International Symposium – The Micropolitics of Small Town Life in Eastern Europe

Call for Papers

On behalf of the Program in Jewish Culture and Society and the Russian, East European, and Eurasian Center of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and the Research Group Pathways of Law in Ethno-Religiously Mixed Societies, funded by the German Research Foundation at Leipzig University, we invite proposals for an international symposium, The Micropolitics of Small Town Life in Eastern Europe. The symposium will be held at the University of Illinois on March 5-6, 2013

Description: Research in urban history of Eastern Europe – as anywhere else in the world – focuses on cities, namely the metropolis. Yet until the beginning of the twentieth century, small urban communities were the principal habitat of the vast majority of people in Eastern Europe. Surprisingly little is known about the political and social universe of small towns. Without privileging a single national history or question, the symposium examines, on a microscopic scale, power dynamics, values, belief systems, and everyday interactions from the early modern period until the beginning of the twentieth century. From this perspective, we hope to challenge established grand narratives of historical development and organization. We especially welcome proposals that zero in on the mentalities, communal structures and organization, and the functions and dysfunctions of small town life in a comparative framework.

Timothy Snyder of Yale University will give the keynote lecture.


·     Theory of communication – media of communication
·     Demography – settlement politics – spatial orders
·     Legal settings: rights and responsibilities
·     Corporations and religious communities
·     Political consciousness and urban ideology
·     Neighborly relations
·     Female agency
·     Public associations

Proposals are welcome from any discipline of the humanities and social sciences. Please send a short abstract (300 words) and CV to by April 20, 2012.

The symposium organizers will cover room and board and assist with travel expenses (up to $500 for domestic participants and $1500 for international guests).

Symposium Organizers:

Eugene Avrutin – Department of History, University of Illinois (;
Yvonne Kleinmann – Institute for Slavic Studies, Leipzig University (

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