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CfA – CBSS Summer University 2022 in Gdańsk, Poland



The “Baltic Sea region” (BSR) has been employed as a focal point of regional identity in many ways. For instance, in physical and environmental terms as a part of maritime constructions of the region, in institutional terms as representing structures and embedding regional discourses, and in terms of cultural and cross border interaction forming shared regional heritage. These constructions are mediated by numerous narratives which shape our understanding of the world in different societal fields such as jurisdiction, medicine, history writing, religious services, politics and economic policy. Over the past thirty years, stories about the region in public discourse have changed considerably and have become part of the strategic storytelling about a shared past and a promising future of the BSR. The EU strategy for the Baltic Sea region envisages it as the first sustainable region, Hanseatic, imperial and Soviet pasts shape our perceptions of an apparent regional unity, while current security concerns and changes to, for example, energy policies stimulate a reformulation of established discourses about geopolitics within the region. The CBSS summer university addresses openly the strategies used in different narrative constructions of the BSR by actors from the political, economic and cultural domains.

We approach “Balticness” from themethodological angle of “Strategic Narratives” that are used in international relations and other narratological studies of language, literature and history. The participants will be invited to open up discursive spaces and jointly develop tools for an academic dialogue to discuss and co-create new knowledge on “Balticness”. By analysing examples from political, economic and everyday storytelling, the participants will reflect on available theories and disciplinary patterns including theorizing on the power of mythology and post-modern mythmaking, for instance in the creation of ideologies, campaigns and brands.

Participants will be trained to understand narrative strategies as a novel means of investigating identity construction related to the BSR. Which narratives are relevant for determining the past and current perceptions of the BSR? What kind of social, cultural, political, ecological and economic agency do these narratives possess (in the past, present and future)? Do different narratives with distinct effects exist alongside each other?
Comparing the concept of “Balticness” to other ideas forming transnational identities, like “Nordicness,” “Scandinavism,” “Pan-Slavism,” “Hanseatic,” etc., we aim to include political strategies, societal reflections, economic necessities and cultural identities. All of them are represented in countless narratives continuing, changing and re-creating myths that naturalize worldviews through language.

What will students learn when participating in the programme?

We aspire to reach a threshold level of “regional literacy” connected to the Baltic Sea region. The students will understand how identity formation works and know what kind of influences accompany these processes. When completing this CBSS Summer University, students will be aware of the interconnection between belonging and identity.

Registration and application:

• submit an application including the following documents to: magdalena.muszel@fundacjazatoka.org
1. proof of PhD-program admission/enrolment, proof of university / high school enrolment
2. statement of intent including a short description of your interests and your motivation for taking the course (300-500 words double spaced, MSWord format)
• There are no registration and tuition fees. The organizers cover also the cost of lunches and dinners. Travel expenses to and from Gdansk must be covered by the participants.
• Participants from outside Gdansk are offered accommodation free of charge (indicate the need in your application)
• Deadline for applications: 5 June 2022
Please note that if you need a visa, send your application at your earliest convenience.

Number of places: 25
Housing: can be provided free of charge in a student dormitory
Detailed programme and syllabus will be updated on: https://yopenet.ug.edu.pl

Event organizers:
• Kazimierz Musiał (University of Gdańsk, Poland)
• Magdalena Muszel (Fundacja Zatoka, Poland)

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