The Berlin Wall collapsed in 1989, marking the ostensible end of the socialist project and the triumph of neoliberal economic policies around the globe. The result has been widespread de-industrialization, unemployment, ethnic conflict, poverty, and proliferating sex-traffic in the formerly socialist world, which now in many ways exemplifies trends toward stagnation and crisis that affect the whole of the capitalist world economy. The purpose of this project is not only to address the issues which capitalism creates and subsequently ignores in its unrestricted expansion; but also to provide viable alternatives and solutions to these problems by using the lens of socialism, which, conceived of both as a set of historical projects to achieve a post-capitalist society as well as a horizon of political perspective and activity, retains its urgency today in the face of the recent crises and long term trends of global capitalism.
At the same time, we view socialism not merely as a question of area studies, but also as a global historical phenomenon, and in this sense, we aim to pose the problem of postsocialism as one that ramifies far beyond the territories of current or formerly socialist states, intersecting in productive ways with any number of other “post”-discourses in contemporary debates, from postcolonialism to postfordism.
Elena Gapova is Associate Professor, Department of Sociology, Western Michigan University; Founding Director, Centre for Gender Studies, European Humanities University (Belarusian “university-in-exile” in Lithuania).
Hunter Bivens, Literature Department, UCSC
Sara Blaylock, History of Art and Visual Culture, UCSC
Elena Gapova, Department of Sociology, Western Michigan University
Natalia Koulinka, History of Consciousness Department, UCSC
Lisa Rofel, Anthropology Department, UCSC
Andrei Tcacenco, History Department, UCSC
Introduced and Moderated by Neda Atanasoski, Feminist Studies Department,