BASEES Postgraduate Conference 2015: "Peripheral Histories?"


Overview 
Peripheral Histories? was the first postgraduate conference dedicated to historical research conducted in the Russian provinces, localities, and post-Soviet republics.  The conference was a resounding success, fulfilling all of its principle goals and bringing together around twenty-five postgraduates and recent graduates.  It provided a lively and thoroughly good-natured forum for postgraduates to discuss their research as well as providing the basis for extensive networking. 
 
Postgraduate Participation 
Throughout, there was a firmly postgraduate “feel” to the event.A total of ten papers were delivered during three separate panels by postgraduates and early-career scholars based in eight different universities in five different counties (Britain, the Republic of Ireland, the Netherlands, the USA, and Canada), prompting enthusiastic and friendly discussion. The conference concluded with a roundtable discussion led by Sarah Badcock, Jon Waterlow, and Jo Laycock on the practical experiences of conducting research in Russia.  In light of recent events in the Russian provinces, the roundtable discussion was particularly timely and produced further engaging and good-natured discussion.  All sessions, including the roundtable discussion, were chaired by postgraduate students, providing valuable experience of conference chairing. 
 
Networking 
During the conference, a mailing list was established as the basis for future work amongst the conference participants, with a total of twenty individuals signing up.  This can provide a platform for future events, including conferences, individual conference panels, and the circulation of ongoing postgraduate research in the field. 
 
Archival Database 
Conference participants were invited to contribute to the documentation of archives and research institutions in the former USSR.  An archival   guide   hosted   by   CEELBAS, which is being continually expanded, was publicised and the suggestion of contributing new information about as-yet undocumented archives to this project was very well received by participants. Plans are already being made to organise submissions to this project through the Peripheral Histories? mailing list and it is hoped that over a dozen new archives can be added to the guide as a result.