From the poison cabinets of communism
Methodological questions on working with surveillance files in South-eastern and Central Europe
Berlin, 28–30 April 2015
Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
– Institute for German Literature, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
– Institute for German Culture and History in South East Europe associated with the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich (IKGS)
– European Network Remembrance and Solidarity (ENRS)
Organisation: Michaela Nowotnick (HU Berlin), Dr. Florian Kührer-Wielach (IKGS Munich)
The conference aims to critically take stock of the research into questions on minorities based on secret service documents of the communist regime in South-eastern and Central Europe. It also seeks to pose new questions concerning their epistemological potential.
The conference focuses on the discussion of methodological approaches, but also examines the closely related question of ethical problems that goes hand in hand with the analysis and publication of secret service reports. The treatment and the behaviour of members of different minority groups and their relationship to a given “majority” as well as to the state open up a variety of new research perspectives.
Additionally, the conference programme is closely tailored to its topic in order to enable the combination of socio-political discourses and discourses relevant to scholarship. The programme also entails an event for young researchers as well as for advanced students with research interests in this area. This event will take place after the conference and will be hosted by the BStU (the authority of the federal commissioner for documents of the state security service of the former GDR). Along with a guided tour of the “Normannenstraße” research and memorial site, we offer workshops in small groups in which participants can present their projects for discussion under the guidance of experienced researchers.