1989 Conference

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1989: Reconsidering the Nation and its Alternatives in Central & Eastern Europe

November 8-10, 2019



The collapse of socialist regimes across Eastern Europe in 1989 has often been described as an “autumn of nations,” a process of national liberation from unaccountable governments through the exercise of popular will. But during and after 1989, national mobilization also coincided with tectonic international and supranational developments: the collapse of the Soviet empire, the retrenchment of socialist internationalism, the expansion of NATO, and the widening scope of European integration, to name only a few. Moreover, the tacit consensuses around nations’ memberships and democratic objectives apparent in 1989 have since given way to contested, and sometimes alarming, discourses of nationhood. Across Central and Eastern Europe, Islamophobic and anti-immigrant politics have revived intense debates over national belonging.

On the thirtieth anniversary of the opening of the Berlin Wall, the Nanovic Institute will host an interdisciplinary conference to reconsider the European “nation,” “national identity,” and alternative modes of political mobilization in 1989, its aftermath, and its commemoration.

1989 is sponsored by the Nanovic Institute for European Studies, a member of the Keough School of Global Affairs at the University of Notre Dame, as well as: 

  • The Institute for Scholarship in the Liberal Arts (ISLA) supports and promotes the research, scholarship, and creative endeavors of University of Notre Dame faculty, graduate students, and undergraduates in the College of Arts and Letters.
  • The German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) supports German Studies and German language programs across the globe. DAAD has generously offered to support 1989
  • The Kellogg Institute for International Studies promotes research excellence on critical global challenges, with a particular focus on democracy and human development. Building on a core interest in Latin America and Africa, the Kellogg Institute fosters research on the developing world and beyond.