Call for Papers: Migration and Landscape Change

RHN 154/2013 | Call

Organisers: Collegium Carolinum – Forschungsstelle für die böhmischen Länder (München); Herder-Institut für historische Ostmitteleuropaforschung/Institut der Leibniz-Gemeinschaft (Marburg); Zentrum für Umweltgeschichte, Universität Tallinn; in Kooperation mit der Graduiertenschule für Ost- und Südosteuropastudien München-Regensburg und der European Society for Environmental History

23-24 May 2014, Munich

Deadline: 31 December 2013


Migration and Landscape Change

Today’s cultural landscape was largely shaped by human interventions during the nineteenth and twentieth century. Sweeping changes in agricultural practices, industrialisation and the opening up of new areas through transport and distribution infrastructures were major contributing factors to the making of current cultural landscapes. In the 20th century, state-driven land-development ideas led to fundamental changes in the use of land. And finally, the idealised view of nature as either ‘damaged’ or ‘intact’ led to certain undeveloped landscapes being placed under protection.

Migration also contributed to this change in the landscape, and this is particularly true of East Cen-tral Europe. In conjunction with legislative reforms, the dramatic rise in its population from the 19th century onwards led to a change in the methods of agricultural land usage. Economic migration and urbanisation which followed shaped rural areas as well as the relationship between the urban and the rural. The forced migrations which took place during and after World War II eventually transformed many regions; the all-encompassing landscape theories developed by scientists in national socialist Germany at the beginning of the 1940s served this end. After 1945, those regions affected by forced displacements were either altered by intensive usage (urbanisation, industrialisation, mining) or by a dramatic fall in the population and its consequences (changes to population density, decline in agricultural production, afforestation). Further extensive interventions included the sealing-off of border areas and military exclusion zones, the construction of reservoirs or, later, the creation of national parks. The post-1945 industrialisation driven by socialist states, the collectivisation of agriculture and the further development of land through infrastructure led to further (labour) migrations after the 1950s. In the context of state land-use planning these caused a radical change to the landscape.

The conference aims to investigate the influence of migration on the changing landscapes of East Central Europe. It will pose the question of how changes to the cultural landscape were driven by migration and with which landscape-related ideas these were bound up. Here, landscape is not understood as something which simply exists, but rather as socially constructed and shaped through the exercise of power and control. The concept of migration is used in its broad sense to include forced migrations, deportations and state-ordered resettlements as well as labour migrations. The focal point of the conference will be analyses of the relationship between migration and landscape change which either consider the consequences of migrations for the landscape, or investigate the migrations which took place as a result of planned or unforeseen landscape changes, and which thereby contribute to an explanation of today’s cultural landscapes.

Panels on the following topics are planned:

1. Landscape changes in the wake of migrations: How did agricultural regions change as a result of migration to the cities? What impact did this have on the relationship between the countryside and the city? The construction of railways and roads opened up new areas; how did the subsequent formation of new centres and peripheries change the cultural landscape? To what extent did resettlements, deportations and the arrivals of new inhabitants lead to changes in the use of land? How were these population changes interpreted at the local level?

2. Concepts of landscape in the context of migration: How did ideas of ‘damaged’ and ‘intact’ nature change as a result of migration? What influence did migrants have on this issue? How can we describe the relationship between migration and politicised nature? Which political models of landscape formation emerge under the changing political systems of East Central Europe? Which ideas about landscape were behind the waves of migration that took place during and after the Second World War?

3. Migrations following environmental destruction and landscape changes: The threat and change to areas, for example through massive interventions such as river controls, the building of reservoirs, military usage, establishment of exclusion areas etc. and also through environmental stress, led to wide-reaching changes in land usage. These led to migration movements, which include not only the well-known resettlements following the Chernobyl catastrophe, but also forms of creeping migration, such as the movement of people out of the industrial areas of northern Bohemia. What impact did such shifts in the population have on these and other affected regions?

4. Migration of animals and plants: Human migrations also lead to a dissemination of new species of plants and animals, which also contribute to changes in the cultural landscape. Which forms of interaction between human, animal and plant migration are to be found in East Central Europe and how was this shift in biocultural diversity perceived against its shifting political backdrops? How politicised was/is the description of plant and animal migration processes through the usage of xenophobic terms such as “bio-invasion” or through the stylisation of hybrid cultural forms in nature and society?

The focus of the conference will be on 19th and 20th-century East Central Europe. Papers on neighbouring regions, comparisons between East Central European case studies and other areas as well as methodologically innovative projects on other periods are also welcome.

Proposals should contain the title, a brief abstract (max. 500 words), a short biographical description as well as a current address. The abstracts of those invited to speak at the conference will be sent in advance to all conference participants in the form of a reader. The languages of the conference will be German and English. In order to ensure that everyone’s language needs are catered for at the conference, please inform us when you apply of your passive and active skills in both languages.

The deadline for proposals is 31th December 2013. Applicants will be informed about the success of their application at the beginning of 2014. Travel and accommodation costs will be covered by the organisers.

Please send your proposals in electronic form (preferably as a Word document) to:

Dr. Martin Zückert
Collegium Carolinum
Hochstr. 8
D-81669 München

Source: H-Soz-u-Kult