The Vanguard of Class and Nation: Parties as Governments in Eurasia, 1920s–1990s

The Vanguard of Class and Nation: Parties as Governments in Eurasia, 1920s–1990s

University of Heidelberg
Vom - Bis
12.04.2021 - 13.04.2021
Ivan Sablin

The University of Heidelberg invites chapter proposals for the edited volume “The Vanguard of Class and Nation: Parties as Governments in Eurasia, 1920s–1990s. The book workshop for the invited authors is scheduled to take place in Heidelberg on April 12–13, 2021.

Focusing on the histories of one-party regimes in Eastern Europe, East Asia, Southeast Asia, West Asia, Central and Inner Asia in the twentieth century, the volume will explore the appropriation of the government’s role by extraconstitutional organizations and their claims to alternative paths to modernization in global and comparative contexts. The volume will address the geneses of one-party regimes in China, Czechoslovakia, Korea, Mongolia, the Soviet Union, Turkey, Vietnam, Yugoslavia, and other post-imperial and post-colonial polities, the roles of socialism and nationalism in the parties’ approaches to modernization and state-building, the constitutions and deliberative practices, the issues of diversity (such as gender, class, ethnicity, religion, and region), as well as crises and liberalization attempts in the respective contexts. The organizers seek to stimulate the dialogue between historians, political scientists, and other scholars working on the named contexts and to breach the divide between different area studies.

The volume will concentrate on Eurasian one-party regimes and specifically on the ruling parties as new organizations which took over state functions and replaced state institutions. The slogans and programs of modernization often justified the takeovers and served as the main elements of the party and state programs. The volume will pay special attention to the issue of nation-building through the party (including its multiethnic versions), especially since class rhetoric was either secondary to nationalism from the onset (for instance, in Korea or Vietnam) or the collective political subject, allegedly represented by the party, was extended to include the whole population (for instance, in the USSR and the PRC).

The volume will also pay attention to the global and comparative aspects of one-party regimes. In the intellectual discussions of the 1900s–1910s in Eurasia (for instance, in the Russian, Ottoman, and Qing Empires), the liberal approach to post-imperial and post-colonial transformations predominated, with parliaments and constitutions being seen as keys to political modernization. This changed, however, very quickly and already in the 1920s a number of parties (which often started as elements of the constitutional parliamentary designs) began claiming the whole polities, and the post-imperial one-party regimes in the USSR, China, and Turkey showed striking similarities. In all one-party regimes, however, nominal constitutions and parliaments remained in place, which meant that these institutions, novel for most Eurasian contexts, were seen as necessary for legitimizing the parties’ programs. The parties themselves often included assemblies as their supreme bodies, replicating parliamentarism, but these assemblies also became nominal in most cases.

The organizers plan to submit the book proposal to a good international publisher (according to the SENSE ranking). The book will be published in open access. Final chapters should not be over 9,000 words long (including notes and references). The volume will use the Chicago Manual of Style author-date in-text citations and chapter bibliographies. All non-bibliographic sources (archives, periodicals, etc.) should be cited in endnotes. The volume will use the American writing conventions for dates and spelling.

Please, submit a 300-word abstract along with a paragraph containing biographical information to before July 1, 2020. Selected authors will be invited to submit their first drafts of 7,000–9,000 words by December 1, 2020. Please, note that only those who submitted their first drafts will be invited to the book workshop in April 2021. The invitations to the workshop will hence be sent after the draft submission deadline.

The workshop is part of the project “Entangled Parliamentarisms: Constitutional Practices in Russia, Ukraine, China, and Mongolia, 1905–2005” (ENTPAR) which has received funding from the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program (grant agreement No. 755504). The organizers will be able to provide accommodation for the duration of the workshop but cannot cover travel expenses. The participation in the book workshop per video call is possible.



Ivan Sablin

Grabengasse 3–5, 69117 Heidelberg
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