The Center for Advanced Studies – Southeast Europe (CAS SEE) at the University of Rijeka is pleased to announce its annual Call for Fellowships for Autumn/Winter 2021.

The CAS SEE Fellowship Program for Autumn/Winter 2021 will host 7 Junior Fellows.

The Call for Applications closes on June, 25th 2021

The 14th generation of fellows will assume their positions by October, 1st 2021

The CAS SEE Fellowship is intended to provide support for early-stage researchers. Inspired by the cooperation of previous generations of CAS SEE Fellows and their creation of long-term thematic synergies among researchers, the upcoming CAS SEE Fellowship will stimulate fellows to present their research in Rijeka and other regional centers. Alongside pursuing their independent research interests, fellows will attend regular CAS SEE regional conferences and seminars.

Fellows are expected to spend a total of four weeks (split into two 2-week residencies) during their fellowship on the island of Cres at the Moise Palace, a Renaissance palace managed by the University of Rijeka. The Moise Palace serves as a research retreat; a regional hub for the advancement of social science, humanities, art, and interdisciplinary research; and a space of engagement and exchange with local communities. As in previous years, Fellows will co-organize the program for their group’s retreats to Moise based on their individual and collective interests and needs.

Although CAS SEE will take into account excellent proposals that are not strictly related to the main topics, we encourage candidates to focus particularly on two thematic foci:

Engaged Democracy – New Ways of Participation and Contestation

The current crisis of democracy will not be overcome by a return to old institutional designs and political economies, but by designing and developing systemic upgrades. These upgrades must dismantle the influence of the inherited power structures and provide structural conditions for substantial engagement and productive disagreement in bottom-up policy development and collective decision-making. Throughout South East Europe, local initiatives emblematic of this new engaged democracy have been gaining influence in the political and social processes, both in terms of developing and nurturing para-institutional networks of solidarity and resistance, and in terms of transforming into parliamentary parties with innovative internal deliberative and decision-making structures.

This thematic focus invites researchers to apply with projects broadly related to

  • design, development and implementation of open, deliberative, participatory and radical democratic tools, institutions and systems
  • comparative analysis of contentious politics in the European semi-periphery
  • exploring the intersection between the social and the political field and the nexus between parties and movements
  • mapping and researching preconditions for local initiatives and bottom-up solidary practices

Variations of Illiberalism – Dangers of Authoritarianism – Resilience of Democracy

The other side of the current crisis of democracy is the rise of illiberalism and various forms and degrees of authoritarian rule, usually described as a gradual process of autocratization. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic the authoritarian leaders and groups were already steadily exploiting the corrosion of public trust generated by rising socio-economic inequalities, and distorting public deliberation through sustained disinformation campaigns and spread of conspiracy theories. In the course of COVID-19 pandemic their appetites only grew, and the state of crisis provided ample opportunities for the illiberal authoritarian anti-politics to further spread and infect social and political processes. In some cases, most prominently in the USA, democracy in the end proved as resilient, in some other cases erosion continues, which opens up the space for the question of resilience of democracy.

This thematic focus invites researchers to apply with projects broadly related to

  • research streams on illiberalism and authoritarianism and their logics, mechanisms and tools
  • empirical research and comparative studies on illiberalism in Southeast Europe, Europe and around the world
  • interdisciplinary case studies of the rise of illiberalism and democratic reversal
  • research of resilience of democracy

Requirements to be fulfilled during the fellowship:

1. One open-access mini digital/hybrid/physical event related to the theme of the granted fellowship. Flexible in the form, these events will have to engage representatives of the academic community, civil society, social movements and preferentially media and business community. Each event should have output in the form of a short two-page overview of the theme and conclusions aimed to the public. 

2. At least one op-ed related to the theme of the fellowship that will be distributed through web channels of CAS SEE and its partners and donors (Erste Stiftung Voices, Science for Society, European Western Balkans, Balkan Insight, etc.)

3. Digital/hybrid/physical fellowship seminar and retreats participation (regular CAS SEE seminars).

4. Participation in the events with prominent scholars organized by CAS SEE

Fellowship application process