Call for Papers

The 19th annual Aleksanteri conference explores interactions between technologies, societies, and cultures across Eurasia. We will bring together leading experts in Russian, Eastern European, and Eurasian studies, as well as researchers from digital humanities to examine how said interactions are reconfigured in the context of past and future technological change.

What impact does technology have on societies and cultures across Eurasia and vice versa? Which inventions historically provoked major disruptions in Russia, Eastern Europe, and Eurasia, and how did these societies then respond? What are the major challenges posed by the rapid spread of digital technologies and media? How will emerging technologies – such as Artificial Intelligence, blockchain, or the Internet of Things – change politics, social interactions, egalitarian processes, and forms of cultural production in the future?

Aleksanteri Conference 2019 is an invitation to discuss how technologies are constructed, conditioned, adopted, maintained, abolished, and repaired across the Eurasian space. We welcome critical approaches, interdisciplinary, and comparative perspectives to explore technologies and their interaction with important questions of power, knowledge, sustainability, privacy, securitization, and inequality. Digital technology has resulted in the emergence of a wealth of new (big) data sources, such as digital archives, social media, and various kinds of digital media outlets. These advancements allow us to further investigate Eurasian societies, histories, and cultures with the help of novel digital tools. Hence, this year we introduce a dedicated digital humanities stream aimed at addressing the methodological, linguistic,  legal, and ethical challenges of working with digitized research materials and big data from Russia, Eastern Europe and Eurasia.

The conference committee invites papers in the following thematic streams: 

Technology and Politics
Including #digital_democracy, #technopolitics, #elections_tinkering, #post-truth, #civic_tech

Technology and Economics
Including #innovation, #network_industries, #data_economy, #platform_economy

Technology and Culture
Including #new_media, #algorithmic_culture, #digital_art, #moral_machines, #convergence_culture

Technology and Society
Including #mediatization, #infrastructure, #digital_divide, #datafication

Digital Humanities
Including #DHareastudies, #big_data, #digital_archives, #researchethics, #coding_skills

On behalf of the Aleksanteri Conference Organising Committee, we have great pleasure in inviting you to submit your proposal to any of the five themes. We kindly ask you to do so in accordance with the instructions provided in the electronic submission form. All abstracts will be reviewed by scientific experts for rating of abstract quality and presentation content.

Anastasiya Bonch-Osmolovskaya, Associate Professor of Linguistics, National Research University Higher School of Economics (Moscow), Russia
Natalie Koch, Associate Professor of Geography & O’Hanley Faculty Scholar, Syracuse University, USA
Benjamin Peters, Associate Professor of Media Studies, the University of Tulsa and Affiliated Fellow, Yale Law School, USA
Ellen Rutten, Professor of Literature, University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands
Alina Sorgner, Assistant Professor for Applied Data Analytics, John Cabot University, Rome, Italy

In addition to plenary sessions, the conference features scientific panels, roundtables, and a poster session. Complementing academic activity, the conference programme will also include cultural events and discussions with practitioners and public figures involved in technology development, assessment, and scaling. We will organise a guided tour of the Slavonic Library, which is a world-renowned treasure, especially for scholars of Russian history and culture. Conference guests are invited to attend an evening reception hosted by the City of Helsinki. This year we will again organise a book exhibition at the main conference venue.

  • Deadline for submitting paper/poster, panel, and roundtable proposals: 15 May 2019
  • Notification of acceptance: 14 June 2019
  • Online registration and registration fees due by 21 August 2019
  • Conference programme published by early September 2019
  • Conference: 23–25 October 2019

The deadline for submitting paper/poster, panel, and roundtable proposals is 15 May 2019.

All abstracts must contain the following information to allow a sound referee review:

  • Abstract title
  • Abstract structure: aim, background, methods, findings, conclusion/recommendations
  • Abstract text in English within the given word limits       
  • Thematic stream
  • All authors’ and co-authors’ names and affiliations
  • Contact information (name, email address) of corresponding author(s)

Individual paper/poster proposals: Please submit your individual paper/poster abstracts of 300-500 words via the abstract submission form. The organisers will form a limited number of thematic panels from the highest rated individual proposals and offer a poster presentation slot to the remaining qualified applicants. Poster presentations by early career authors (a current graduate student or a researcher who has finished a PhD within the past four years) will automatically be included in the Aleksanteri poster award competition.
NB: If you submit a paper for an organised panel, please do not submit it as an individual paper proposal.

Panel proposals: Panels should consist of 3-4 paper presenters, a chair, and a discussant. Panels must aim for an international composition. Please submit your panel proposal, including an abstract of 300-500 words, via the panel proposal submission form.

Roundtables: Each roundtable will feature a structured discussion on a timely theme or problem, which requires a more open format of debate than a conventional paper session. Roundtables must have a moderator and 3-5 speakers. Please submit your roundtable proposal, including an abstract of 300-500 words, via the roundtable proposal submission form.

Notification of acceptance for paper, panel, and roundtable proposals will be sent via email by 14 June 2019. The abstracts of accepted posters/papers/panels/roundtables will be published on the conference website.

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

The chair will introduce the panel and its participants, proceeding to make sure that time is allocated equally between individual presenters. The discussant will have 10 minutes to give their comments after all panellists present their papers.

The papers will be circulated amongst the panel chairs and discussants prior to the conference, at latest 10 October 2019.

For participants who wish to use the printing services at the University of Helsinki (additional fee), posters (A1) should be submitted by 10 October 2019 at the latest.

Roundtables will also last 90 minutes. Please be mindful of time constraints so that we can achieve a fair allocation of time between participants.

The poster session will be held on 24 October 2019 in the afternoon.

The working language of the conference is English. Unfortunately, no translations can be provided.

There is a PC and projector in every lecture hall.

Participants are requested to make their own arrangements for travel and accommodation. Costs related to participation are also the responsibility of the participant. Information on hotels will be provided later on the conference webpage. For Helsinki hotel and tourism information, please see

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. All conference participants are required to register. Please see the ‘Registration rates’ section above for details.

Selected papers will be published as a compilation with an internationally acknowledged publishing house.    

For further information, or if you wish to ask any questions, please contact the conference organisers at:


The Aleksanteri Conference is an annual, multidisciplinary, international event organised by the Aleksanteri Institute, the Finnish Centre for Russian and Eastern European Studies, at the University of Helsinki since 2001. Aleksanteri Conferences have attracted broad interest among researchers and policy-makers in a wide variety of disciplines, both in Finland and abroad, who are interested in the development of post-socialist countries.

Interested in past Aleksanteri Conferences? Keynote presentations from the 2015–2018 Aleksanteri Conferences are available on the Aleksanteri Institute’s YouTube channel.