In the context of the three long decades that have passed since the fall of the post-war communist regimes of Eastern Europe, how has the region dealt with its own condition of marginality?

For the fourth issue of Kajet, a journal of Eastern European encounters, we invite collaborations to take place within the realm of periphery and marginality. If the centre is the locus of power and dominance—where the hegemony is dictated from, where prestiges springs from—the periphery is automatically its subordinate and inferior. In the context of the three long decades that have passed since the fall of the post-war communist regimes of Eastern Europe, how has the region dealt with its own condition of marginality? 

This means that we propose to stop referring to the canon and switch our attention to some more localised concept of marginality. What is truly at stake here is not just the expansion of art disciplines, but also the rendering of such expanded histories more effectively. In order to reach this outcome, we seek to re-conceptualise the notion of periphery through the prism of power dynamics. Rewriting modernity may perhaps mean to deconstruct this single, dominant narrative and render it plural, to multiply it. It may be more useful therefore to speak of various, different peripheries and marginalities, not in the least because Eastern Europe is not just a periphery in itself, but is composed of a variety of peripheries. We must alert the centre of the possibility that there is not one world, not one history, not one future without alternatives, but rather many disparate worlds that are being lived at different speeds, according to different rhythms, producing contradictory histories. Our focus on peripheries is subsequently not just seeking to decentre the centre; our focus seeks to be empowering and to voice the peripheries. As a mode of thinking, setting up the centre against the periphery may be considered just another bipolar structural act of violence, one that enables the consolidation of power relations through imperialism and colonialism. Our goal however is not to further polarise and, on the contrary, we don’t seek to reinforce these possible limitations but to allow for new explanations to emanate, to empower subjectivities, talk about, and contextualise our marginality more appropriately. 

Focusing on the periphery means a lot more than just explaining mere outlying geographies, sparse population and increased migration rates, low profits and low outcomes, high unemployment rates, or a general lack of access to what’s considered modern and contemporary. The new dynamics at work in the post-1989 context induced new mutations to take place: further developed by globalising forces, the notion of periphery itself changed, Europe itself got provincialised, geographical periphery gave way to an emerging capitalist periphery, and with this to an ontological condition of marginality. There is no doubt that the East is an atypical reef of knowledge, a suspended experimental island and interstitial space enclosed by more fertile territories, ultimately an existential bracket based on prejudicial binaries that have created a paradoxical black hole. How do we represent our own marginality? How should the act of challenging our own marginal condition look like? What conditions do we need to create for our own marginality? How can we displace the dominant discourse & how can we widen the horizon, transform the canon, challenge the centre, and disrupt normative chronologies?

Our periphery is about temporal and spatial elsewheres. To be ‘enlightened’ (just as Western Europe designed itself as the centre of Enlightenment since the 18th century) implicitly constructs an idea of oneself as a subject-in-time; one has a present, one is guided forward by some sort of mystical light; whereas the other is in need of colonisation and improvement. So this bipolar construction is not just about geography, but also temporality: the coloniser is advanced—definitely in advance of the one that awaits colonisation; the colonised is thereby stigmatised as sluggish, underdeveloped, primitive. Our periphery is European and elsewhere altogether. What happens however when the other refuses to become the same? What happens when otherness refuses sameness? Furthermore, can a community of struggle across borders exist in the context of a third way? Ultimately, if we expand on this, can we trust in the possibility to create a pan-peripheral movement, one where the notion of Eastern Europe is re-defined not by its opposite relation to the West (as it was constructed in the bipolar geopolitics of the Cold War), but to its affinity to the Third World, as it was likewise positioned in pre-1989 internationalism? And lastly, can this emphasis put on marginality and periphery give way to the possibility to create a competing master narrative to the Western hegemonic one? What types of thinking and practices are needed to re-imagine the future of Europe and Eastern Europe? Is there a new thinking possible beyond "the end of history" or "after the end of post-communism"? Is it possible to strategise and come up with a revised vision for the future of Europe, not in a totalising manner, but perhaps to provide a toolkit that would allow to think about this condition, to counter the intellectual/political hegemony of the West, and propose a more habitable setting through a new set of discourses and practices?

For the fourth issue of Kajet, we are looking to publish around 20 written texts and 5 visual/photography projects. Besides the suggested themes, we are also interested in publishing short stories, autobiographical dreads and fiction, as well as visual projects, such as photo series and illustrations. Special focus remains placed on tackling academic subjects with a more accessible overtone. Therefore, we are particularly interested in projects that draw extensively from cultural studies, post-structuralist philosophy, critical theory, anthropology, film/cinema studies, architecture, ethnography, art history, cultural sociology, gender studies, ecology, political science, etc. 

Those interested in submitting their work are invited to send us an email with the completed project as well as a brief bio by December 1st, 2019 at the following email address: If your project is not finished by the aforementioned deadline, send us an email in advance and we can work together from there. For written work, the suggested word length is between 1,500 and 4,000 words.

Suggested—although not exclusive—approaches to the issue:

☄Alienated subjectivities in post-socialist neoliberalism: the struggle of the self and the struggle of communities at the periphery

☄Collective struggles for a post-Western world, emerging translocal art scenes and diasporas

☄Providing alternatives from the margin. Post-capitalist alternatives in post-socialist settings 

☄The Anthropocene at the periphery: global economy de-carbonisation, behavioural changes, ecological struggles, new modes of governing and the future of Eastern Europe

☄The production of knowledge elsewhere: art and culture beyond the epistemic canon and the mainstream

☄Intersectional feminism at the margins: feminist histories and modernities, women and resistance

☄Queering the East: the past, present, and future of LGBTQ politics

☄Post/de-colonial approaches to post-socialist Eastern Europe

☄Transregional solidarity: how can we create a network of Eastern European solidarity and cooperation? 

☄Eastern Europe and radical imaginations: how will the revolution look like, or how can we imagine a revolutionary future?

☄Peripheral flows, mobility, and exchanges between ex-Soviet states

☄Global discourses, local practices: dissenting against the hegemony & exploring non-Western, non-mainstream indigenous praxes at the margin

☄Eastern Europe and the concept of in-betweenness as an interstitial space of radical imagination

☄Cultural geographies of the Other: European identity, Eastern Europeanness, identity myths, civilisation, otherness

☄Contemporary world systems and the Global South, North, and East

☄Soft violence in the contemporary urban landscapes at the margin 

☄Visions of space and the battle for sustainability in the former Eastern bloc: the social production of space and the revolutionisation of everyday life through architecture of change

☄Material culture, mass housing, and living in post-socialist Eastern Europe

☄Memory and forgetting: the cultural politics of remembering