CFP: Aleksanteri Conference on Eurasia (Uni. Helsinki)

Deadline for Submissions: May 15, 2019

Call for Papers: 19th Annual Aleksanteri Conference
Dates and venue: 23–25 October 2019, University of Helsinki, Finland

The 19th Annual Aleksanteri Conference explores interactions between technologies, societies, and cultures across Eurasia. They will bring together leading experts in Russian, Eastern European, and Eurasian studies, as well as researchers from digital humanities to examine how said interactions are reconfigured in the context of past and future technological change.

What impact does technology have on societies and cultures across Eurasia and vice versa? Which inventions historically provoked major disruptions in Russia, Eastern Europe, and Eurasia, and how did these societies then respond? What are the major challenges posed by the rapid spread of digital technologies and media? How will emerging technologies – such as Artificial Intelligence, blockchain, or the Internet of Things – change politics, social interactions, egalitarian processes, and forms of cultural production in the future?

Aleksanteri Conference 2019 is an invitation to discuss how technologies are constructed, conditioned, adopted, maintained, abolished, and repaired across the Eurasian space. We welcome critical approaches, interdisciplinary, and comparative perspectives to explore technologies and their interaction with important questions of power, knowledge, sustainability, privacy, securitization, and inequality. Digital technology has resulted in the emergence of a wealth of new (big) data sources, such as digital archives, social media, and various kinds of digital media outlets. These advancements allow us to further investigate Eurasian societies, histories, and cultures with the help of novel digital tools. Hence, this year we introduce a dedicated digital humanities stream aimed at addressing the methodological, linguistic, legal, and ethical challenges of working with digitized research materials and big data from Russia, Eastern Europe and Eurasia.

The conference committee invites papers in the following thematic streams:

  • Technology and Politics
    • Including #digital_democracy, #technopolitics, #elections_tinkering, #post-truth, #civic_tech
  • Technology and Economics
    • Including #innovation, #network_industries, #data_economy, #platform_economy
  • Technology and Culture
    • Including #new_media, #algorithmic_culture, #digital_art, #moral_machines, #convergence_culture
  • Technology and Society
    • Including #mediatization, #infrastructure, #digital_divide, #datafication
  • Digital Humanities
    • Including #DHareastudies, #big_data, #digital_archives, #researchethics, #coding_skills

Confirmed keynote speakers and programme:

  • Anastasiya Bonch-Osmalovskaya, Associate Professor of Linguistics, National Research University Higher School of Economics (Moscow), Russia
  • Natalie Koch, Associate Professor of Geography & O’Hanley Faculty Scholar, Syracuse University, USA
  • Benjamin Peters, Associate Professor of Media Studies, the University of Tulsa and Affiliated Fellow, Yale Law School, USA
  • Ellen Rutten, Professor of Literature, University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands
  • Alina Sorgner, Assistant Professor for Applied Data Analytics, John Cabot University, Rome, Italy

In addition to plenary sessions, the conference features scientific panels, roundtables, and a poster session. Complementing academic activity, the conference programme will also include cultural events and discussions with practitioners and public figures involved in technology development, assessment, and scaling. They will organise a guided tour of the Slavonic Library, which is a world-renowned treasure, especially for scholars of Russian history and culture. Conference guests are invited to attend an evening reception hosted by the City of Helsinki. This year they will again organise a book exhibition at the main conference venue.

Conference schedule and deadlines:

  • Deadline for submitting paper/poster, panel, and roundtable proposals: 15 May 2019
  • Notification of acceptance: 14 June 2019
  • Online registration and registration fees due by 21 August 2019
  • Conference programme published by early September 2019
  • Conference: 23-25 October 2019

Submissions: The deadline for submitting paper/poster, panel, and roundtable proposals is May 15, 2019. Please submit your proposal via our website

Registration rates:

  • Paper presenters, chairs, and discussants 100 €
  • Poster presenters 50 €
  • Graduate students, participants from ex-Soviet countries, or participants with a yearly income of less than 30,000 euros 50 €
  • Accompanying persons and observers not presenting a paper (partial participation in the conference is allowed) 25 €

General information:

  • The working language of the conference is English. Unfortunately, no translations can be provided.
  • Participants are requested to make their own arrangements for travel and accommodation. Costs related to participation are also the responsibility of the participant.
  • Please consult the website for information and discussion
  • For further information, or if you wish to ask any questions, please contact the conference organisers at:

Organisers: Aleksanteri Institute, University of Helsinki in collaboration with the Digital Russia Studies network and Helsinki Center for Digital Humanities.