CFP: Literature and State Repression (Costellazioni: Journal of Lang. and Lit)

Deadline: May 31, 2021

Costellazioni. Peer-reviewed Journal of Languages and Literatures. Volume 23 (Expected publication date: February 2024) 
Call for papers: Literature and State Repression in Russia, Central, and Eastern Europe 
Editor: Andrea Gullotta, Lecturer in Russian, University of Glasgow 

State repression has been a constant feature of the Soviet experience. Emerged in the revolutionary years, developed later, and perfected by Stalin, it remained in place, albeit less strict and deadly, until the perestroika. The same repressive system was utilized in the Warsaw Pact countries, which initially adopted the Stalinist model and then developed it in different forms, often generating repressive systems which were similar to the Soviet original, especially for what concerns the impact on individual lives and on privacy.  

The unique peculiarities of Soviet repression have been the focus of many historical works. The impact of Soviet repression on the countries of the former USSR is indeed a very fertile and popular area of study in a variety of disciplines, from social sciences to memory studies. The same cannot be said about the literature generated by state repression in the USSR and in the countries of the Eastern bloc, which is indeed scarcely investigated, although it features prominent figures such as Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, Varlam Shalamov and Gustaw Herling-Grudziński – these authors are usually studied individually, i.e. in the absence of a unifying critical framework. The post-memorial works inspired by state repression in these countries, one of the most interesting strands of Russian and contemporary Central and Eastern Europe literature, are also understudied.  

We welcome proposals willing to investigate the issues above through an in-depth and, where possible, comparative approach. Possible topics include, but are not limited to:  

  • the traces left by state repression in the literatures of the countries of the former USSR and of the Soviet bloc 
  • comparative studies aimed at underlining common features in the text inspired by state repression in the USSR and in different areas of the Soviet bloc  
  • oral poetry in prisons and camps 
  • contemporary post-memorial literary works inspired by state repression in the countries of the former USSR and of the Soviet bloc 
  • the impact of repressive practices on literary texts and/or on cultural practices in the USSR and the Warsaw Pact countries. 

Further topics not listed above but in line with this issue’s themes will be taken into consideration. 

The calendar of deadlines is as follows: 

– 31/05/2021: deadline for sending the abstract (450 words, including bibliography and a short bio) 
– 30/06/2021: notification of the outcome of the selection 
– 31/06/2022: submission of articles (which must adhere to the journal’s style guidelines). 

Proposals must be sent, by the date outlined above, to the following e-mail addresses: and 

Contributions may be written in Italian or English. The journal’s style guidelines in English can be accessed at this link

The articles will be subjected to double blind peer-review.