2024 ASEEES Convention Theme

ASEEES 56th Annual Convention

Virtual Convention, October 17-18, 2024
Boston Marriott Copley Place, November 21-24, 2024

Theme: Liberation

2024 ASEEES President: Vitaly Chernetsky, University of Kansas

Building on the productive discussions stimulated by the 2023 theme, decolonization, we offer liberation as the 2024 focus. Dictionary definitions of liberation’s spectrum of meanings include “being set free from imprisonment, slavery, or oppression,” “the achievement of equal rights and status,” “being freed from domination by a foreign power,” and “release from social stereotyping.” It can refer both to the act of liberating or the state of being liberated. Human history offers us multiple examples of movements advocating social change that use this term, including women’s liberation, Black liberation, gay liberation, and many others. The term gave us a different way of approaching spirituality, by focusing, in liberation theology, on the perspective of the poor and the oppressed. In his book Decolonizing the Mind, Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o proposes as a decolonizing goal the “search for a liberating perspective within which to see ourselves clearly in relationship to ourselves and other selves in the universe.”

There are many potential paths to such a liberating perspective. One of them emerges when an individual or a group works to overcome stereotyping labels applied to them by others, or by society as a whole; in doing so, they find liberation within themselves. When a group, or even an individual, that places labels on others makes an effort to look deeper into the person or group being stereotyped, this leads to a liberation of knowledge about the world around them. The practice of liberation thus is inextricably linked with overcoming various forms of epistemic injustice. Critical epistemology has made significant advances in recent years, and thus we have become much more sensitive to the ways in which structures of knowledge systems and social power can marginalize or silence some perspectives or reveal gaps in collective interpretive resources.

As our field is engaged in a profound reexamination of its history, of many previously held assumptions, and of systemic imbalances that led to the marginalization and silencing of many critical perspectives, the ASEEES Annual Convention provides a platform for us to engage in constructive discussion and formulate a vision for a more just, un-stereotyped, equality-minded, inclusive research agenda in Slavic, Eurasian, and East European Studies. This engagement can help us proactively seek out previously silenced and marginalized perspectives, and address instances of epistemic injustice both on an individual and on the systemic level. Russia’s current domestic authoritarian turn and neocolonial wars of aggression include not only physical violence, but also epistemic violence, an active agenda toward cultural destruction and an imposition of unfreedom. Engaging in a process of intellectual liberation is a crucial part of counteracting that. Liberation as a theme has the potential to lead us to discover and constructively address forms of marginalization or silencing within our field that we may not have noticed before and help create a more inclusive epistemic climate within Slavic, Eurasian, and East European Studies on both the macro and micro levels. We invite colleagues to explore these and related possibilities in themes across all disciplines and historical periods.

Proposals from all disciplines and historical periods are welcome and encouraged.

Submission site will open early January 2024
Deadline: March 1, 2024