Call for Papers
Elites and Generations, 1721–1925
The Fourth Finnish-Russian Conference on Elite Studies in St Petersburg
16–18 September 2020
Venue: The Finnish Institute in St Petersburg & Consulate General of Finland, St Petersburg
The theme of the Fourth Finnish-Russian conference on the history of elites is ‘generations’. It is defined broadly to encompass both the physical and metaphorical aspects of the key concept.
Furthermore, the concept ‘elites’ is defined broadly: every society and social group – including peasants and workers – had their internal elites. Elite studies are the study of key persons, powerful groups and leading social forces and formations in all their varieties.
The proposed presentation can analyse successive physical generations of a family, or a group of families. It can study private life, marked by everyday life and seasonal traditions. It can examine the transfer of economic, cultural and social capital, with related tensions and power struggles. On the other hand, a family may be analysed as producing generations of public figures and socialites – from father to son, from mother to daughter – active within local, provincial, urban or court scenes.
Metaphorically, generations may be perceived as age groups with shared social background, political beliefs or cultural tastes. Karl Mannheim’s theory of the role of formative, distressful ‘key experiences’ – wars, famines, rebellions, depressions – in the making of a self-conscious generation may prove useful here.
Prominent academic and military generations – often the ‘new arrivals’ of a particular year or period – who define the political ambitions, fashions, or administrative practices for years to come, can be analysed either as true game-changers, or as one-time ‘moderns’ whose social influence turned out to be short-lived.
The concept of generations can also include abstract generations such as generations of political ideas or cultural phenomena. It can even include generations of non-human agency such as technological generations.
The presentations may focus on generational continuity and change, individuals and processes, or gender and age groups. The conference welcomes both long-term cross-generational analyses and synchronic analyses focusing on historical periods characterised by a particular generation – whether of young lions set out to change the world, influential mentors bringing up a generation of protégés, or diehards reluctant to let go of their long since acquired authority.
The main language of the conference is English, and there is no interpretation. We prefer presentations in English, but if presenting in English is not possible, we can accept a limited number of presentations in Russian. Their abstracts will be translated to Finnish, and an interpreter will translate the questions/answers related to these Russian presentations to Finnish/Russian.
There is no participation fee. Travelling and accommodation expenses are not covered by the organiser.
Master’s students and doctoral students of Finnish universities may apply for a travel grant of 300 euros. Both students who wish to present at the conference and students who wish only to attend can apply for a grant. For further information (in Finnish/English), please contact Dr Alex Snellman:
The deadline for presentation proposals (and grant applications) is 1 March 2020.
The letters of acceptance/rejection will be sent by 15 April 2020.
It is also possible to attend the conference without holding a presentation. Further information will be provided when the conference programme is published in the spring.
Please feel free to forward this CFP to anyone who may be interested!
Members of the organising committee:
Dr Kristiina Kalleinen
Dr Ira Jänis-Isokangas
Dr Alex Snellman
Dr Marina Vituhnovskaja-Kauppala
Dr Marja Vuorinen
The conference is organised by the
Imperial Era Network
with financial support from the
and in cooperation with the
Consulate General of Finland, St Petersburg
Finnish Institute in St Petersburg
Department of History, European University at St Petersburg
Aleksanteri Institute, University of Helsinki