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Intersecting Histories: Exploring Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Friendship

Thursday, November 23, 2023, 10:00 am – Friday, November 24, 2023, 7:00 pm

What do we talk about when we talk about friendship? The workshop aims to provide a variety of answers to the said question from the humanities and social sciences perspective. It brings together a group of established scholars and early career researchers who will explore recent trends in the slowly but surely emerging field of friendship studies and demonstrate their findings on examples from 19th and 20th century European history as well as contemporary society.

The workshop touches upon topics such as narrating one’s self through sociability, creating patterns of  communal belonging or contesting these same patterns, and through friendship, finding possibilities for alternative identifications. On the other hand, the event also showcases the meaning of friendship narratives for interstate relations and conflict resolution. By highlighting various meanings this ambiguous concept can undertake, the ambition of this academic gathering is not only to bring to light current research but also to challenge the boundaries of the framework and open new possibilities for further explorations.

If you would like to attend, please register here. Registration closes at 10am CET on November 20.

For logistic/administrative queries, please contact


Day 1: Thursday, November 23, 2023

10:00-10:30 Registration

10:30-10:45 Opening remarks

10:45-11:00 Participants self-introduction

11:00-13:00 Panel 1: Concepts and Frameworks

Chair: Marsha Siefert (CEU PU, Democracy Institute)

  • Jana Bacevic (Durham University): Friendship as Theory (online)
  • Arthur Duhé (Université Lyon 3): Imagined International Orders in the Long Nineteenth Century - Fraternal and Friendly Images
  • Stefano Pisu (University of Cagliari): Almost Friends Across the Iron Curtain? Some Concepts (and Facts) about Italian-Soviet Cultural Friendship in Cold War Era


13:00-14:00 Lunch Break

14:00-16:00 Panel 2: Cold War Impressions

Chair: Stefano Pisu (University of Cagliari)

  • Marsha Siefert (CEU PU, Democracy Institute): Co-Producing “Friendship” through Formal and Informal Transnational Cinematic Relations during the Cold War
  • Pia Koivunen (University of Turku): Friends in Theory, Friends in Practice? The Varying Meanings of Friendship in the Context of the World Youth Festivals
  • Maja Lukanc (Institute for Contemporary History, Ljubljana): Friendship Narratives in Motion: Polish-Yugoslav Transnational Encounters, 1956–1968


16:00-16:30 Coffee Break

16:30-18:30 Panel 3: Gender, Emotions and Everyday Life

Chair: Zsófia Lóránd (Research Center for the History of Transformations , University of Vienna)

  • Anna Theresa Leyrer (University of Basel): Neither Couple nor Collective. Female Friends, Counting / on the other Around 1900
  • Phil Leask (University College London): Holding Ourselves Together: German Women’s Letters over Fifty Years
  • Benno Gammerl (European University Institute): Freundschaft. Popularity and Dismissal of a Term in Twentieth-Century German Queer Politics


Day 2: Friday, November 24, 2023

10:30-11:00 Opening informal gathering

11:00-13:00 Panel 4: Internationalism and Social Reality

Chair: Ágnes Katalin Kelemen (CEU Democracy Institute)

  • Szabolcs László (Institute of History, Research Centre for the Humanities, Budapest): Transnational Network as Affective Community: Hungarian and American Music Educators and the Kodály Method (1960s-70s)
  • Zsófia Lóránd (Research Center for the History of Transformations, University of Vienna): Female Friendships and Socialist Internationalism in the Wake of WWII in Eastern and Central Europe
  • Izabella Agárdi (Institute of Advanced Studies Kőszeg): Friendships but Not Friends: Power, Intimacy, Work and Monotony in Everyday Life in State Socialist Hungary 


13:00-14:00 Lunch Break

14:00-16:00 Panel 5: Collectivity, War, Reconciliation

Chair: Yuri van Hoef (Erasmus University Rotterdam)

  • Tanja Zimmermann (University of Leipzig): Yugoslav exhibitions of Naive Artists: The Value of Collectivity in the First and the Second Yugoslavia
  • Zala Pavšič (CEU Democracy Institute): Friendship at War: Examples from the Disintegration of Yugoslavia
  • Ivana Stepanović (Institute of Advanced Studies Kőszeg): New Frontiers of Peacebuilding in Former Yugoslavia: Algorithmic Friendships and Digital Commodification of Reconciliation


16:00-16:30 Coffee Break

16:30-18:00 Concluding Roundtable: Why research Friendship?

Chair: Zala Pavšič (CEU Democracy Institute)

  • Phil Leask (University College London)
  • Pia Koivunen (University of Turku)
  • Yuri van Hoef (Erasmus School of History, Culture and Communication, Rotterdam)