On 6–9 December 2018, the 50th conference, organised by the Association for Slavic, East European & Eurasian Studies, took place in Boston. The conference was attended by scholars from the Institute of Slavic Studies of the Polish Academy of Sciences (ISS PAS): Ewelina Drzewiecka, PhD, Ewa Wróblewska-Trochimiuk, PhD, and Anna Boguska, PhD. It was the second time when the researchers from the Balkanistic Team presented the findings of their research during this prestigious conference.
Last year in Chicago the results of research conducted at the ISS PAS were presented, these studies were part of the project “Idee wędrowne na słowiańskich Bałkanach (XVIII–XX w.) [Migrating ideas in the Slavic Balkans (XVIII–XX centuries)]”, financed by the National Science Centre. This year, in Boston, the ISS PAS researchers, responding to the invitation of the Organisers, addressed the issues of performativity, showing a wide range of possible interpretations of the concept in the socio-cultural and political realities of the 20th and 21st centuries of the three South Slavic countries – Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, and Croatia. In the panel entitled “Ethico-political aspects of art-oriented activity: The Slavic Balkan cases” Dr. Anna Boguska presented the text “Cultural performance as a political activity: ‘Waiting for Godot’ in Sarajevo – once again about Susan Sontag’s war production”, while Dr. Ewelina Drzewiecka delivered the paper entitled “(Ir)Religiosity–performativity–humanities: On the case of Boyan Penev in modern Bulgarian culture”. In turn, in the panel entitled “Agency and politics in Croatian and Polish performative practices”, Dr. Ewa Wróblewska presented the paper “Performatively shaped memory: Croatian museums and art galleries between performativity and pedagogy”. Apart from delivering their lectures, Dr. Ewa Wróblewska-Trochimiuk and Dr. Anna Boguska participated in the conference as discussants, and Dr. Ewelina Drzewiecka had the pleasure of chairing one of the panels.
The conference, organised by the researchers of ASEEES, which is celebrating its 70th anniversary this year, is an annual event that brings together Slavists and researchers on Eastern Europe and Eurasia from all over the world. The theme of this year’s conference has been the problem of performance, inspired by the performative turn noted approximately since the 1980s in the humanities and social sciences. The aim of the Conference Organisers was to reflect on what types of human activity we mean when we use the concept of performance and other concepts related to it and, among others, an attempt to answer the question of how practices related to the broadly understood performance influence the formation, strengthening and transformation of individual identity as well as local and national communities.
The participation in this prestigious conference is related to the subject matter of the next number of the magazine Slavia Meridionalis (2019), which will discuss the issues of performativity in the cultures of Southern Slavic region.