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Opcije pristupačnosti Pristupačnost

Call for papers

The Other: Stereotype and Prejudice in History

Fifth biennial conference in the series Past, Present, Future

Pula, Croatia, May 26 – 28, 2022

The European Union has spent a great amount of energy trying to integrate migrants who arrived over the last decade, but the task has not been a simple one. The public discourse on migrant integration has frequently been marred by stereotype and prejudice directed at these new inhabitants, and the extreme right fringe groups were frequently at the front of these verbal and, sometimes, physical assaults. As a new wave of migrants appears to be heading towards Europe following the fall of Afghanistan and the ever-worsening climate crisis throughout Africa and parts of Asia the European public continues to debate whether migrants are a welcome addition to the continent or a menace.

Stereotypical depictions of foreigners and minorities is nothing new. Since the dawn of written history, one reads of barbarians and illiterates bearing ill will to the “civilized world” and much ink has been spilt attempting to portray “the other” as a less civilized form of human being than “us.” Greeks and Romans considered everyone outside their own sphere of influence little more than unruly, wild barbarians to be subjugated or ignored. In medieval times religion was the basis for prejudice against heathens and infidels, but proto-ethnic identities which emerged during the Hundred Years War created a whole new array of negative opinions against one’s neighbors. Meanwhile, Jews in Europe were often depicted as little more than boogeyman “sucking the blood” of their Christian neighbors, a stereotype that escalated in the age of nations to produce the Dreyfuss affair and the Holocaust. In modern times, as in antiquity, where stereotype and prejudice reign, hatred soon follows. Even in present day Europe the stereotypical notions of “cold northerners,” “lazy southerners,” “wealthy westerners,” or “freeloading easterners” color how we perceive and talk about each other. Although most depictions of the other tended to be negative, there were also examples to the contrary. When Tacitus, Bartolomé de las Casas and Alberto Fortis wrote about ancient Germans, indigenous Americans, and the Balkan Vlachs, they employed what we now call the concept of a “noble savage” to highlight their innate, uncorrupted goodness to contrast it with decadence they saw in their own societies. The Renaissance brimmed with positive stereotypes toward antiquity while Central and Eastern Europe were immensely optimistic regarding the EU after the fall of the Berlin wall.

The aim of this conference is to look at how “the other” was perceived throughout history to better understand how these forces shape our societies and the world we live in. Prejudice and stereotypes are in the focus, but we welcome other depictions and perceptions of “the other” as well.

We invite historians and scholars of related disciplines to apply by submitting a proposal for a paper (up to 1500 characters) with an accompanying brief biographical note to rkurelic@gmail.com (or past.present.future.pula@gmail.com) by February 1, 2022 on topics relating to positive and negative  racial, ethnic, religious, class, gender and other stereotypes and prejudice from Antiquity to contemporary times. Submissions from PhD students are also welcome. The papers should be approximately 15 minutes in length and sessions will include ample time for discussion. The working language of the conference is English.

Applicants will be notified about the acceptance of their proposal by February 15, 2022 and receive further information. The registration fee is 60 Euros (30 Euros for PhD students). Meals (lunches and dinners throughout the conference) will be provided by the Organizer.

The organizers aim to hold the conference in person, respecting all the mandatory epidemiological measures but we will have the IT infrastructure in place in case it becomes necessary to revert to the online model. In the latter case the registration fee will be adjusted and partially refunded.

We are looking forward to your proposals and your participation at the conference.

Robert Kurelić, PhD
Head of the Organizing Committee

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