Call for paper

Multimedial Representations of the Other and the Construction of Reality: East-Central Europe, 1945 – 1980

The Fourth International Conference on Visual Representations of the Other

2 – 5 December 2015, Sofia,

Institute of Ethnology and Folklore Studies with Ethnographic Museum – BAS


Organizers: Dagnosław Demski (Warsaw), Ildikó Sz. Kristóf (Budapest), Anelia Kasabova, Evgenia Troeva-Grigorova, Petko Hristov, Violeta Periklieva, Ivaylo Markov (Sofia)


Cultural representations of alterity have not lost their significance in today’s world and the former conferences devoted to this subject reinforce this conviction. These representations, first and foremost, depend on the historical period they are born in (“Images of the Other in Ethnic Caricatures”, Warsaw 2010), on the culture and context of their origin (“Competing Eyes. Visual Encounters with Alterity”, Budapest 2013), on the political climate and war-related context (“War Matters: Contested Images in Eastern Europe 1930s to 1950s”, Tartu 2014), and on the medium through which they are realised. This is the focal point of the fourth conference in this series, posing a question as to what possibilities are offered by the notion of multimediality in the studies on visual representations of the Other. We would like to discuss images of the Other, focusing on the decades after World War II the 1940s, the 1950s, the 1960s and the 1970s.

East-Central Europe is the focal region of the study as the countries in this region have a common past and have coped with similar obstacles. The countries in this part of Europe formed part of the Austrian, Prussian, Russian and also Ottoman empires roughly until World War I; the interwar period for the region was characterised by rising a number of smaller nation states; the region survived the grave crisis of World War II; the Cold War separated it from Western Europe; and finally, it was affected by socialism and was under the control of the Soviet Union.

We are interested in the context in which images appear and in which they gain specific expression. In the upcoming conference, emphasis will be placed on the issue of multimediality, and on the issue of media entry into daily life. The 1950s, and even more so the 1960s and the 1970s were marked by the rapid spread of new media such as television, film, etc. The concept of multimediality accentuates the material, technological and media-related dimension, thus leading to questions about form that address the mutual dependency of technology and the materiality of the media as well as about the aesthetics of the imagery. Representations of the Other establish their place in culture via the media. The traditional field of visual representations of alterity becomes extended. Not only are ‘objects’ and characteristics attributed to the change in otherness (ranging from ethnicity to social differences, etc.), but various expanding media and their wider social range of influence also affect the forms in which the Other is represented.

Each period of the past is characterised by a specific set of topics, by the style of the images and favoured media in which the Other is represented. It seems significant to discover what causes a specific type of message to prevail in a given period (country, region). Moreover, every type of medium has its own ways of dealing with the reality represented. Some of them oscillate between reality and the symbolic (caricatures, paintings, drawings). Others aspire to be called authentic, such as photography.

We expect various types of study focusing on imagery, content and the migration/circulation of its aspects in various media, transmedial (through analysing a particular motif) and intermedial phenomena, the aesthetics or discourses used across a variety of media and their specificity or universality. We encourage the submission of proposals that deal with the following issues related to production, dissemination and perception of images:

1. The Other – general descriptions. Who was the Other? How was the Other reflected in different media? What were the functions and styles, what were the representational strategies, what were the politics of representation?

2. Multimediality and its role in shaping the image of the Other; new technology and its role in visualising the Other; imagery, content and its circulation; remediation.

3. Reception: Audience reaction to the message, content, form, technique and other related issues; the reliability of the images.

4. Historical context: cultural paradigm versus cultural series; the alteration of meaning, or the Other in the time of war – the Cold War, the Vietnam War, revolts – and peace.


Please submit a proposal that contains your full name, institutional and disciplinary affiliation with a very brief academic CV, the title of your paper and an abstract of 200-250 words outlining your basic research methods and sources.

Deadline for submission of paper title and CV: May 10, 2015.

Deadline for submission of paper abstract: July 30, 2015.

Authors will be informed about the acceptance/rejection of their submissions by September 15, 2015.

The language of the conference is English


Please send your proposals to:

Dr. Violeta Periklieva -,






Moskovska 6a str.
1000 Sofia