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Стипендиантски семинар: Отвъд тоталитаризма: Масово интерниране, концентрационни лагери и принудителен труд в България през ХХ век

10 ноември 2022 @ 16:30 - 18:00
ул. Стефан Караджа 7В, вх. 3, ет. 2, ап.23
София, 1000
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Martin Valkov (MON Fellow, Oct ’22 – Jul ’23) will talk about his research at CAS:

Beyond Totalitarianism: Mass Internment, Concentration Camps and Forced Labor in Bulgaria in the 20th Century

on 10 November, 2022 (Thursday) at 16:30 h.

Moderated by Anastasia Ryabchuk.


Mass internment of civilians, deportations, concentration camps, forced labor – these are all concepts that are commonly associated with World War II and the totalitarian regimes of Nazi Germany and/or the Soviet Union. For a long time, these phenomena were viewed in scholarly literature as unique features of totalitarianism, the very epitome of totalitarian terror. Only in the last decades have historians begun to shift focus away from dictatorships and to pay systematic attention to the use of internment and camps in different times and different settings. It is a truism now that concentration camps both preceded and outlived totalitarianism. There is a growing consensus among scholars about the centrality of the First World War for the global proliferation of the camp phenomenon. It was the Great War that laid the groundwork for mass civilian internment, concentration camps, and militarized forced labor all over the world. Total war gave rise to totalitarianism, not the other way around.

This project aims to problematize the established cliché of civilian internment, camps and forced labor in Bulgaria as phenomena unique to totalitarianism. A long-term study of these repressive practices and institutions clearly demonstrates that they go beyond totalitarian and even authoritarian regimes. By tracing their dynamics during the 20th century, the project will challenge the basic assumptions of Bulgarian historiography on the origins and development of internment and camps. It seeks to answer three main questions: why did different types of regimes, professing completely different ideologies, resort to similar repressive practices (understanding the policy of the perpetrators); what was it like to be an internee (giving a voice to the victims); and what were the reactions of the wider society to these forms of state repression (the point of view of the vast majority)? The project aims to analyze the main functions of the camps; to establish a basic chronology; to provide a periodization and a potential typology of camps and internment practices, and test against empirical evidence the theses of the “global portability” of camps and their proliferation through a “transnational learning process” between states.

The project is informed by the growing literature on the transnational history of concentration camps and attempts to integrate the Bulgarian case into the wider European and global perspective. It is designed as a longue durée study of extrajudicial detention in one country, asking bigger questions about the repressive potential of the modern state.

Дата: 10 ноември 2022
Time: 16:30 - 18:00
Venue Name: Център за академични изследвания София
Address: ул. Стефан Караджа 7В, вх. 3, ет. 2, ап.23
София, 1000

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Organizer Name: Център за академични изследвания София