Wednesday, October 17, 2007

JOURNAL/CFP- Ab Imperio 2008: Gardening Empire

Distrib. by: Central-Eurasia-L - Announcement List for Central Eurasian Studies

JOURNAL/CFP- Ab Imperio 2008: Gardening Empire

Posted by: Sergey Glebov <>

Dear colleagues,

Please, find below Ab Imperio annual program for 2008. The program, as
well as tables of contents and abstracts, is also accessible through
the journal's website at

Sergey Glebov

P.O. Box 157, Kazan, 420015, Russia
fax: 1-866-445-9438 * e-mail:

International Quarterly
on the Studies of New Imperial History and Nationalism in the Post-Soviet Space


annual theme:

As a result of Ab Imperio's focus on languages of self-description in
the imperial space (2005-2006) and on knowledge and its gray zones in
empire (2007), the journal explored discourses and practices of
rationalizing and modernizing the diverse imperial space. To build on
this trend -- as well as expand it to new areas of research and
reflection -- we invite our authors and readers to explore the history
of empire through the concept of the "gardening state" inspired by
Zygmunt Bauman's sociology. Following the established tradition, we
would like to explore practices of the rationalization of imperial
space through a meta-concept -- in this case a meta-concept in
continental sociology reflecting grand historical processes of
modernity -- which is brought to bear on diverse imperial experiences
and encounters. It becomes immediately obvious that in the case of
empire the concept of the gardening state loses its single-vectored
character and its homogenizing and totalizing potential, because in
the imperial states the right to "garden" is contested by multiple --
social, political, ethnic, confessional -- actors.

This right to garden is entangled with one of the key questions in the
study of empire: the problem of uniqueness and exceptionalism of
historical experiences, both in the eye of the scholarly beholder and
as contained in the languages of self-description of historical
actors. Each and every empire -- from classic antiquity to modern day
composite polities -- rests on a notion of a unique and exceptional
historical path. This exceptionalism is dialectically translated into
imperial universalism, which lifts imperial loyalties and
identifications above local, regional, national, confessional, or
social loyalties. The dialectic transformation of imperial
exceptionalism also reveals itself in hierarchies of shared and
divided sovereignties, exclusions, and gray zones unregulated by the
ever increasing pace of rationalization of modern polities. As one of
the central questions of our first issue in 2008, we pose the problem
of imperial exceptionalisms and the problem of academic languages that
describe them. Can dichotomies between colonial and land empires
(which lead to specific configurations and isolation of research
fields) be overcome through a dialogue between research traditions and
their mutual translation, and through exploration of connections and
knowledge circulation within and outside of historic empires? Can a
post-colonial paradigm shed light on the history of the Russian
Empire? And can the latter, in turn, generate new insights and
complicate post-colonial studies?

These and other questions naturally lead to the problem of gardening
the imperial subject, the focus of the second issue of the journal in
2008. Overcoming the nation-centered and top-down political history,
is it possible to enrich our understanding of the history of empire by
looking into traditional themes of post-colonial studies: the
relationship between the intimate and the collective across the divide
between the metropole and the colony? Borrowing research topics from
post-colonial studies (family, sexuality, nurture, upbringing) and
combining them with established research programs in Russian imperial
history (schooling, languages, socialization), can we identify and
describe multiple gardeners -- and perhaps gardens -- and come to an
understanding of the mechanisms of imperial subjectivity?

Gardening imperial and national spaces invokes establishing an ideal,
utopian harmony of well-regulated and orderly relations among humans
and between human societies and nature. How is this ideal order
challenged and contested, and what are possible forms of violating and
vandalizing imperial and national gardens? In the third issue of 2008
we are interested in exploring different forms of violence as
practices of signification, as forms of rationality and irrationality,
and as means to making and unmaking of groupness. At the same time, we
are looking for articles focusing on rationalization and
standardization as forms of (symbolic) violence.

In the last issue of the journal our focus is on the ecology of
imperial gardens as reflected in languages and practices in imperial
space. As gardening transgresses the divide between the social and the
natural, it generates languages of authenticity and nurture. Problems
in this issue may range from ecological discourses in constructing
imperial and national identities, to sanitary and hygienic projects of
different imperial and national gardeners.

No. 1/2008 Imperial Exceptionalisms: Mechanisms and Discourses

Discourses and mythologies of exceptionalism in representations of
empires * Politics of comparison in studies of empires: the promise
and limits of postcolonialism and the problem of translatability of
historiographies of empires * Exceptionalism as an operative mode of
empires: empires as hierarchies of legal, social and cultural
particularisms and exceptions * Uniformity and individuation in
governance and cultural encounters in the imperial space * Benevolent,
modernizing and oppressive empire: the Russian/Soviet "mission" in the
East, the West, and the world * The making of social and cultural
differences as a practice of imperial governance * Historiographies of
imperial exceptionalisms and national Sonderwege * Localizing
globalization: contested meanings of the post-Soviet and Eurasian
space * Is a comprehensive theory of empire possible? Overcoming
exceptionalist languages of self-description * Regional and national
exceptionalisms as practices of difference-building * Entangled
experience of empire: communication and learning from different
imperial ventures * "Gardening state" as a metaphor in the context of
imperial and post-imperial histories.

No. 2/2008 Gardening the Imperial Subject: Intimate and Collective in
the Imperial Space

Social practices of subjecthood in the imperial and national space *
Biographies of transitional selves: between old imperial and new
national elites * The site of difference and uniformity: the imperial
army as an instrument of gardening the imperial subject * Regulating
family, reproduction, and nurture: mixed marriages, family, and
children in imperial and national space * Upbringing of imperial
subjects: pedagogy of unity and diversity * Education, reform, and
citizenship: between imperial and national subjects * Practices of
socialization in ethnically diverse milieus: mimicry, translation, and
assimilation * The intimate of imperial and national subjecthood:
emotions, attachments, loyalties * Intimate relations and collective
subjects: agents and objects of gardening in imperial and national
space * Imperial minds: psychiatric discourses in the empire *
Religiosity and subjectivity: confessional and interconfessional
practices of the self.

No. 3/2008 Vandalizing the Garden: Multiple Forms of Violence in the
Imperial Space

Between anarchy and tyranny: theoretical problems of violence
understood as a social and political phenomenon in a heterogeneous
space * Social engineering as violent interventionism *
Rationalization and standardization as repression * Violence as the
language of local exceptionalism and uniqueness * The rationality and
irrationality of violence in culturally divided space * Jewish
pogroms; exterminations of small nationalities; social landscapes of
war zones and ethnic conflicts * Violence as a "legitimate" politics:
political terrorism and imperial and national tensions * Genocides,
deportations and traumatic experience of ethnic conflicts * The
ambiguity of the concept of criminality in the empire: drawing and
violating cultural, social and political borders * Violence as a
social practice of vertical and horizontal communications in the
empire * Imposing languages: symbolic violences in imperial and
national spaces.

No. 4/2008 Nature and Nurture: Ecology of Imperial Gardens

Organic metaphors of the social order * Discourses of environmental
determinism: from Arnold Toynbee to Lev Gumilev * The emergence of
environmental thought in imperial and national discourses * Ecology,
sanitation, and empire: landscaping national and imperial spaces *
Ecological disasters or imperial triumphs: colonization, depletion of
resources, re-making of spaces * Ecological limits of expansion and
adaptation of imperial rule * Ecology of communications in the
expansion and integration of empires * Regionalism through the prism
of environmental history * Hygienic and sanitary projects in empire
and nations across the 1917 divide * Rationalizations of imperial
spaces and the trope of preservation of archaic authenticity *
Postcolonial claims on bodies and territories.

Theory and Methodology * History * Archive * Sociology, Anthropology &
Political Science * ABC: Empire & Nationalism Studies * Newest
Mythologies * Historiography and Book Reviews.

For subscription please contact our authorized commercial
East View Publications, EBSCO, and
KUBON & SAGNER Buchexport-Import.

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