2018 CEE Forum in Timișoara: Constitutional Identity and Social Memories
in Central and Eastern Europe

3-4 May 2018

Almost every constitution in Central and Eastern Europe contains the general characteristics of the community that has given itself a constitutional act. These characteristics are most often based on a national or civic approach to the notion of community, the appeal to the belief in God or the remembrance of the fight for independence and the suffering caused by the 20th-century totalitarianism. However, a certain amount of time always passes between the act of establishing a constitution and its future uses. The community faces new challenges and gains new experiences. Therefore, the real subject of the constitution is always already changing. In this context, should the constitution be read traditionally as a narrative about what it is and where the constitutional order came from or should it be read in a more prospective manner, which would aspire to explain what kind of society the community guided by that particular constitution wants to become? Does CEE constitutions’ language prefer one perspective to the other?

Another interesting point regarding the subject matter of constitutional identity is the constant dialogue between the national constitutional courts of the European Union Member States, on the one hand, and the European Court of Justice and the European Court of Human Rights, on the other hand. What are the most recent developments in this regard? Nowadays, the notions of constitutional identity and collective memory appear to be frequently resorted to in order to justify “illiberal” attitudes. How does EU respond to this phenomenon? From a comparative perspective, one may wonder what it is that CEE countries share in terms of constitutional identity? But what does separate them from each other? Is constitutional identity just an empty narrative or is it embedded into a given society, its political decisions and everyday life? If a constitution is culturally entrenched, does its interpretation in the course of (constitutional) adjudication allow for the use of foreign sources? From an empirical standpoint, to what extent are CEE countries employing foreign law in order to deal with questions of national constitutionalism?

What are to be considered strictly legal expressions of constitutional identity? Is it possible to find some deep structure of constitutional identity from a longue durée point of view? What is the relationship between the constitution and collective memories? In what ways does the storytelling of traumas from the communist past contribute to shaping our present-day constitutional consciousness? Those are the main questions that we would like to examine during the 10th Central and Eastern European Forum of Young Legal, Political and Social Theorists, to be held in Timișoara, Romania, in April 2018. We seek to encourage scholars from a wide range of disciplinary fields to reflect on the meaning of constitutional but also national identity.

In the specific context of the CEE region, scholars’ interrogations should take into consideration how social memories of actually existing socialism inform current debates in the realm of constitutionalism.

We invite contributions exploring the following questions from a theoretical perspective:

  • the relationship between constitutional identity and specific political institutions;
  • the political dimension of constitutional identity;
  • the notion of the constitutional “people”;
  • social mechanisms of selection of memories;
  • legal regulations of collective memories;
  • collective memories in constitutional adjudication;
  • social frames of collective memories;
  • conflicts between collective memories;
  • constitution and religion in Central and Eastern Europe;
  • the impact of World War II and the communist period on constitutional and national identities;
  • the role of national identity in nationality laws (for instance, the cases of Latvia and Estonia, where Russian residents did not become automatically nationals of the new republics);
  • trends in the role of national identity in CEE constitutional laws;
  • the question of a regional, supranational CEE identity (as opposed to Western and Eastern Europe);
  • the concept of national unity in the constitutional order;
  • the contribution of non-judicial actors in shaping constitutional identity;
  • the place of comparative constitutional law in the legal scholarship of CEE countries;
  • constitutional transplants;
  • the place of law and literature scholarship dealing with the question of social memory in the legal research of CEE countries;
  • economic doctrines inscribed in the constitutional texts of CEE countries.

In addition to the above topics, there will also be a General Panel for theoretically focused papers on legal, social and political issues.

We invite legal, political and social theorists, philosophers, linguists, literary critics, historians or economists to contribute to this academic event.

Participants are more than welcome to embrace as wide a range of methodologies as possible.


Abstracts of 300-500 words should be submitted by 15 January 2018.

We will inform about acceptance of papers by 20 February 2018.

Applications should be submitted at:
The conference fee is 60 euros. We regret that we are not able to offer any scholarships to participants. Successful applicants shall by informed by e-mail about the necessary details regarding the payment.

Organizing comitee

Dr. Alexandra Mercescu (alexandra.mercescu@e-uvt.ro)
Karolina Kocemba (karolinaakocemba@gmail.com)
Dr. Andreea Verteș-Olteanu (andreea.vertes@e-uvt.ro)
Dr. Lucian Bojin (lucian.bojin@e-uvt.ro)

Forum website