded vocabularies of freedoms in the past and present, for both societies and their elites. A complex rethinking and recontextualization of the thinkers of liberties, including from the Cold War era, must also be undertaken, together with the truth-seeking adventures and projects from the past. Historians, researchers, political scientists, sociologists and socially engaged artists are invited to reflect on the past uses of the languages of (attaining) freedoms by taking cues from the Blinken Open Society Archive's collections. The applicants are encouraged to reflect on the connections as well as on the differences between current times and the past by following some recommended sub-topics listed below.

Announcement

Fellowship

Topics

The criticism about infringements of academic freedom, or about the radicalization of autocratic powers cannot do without an understanding of the loaded vocabularies of freedoms in the past and present, for both societies and their elites. A complex rethinking and recontextualization of the thinkers of liberties, including from the Cold War era, must also be undertaken, together with the truth-seeking adventures and projects from the past. 

Historians, researchers, political scientists, sociologists and socially engaged artists are invited to reflect on the past uses of the languages of (attaining) freedoms by taking cues from the Blinken OSA collections. The applicants are encouraged to reflect on the connections as well as on the differences between current times and the past by following some recommended sub-topics listed below

  • the contribution of Eastern European intellectuals and dissenters to political philosophy in the past and present, the relevance and afterlife of their insights [clues: personal collections of Eastern European oppositionist and the RFE collections regarding their activities]
  • the comparative and different understandings of what constituted authorship and censorship
  • independentist movements in the 90s: the complex interplay of nationalism, decolonization, political freedoms and their impact nowadays [clues: curated collection Winning Freedom, Ukraine 1989-1991 https://ukraine.89-91.osaarchivum.org/ and similar collections from the Soviet Red Archives, Samizdat archives, Western Press Archives]
  • the representation and analysis of citizens’ aspirations within the communist regimes by internal and external observers; what was the understanding of political freedoms in relationship with other rights? [clue: the collection of audience and opinion surveys done by RFE and RL]
  • the fascination with the revolution and social movements among the Western intellectuals and the communist parties within the non-communist countries; self-reflexivity with regards the nature of real existing socialism [clue: Kevin Devlin collection]
  • the different meanings of freedom in the East and the West, and the transformation brought by the human rights paradigm
  • the complex status of the alternative movements and artistic phenomena within centralized socialist systems (from gray zones to radical opposition); the transformative meaning they gave to an official lexicon through their concern with “peace,” “futures,” etc.
  • the dysfunctional relationship between language and meaning and the ensuing concern for truth within different intellectual and scientific communities
  • the language of transnational politics in the 70s and the adaptation of local political visions to the language of Western liberatory international organizations (ILO, Helsinki institutions, Amnesty international), etc.
  • discursive strategies of Cold War observers, theorists and activists:
  • the usage of the term totalitarianism, analytical term or discursive mechanism revived by the transnational activism and history writing in the 70s and 1980s (a situation re-emerging now?)
  • the role of “liberatory” Western radios within the Cold War: political impact, protective strategies towards endangered oppositionist, documentation of issues then and now
  • What have was or could be achieved by preserving records documenting rights abuses? A critical assessment of and ways of repurposing human rights archiving in times of democratic backsliding.

Blinken OSA Archivum research program

The current call is part of a reflexive-research program at Blinken OSA Archivum interested in connecting past issues related to oppressive regimes, censorship, violence and information manipulation to current phenomena. We would like to assess the potential of a genealogical project linking the contemporary epistemic and political crisis of democracy to past modes of inquiry and activism.

Grants

The twenty grants of 3000 euro each are designed to provide access to the archives for scholars, artists, and journalists, and to cover travel to and from Budapest, a modest subsistence, and accommodation for a research period of eight weeks. Stipends for shorter periods are pro-rated.

Fellowship requirements and Blinken OSA Archivum support

While working on their own subject, fellows will have the opportunity to collaborate with Blinken OSA Archivum researchers and to transform their archival investigation into a full research experience. The fellows are invited to give a final presentation about their research findings at Blinken OSA Archivum and the ways in which the documents were relevant to their research. The presentations are organized within the Visegrad Scholarship at Blinken OSA Archivum lecture series and as such are open for the general public.

Blinken OSA Archivum academic and archival staff will assist the fellows in their investigations, facilitate contact with the CEU community, and grant access to the CEU library. Besides its archival analogue collections, Blinken OSA Archivum can also offer access to unique, audio-visual materials related to documentary practices, a special collection of RFE (anti)propaganda books and a growing collection on digital humanities, human rights, archival theory and philosophy.

Admission

We seek to promote exchanges among people with backgrounds in the arts, humanities and social sciences in the way they think through and about archives while being concerned with current problems. From this point of view, the invitation is addressed to all scholars interested in theories of knowledge, who would use Blinken OSA Archivum documents as props for larger reflections and activist concerns.

Applicants, preferably but not exclusively, from a V4 country (Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, and Slovakia), may be researchers, students after their second degree carrying out research, or artists, journalists, academics, or both.

Scholars at risk from war zones as well as refugees of conscience (scholars fleeing authoritarian regimes) are especially invited to apply.  

Application procedure

Please submit the following to Blinken OSA Archivum (in one merged pdf)

  1. Application letter in English (should specify expected period of stay and preferred dates and how you learnt about the scholarship (through which courses, instructors, social media groups or pages, websites, academic platforms, Blinken OSA Archivum public programs/ projects etc. you were informed about this scholarship). Please note that the Archive’s Research Room is closed during the Christmas period, and the research stay must end on the last day of the given academic year, July 31.
  2. Research description/plan in English (about 800 words and should include the following: introduction, presentation of the stage of research, literature on the subject, preliminary hypothesis, questions, identification of possible documents in the Blinken OSA Archivum holdings). Artists are expected to submit a portfolio, too. We recommend you refer to one of the topics in your application. Please also mention the specific collections you would like to consult.
  3. Curriculum Vitae (C.V.)
  4. Proof of officially recognized advanced level English language exam (native speakers and those with qualification from an English language institution/degree program are exempted)
  5. Names of two referees with contact address. Letters of reference are not needed.

The Application letter, C.V., the Research description/plan, the copy of a language exam certification and the Referees’ contact information should be sent by email to Katalin Gadoros at gadoros@ceu.edu.

Submission deadlines for the 2024/25 academic year

  • July 25, 2024

  • November 15, 2024

Selection proccess

The Selection Committee will evaluate proposals on the strength of the professional quality and novelty of the research proposal, its relevance to the chosen topic and the involvement of the Blinken OSA Archivum holdings in the research. In the case of equal scores those from V4 countries have an advantage. The artists submitting proposals are kindly required to frame their application as research-based projects as well, carefully indicating the collections they will rely on. The artistic proposals will be assessed according to their merit, originality, timeliness as well as their feasibility (with regards to their reliance on available Blinken OSA Archivum collections). Blinken OSA Archivum can only offer conditions for the realization of artistic research, not for production.

Selection Committee

All members of the committee are academic staff of Vera and Donald Blinken Open Society Archives / Central European University or the Visegrad Fund.

More Information

To find out more about the program, please visit : https://www.osaarchivum.org/work-with-us/fellowship/visegrad-scholarship

Places

  • Blinken OSA Archivum - Arany János street 32.
    Budapest V. kerület, Hungary (1051)

Date(s)

  • Thursday, July 25, 2024
  • Friday, November 15, 2024

Keywords

  • Cold War, autocratic Regimes, dissent culture, human rights, propaganda

Contact(s)

  • Bianka Horváth
    courriel : HorvathBi [at] ceu [dot] edu

Reference Urls

Information source

  • Bianka Horváth
    courriel : HorvathBi [at] ceu [dot] edu

License

CC0-1.0 This announcement is licensed under the terms of Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal.

To cite this announcement

« Visegrad Scholarship at the Blinken – Open Society Archive (OSA) on the language(s) of freedom(s) », Scholarship, prize and job offer, Calenda, Published on Friday, May 17, 2024, https://doi.org/10.58079/11ojc

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