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Academia in the Wild: Combating Historical Revisionism in Eastern Europe

2-6.3. 2022.
Moise Palace, Cres

The second iteration of the Academia in the Wild program focuses on directly engaging scholars in an action in which their research serves the social good. The action in question is creating experimental open-access publications debunking contemporary revisionist manipulations of East European history. The social good in question is contributing to the quality of public discourse and, more urgently, exposing the misinformation campaign systematically perpetrated by far-right political actors by providing a detailed but easy-to-use overview of particular lies as well as correct information.

The fall of communism fomented, especially in East Europe, a surge of historical revisionism. Fueled by the EU declarations against “totalitarian regimes”, the historical revisionists, Holocaust deniers, and neo-fascists started publishing their confabulations through institutional publishing pipelines. Consequently, their content has seeped into common works of reference such as Wikipedia, due to its formal criteria for citations from published sources. As a result, many East European Wikipedias have become hotbeds of alternative, reactionary historical narratives. The second iteration of the Academia in the Wild focuses on this urgent threat to the public, knowledge, pluralism, well-being, and peace.

Following the preliminary activities of concept development, organization and technical preparations, the central activity of this iteration of Academia in Wild is a 5-day intensive workshop at Moise Palace, during which an interdisciplinary group of scholars and practitioners (philosophers, social scientists, IT specialists, and activists) led by two historians will digitize and analyze relevant materials, and prepare the open-access publications on the topic. Namely, the group will contextualize the chapters from revisionist books with chapters from non-revisionist books, intervene with the critical apparatus into the revisionist texts (footnotes, index…) and, by building a collection of references, provide access to the original archival sources. Lastly, the end result of the action consists of publishing and disseminating the outcome as a hybrid form of the website, a USB thumb drive ready to be used offline, and a printed publication.

Notably, the intervention will address not only the problems of historical revisionism but also the shortcomings of historiographic methodology rooted in the regime of intellectual property that restricts access to many of the materials necessary for critical reading. Namely, the publications will be provided through the Sandpoints publishing platform.

Sandpoints is a publishing platform developed through rapid prototyping in the processes of collaborative writing projects such as PirateCare Syllabus, Dotawo – A Journal of Nubian Studies, MachineLearning Curriculum, or CampoSud SummerSchool. It allows for the development of collective writing and publishing projects under the conditions of modest or no access (e.g. Rojava) or in the work of vulnerable groups who require that their content never be accessible online. The full editing in the offline environment, with the ability to synchronize later in a P2P network or with a central server, is an essential aspect of such a scenario. But, also, Sandpoints allows readers to easily copy onto a USB drive a single folder containing the entire publication with the PDF collection of all references. Both the publication and the collection can then be viewed with an Internet browser, without the need to install any additional software.

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UNIRI The Moise Palace: Cres Island

An education center of the University of Rijeka is five-hundred-year-old patrician townhouse and the largest Renaissance palace on the Croatian islands. A venue and forum for various scientific and research activities, it welcomes visiting academics, students


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