9th Winter School

Troubling Gender: Theory and Method 
University of Tartu, Estonia
3–7 February 2020

Estonian Graduate School of Culture Studies and Arts (GSCSA) and Estonian Graduate School of Linguistics, Philosophy and Semiotics (GSLPS) invite you to participate in the 9th Winter School “Troubling Gender: Theory and Method”.

About Winter School

This Winter School invites you to engage in critical reflection on gender as a theoretical and methodological tool used across the humanities and social sciences. Gender is a frequently evoked, yet troubling, notion. We can no longer take the terms ‘woman’ and ‘man’ for granted. The certainties of early research in feminist and women’s studies have been challenged by insights from queer, postcolonial and posthumanist thought. It is thus time to reignite the discussion of how gender can trouble existing theoretical paradigms, methodological toolkits and disciplinary boundaries.

What is the relationship between biology and culture? How is gender difference marked by race, class, sexuality, or geopolitical location? Do gendered cultural practices reproduce social norms or is there space for subversion? How do we trace gender in texts and archives? Is knowledge gendered? How does the notion of gender travel between cultural locations? How do we make space for embodiment and matter in our intellectual debates? These and many other questions have generated intense theoretical discussion in gender research.

Gender scholars have also sought to challenge ‘malestream’ epistemological premises and to develop methods that seek to overcome implicit biases of gender-blind research tools. This has resulted in increased attention to the location and role of the researcher, reflection as a compulsory part of research practice and empowerment of research subjects, to give but a few examples. Gender research has probed the different ways of thinking inclusively, intersectionally and transversally that can inspire scholars of many fields.

The 2020 Winter School aims to revisit these and many other current theoretical and methodological debates to probe how these contentions can provide useful insights across the humanities.

The programme of the Winter School consists of:

1) interdisciplinary lectures and discussions conducted by both Estonian and guest lecturers;
2) small-group seminars (for which prior preparatory work is expected);
3) one day of specialised and practical workshops outside the customary classroom environment.

Practical information

All workshops require previous registration. Plenary lectures are open to the public! 

The language of the course is English.

The registration is open to both doctoral students of Estonian and non-Estonian universities interested in the topic. Grounded applications of MA students are considered for participation by the organising committee.

Online registration opens in November 2019.

Deadline for registration by web-form: December 2019.


The accommodation and travel costs of the students of GSCSA and GSLPS will be reimbursed. Accommodation will be arranged by the organizers. 

Upon approval of their participation, the students of non-Estonian universities may additionally apply for accommodation which can be provided to a limited number of participants for the time of the Winter School. Graduate schools cannot cover the travel expenses for the visiting students' tickets. In case doctoral students are accepted for the Winter School, there is no registration fee. 

Credit points

Student’s participation in the full programme of the event is confirmed by the student’s signature on the signature sheets of the event (separate sheet for each day). 

Participants gets a certificate of completion (completed the full programme) or a certificate of attendance (attended part of the programme). The certificate of completion or attendance can be either electronic (sufficient for using within the University of Tartu) or on paper.


All workshops and seminars require previous registration. Plenary lectures are open to the public and broadcast on Zoom as well as in the lecture hall (Jakobi 2-226). Please note that only registered participants can enter the lecture hall. Although all lectures will also be broadcast on Zoom, some of our lecturers will be on site as well (please see programme for details). The discussion after lectures will take place on site in the lecture hall.

Monday, January 31

8:30-9:30 Covid-19 testing

9:00-9:30 Registration and welcome coffee

9:30-10:15 Professor Rebecca Braun (National University of Ireland Galway)
Lecture: Literary Futures: Exploring Literary Texts as Tools for Social Transformation
(Lecturer online, viewing in Jakobi 2-226 & Zoom)

This lecture sets out how literary texts both engage with methods that are central to futures studies – notably forecasting and back-casting – and are themselves a method for linking past, present and future in new, socially-meaningful ways. Narrative plots routinely upend any straightforward chronological understanding of causality, such that literature can itself be seen as a tool with practical application for work in social futures. Accordingly, I provide a broad survey of how canonical literary texts and genres have developed blueprints for different ways of living in the world that draw alternately on forecasting and back-casting methods, and then work through the specific example offered by one of the founding novels of the European canon, Miguel de Cervantes’s Don Quixote (1605/1615). In so doing, I show how literary texts allow their readers to reposition themselves in relation to multiple possible worlds and sketch out distinct plans of action, for both themselves and others, that are informed by powerfully imagined lived experience. Literature provides valuable insight into the different kinds of agency and resilience that are needed to sustain such future-forming activity and which other, more technocratic models of scenario planning tend to overlook.

Rebecca Braun joined NUI Galway in 2021 to take up the position of Executive Dean of the College of Arts, Social Sciences & Celtic Studies. Before then, she was Professor of Modern Languages & Creative Futures at Lancaster University in the UK, where she was also Co-Director of the Institute for Social Futures from 2017-2020. She has held further lectureships and research fellowships at the Universities of Liverpool, Manchester and Oxford in the UK and at the Freie Universität Berlin. She grew up in West Cork and Tipperary and likes nothing better than a good long run outdoors.

10:15-10:45 Discussion 

10:45-11:00 Coffee 

11:00-12:30 Rebecca Braun 
Seminar: Literary Futures: Using Creative Practice to Plan for the Futures People Want 
(Participants Jakobi 2-438, lecturer online)

Developing some of the key points from the lecture, this workshop challenges participants to act on the kind of futures thinking made available by literary texts. Students will work in small groups to develop their own imagined characters and worlds. The imagined worlds that are collaboratively created will be shared in plenary form, with the instructor and students working together to think through what kinds of challenges would emerge if these worlds were to become reality and what kind of practical communications action might need to be taken by key stakeholders to avoid unintended consequences.

The overall purpose of this session is to allow students to come to a felt perspective on the complexity of emergent possible social futures, seen both as worlds in themselves and through the eyes of individual stakeholders in those worlds. By placing themselves in these worlds, students will consider the multiple perspectives that need to inform communications strategies and strategic planning and be better able to imagine the multiple social and cultural consequences that may arise. Techniques directly borrowed from both the practice and study of literature will help them achieve this.

Reading (supports both lecture and workshop):

Rebecca Braun, ‘Literary Futures’, in Carlos López Galviz & Emily Spiers (eds), Handbook of Social Futures (Routledge 2021)

Richard Lum, ‘Working with Verge’, APF Compass (2014), 2-5.


12:30-13:30 Lunch (Jakobi 2-130, 129) 

16:00-16:45 Professor William Croft (University of New Mexico)
Lecture: Mechanisms of language change (and cultural transmission) 
(Lecturer online, viewing in Jakobi 2-226 & Zoom)

In Explaining Language Change: An Evolutionary Approach (2000), I proposed an evolutionary framework for understanding language change for a theory of how linguistic variation is generated and then propagated through a speech community. Since 2003, I have worked with a group of statistical physicists (Alan McKane, Richard Blythe and Gareth Baxter) in developing mathematical agent-based models that that we have used to explore mechanisms by which variants are propagated in a speech community. These mechanisms include social valuation of linguistic variants, social network structure, adopter group theories, random processes and the child-based vs. usage-based theories of language change. This lecture will provide an overview of the framework and the model, and present results, published and in progress, that suggest which mechanisms are likely to drive various observed patterns of language change. Since language change is a subtype of cultural transmission, our results are suggestive for mechanisms of cultural transmission in general.

William Croft received his PhD at Stanford University under Joseph Greenberg. He has taught at the Universities of Michigan, Manchester and New Mexico, visited the Max Planck Institutes of Psycholinguistics in Nijmegen and Evolutionary Anthropology at Leipzig and the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford, and given lectures and course throughout the world. He is a Fellow of the Linguistic Society of America and the Cognitive Science Society. He is the author of dozens of articles and ten books, including Typology and Universals, Radical Construction Grammar, Explaining Language Change, Cognitive Linguistics (with Alan Cruse), Verbs, Ten Lectures on Construction Grammar and Typology, and Morphosyntax: Constructions of the World’s Languages. Croft’s primary research areas are typology, semantics, construction grammar and language change. He has argued that grammatical structure can only be understood in terms of the variety of constructions used to express functions across languages; that both qualitative and quantitative methods are necessary for grammatical analysis; and that the study of language structure must be situated in the dynamics of evolving conventions of language use in social interaction. Croft is Professor Emeritus at the University of New Mexico.

16:45-17:15 Discussion  

18:00-19:00 Roundtable on the doctoral studies reform (University of Tartu Museum, White Hall, Lossi 25 & Zoom)

Prof. Kristin Kuutma (University of Tartu)
Prof. Raili Marling (University of Tartu)
Prof. Margit Sutrop (University of Tartu, member of the Parliament of Estonia)
Dr.Kristjan Vassil (University of Tartu, Vice Rector for Research)

Prof. Katrin Niglas (Vice-Rector for Research, Tallinn University)

19:00 Opening reception (University of Tartu Museum, White Hall, Lossi 25)

Tuesday, February 1 

9:00-09:30 Registration

9:30-10:15 Professor Laurajane Smith (Australian National University)
Lecture: The emotional politics of heritage 
(Lecturer online, viewing in Jakobi 2-226 & Zoom)

This talk, drawing on work I did for the book 'Emotional Heritage', will theorise both the affective qualities of heritage and the processes through which heritage becomes a resource of political power. Heritage is both an emotional and political resource that is readily and visibly mobilised in right-wing populist movements. However, the lecture will also identify the less obvious and quieter ways that heritage, particularly in the context of national museums, works to emotionally legitimise and maintain the status quo while. Additionally, I will also identifying the emotional registers that underline how heritage is used to affirm progressive social and political aspirations.

Laurajane Smith has been the Director of the Centre of Heritage and Museum Studies at the Australian National University since 2014. She is editor of the International Journal of Heritage Studies and series general editor with Professor William Logan of Key Issues in Cultural Heritage (Routledge). Prior to arriving at the ANU in 2010, she held the position of Reader in heritage studies at the University of York, UK, where she directed the MA in Cultural Heritage Management for nine years. Originally from Sydney, she taught Indigenous Studies at the University of New South Wales (1995-2000), and heritage and archaeology at Charles Sturt University (1990-1995). She also worked as a heritage consultant in south-eastern Australia during the 1980s.

Laurajane's research interests include understanding the way heritage is used as a cultural tool in the process of remembering, forgetting and identity construction; the re-theorisation of heritage; the politics of heritage; the interplay between class and heritage; multiculturalism and heritage representation; community heritage; heritage tourism and heritage public policy and the cultural politics of identity.

10:15-10:45 Discussion 

10:45-11:00 Coffee 

11:00-12:30 Laurajane Smith 
Seminar: The emotional politics of heritage 
(Participants Jakobi 2-438, lecturer online) 

The workshop will develop on ideas discussed in the lecture. We will critically discuss the idea that heritage can be understood as a form of cultural and political practice while also identifying the consequences of these practices for contemporary social and political debates. Particular emphasis is placed on the role of emotion on the practices of heritage making and the ways in which this intersects with memory, imagination and ideology to construct and legitimise certain forms of heritage and historical narratives.

12:30-13:30 Lunch (Jakobi 2-130, 129) 

14:30-15:15 Professor Timo Maran (University of Tartu)
Lecture: Meanings for the Degrowth Society: From Great Acceleration to the Semiosis of the Living
(Lecturer on site at Jakobi 2-226, broadcast on Zoom)


The current global ecological crisis is often related to the so-called great acceleration – the rapid growth of many social metrics (population size, GNP, energy usage, etc.) starting from the mid-twenty century. In the recent decade, the degrowth movement has opposed great acceleration by advocating simplified society and decreased human use of energy and natural resources. In this lecture, I will analyze the semiotic aspects of great acceleration and argue that transformation to the degrowth society depends on how limited life will be connected to meaning-making. I will depart in my argumentation from the works of Victoria Welby, Charles S. Peirce, Jakob von Uexküll, Hartmuth Rose and Eduardo Kohn. From a semiotic perspective, great acceleration is manifested as a massive multiplication and spread of abstract signs and information content detached from the world's developmental processes and lacking value-based organization. The mass of symbols separated from their object domains causes hasty and superficial interpretation. To support the degrowth transformation, I propose the view of the semiosis of the living as an understanding that significance arises foremost from the semiotic participation in the specific lived (cultural, social, and natural) ecologies. The semiosis of the living understands semiosis to be a flow-like participatory process that unfolds at its own pace, event by event and connection by connection.

Timo Maran is Professor of Ecosemiotics and Environmental Humanities at the Department of Semiotics, University of Tartu, Estonia. Maran's research interests include theory and history of ecosemiotics; ecocriticism, Estonian nature writing and semiotic relations of nature and culture; and theory and semiotics of biological mimicry. His publications include Mimicry and Meaning: Semiotics of Biological Mimicry (2017) and Ecosemiotics. The Study of Signs in Changing Ecologies (2020). Maran has also authored several poetry collections.


15:15-15:45 Discussion 

15:45-16:00 Coffee 

16:00-17:30 William Croft 
Seminar: An evolutionary framework for language change and cultural transmission 
(Participants Jakobi 2-438, lecturer online)

This seminar will introduce an evolutionary framework originally developed by the philosopher of biology David Hull to account for conceptual change in science, and applied here to language change and cultural transmission in general. This framework, the General Analysis of Selection, is build around three theoretical entities in evolution: the replicator, the interactor and the environment. The relationships between these entities defines variation, inheritance and selection. When applied to language change and cultural transmission, an important question is: what can function as a replicator? The replicator may be an artifact, a behavior, or a concept. I will argue that behaviors are the most common replicators, but artifacts may also function as replicators. In fact, the same entity may serve in different selection processes. If time permits, we may also discuss Developmental Systems Theory and cultural transmission; the strucure of linguistic replicators; or populations in cultural evolution.  

16:00-17:30 Timo Maran 
Seminar: Ecosemiotics (Jakobi 2-107, lecturer on-site)

The workshop will introduce a semiotic perspective to the relations between human culture and ecosystems. I will present some conceptual tools that ecosemiotics can provide for environmental humanities, such as Umwelt theory, environmental signs, and ecosemiosphere. Particular emphasis is placed on iconic and indexical signs, affordances, and tacit knowledge, that enable literature, art, media, and other various forms of culture to become grounded in the broader ecosystem. We will also discuss the challenges of environmental crises and global warming to human culture and possible adaptation strategies.

18:30  Quiz evening, by Terje Toomistu (University of Tartu) and dinner (Club of Different Rooms, Kastani 42)

Wednesday, February 2 

9:30-17:00 Parallel workshops  (no live broadcast in Zoom)

09:30-10:00 Covid-19 testing
10:00-11:00 Workshop
11:00-11:15 Coffee break
11:15-12:30 Workshop 
12:30-13:30 Lunch
13:30-15:00 Workshop
15:00-15:30 Coffee break
15:30-17:00 Workshop

Workshop 1 (Widget Factory: Living Room Behind Stage, Kastani 42)
Assistant Professor Aro Velmet (University of Southern California, University of Tartu)  
Using Academic Weapons to Fight the Culture Wars

Debates that have for decades been the bread and butter of humanities scholars are now animating political discussion worldwide. Are social constructivist gender warriors dismantling the natural order of society? What role does the history of racialized slavery play in contemporary west? How should we engage with the legacy of colonialism in the modern world? These questions have acquired new relevance, as conversations around the displacement of monuments, representations of race and gender in public space and reparations for historical evils reverberate around the world, including in Estonia. This workshop aims to introduce scholars of the humanities to some tools for thinking about public engagement on historical topics, discuss case studies of recent controversies from around the world, and finally offer an opportunity to engage for themselves in a contemporary “culture war” debate in the Estonian context.

Participants are expected to read a short excerpt from Michel Rolph-Trouillot’s Silencing the Past. All other materials will be available on the day of the workshop. All materials will be in English.

Workshop schedule:

Part 1: The Humanities in the Public, a Theoretical Conversation. Introductions, general discussion, and analysis of Michel Rolph-Trouillot’s text.

Part 2: The Culture Wars in Action. Case studies of public conflicts over issues of race, gender, and colonialism. Examples are drawn from recent events in Poland, France, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Participants will work in small groups and then present their findings to the class.

Part 3: Weapons Training. Developing a public response to a recent controversy in Estonia on representations of race in the National Art Museum. Students will be provided with introductory materials, and tasked with coming up with an appropriate public intervention.

Aro Velmet is Assistant Professor of History at the University of Southern California and a visiting research fellow at the Institute of Social Studies, University of Tartu. In addition to his academic work, he is the editor of the cultural magazine Vikerkaar, occasional curator, and frequent contributor to a variety of Estonian and international media publications, including ERR, Eesti Päevaleht, Visegrad Insight, Eurozine and others. His book, Pasteur’s Empire: Politics and Bacteriology in France, its Empire, and World (2020) looks at how public health, vaccination programs and epidemic disease management shaped colonial relations in the French empire in the early twentieth century. He is currently working on a history of cybernetics and information politics in the Soviet and Post-Soviet world.

Workshop 2 (Estonian Euromanagement Institute, Emajõe 8)
Adjunct Professor Eeva Berglund (lecturer online) (Aalto University)
Talking of global circuits: walking methods for making connections

In this workshop we will get familiar with walking as a route to paying better attention. We will focus on the often hidden networks and circuits that support unremarkable everyday practices. The aim is to develop awareness of designed infrastructures of all kinds, and to hone vocabularies for debating their role in sustainability or its absence.

Research in the social sciences and design has problematised how infrastructures are taken for  granted even though without them, vital flows of people, goods and information would come to a standstill. As intensified land-use meets changing Earth systems, designing for sustainability and for usability will require noticing and communicating more perceptively about infrastructures and landscapes.

Anyone interested in exploring contemporary modes of connectivity with an ethnographic sensibility is welcome. The workshop involves discussing some pre-workshop reading and doing some walking, as the situation permits. It can be done in presence or online, but not as hybrid. Maximum number of participants 16.

Eeva Berglund is trained in anthropology and spatial planning. She has been teaching in the Creative Sustainability Programme at Aalto University within its design department since 2016. She has recently been developing her thinking about research methods as part of the European Association of Social Anthropologists’ #Colleex collaboratory for ethnographic experimentation.

Workshop 3 (UT Delta Centre, room 2040, Narva mnt 18) 
Dr. Joshua Wilbur (University of Tartu)
Transitioning to Digital Resources in the Humanities

This practical workshop will provide an introduction to the world of Digital Humanities, i.e., an approach to doing Humanities research which aims at taking full advantage of the advanced computational power that contemporary computers offer. It is intended for researchers who currently only use their computers for internet access, social media and writing emails and papers, but want to transition to taking advantage of them for actually working with Humanities data. We will first discuss what digital data actually is, especially concerning Humanities disciplines. Then we will explore structured data, and how to access it, including transforming analog to digital formats (digitization). Based on this, we will then focus on utilizing digital data, both passively (open science, collaboration, versioning, archiving, metadata) and actively (big data, searching, data analysis), including how this supports the implementation of the scientific method. Finally, we will a basic introduction to scripting and descriptive statistics using Python. At the end of the workshop, participants should be able to use this knowledge to begin transferring their research into the digital sphere. 


- access to a computer (your own laptop or computer lab)
- install the following software:
- Notepad++ (Windows), SubEthaEdit (Mac)
- Thonny

Workshop 4 (Tartu Nature House, Lille 10) 
Dr. Miina Norvik (Uppsala University, University of Tartu), 
Dr. Mari Tõrv (University of Tartu)
Professor Kristiina Tambets (University of Tartu)
Dr. Lehti Saag (lecturer online) (University College London, University of Tartu)  
Human lifespan from the perspective of different disciplines

The lifespan of each human being begins with birth and ends in death. Since the beginning of time, there have been numerous lifespans reaching to an end. The past generations do not vanish without leaving certain traces: something has been preserved in the genes, in the language, but also in space. The aim of the workshop is to study how archeology, genetics, and linguistics enable us to reconstruct the lifespan of a human being. What can be done separately, what needs cooperation between these three disciplines, when trying to capture changes in the past (either affecting the individual, entire population, language, or even culture). Under which conditions do the languages, cultures, and genes change? What changes the fastest?

The workshop has three parts. In the beginning, we make a short introduction into each discipline and show their interrelations. The largest part of the workshop is devoted to practicum carried out as group work. Each group chooses two to three tombstones and tries to reconstruct the lifespan of these people. In the last part of the workshop we listen to the presentations done as group work and we hold a general discussion.

Thourghout the workshop the participants are encouraged to contribute to the discussion by providing ideas / presenting examples as regards their discipline.

Workshop 5 (TYPA letterpress and paper art centre, Kastani 48f) 
Dr. Marko Uibu (University of Tartu)
Stepping outside of academia: transferring your skills for a smooth transition

It is probably not that uncommon among PhD students to feel some insecurity concerning the professional future and the opportunities for employment. Indeed, academic career paths tend to be highly competitive but financially not very lucrative. Applying for research grants has unproportionally low success rates. As an alternative, there are opportunities to participate in applied research, inter- or transdisciplinary projects and/or jobs outside of academia. However, working outside of your discipline and academic research standards requires good awareness of your professional strengths and the ability to “sell” them well enough.

In the workshop, we discuss the possibilities of applying professional competence outside of your academic field based on various examples. We will identify the valuable and “marketable” key competencies and discuss how to present them convincingly. We go through the process of finding and formulating a value proposition for a real client/employer and get feedback. In addition, we discuss some stereotypes and myths about humanities. As a result, we will hopefully get confirmation to the understanding that you can be successful outside academia not despite the education in humanities but because of it.

The workshop is conducted by Marko Uibu, a lecturer at the Institute of Social Studies of the University of Tartu, who has extensive experience in transdisciplinary (applied) projects from the public and private sector and NGOs.

18:00 Outdoor transformations (ice skating in Town Hall Square) and 19.00 dinner in Cafe-restaurant Werner (Ülikooli 11)

Thursday, February 3 

9:30-10:15 Professor Lionel Ruffel (Université Paris 8)
Lecture: Genrefluid - A non-binary approach of literary (trans)formations
(Lecturer on site at Jakobi 2-226, broadcast on Zoom) 

The words “gender” and “genre” (as in literary genres) have the same etymological root: the old French “gendre” or “gendrer” which means, when used as a verb, produce, give birth, beget. Oddly enough, it also means, when used as a noun, kind, species, or character.

The first of them (gender) has met and meets today more than ever the social, political, theoretical, and, one might say, the existential contemporary agenda whereas the second (genre) is almost never questioned, as if it was an untouchable given.

But it’s not and has never been. Literary genres have been produced by the same conceptual tools than those which have classified humans and non-humans. The first of them, the most important, is binarism. A poem is not a novel is not an essay and so on and so forth…

This vision is partial, fragmentary, political and ignores many literary productions. A non-binary approach of literary (trans)formations is hence necessary to reexamine literary history

Lionel Ruffel is Department Head and Professor of Comparative Literature at Université Paris 8, where he has founded and continues to oversee the program in creative writing. He was awarded a grant from the French University Institute for his individual research program, “Archeology of the Contemporary: literature, culture, knowledge”

Ruffel is involved in French and international literary and artistic life as a publisher, curator, literary advisor, and columnist. Among his latest projects are "Theory Now" at La Colonie in Paris, “The Publishing Sphere” at the Haus der Kulturen der Welt (Berlin), Radio Brouhaha (Centre Pompidou, Paris)

He is the founding director of the online literary journal “chaoïd”, and of the subsequent series “chaoïd” at Verdier Publishing House.

Ruffel is also the author of five monographs: Le Dénouement (2005); Volodine post-exotique (2007); Brouhaha, Worlds of the Contemporary (2016 French, 2017, English), Trompe-la-mort (2019), I Can’t Sleep (2021, Sternberg Press) and over 40 book chapters and articles, published in five languages.

Ruffel has held visiting positions at the University of St. Andrews, Boston University, Moscow State University and has been a Humboldt Fellow at the Peter Szondi Institute (Freie Universität/Berlin)

10:15-10:45 Discussion 

10:45-11:00 Coffee 

11:00-12:30 Lionel Ruffel
Seminar: Genrefluid - How inherited literary systems frame and rule creativity and desire and how to bypass them 
(Participants Jakobi 2-438, lecturer on-site) 

Writing is desiring, framing, ruling, forging, showing within an inherited order of discourse conceptually grounded on binarism. It’s then not a surprise that some contemporary literary experiments question simultaneously gender issues and the “naturality” of literary genres, trying to bypass them or get rid of them. The seminar will examine some of these texts to interrogate the participants’ writing practices.

12:30-13:30 Lunch (Jakobi 2-130, 129) 

13:30-14:15 Professor Jonathan Wolff (University of Oxford)
Lecture: The Future of Work 
(Lecturer online, viewing in Jakobi 2-226 & Zoom)

According to some analysts we are in the middle of the ‘fourth industrial revolution’ in which Artificial Intelligence will take over many existing forms of work, creating mass unemployment. Some have also suggested that Unconditional Basic Income (UBI) will be an appropriate policy response to such a situation should it emerge. In this lecture I will discuss whether the prediction of massive job loss is reasonable, the problems that massive job loss might create, and whether UBI is the right way to respond.

Jonathan Wolff is the Alfred Landecker Professor of Values and Public Policy and Governing Body Fellow at Wolfson College. He was formerly Blavatnik Chair in Public Policy at the School, and before that Professor of Philosophy and Dean of Arts and Humanities at UCL. He is currently developing a new research programme on revitalising democracy and civil society, in accordance with the aims of the Alfred Landecker Professorship. His other current work largely concerns equality, disadvantage, social justice and poverty, as well as applied topics such as public safety, disability, gambling, and the regulation of recreational drugs, which he has discussed in his books Ethics and Public Policy: A Philosophical Inquiry (Routledge 2011) and The Human Right to Health (Norton 2012). His most recent book is An Introduction to Moral Philosophy (Norton 2018).

Earlier works include Disadvantage (OUP 2007), with Avner de-Shalit; An Introduction to Political Philosophy (OUP, 1996, third edition 2016); Why Read Marx Today? (OUP 2002); and Robert Nozick (Polity 1991). He has had a long-standing interest in health and health promotion, including questions of justice in health care resource allocation, the social determinants of health, and incentives and health behaviour. He has been a member of the Nuffield Council of Bioethics, the Academy of Medical Science working party on Drug Futures, the Gambling Review Body, the Homicide Review Group, an external member of the Board of Science of the British Medical Association, and a Trustee of GambleAware. He writes a regular column on higher education for The Guardian.

14:15-14:45 Discussion 

14:45-15:00 Coffee 

15:00-16:30 Jonathan Wolff 
Seminar: Socialising at Work, Working from Home 
(Participants Jakobi 2-438, lecturer online

Common discussions of ‘life-work balance’ tend to assume that ‘work’ can be identified with time spent in the workplace plus work undertaken in association with employment at home, and ‘life’ is the remainder. Yet this ignores the various different ways in which work has a social aspect, and also the other forms of work that take place outside working hours. The importance of such issues has intensified during the pandemic, with the need for policy innovation to counter new tendencies towards inequality. 

Reading: Jonathan Wolff Ethics and Public Policy: A Philosophical Inquiry, second edition. Routledge. Chapter 10: “The future of work”.  

18:00 Movie evening and dinner (Elektriteater, Jakobi 1)
Movie: "Tell me" (2021, Estonia, Jordan) https://poff.ee/en/film/tell-me/

Friday, February 4 

8:45-9:30 Covid-19 testing

9:30-10:15 Professor Mette Louise Berg (University College London)
Lecture: Hospitality and hostility towards migrants in a time of transformation: welfare encounters and deservingness (Lecturer on site at Jakobi 2-226, broadcast on Zoom

Intensified globalization, growing inequality, and upheaval and conflict are creating new patterns of migration and mobility in the 21st century. Cities and neighbourhoods across Europe have seen an intensification and multiplication of migration-driven diversity across a range of domains. In a context  marked by a ‘diversification of diversity’ as well as ethno-nationalism and austerity, and increasingly differentiated access to welfare services and support, profound empirical, analytical, and ethical questions pose themselves: What differences make a difference in diverse neighbourhoods? Who is rendered deserving of inclusion in the welfare state and its services, and who is not? What forms of hospitality and welcome, as well as hostility and exclusion, are constructed, mobilised, and contested in diverse urban spaces? In this talk, I address these questions through a focus on welfare encounters, presenting material from research in an inner London area marked by gentrification and juxtapositions of wealth and deprivation, and in two smaller towns in North-East England which serve as ‘dispersal areas’ for people seeking asylum.

Mette Louise Berg is a social anthropologist with research interests in migration, diasporas and migrant transnationalism; urban diversity and conviviality; gender, generation and belonging; and participatory methods. She is the founding co-editor of Migration and Society, an interdisciplinary journal straddling the social sciences and the humanities. Recent publications include the co-edited volume Studying Diversity, Migration and Urban Multiculture: Convivial Tools for Research and Practice (UCL Press, 2019), and Producing precarity: The ‘hostile environment’ and austerity for Latin Americans in super-diverse London.

Mette is PI on the Nordforsk-funded Migrants and Solidarities: Negotiating deservingness in welfare micropublics (2020-2023). She is Professor of migration and diaspora studies at University College London’s Social Research Institute.

10:15-10:45 Discussion 

10:45-11:00 Coffee 

11:00-12:30 Mette Louise Berg 
Seminar: Decolonizing ethnographic methods (participants Jakobi 2-438, lecturer on-site

Growing out of feminist and critical approaches in anthropology and related disciplines, participatory and co-research methods have gained prominence as part of the calls to decolonise the social sciences. In this seminar, we will discuss the challenges and promises of decolonizing ethnographic methods, particularly in contexts of research on and with migrants.  

Seminar participants: please e-mail Mette (mette.berg@ucl.ac.uk) the title of your PhD thesis, a short abstract, and a couple of lines outlining your interest in ethnography. If you plan to use ethnographic methods or have already done some ethnographic research, please write a few lines about what you did or plan to do. The seminar will be tailored around these short bios.

12:30-13:30 Lunch (Jakobi 2-130, 129) 

13:30-14:15 Professor Stefan Berger (Ruhr University Bochum)
Lecture: Memories of Violent Conflict in Europe – towards agonistic perspectives? (Lecturer online, viewing in Jakobi 2-226 & Zoom) 

The lecture would introduce theories of agonistic memory and ask how the memory of violent conflict in Europe, wars, civil wars, ideological conflicts, social upheaval, might be affected by moving towards more agonistic perspectives. Building on the work by Anna Cento Bull and Hans Lauge Hansen on agonistic memory, the lecture will work with various examples to underpin how agonistic perspectives might be usefully employed in memory studies across a variety of different themes.

Prof. Stefan Berger is the Director of the Institute for Social Movements, Ruhr University Bochum, Germany, and Chairman of the committee of the Library of the Ruhr Foundation. He is Professor of Social History at the Ruhr University. He specializes in nationalism and national identity studies, historiography and historical theory, memory and museum studies, comparative labour studies, and the history of industrial heritage. From 1985 to 1987 Berger attended the University of Cologne, where he studied history, political science and German literature. In 1990 he graduated with a PhD from the University of Oxford, with a thesis on “The Labour Party and the SPD. A Comparison of their Structure and Development and a Discussion of the Relations Between the Two Movements, 1900–1933”. He was a lecturer in Modern European History at the University of Plymouth in 1990/91, and from 1991 to 2000 he lectured (from 1995 as Senior Lecturer) in the same field at the School of European Studies, University of Wales in Cardiff. From 2000 to 2005 he was Professor of Contemporary History at the University of Glamorgan. From 2005 to 2011 he was Professor of Modern German and Comparative European History at the University of Manchester, UK.

A significant part of Berger’s research and works is on the nationalization of history. Berger was instrumental in the programme ‘Representations of the Past: The Writing of National Histories in Nineteenth and Twentieth Century Europe (NHIST)’ that the European Science Foundation organized between 2003 and 2008.

14:15-14:45 Discussion 

14:45-15:00 Coffee 

15:00-16:30 Stefan Berger 
Seminar: Entangled social movements – how to study social movements in a comparative and transnational mode (participants Jakobi 2-438, lecturer online

Here I would introduce social movement studies and ask how we can move to more compararive and transnational methods and theories to study social movements.

18:00  Graduation evening and dinner (Barge Hall, Ujula 98)


All on-site participants need to provide a Covid-19 certificate at the registration desk. All participants will be tested with the SARS-Cov-2 antigen-RTD tests before the events on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Upon receiving a negative test result, participants will be provided with a badge on their name tag.