Call for Papers: 6th International Interdisciplinary Conference in Balkan Studies "Balkan Express 2021 - Neighbors and Neighborhood in the Balkans"

Publication date
August 15, 2021
August 31, 2021
Short description

Call for Papers: 6th International Interdisciplinary Conference in Balkan Studies "Balkan Express 2021 - Neighbors and Neighborhood in the Balkans"

Online registration:

Date: November 12-13, 2021

Conference venue: Faculty of Humanities, Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic

Conference language: English

Conference format: Hybrid (Please specify whether you will be attending the conference physically or virtually in the online registration form).

Application deadline: August 31, 2021

Contact and Registration:
Information regarding acceptance: September 12, 2021

Organizing committee:
PhDr. Dana Bittnerova, CSc., PhDr. Mirjam Moravcova, DrSc., Mgr. Ivana Skenderija, Mgr. Markéta Slavkova, Ph.D., Frantisek Sistek, M.A., Ph.D.

Organizing institutions:
Faculty of Humanities, Charles University;
Institute of History of the Czech Academy of Sciences;
Institute of Ethnology of the Czech Academy of Sciences;
Institute of International Studies, Faculty of Social
Sciences, Charles University;

Czech Association for Slavic, Balkan and Byzantine Studies


The conference has been supported by Strategy AV21 - Top Research in the Public Interest, research program of the Czech Academy of Sciences.


This year the conference will aim to rethink the Balkans through concepts and ideas of neighbors, neighborhood and neighborly relations. The central role of the notion of neighborhood (komšiluk) in the daily lives of people in the Balkans and the importance of neighborly relations in Balkan societies in general seems to be beyond doubt.

On the one hand, the traditional Balkan notion of neighborhood, formed under Ottoman and Mediterranean social and cultural influences, tends to be conceptualized in an inclusive manner, emphasizing the special relations, respect and mutual assistance among close neighbors regardless of their faith and ethnicity. Neighborhood is primarily understood as an intimate space of deep bonds, affections, mutual help and tolerance. In this perspective, neighborly solidarity helps to neutralize the effects of the anonymous outside forces of modern state, nationalism, and economic exploitation of individual lives. In the extreme situations of military conflicts, ethnic cleansing and ideological clashes, many tended to save lives, property and dignity of their neighbors.

On the other hand, the Balkans are also frequently conceptualized as a region characterized by deep and long-lasting mutual animosity and repetitive violence among neighbors. Neighborhood is thus represented as a breeding ground of distrust, jealousy, hatred and conflict. In this view, Balkan neighbors simply kill, loot, rape and expel one another with greater frequency and fury than other Europeans.

The 6th "Balkan Express” conference would like to revisit the notions, practices and discourses of neighbors and neighborhood in the Balkans (historical, anthropological, political and economic perspectives). The conference adopts an interdisciplinary approach, enabling different fields of knowledge production and ways of understanding neighbors and neighborhood. This year the conference is going to take form of a hybrid event due to the coronavirus pandemics. It will be possible to attend the conference both physically and virtually. In addition to a rich academic program, the conference will also provide a glimpse into Balkan cultural and artistic production. We look forward to meeting you in Prague this November.


Topics of interest include, but are not limited to:

- Komšiluk (neighborhood) as an intimate space of special
bonds in discourses and practical life

- Other concepts describing neighborly relations and neighborhood in the Balkans (e.g. zavicaj, zadruga, zajednica or mahala - the physical neighborhoods in post-Ottoman Balkan cities and towns)

-  “Neighbors killing neighbors” and/or “Neighbors saving

- Broken Bonds and “Impossible Neighborhood”

- Absent neighbors (dead and expelled neighbors, neighbors
living abroad, neighborhoods affected by negative
demographic trends)

- Neighborhood in contemporary political discourses and
practice (inter-state relations between ‘Balkan neighbors’,
notions of good/bad neighborly relations between various
ethnic groups, the project of EU enlargement progressively
incorporating Europe´s ‘Balkan neighborhood’)

  • Other
Geographical focus
  • SEE
  • WBC
Scientifc field / Thematic focus
  • Cross-thematic/Interdisciplinary
  • Humanities
  • Social Sciences

Entry created by Admin on August 25, 2021
Modified on August 25, 2021