Eurovision Song Contest and the Iron Curtain (CfP)


where: Institute of Polish Culture, University of Warsaw (in situ)
when: September 26-27, 2024
language: English

In 1994, seven countries from the Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) entered the Eurovision Song Contest (ESC). The paths of Estonia, Hungary, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Russia, and Slovakia in the contest have since varied significantly. Some have been fortunate enough to win the competition, some have withdrawn after some years of trying, while others have remained a part of the event. The 1994 expansion was the largest of the ESC since its inception and, in subsequent years, other countries from the former Eastern Bloc also joined Eurovision.

Gad Yair has stated that the ESC is a cultural seismograph, an important medium for understanding current political divisions across Europe. During the conference we aim to focus on the relations between West and East before and after the Cold War, especially aspects that remain underrepresented in the research on the ESC. We wish to analyze how the fall of the Iron Curtain affected the ESC and how it functioned before that as a form of Western soft power during the Cold War.

The organizers encourage academics from various disciplines, including cultural studies, political science, international relations, media studies, history, sociology, musicology, fan studies, and other related fields to apply.

We invite submissions presenting research on topics including, but not limited to, the following:

  • the ESC and Intervision Song Contest – siblings and rivals
  • nation branding of the countries from the CEE
  • beyond the CEE: Yugoslavia and Finland – between East and West
  • ESC fandom in the CEE
  • the CEE broadcasters and their relations with the European Broadcasting Union
  • ESC voting patterns in the CEE countries
  • the interplay between cultural changes, political developments, and the ESC in the CEE region

The conference in Warsaw will not only mark the 30th anniversary of Poland’s debut in the ESC but also the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the Polish branch of the General Organisation of Eurovision Fans (OGAE).

The keynote speaker will be Dean Vuletic, the world’s leading academic authority on the history of the Eurovision and Intervision Song contests, and the author of the significant book Postwar Europe and the Eurovision Song Contest.

Please send abstracts (approx. 300 words) for 20-minute papers and a short biographical note (100-150 words) to the organizer of the conference, Marcin Bogucki (University of Warsaw), at

The submission deadline is July 7, 2024. Applicants will be notified about the acceptance of their proposals by July 15, 2024.

The organizers will provide accommodation and meals during the conference.