Call for papers: Technologies of Mind and Body in the Soviet Union and the Eastern Bloc

University of Nottingham, May 17th-19th 2019


Deadline for the submission of abstracts: 30 September 2018

The project of creating a ‘New Man’ and ‘New Woman’ initiated in the Soviet Union and the Eastern Bloc constituted one of the most extensive efforts to remake human psychophysiology in modern history. Revolutionary campaigns targeting the mental and physical ‘reforging’ of the population have attracted a growing number of scholars and engaged a variety of disciplines and methodologies in recent years. Bringing this research together, this symposium aims to shed new light on the multifaceted techniques that were developed in order to transform and revolutionise individual minds and bodies. How did science, culture and medicine overlap with a mode of government that sought to manage, cultivate and regulate human life? What role did Soviet and East European scientists, medical professionals, educational specialists and cultural producers play in the articulation of new ideas about the body, health and human perfectibility? How did individuals and collectives engage with – or resist – the transformative imperatives of the Soviet experiment? Spotlighting the intersection of expert knowledge, culture and revolutionary agendas of mind-body transformation, the symposium will address the following topics:

  • The mind/body as object of scientific and medical knowledge
  • Media technologies and new arenas of sensory experience
  • The blurred boundaries between science, technology and culture
  • Encounters between the ‘biological’ and the ‘technological’
  • Technologies of the self and self-fashioning
  • Disciplinary power, biopolitics and techniques of bodily management.
  • Understandings of human variation and dis/ability

Organisers: Anna Toropova (Nottingham) and Claire Shaw (Warwick)


Please send a paper title, an abstract of 300 words and a brief academic biography (200 words) to by 30th September 2018.


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