Visegrad Scholarship at the Open Society Archives

Visegrad Scholarship at the Open Society Archives
Visegrad Scholarship at the Open Society Archives

OSA and the Visegrad Fund are inviting applicants for the 2015/2016 academic year, who might be interested in working in special archival environment on specific aspects of the following broader research themes.

Fellows are free to work on the project of their choice, however, applicants who intend to focus on issues related to (epistemological problems of) archives, archiving, documentary practices, might have priority over researchers who come to the archive to focus on the archived documents without an interest in the archival context.

The following list does not exclude those applicants, who would like to pursue their own research that is different from our current research focus.

Possible and suggested research problems:

  • The informational environment of the period of the Cold War, East and West;
  • History of information science during the Cold War;
  • History of information gathering during the Cold War (scientific, diplomatic, clandestine, public opinion research, intelligence, party reports, etc);
  • Public opinion research East and West during the Cold War ( audience research in the West and reports on the “public mood” behind the Iron Curtain);
  • The consequences of limited available information on “the other” in the Cold War;
  • The perception and construction of the “other” as reflected through cataloguing and data classification practices before 1989;
  • The impact of cybernetics on informational and archival practices;
  • The techniques and role of gathering and using information in the planning process and for social engineering purposes both East and West;
  • The nature of the propaganda (including film) archive and its impact on (planning and manipulating) political and social processes; The role of propaganda during the Cold War;
  • “Manufacturing objectivity” (how archival “facts” were used in order to create the objectivity effect of information);
  • How political events and professional scholarly practices in the “real world” of the Cold War had an impact on the documentary practices, the categorical changes, the perception and interpretation of information and the documents.

Fellows intending to work on our human rights holdings should be especially attentive to the moral issues involved and the ethical implications of the exploration. Special attention should be given to the theoretical and specific questions related to information rights, information self-determination, and privacy. Unlike in the case of the Cold War archive, the primary aim of most information gathering in this field is documentation that has consequences on the creation of archival holdings.

We welcome fellows working on issues related to collecting evidence for forensic, legal purposes, and how these activities lead to unique archival practices and questions. Human rights materials provide a fertile ground for fellows studying the relationship and differences between recording and documenting.

Possible research questions might include:

  • The use and misuse of documentary work in providing evidence;
  • The connections between document and evidence, evidence and proof, historical evidence versus forensic evidence;
  • How to handle contradictory information coming from multiple sources by visualizing data in human rights documentation;
OSA is looking for prospective individual Visegrad fellows after their Master degree and with proven competency in the English language, ready to work on issues related either to the history of the Cold War or to human rights documentation.

Submission deadlines

  • October 15, 2015
  • January 10, 2016
  • April 10, 2016
Starting with the 2015-2016 academic year, OSA Archives would like to involve the Visegrad fellows more closely in the ongoing research work of the Archives. The work of the fellows will not simply be supported by designated colleagues at OSA, but the fellows are expected to work together with – at least – one of the researchers at the Archives. The fellows will take part in the research activities of OSA, will attend in-house seminars, and, if possible, together with other fellows will work on similar or relevant research topics. The intention is to build long-lasting working relationships, and involve former fellows in the research programs of OSA.

Assessment

The Selection Committee will evaluate proposals on the strength of the professional quality and novelty of the research proposal, its relevance to the chosen topic and the involvement of the OSA holdings in the research.

Application procedure

Please submit the following to OSA:

  1. Application letter in English (should specify expected period of stay and preferred dates). Please note that the research period must end on the last day of the academic years, July 31, 2016.
  2. Research description/plan in English (about 800 words; should indicate the relationship between the current research topic, the chosen collection in the OSA holdings and the general research interest, etc.) Artists are expected to submit a portfolio, too.
  3. Curriculum Vitae (C.V.)
  4. Proof of officially recognized advanced level English language exam (if not native speaker)
  5. Names of two referees with contact address.

The Application letter, C.V., the Research description/plan, the copy of a language exam certification and the Referees’ contact information should be sent by email to Katalin Gadoros at gadoros@ceu.hu.