Ports hold a special position in economic, social and political aspects of modern societies; ports in socialist countries possibly even more so. In a political system that preferred closed borders, ports symbolized the “gates to the world”; in an economic system that was thoroughly planned, ports became the main contact point for global trade outside of a planned economy. In many ways, socialist ports were places of exception: heightened contact with the rest of the world went hand in hand with heightened control; the relative permeability of ports as border regions allowed for intensified smuggling, black marketeering or defection. Because of their permeable nature, ports – as well as shipyards – may be considered places of increased potential for political protest and dissent.
This workshop aims to discuss the functions, specifics and regional embeddedness of socialist ports throughout the 20th century in a global perspective. We focus on the locality (socialist ports as specific economic, political or social locations, as part of a port city, as part of an international network), on the agents (e.g. national and local authorities, workers and sailors within a highly international working environment), as well as on networks (between ports both socialist and non-socialist, as well as the interface between ports and other entities, such as railways) and on changes and continuities during (economic, political, social) transformations. Finally, we inquire into the general concept of a “socialist port”.
We invite abstracts (max. 500 words) for papers focusing on socialist ports throughout the world. Workshop participants should be prepared to send in their full papers a month before the workshop. The organizers will cover the cost of accommodation. Pending the results of funding applications, we hope to also provide a subsidy toward travel costs.
Please send your abstract by Dec. 10, 2018, to Dr. Sarah Lemmen (Lemmen@oeg.uni-kiel.de) and Dr. Brigitte Le Normand (firstname.lastname@example.org).