Walter Benjamin in the East – Networks, Conflicts, and Reception

7 July 2022 to 9 July 2022
Thursday 7 - Saturday 9 July 2022
Leibniz-Zentrum für Literatur- und Kulturforschung, Schützenstr. 18, 10117 Berlin, Entrance B, 3rd Floor


In late and post-Socialist contexts in Eastern Europe, the works of Walter Benjamin—a historical materialist thinker who travelled to the young Soviet Union in the 1920s—have incited various theoretical transfers, artistic engagements, and political appropriations. Benjamin’s ‘afterlife’ before and after the dissolution of the Eastern Bloc offers the possibility to map out manifold trajectories and networks of reception—ranging from research groups, artistic movements, and conferences, to translations, and publishing houses. Investigating their interactions allows us to decentralize the Eastern European space in going beyond a Moscow-based perspective on ‘Benjamin in the East.’ Conflicting receptions of Benjamin need to be studied in their specific geo-cultural, historical, and political contexts in order to show affinities and differences not only across languages and cultures. Tensions also occur in a variety of translational processes—transfers between theory, cultural practices, political activism, disciplinary fields, and vice versa.

The conference brings together scholars, translators, artists, activists, and editors from across Europe to collaboratively historicize these transfers across Walter Benjamin’s works and their reception. In doing so, we will also reflect on real and imaginary constructions of the East/West divide. These are prevalent not only in European societies but can also be constitutive to specific Eastern/Western academic perspectives on Walter Benjamin as a disciplinary figure that crosses geo-cultural borders and boundaries.

The event is free of charge. Please register in advance and specify the panels or sections that you want to attend under

The conference is co-funded by the OX|BER Research Partnership, the ZfL Berlin, and the Research Training Group 1956 Transfer of Culture and Cultural Identity. German-Russian Contacts in the European Context.

Link to the Program:


Image Credits: Buchcover von: Walter Benjamin: Moskovskij dnevnik [Moskauer Tagebuch], Moskva: Ad Marginem 1997, © Ad Marginem

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