With our first conference on stereotypes in caricatures in Warsaw (2010) behind us, we would now like to engage and challenge scholars to further enhance the study of how group distinctions and differentiations between self and the "constitutive Other" are elaborated and visually marked. We plan to highlight processes and products of "encounters" and try to understand how images of alterity are constructed, used, and integrated into one's own cultural practices. We intend to explore how various groups of people (e.g., ethnic, social, gender, age, and occupational groups) of East-Central and South-Eastern Europe (from the Baltic states-Russia, Poland, Germany, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, and Austria-to the Balkan states) had been represented in the nineteenth and first half of the twentieth century. The subject of analysis can be drawings, paintings, photographs, or prints, as illustrations, caricatures, posters, postcards, commercial graphics, and so on, or popular images applied on other devices. The papers discuss the different kinds of stereotyped representations ranging from negative to positive (e.g., diminishing, mocking, satirizing, excluding or ostrasizing, demonizing, exoticizing, orientalizing, heroizing, or romanticizing) that exist side-by-side within a particular time period. We are looking for multi-disciplinary, transnational comparative approaches that lead to the exposure of a variety of local cultural contexts.

The Other as a wider category, but with reference to a particular group and based on specific local content, is a result of a process of essentialization through the characteristic depiction of an undifferentiated entity without individual features and reduced to a few iconographic signs. In the process these images juxtaposed various societies and groups that coexisted as close or distant neighbors but were contrasted with each other for political, economical, religious, and cultural reasons. The image of Other as part of an artistic code can be a result of a belief, truth, or the imagination; on the other hand, it can be produced intentionally to address and embarrass someone. The differences between groups were categorized vis-a-vis cultural distinctions, and this way achieved a new quality-stereotype. Thus the representation of Other can result from the existence of dominant ideologies and cultural values, and the practice of Othering can derive from the processes of domination, expansion, and the historical narratives of confrontation and progress.

An idea of Otherness can be present during the processes of shaping and re-shaping identities through everyday framing, joking, and teasing, to ridiculing and provoking. It can be a component of broader discriminatory practice, reflecting anxieties, suspicions, prejudices, or even exclusions, as social commentary to insecurities and inequalities and to economic, social and political change. We are also interested in mainstream and underground depictions of the Other through visual representations.

Our conference debate will address the following points by separate panels:

24-26 May 2012, Budapest
To be held at Jakobinus Hall of the Academy, Institute of Ethnology, Hungarian Academy of Sciences, [H-1014 Budapest, Országház u. 30]

In cooperation with
The Institute of Archaeology and Ethnology, Polish Academy of Sciences, Warsaw
The Institute of Ethnology, Slovakian Academy of Sciences, Bratislava
The Institute of Ethnology, Czech Academy of Sciences, Praha

Language of the conference: English