Call for Papers

This year’s conference will address changes in the relationships within and between the former communist countries of the Global East. We focus on region(s) that have been labeled as post/former -Soviet, -socialist, -communist, or even wider as Eurasia, to afford thinking about differences rather than similarities, specificities rather than generalizations.

We examine the concept and trajectories of choice in relation to political transformations within and between the countries of the Global East. Much research has been about the inevitability of certain processes without providing space for thinking about free will. With this conference, we would like to explore various factors and their combinations that influenced certain legal choices made by the former communist countries of the Global East: the choices that led Russia to attack Ukraine; the choices behind traditional values, policy backsliding, violation of human rights; the choices behind and transformations of carceral practices. Our study of carceral practices moves past stone walls and iron bars, examining the judicial systems of which prisons are both symbols and actualities. We invite scholars to examine punishment and control at the intersections of geography, politics, history, literature, sociology, psychology, as well as penal studies and legal studies.

This conference will be focused on the Global East, as opposed to Russia, which has been central to most of our previous conferences. This year we especially encourage proposals from across the region that address the conference’s principal themes of political transformations, legal choices and carceral practices from a broad range of disciplines. We also welcome submissions on recent research across a broad range of disciplines, including (but not limited to) law, geography, politics, history, sociology, anthropology, cultural studies, and international relations.

Conference schedule and deadlines
  • Extended deadline for submitting panel, roundtable, and paper proposals: May 15, 2023
  • Notification of acceptance: June 30, 2023
  • Online registration and registration fees due by:
    • Early bird: August 31, 2023
    • Standard: October 10, 2023
  • Conference programme published: early September 2023
  • Conference: October 25–27, 2023
Keynote and plenary speakers

Keynotes and plenaries will be live streamed to the public.

Plenary speakers include:

  • Madina Tlostanova, Professor of Postcolonial Feminism, Linköping University, Sweden
  • Epp Annus, Associate Professor, Institute of Humanities, Tallinn University, Estonia
  • Dominique Moran, Professor in Carceral Geography, School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Birmingham, UK
  • Viacheslav Morozov, Professor of EU-Russia Studies at the University of Tartu, Estonia
  • Jeffrey Kahn, Professor, Southern Methodist University, USA
  • Yevgeniy Zakharov, Director, Kharkhiv Human Rights Protection Group (KHPG), Ukraine

Sessions will last 90 minutes each and shall be structured as follows:
Oral presentation: 15 minutes each (in panels with 4 papers) or 20 minutes each (in panels with 3 papers)
Discussant’s comments: 10 min
Q&A: 20 min

The chair will introduce the panel and its participants, and keep time for the individual presenters. The discussant will have 10 minutes to give their comments after all panelists have presented their papers.

In panels with four papers, the chair and discussant functions will be combined into the single role of “extended chair.”

Roundtables will also last 90 minutes. Please be mindful of time constraints so that we can achieve a fair allocation of time between participants. For chair instructions see above – this will be the same as for panels.

Additional Information
  • The working language of the conference is English.
  • There is a PC and projector in every lecture hall.
  • Please let us know in advance if any special assistance is needed (please email
  • Participants and observers who do not wish to give a paper or organise a panel or roundtable are also welcome to take part in the conference (standard registration rates apply, see Registration Rates page).  
  • All conference participants are required to register.
Note on the Russian war against Ukraine

Taking into account the principles of engagement agreed upon by Finnish Universities (UNIFI) and guidelines of the University of Helsinki on collaboration with Russia and Belarus, the conference organisers note the following:

  • No proposal or presentation advocating for Russia’s war against Ukraine will be accepted.
  • Colleagues based in Russia or Belarus will participate in a personal capacity.

The conference organisers encourage Ukraine-based or displaced Ukrainian scholars to participate in the event. For this purpose they are exempted from paying the conference fee.