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Conference on “Future in the village”

Under the title “Future in the village. Future concepts and planning for rural areas in the 20th century”, a social science and humanities conference is planned from 16 to 18 September 2021 in Regensburg, Germany.

There is some evidence of the development of a new way of thinking about time in 18th century Europe, which gave rise to a new awareness of the shapability and openness of the future. From the very beginning, these ideas of a new kind of future also emerged for and from rural areas – from landowners, farm workers, craftsmen as well as teachers, priests and agricultural experts. And, of course, from women, who contributed to the ideas of the future partly as family members and partly as independent actors. In addition to utopias and scenarios of progress for villages and agriculture, ideas of an accelerated decay of rural society developed at the same time.

In the course of the social, scientific and industrial revolutions of the 19th century, ideas about what was potentially feasible and what was presumably to come multiplied and spread. Thereby the ideas of the future from the 19th century shaped the concepts and plans of the 20th century. In crises, wars and political upheavals from 1900 onwards, global concepts became increasingly important - starting with the rationalization, scientification and mechanization of agriculture to ideas for the global and national agricultural market, rural cooperatives, political mass mobilization and land reforms, as well as in hygiene and education programs, housing and settlements in the countryside.

20th century future ideas for and from rural areas will be the subject of a social science and humanities conference in Regensburg, Germany. The guiding question is what expectations and what planning objectives existed for the development of rural areas or agriculture. What influence did political upheavals, wars and crises have on the development of ideas for the future in the village? Which groups and organizations sought to improve or save rural areas, and with which ideas, arguments and means? How did regional, national and international plans for the future relate to each other in changing circumstances? On which topics (such as property, education, work, gender roles, organisation, infrastructure) did agricultural and rural future concepts crystallise? What was considered the most urgent problem, as the precondition for positive change or as the ultimate means to develop rural areas? Which social and (national) economic development concepts competed with each other? And last but not least, which feelings, fears and moral concepts influenced the forecasts and future concepts for state, nation and national the economy? A volume on rural future thinking in the 20th century is planned as a result of the conference. Conference languages will be German and English.

The conference is organised by the Leibniz Institute for East and Southeast European Studies (IOS) in Regensburg. Institutional partners are the Institute of Eastern and South Eastern European History at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München (LMU Munich) and IAMO in Halle (Saale). The event is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), IAMO and IOS.


Daniela Schimming

Daniela Schimming

Public Relations
Room: 211

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