Visegrad Scholarship at the Open Society Archives

The Open Society Archives has announced the research theme within the Visegrad Scholarship at OSA in 2021/22: “Possibilities of knowing: Truth seeking in a polarized world and in its aftermath”. They invite applicants from the fields of history, the arts, philosophy and sociology to reflect on the conditions of knowledge production during and after the Cold War. Scholars and artists are invited to analyze the documentary practices of different agencies and persons on both sides of the Iron Curtain and assess the truth value of related documents/artifacts.

Scholars are invited to take part in an academic challenge as well in a public act of providing examples of source literacy going beyond the usual categorizations such as “biased” or “subjective”. OSA collections feature as a “counter-archive”, comprising documents, used as evidence in the past [mostly Cold War] to counter allegations of authoritarian and violent regimes; doing research at OSA means not only uncovering proofs related to certain events, but also engaging in a current debate about the integrity, authority, relevance and truthfulness of sources.

The current call is part of a reflexive-research program at OSA interested in the working knowledge and skills that characterized the investigations of Cold War experts and diverse monitoring agencies before 1989. They would like to assess the potential of a genealogical project linking the contemporary epistemic crisis of democracy to past modes of inquiry.

They also recommend several thematic areas:

  • Conceptualizing and reporting about opposition or social movements (selection and support for what counts as a “movement”, “dissidence” or “non-conformism”)
  • Sociological data: relevanceof polls, surveys and statistics during socialism and after
  • Circuits of communication and (anti-)propaganda techniques: information gathering and classification, textual and visual dissemination (book programs, samizdat, TV monitoring, instructional and documentary movies)
  • Problems of documentation and verification of human rights abuses
  • Representation and assessment of socio – economic issues: labor, standards of living, urbanization, education, religion
  • Science and ideology: considerations regarding expert claims, efficiency, impact
  • Intellectual debates in a polarized world andtheir aftermath
  • Consequences of Cold War conceptual schemes and treatment of information on current economic and socio-political issues
  • Reflection on the (Cold War) receptions, instrumentalizations and revisions of the history and the notion of the Revolution.
  • The issue of historical credibility in Cold War archives

The grants of 2.000 euro each are designed to provide access to the archives for scholars, artists, and journalists, and to cover travel to and from Budapest, a modest subsistence, and accommodation for a research period of eight weeks. Stipends for shorter periods are pro-rated.

Applicants, preferably but not exclusively, from a V4 country, may be researchers, students after their second degree carrying out research, or artists, journalists, academics, or both.

Submission deadlines for the 2021/22 academic year:

  • July 25, 2021
  • November 15, 2021

More information on the call and the application procedure at:

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