‘Sensual Communism’ Conference, Poland

Deadline: 15 March 2013
Open to: representatives of humanities, especially anthropologists, sociologists, historians, literature, theatre and film researchers, orientalists, political scientists, etc.
Venue: Spała, Poland from April 11-14 2013.


Warsaw University, the Institute for Polish Culture, Institute of Western and Southern Slavic Studies, the University of Warsaw Foundation, the Cathedral of Culture Association, and the Communism Culture Research Group would like to invite you to the international interdisciplinary conference, “Sensual communism: Somatic experience of the era” in Spała, Poland from April 11-14 2013.

Conference Costs

The conference fee is 200 PLN (50 €) and includes conference materials, 3 nights, full board. Please indicate if you prefer vegetarian meals.


This conference is an eleventh interdisciplinary meeting connected with multifaceted anthropology of communism or the research on „civilisation of communism”. This time, they are mainly focused on somatic and sensual experience as a way of existing in the communism times and as a carrier and catalyst of the memory of this era. They would like to analyse carnality understood as an element of communist anthropological project – it’s conceptualization, appreciation and diminishing of it’s value as well as subjective sensual experience forming our memories, relationships and artistic activities corresponding with the experience of communism. They also consider important every sing of involvement of communist somatic paradigm in local/regional ways of perceiving the body and all of the practices connected with it.

These issues were hitherto put on the margin on contemporary scientific thought of communist civilisation, and treated mostly as case studies or curiosities. Rarely were they methodologically interpreted or analytically studied. They truly believe that looking at this issues from the new perspective, could be helpful in discovering new research fields and it can allow us to investigate how permanent are the ideas, sensations and behaviour patterns created in the times of communism. They also consider reasonable to take into consideration all of the methodological and theoretical issues connected with the above topic.

They offer following list of issues as an inspiration:

  • New sensuality of a New Man
  • Sex, gender. Taboo
  • Mythologizing and demonizing of sex appeal
  • Communist intimacy
  • Clean and stain in communism
  • Illness and degeneration of the body
  • Communist geography of the nose (dustbin, public toilet, perfumery)
  • Communist soundscape
  • Tastes of communism (culinary, recipes, restaurants)
  • Sensuality versus modernization and spread of technology
  • Sensory deprivation in a culture of scarcity
  • Communist strategies of aestheticization of carnality
  • Healthy body. Physical culture in the communist project of socialization
  • On vacation. Convenience and sensual pleasures.
  • Drugs and communist sensual transgression
  • Communist materialism and occultism (psychotronics, miracular sensuality, prophecies and wonders)

Language of the conference: Polish, English and Russian.


All the representatives of humanities are warmly invited, especially anthropologists, sociologists, historians, literature, theatre and film researchers, orientalists, political scientists and all the others interested in this field of the research.


The deadline for applications is March 15, 2013. Please send your submission to popkomunizm.polon@uw.edu.pl including the following information:

  • the title of the speech,
  • short (up to 10 sentences) description, stating whether it will have the character of the paper (20 min.) or a statement (10 min.)
  • personal information (affiliation, interests, academic title).

See the official call for applications HERE.

2 thoughts on “‘Sensual Communism’ Conference, Poland

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  2. I am unsure of what we are mnoivg into. I feel it is unwise to think of this in terms of the Soviet Union. That leads us to a flat view of the facts, and doesn’t lead us into at least hearing the other’s viewpoint. If we take the time to fully understand their viewpoint, it doesn’t mean we are taking it as truth, simply using it to make a better decision.At the G8 meeting in ’07, Putin answered questions concerning this system and why it would cause escalations. “I draw your attention and that of your readers to the fact that, for the first time in history — and I want to emphasize this — there are elements of the U.S. nuclear capability on the European continent. It simply changes the whole configuration of international security. That is the second thing.”Though Iran doesn’t quite have the capability to hit Europe, it might one day be able to. As a compromise Putin offered working together on a system.”We suggested working together right from the start but we got an immediate refusal.” Later an offer of cooperation was given, but Putin wasn’t happy with it.”They want us to provide our missiles as targets they can use in training.”Thus Putin sets a response to these actions.”We have learned from the Soviet Union’s experience and we will not be drawn into an arms race that anyone imposes on us. We will not respond symmetrically, we will respond with other methods and means that are no less effective. This is called an asymmetrical response.”Thus we see actions such as the recent agreement with Syria, not done in a vacuum, but in response to particular acts.Where are we going, I am afraid that if the US ever finds reason to use its low-yield, bunker buster nukes, we will have entered a new and freighting phase.”Then we heard about them developing low-yield nuclear weapons and they are continuing to develop these charges.”…”But perhaps it would be better to look for other ways and means to resolve the problem rather than create low-yield nuclear weapons, lower the threshold for using nuclear weapons, and thereby put humankind on the brink of nuclear catastrophe. But they are not listening to us.”Russia is no angel, but we must at all costs avoid creating a simple caricature and reacting to that instead of striving to understand the entirety of the situation.

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