Call for Papers: Minorities and Disruptions

Start date: 12. January 2022
End date: 13. February 2022

Annual Meeting 2022 of the Herder Research Council in cooperation with the Herder Institute for Historical Research on East Central Europe, Marburg

How do minorities react to disruptive situations and constellations? When do minorities, for example, perceive situations of stress or threat as triggers to seek media publicity and assert their interests vis-à-vis the majority? Where do disruptions have a cohesive or even formative effect on minorities? In East-Central Europe, such constellations have become more prevalent, especially in recent years, be it in dealing with Roma in Slovakia after the outbreak of the Corona pandemic, but also regarding the LGBTQ movement in Poland. In the “Crostwitz Uprising” in 2001, the Sorbs in East Germany reacted to the Saxon school policy with the first strike in their history and have recently entered the public debate again in the dispute over the intended Bismarck monument on the Czorneboh in Lusatia. Historically as well as currently, East-Central Europe with its particularly complex structure of majorities and minorities offers a multitude of exemplary questions for disruption research.

In this sense, minorities are not only understood ethnically, but generally include marginalized groups, e.g. in border areas, but also former GDR contract workers, current migrants etc. Accordingly, we will reflect on the extent to which a group designated as a minority sees itself as a coherent entity and how the corresponding parameters are defined. Or does such a classification rather reflect the view from outside, depicting a construct that serves stigmatization and externalization? Strategies and options for action, success or failure of the chosen variants, self- and external reflection of the basic preconditions for agency among minorities in the light of disruptiveness shall be the topic of the annual conference.

The conceptual point of departure can be an understanding of disruption that uses this term to refer to events and processes of collective denormalization that put societies under massive stress and make the need for interpretation virulent. The concept of “disruption” thus addresses phenomena of interruption and disturbance that are associated with immense potential for political, cultural and social irritation. Disruptions understood in this sense can be described in differentiated aspects of relationality, situatedness, temporality, scope, intensity, functionality, epistemic status, and affectivity (

The comparative view on disruption phenomena among East-Central European minorities serves to specify the understanding of threat and security in their respective perceptions, which are likely to be characterized by a principally increased sensitivity to disruption as an existential risk. Of particular interest, therefore, is also the potential of disruption as a minority-specific dynamizing factor of construction and creativity.

>> download the Call for Papers (pdf)

Place: Herder Institute Marburg
Time: 29.09.-01.10.2022
We kindly ask you to send abstracts of max. 250 words including CV and up to 10 of your most important publications to by February 13, 2022. Conference languages are German and English. Costs for travel, accommodation and meals for the speakers can be partially covered.