During the 1990s, influenced by the tragic events occurring during the splintering of Yugoslavia and by the ways in which these events were (re)presented by Western politicians and media, several authors – Milica Bakić-Hayden, Maria Todorova and Vesna Goldsworthy – began separate inquiries into the discursive genesis of negative stereotypes on the Balkan people/cultures. Directly influenced by Edward Said’s study Orientalism, their research results reveal the continuous (re)production of imaginary or symbolic notions of the Balkans which, under the influence of Western cultural hegemony, devolve from geographical determinants to such stereotypes as imputed violence, immorality, Orientalism, primitivism, uncivilized behaviour and/or other negative characteristics. The foundations of these ideas can be traced back to the division of Christianity into West and East and the period of Ottoman domination over this geographical area/region. These stereotypes were repeated in reports of Western travel writers, journalists, diplomats and novelists during the nineteenth century, all the way to the period before the First World War, when they grew into a specific Balkanist discourse – Balkanism. Regardless of its history and/or the way in which its authenticity is compared to Orientalist discourse, for Bakić-Hayden and Todorova Balkanist discourse represents not only power relations between Europe/the West and the Balkans (they also include the Balkans within the larger concept of the ‘Orient’ in which the Balkans has only a borderline/dual/hybrid role), but they also identify patterns of self-identification of the Balkan peoples – affirmative, negative, ambivalent or indifferent in relation towards these negative stereotypes. In that context, mentioned authors where primarily focused on analysing the internalization of these negative stereotypes by Balkan cultural and/or political elites, that aim to promote ‘European’, i.e., Western European, values by rejecting different forms of Balkanist heritage.

Through the critique of the Balkan discourse, these and many other authors have pointed to many important issues concerning the patterns of intercultural communication in the Europe/West-Balkans relationship, but also between the Balkan peoples. However, despite the immeasurable contribution to the deconstruction of essentialist notions of the identity/identities of the Balkan people, the results of most previous research in the field of Balkan studies are mostly relevant only in the field of theory and political debate. In this context, the respective topic of the scientific conference aims to simultaneously shift the analytical focus from the Balkans-West relationship to the Balkans-East relationship, i.e., from theoretical to empirical research. Given the decades-long socio-historical trends, and in a narrower sense especially geo-political events, which indicate the re-emergence of the East, we believe that questioning the patterns of intercultural communication between the Balkans and Eastern peoples is a very current academic topic. In other words, we believe that the end of the unipolar/west-centric global order constitutes the basis for the academic repositioning of the Balkans not only in the region and Europe, but also in the world. According to the above, the primary task of the scientific conference will not be exclusively to consider the patterns of (de)construction of Balkanist and/or Orientalist discourse, but also to spread awareness of past, existing and potential forms of cooperation between Balkan and Eastern peoples. To help the interested authors orientate easier, we draw attention to the titles of the planned thematic sections within the scientific conference: the Balkans as East, the Balkans and Russia, the Balkans and the Middle East/MENA region, the Balkans and the Far East/East Asia.

In addition to the proposals directly covered by the main topic of the conference, the Scientific Committee of the conference will gladly accept other relevant topics, all with the aim of promoting interdisciplinarity and mutual exchange of ideas between researchers. In this sense, in addition to researchers in political science, sociology, journalism, communication and social work, we expect that researchers from other academic fields that question the relationship between the "Balkans" and the "East" (e.g., philosophy, history, ethnography, Arabic studies, Sinology, etc.) also take part in the conference. Accepted papers will be published in the thematic proceedings prior to the conference and in the Scientific Journal of the Faculty of Political Science in Banja Luka for Social Affairs POLITEIA (indexed in DOAJ, ERICH PLUS and CEEOL).

Confucius Institute at the University of Banja Luka is the co-organizer of the conference.

The conference will be held in hybrid format, both in the premises of the Faculty of Political Science, University of Banja Luka and online.

The registration fee for participation in the scientific conference is 30 €. The participants of the scientific conference bear the costs of the trip themselves. The organizers of the scientific conference will provide food and accommodation for the participants. Instructions for paying the participation fee can be downloaded from the official website of the scientific conference, which can be accessed via the link https://drustvoipolitika.fpn.unibl.org.

The working languages of the conference are the languages of the former Yugoslav peoples and English.

Instructions for registration and submission of papers

The application for participation in the scientific conference should contain the name and surname of the author, full name of the institution where the author is employed (university and faculty), email address of the author, title of the paper, abstract (up to 250 words) and keywords (up to 5 words). Abstract and keywords are also to be provided in English. Applications are submitted via the official email address of the scientific conference This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or on the official website of the scientific conference. The submission of scientific papers can be done in the same way as the application for participation in a scientific conference. The paper should have a maximum of 16 pages including literature used and appendices. It should be written in Times New Roman font, font size 12, line spacing 1.5. The use of APA citation and reference standards is mandatory. Submitted papers will go through a double-blind review procedure. After the information on the acceptance of the paper, the authors are required to confirm their participation in the scientific conference within the specified deadline.