Reading group on postsocialist imagination (RGPI)

Kinderspielplatz in Podgorica, Montenegro / Children's playground in Podgorica, Montenegro
Children's playground in Podgorica, Montenegro

Mainz's Reading group on postsocialist imagination (RGPI) is a place for discussing anthropological​ works that examine emergent forms of political imagination. Understanding postsocialism as a global condition, we are interested in books that help us think through the ongoing ideological fractures and shifts of neoliberal commonsense in Europe and worldwide. We meet once a month to read ethnographies that empirically explore how people experiment with political and other kinds of imagination, including various real utopias, critical re-examinations of socialist heritage, projects of reimagining socialism for the future, grassroots and transnational alliances, and so on.

The RGPI is also a place to consider problems that theorizing the “Global Easts” has posed for cultural anthropology.

Geographically, we are interested in ethnographies of Germany, Southeast Europe/the Balkans, and Central and Eastern Europe, as well as in conversations across geographies with China, Cuba, Latin America, and so on.

The RGPI is premised on an assumption that thinking is a form of conversation, and that conversing is more productive and interesting when done together in a diverse group. We aim to actively ignore hierarchies between various kinds of centers and peripheries and generate an atmosphere in which exciting intellectual conversations can be pursued in diverse directions.

RGPI meetings take place in person. However, if you are interested in coming to Mainz to join us, please contact


Books in Summer 2023:

14 June 6 pm: “Ruderal City” by Bettina Stoetzer (Duke University Press 2022)

19 July 6 pm: “Water Insurgencies” by Andrea Muehlebach (Duke University Press 2023, open access)

27 September 6 pm (moved to 26 October 6 pm) ​"Weaving Europe, Crafting the Museum" by​ ​Magdalena Buchczyk (Bloomsbury 2023)

21 December 6 pm "Global easts: remembering, imagining, mobilizing" by Jie-Hyun Lim (Columbia University Press 2022)