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CfP: Negotiating Modern Ways of Life: Life-Reform Movements in Central and Eastern Europe since 1900 (Herder-Institut)



Organised by the Herder-Institute for Historical Research on East Central Europe (Marburg, Germany) and the Centre for Baltic and East European Studies at Södertörn University (Stockholm, Sweden)


Venue: Herder Institute, Marburg (Germany) September 18-19, 2023


Since the late 19th century, a wave of issue-oriented life-reform movements has developed across Europe and America, particularly in the areas of nutrition, clothing, consumption, housing, healthcare and moral reform. Such movements became a corollary and a critique of industrialisation, urbanisation, mass communication, and societal change. The dynamically emerging modern ways of life, particularly in big cities, were frequently perceived as misdevelopments, so life reform movements aimed to construct alternative responses to these modern lifestyle trends. Animal welfare and temperance movements, tobacco abstention and vegetarianism, had counter-cultural ambitions and a social reformist spirit. Abolitionist movements criticised bourgeois double standards and human trafficking and prostitution as the outcomes of poverty and social ills. As a reaction to the environmental problems associated with industrialisation, life reform movements searched for answers in the return to nature.


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