Previous winter schools

9th Winter School
Troubling Gender: Theory and Method

February 3-7, Tartu

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!

Winter school hashtag: #wstartu2020

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.

Deadline for registration by web-form: December 8, 2019.

Reading materials for seminars and workshops

See the materials here. Password will be given to registered participants by the organisers.


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.


Please note that photos will be taken at the event. The photos will be used by the University of Tartu humanities graduate schools on their homepages and social media to introduce their activities.

For the guidelines of University of Tartu Data Protection Policy, please see here.


Hosting institution: University of Tartu
Programme Directors:

Professor Kristin Kuutma (University of Tartu; Head of the GSCSA Programme at the University of Tartu)
Professor Raili Marling (University of Tartu)

Programme Manager: Ann Veismann (University of Tartu)
Student Coordinator: Anastasiya Astapova (University of Tartu),

The event is supported by the European Regional Development Fund (University of Tartu ASTRA Project PER ASPERA) and city of Tartu. 


February 3, Monday

9:15–9:50 Opening reception and registration

9:50–10:00 Opening words, Prof. Kristin Kuutma, Programme Director of the Winter School (Jakobi 2–226)

10:00–10:45 Prof. Jack Halberstam (Columbia University) (Jakobi 2–226)
Exit Routes: On Dereliction and Destitution
Moderator: Prof. Raili Marling (University of Tartu)

For so long we have proposed considering the politics of this or the politics of that – the politics of transgender, the politics of sex, the politics of performance, the politics of resistance – what if politics itself, as a concept and a framework is not the solution but the problem. In other words, what if this need to legitimate everything via the political as we currently understand politics (activities associated with governance) is part of the problem in that it leads to certain kinds of projects and it disallows others – the propulsive projects that engage making, doing, being, building, becoming, knowing, declaring, proposing, dealing, moving and so on.

halberstamJack Halberstam is Professor of Gender Studies and English at Columbia University.

Halberstam is the author of six books including: Skin Shows: Gothic Horror and the Technology of Monsters (Duke UP, 1995), Female Masculinity (Duke UP, 1998), In A Queer Time and Place (NYU Press, 2005), The Queer Art of Failure (Duke UP, 2011) and Gaga Feminism: Sex, Gender, and the End of Normal (Beacon Press, 2012) and, most recently, a short book titled Trans*: A Quick and Quirky Account of Gender Variance (University of California Press).  Places Journal awarded Halberstam its Arcus/Places Prize in 2018 for innovative public scholarship on the relationship between gender, sexuality and the built environment. Halberstam is currently working on several projects including a book titled WILD THING: QUEER THEORY AFTER NATURE on queer anarchy, performance and protest culture the intersections between animality, the human and the environment.

10:45–11:15 Discussion

11:15–11:45 Coffee break

11:45–12:30 Prof. Angela McRobbie (Goldsmiths College, University of London) (Jakobi 2–226)
Feminism and the Politics of Resilience (video lecture)
Moderator: Prof. Kristin Kuutma (University of Tartu)

The focus in this lecture is on the interruptive force which new feminisms present to capitalist consumer culture. The lecture proposes that a socio-therapeutic device evident across popular culture and labelled the 'perfect-imperfect-resilience' navigates a terrain so as to seemingly embrace elements of the new feminism while at the same time displacing its political force by means of a logic of substitution, which also marks a pulling away from 'neoliberal leadership feminism' in favour of a re-inflected liberal feminism. A psycho-analytically informed argument urging a feminist emphasis on questions such as 'who are you?'  counters the invidious popular morality of 'resilience'.   
The lecture draws on contemporary women's magazines and popular culture. It is a chapter from my new book titled "Feminism and Neoliberalism: Gender and the Politics of Resilience" (Polity 2020).

McRobbieAngela McRobbie is Professor of Communications, Goldsmiths University of London.

Angela McRobbie is Professor of Communications, Goldsmiths, University of London. Her most recent books are The Aftermath of Feminism (2008, trans into German VS Verlag 2010), Be Creative :Making a Living in the New Culture Industries 2015 (trans into Greek 2020) and Feminism and The Politics of Resilience (2020). She is Fellow of the British Academy, Fellow of the Royal Society of the Arts and holds an Hon. Doctorate from Glasgow University in Scotland. She began her academic career in the mid- 1970s at Birmingham University Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies publishing her early work and first dissertation on girls’ magazines in the late 1970s. Since then she has undertaken extensive research on young women and sexuality, the magazine as feminine genre, youth culture, new creative labour markets, the fashion industry and designers as micro-entrepreneurs, cultural theory of precarious work, feminist theory, European fashion industry in digital economy, feminism, neoliberalism and anti-welfarism in popular media. She is a regular contributor to BBC Radio 4 Thinking Allowed, to openDemocracy, and BBC Radio Women’s Hour.

12:30–13:00 Discussion

13:00–14:30 Lunch

14:30–16:00 Parallel seminars 

Prof. Jack Halberstam (Jakobi 2–129)

Wildness is a great category with which to think. It references all at once the opposite of civilization; the idea of unsorted relations to knowledge and being; nature after nature; queerness after and before nature, and life as an encounter with both the bio-political forces of being and the necro-political forces of unbecoming. We will start by locating wildness as a disorderly and disordering discursive frame and then move to the topics of decolonial bewilderment, race and sexuality, anarchy and destitution, animal politics.

Assoc. Prof. Katrin Tiidenberg (Tallinn University) (Jakobi 2–438)
Feminist Interpretations of People’s Social Media Experiences

We will discuss how different theoretical and conceptual feminist perspectives (i.e. post-feminism, neoliberal feminism, empowerment, agency) interpret people’s (in particular women’s’) experiences of presenting themselves, in particular their bodies or their sexualities, on social media. How can we, as researchers, make sense of people’s everyday lives without sacrificing neither the critical, intersectional perspective of feminism, nor the nuance and messiness of lived experience? How can our interpretations and inferences be mindful of the sexist, ageist, racist, sizeist, ableist dominant discourses without dismissing the agency of our research participants as they interpret their own experience?

tiidenbergKatrin Tiidenberg is an Associate Professor of Social Media and Visual Culture at the Baltic Film, Media, Arts and Communication School of Tallinn University, Estonia. Her recent books include: Ihu ja hingega internetis: kuidas mõista sotsiaalmeediat (“Body and Soul on the Internet: Making Sense of Social Media” in Estonian, 2017), Selfies, Why We Love (and Hate) Them (2018, in Korean in 2020), and the forthcoming Sex and Social Media (2020, co-authored by Emily van der Nagel). She serves on the Executive Board of the Association of Internet Researchers and the Estonian Young Academy of Sciences. Her research interests include social media, digital research methods and research ethics.


February 4, Tuesday

9:30–10:00 Registration

10:00–10:45 Prof. Gabriele Griffin (Uppsala University) (Jakobi 2–226)
Staying with the Trouble: Issues of Ethics and Researcher Self Reflexivity in the Age of Digitality
Moderator: Dr. Redi Koobak (University of Bergen)

Research involving digital platforms, online fora, blogs, digitized collections, chatrooms, ‘big data’ etc. has become very widespread across a range of disciplines, not least in Gender Studies, in the past decade or so. Simultaneously we have seen the rise of digital security breaches, securitization, cybercrime, de-privatization, changes in notions of intimacy and the meaning of ‘friending’. As governments grapple with questions of data security and researchers increasingly use the internet, digitized data and online materials to conduct their research, questions of how we understand technology and digitality, and how these understandings might impact on our research, become more prominent. This is all the more evident in a supposedly post-human, post-disciplinary, post-truth, post-gender (???) age in which the very structures of digitality, its algorithmic logics, etc. represent the reverse of the supposed fluidity of gender, boundaries, identities etc. that contemporary feminist work has proclaimed. How do we as researchers concretely engaged in carrying out feminist research respond to these challenges? How do we understand the genderedness of digitality? How can we conduct ethical research that engages self-reflexively with its production? What are its pitfalls and opportunities?

griffinGabriele Griffin is Professor of Gender Research at Uppsala University, Sweden.

Prior to that she held the Anniversary Chair in Women’s Studies at the University of York, UK. She is coordinator of the Nordforsk-funded Centre of Excellence, ‘Women in Technology-Driven Careers Inside and Outside of Academe’ (2017-2022), and editor of the ’Research Methods for the Arts and Humanities’ series (Edinburgh University Press). Recent publications include Bodily Interventions and Intimate Labour: Understanding Bioprecarity (co-ed., Manchester University Press, 2020); Body, Migration, Re/Constructive Surgeries: Making the Gendered Body in a Globalized World (co-ed., London: Routledge, 2019), and Research Methods for Creating and Curating Data in the Digital Humanities (co-ed., Edinburgh University Press, 2016).

10:45–11:15 Discussion

11:15–11:45 Coffee break

11:45–12:30 Prof. Anne Pauwels (SOAS, University of London) (Jakobi 2-226)
Gender Troubles in Language: Reflections on the Complex Relationship Between Gender and Language
Moderator: Assoc. Prof. Virve-Anneli Vihman (University of Tartu)

In the Anglophone world the second wave of feminism – 1960s to 1980s – started paying attention to how women were represented in language systems and how their communication styles and patterns were evaluated. The ground-breaking work by Robyn Lakoff (1975) – Language and Woman’s Place triggered decades of research looking at the unequal (discriminatory) treatment of women in language and of their language practices. The former area is better known as linguistic sexism whereas the latter area focuses on gendered ways of speaking. My lecture will focus on the former: I will discuss some key elements in the representation of gender in several language systems as well as discuss various approaches to changing/reforming gender-based discrimination (Pauwels 1998). At the end of the lecture I will comment on the future of such reforms in light of the changing conceptualisation of gender from a (more or less) binary concept to one that stresses fluidity.


Lakoff, R. 1975.  Language and Woman’s Place. New York: Harper& Row.
Pauwels, A. 1998. Women Changing Language. London: Longman.


pauwelsAnne Pauwels is Professor of Sociolinguistics in SOAS, University of London and Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences, Australia.

Language and gender is one of her main areas of expertise. She is the author of Non-discriminatory language (1991), Women changing language (1998), Boys and foreign language learning (2005). She has co-edited a volume of the Handbook of Applied Linguistics entitled Language and communication: Diversity and Change (2007) in which aspects of language and gender are discussed. She has written many articles and papers on various aspects of the relationship between language and gender including the role of women and men in language change, language shift and multilingualism, feminist language reform, non-discriminatory language policies, gender and language learning. She has advised national and international institutions and governments on avoiding gender bias in official and public discourse. Currently she is working on the implications for language (reform) of the changing perception around gender.

12:30–13:00 Discussion

13:00–14:30 Lunch

14:30–16:00 Parallel seminars 

Prof. Gabriele Griffin (Jakobi 2–129)
Staying with the Trouble: Issues of Ethics and Researcher Self Reflexivity in the Age of Digitality Seminar

In this session we will start from YOUR projects (PhDs) to explore issues of ethics and researcher self reflexivity in the age of digitality. Note that the phrase ‘researcher self reflexivity’ appears without hyphen as it might refer either to researcher-self reflexivity or to researcher self-reflexivity. The first question to be addressed in the seminar therefore is:

1) How do digitality and associated ethical issues feature in YOUR project?

From this we will go on the explore the ideas presented in the reading you have been sent and address the following issues (organized around the specific texts we’re looking at):

a) How useful is the distinction between public and private in deciding ethical questions in relation to your research?

b) How do you understand the notion of effective consent in the context of digital data and what do you make of the idea of ‘ethics of care’ in this context, particularly the suggestion (Tiidenberg, p. 475) to create composite accounts, fictional narratives, and remix techniques to protect the identity of participants?

c) Unintended consequences and incidental findings in digital research – how might we deal with those?

d) How do you understand participant-oriented digital research and what are its limits?

e) What do you think of the ‘road map for an alternative data-analysis practice (Leurs, pp. 139-140.)

Prof. Anne Pauwels (Jakobi 2–438)
Beyond Binary Gender: Implications for Language Use

The workshop will follow up on the final issue raised in the lecture: gender ‘assignation’ is increasingly moving away from a binary category – male/female or feminine vs masculine – to being multifarious – encompassing many iterations of these ‘traditional’ categories.  A good illustration of this development is the constant changes in the acronym [English] dealing with gender and sexuality: a few decades ago it used to be L&G [Lesbian and Gay] or LGB [Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual], then LGBT [Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transsexual/Transgender] or LGBTQ [Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transsexual/Transgender and Queer]. More recent iterations include LGBTQI (with the I representing Intersex]. We will be discussing how these changing conceptualisations of gender ‘assignation’ should or could be represented in language, paying specific attention to legal contexts.


February 5, Wednesday
Parallel Workshops, 10:00-17:00 (registered participants)

Workshop 1 (Tartu Nature House, Lille 10)
Politics of Location in Academic Writing
Dr. Redi Koobak (University of Bergen) & Prof. Raili Marling (University of Tartu)

Academic writing tends to assume a view from nowhere, an impartial position that is supposed to guarantee the objectivity of assessment. However, we all come from somewhere and the politics of location is especially important for gender research. In this workshop, we will guide PhD candidates to reflect on their own geopolitical location, as it intersects with race, class, gender and sexuality, and how this impacts their research project. We will also address inclusive language. 
To complement the academic perspective with an activist one, we have invited editors involved in feminist publication to give advice on how to make one’s research more accessible to the mainstream readership through creative writing. 
To prepare for the workshop, you will have to read one article, but the focus will be on writing shorter texts during the workshop and sharing our writing with others.

koobakRedi Koobak is Postdoctoral Researcher at the Centre for Women’s and Gender Research, University of Bergen, Norway.

She has worked as Assistant Professor in Gender Studies, Linköping University, Sweden and as Visiting Lecturer in Feminist Studies at the University of California, Santa Cruz, USA. Her current research interests include feminist visual culture studies; intersections of postcolonialism and postsocialism; discourses of war, gender and nationalism; transnational and local feminisms; and creative writing methodologies. She has extensive experience leading creative academic writing workshops in Sweden, Norway, Hungary, USA and South Africa. Koobak is the author of the monograph Whirling Stories: Postsocialist Feminist Imaginaries and the Visual Arts (2013). She is currently working on a project on the impact of the #metoo movement on academia.

Raili Marling is the Professor of English Studies at the University of Tartu, Estonia.

She has also taught in the USA and New Zealand. She has published extensively on contemporary literature, gender and power in public discourse and tensions around gender in the post-socialist context.  Her current research focuses on the representations and representability of the contradictory affects generated by neoliberal rationality and their gendering. She works above all with contemporary American fiction but also with public discourse, to find ways of reconciling critical affect studies, post-structuralist discourse theories and feminist and queer theory. She has been the managing editor of Aspasia: International Yearbook of Central, Eastern and Southeastern European Women’s and Gender History and Ariadne Lõng, Estonian journal of gender studies.

Kadi Viik is editor at Feministeerium, a feminist web magazine in Estonia. Viik has a background in human rights and has previously worked for the Estonian government as Head of the Gender Equality Department and the UN agencies UNDP and UNFPA with sexual and reproductive rights. She was one of the editors and authors of the anthology Tilliga ja tillita: retsepte Eesti feministidelt (2003). She studied creative writing for three and a half years before co-funding Feministeerium in 2015.

Aet Kuusik is an editor at Feministeerium, a feminist web magazine in Estonia. Aet has studied linguistics at Tallinn University and worked as an editor for over ten years. Their work has included texts from a wide range of genres – from institution documents to articles, novels, short stories, and poems. They have also been involved with two documentary theatre project about sexuality and gender equality as a playwright (“Real women, real men, and real others” (2015) and “How to say yes? (2019). They have also co-organized feminist festival Ladyfest Tallinn (2011–2015).


loodusmajaTartu Nature House (Lille 10)


Workshop 2 (Tartu County Court, Kalevi 1, court room 545)
Moot Court – Justice for Sexual Assault Victims and Fair Trial
Mari-Liis Sepper (Praxis Centre for Policy Studies)

Moot alias mock court format workshop invites the participants to imagine a forum where justice for sexual assault victims is played out. Court procedure simulation is open for all non-lawyers who wish to make a case for #MeToo movement side by side with the human rights guarantees for parties concerned. Participants will be taking on roles of defenders and accusers as well as jurors to argue and deliberate cases of sexual violence. No prior legal knowledge is required.
The venue of the workshop is accessible for wheelchair users. For more information on accessibility please contact the organizers.


Mari-Liis Sepper is one of the leading legal experts of gender equality and equal treatment in Estonia with more than 15 years of experience. From 2010 to 2015 Mari-Liis acted as the Gender Equality and Equal Treatment Commissioner, the National Equality Body in Estonia. She has been a member of the Executive Board of EQUINET, the network of European National Equality Bodies. She has worked extensively with women’s groups, LGBTQI+ and disability organisations.

Mari-Liis holds a MA in law from the University of Montpellier (France). She is an experienced trainer and an author and editor of number of publications on gender equality, trans rights and intersectionality.


Picture: kohus.eeTartu County Court (Kalevi 1)


Please note that for security reasons all visitors/participants and their belongings shall be screened.

Workshop 3 (St. Anthony's seminar room, Lutsu 3)
(Gendered) research(ers) on Social Media: Opportunities and Challenges
Prof. Andra Siibak (University of Tartu) & Dr. Maria Murumaa-Mengel (University of Tartu)

In the first part of the workshop we invite the participants to reflect upon their own social media use as young scholars and plan their future social media presence in a way that aligns best with their personal goals. We have prepared some good and bad examples of inreach and outreach work by various scholars that serve as a basis for further discussions. We will make use of some examples from the field of microcelebrity-studies so as to look for universal attention-seeking and audience-reaching strategies that could also be employed by academics.  
Second part of the social media workshop will concentrate on different empirical gender-related studies where the data collection and/or analysis has taken place in online spaces and social media. We will discuss the opportunities, potential risks and ethical considerations when conducting research in/on (semi-public) online spaces, dealing with sensitive and emotional topics. Furthermore, we will discuss the role and impact researchers’ actions may have both on online communities at large, and when contributing to the digital shadows of every participant.

siibakAndra Siibak (PhD in media and communication): is Professor of Media Studies and program director of the Media and Communication doctoral program at the University of Tartu. Since 2007 she has worked at the Institute of Social Studies on topics related to the opportunities and risks associated with the internet use, people’s social media usage practices, intergenerational relationships on social media, new media audiences and privacy. She has worked as a research assistant and post-doc researcher in Södertörn University, Sweden (2009-2012); been a visiting researcher in Aarhus University, Denmark (2011) and a visiting professor in Vidsžeme University of Applied Sciences, Latvia (2019). She has published more than 70 peer reviewed papers in international journals and edited collections; served as a reviewer to more than 20 peer-reviewed international journals and belongs to an editorial board of Cyberpscycholgy and Social Media + Society and Media Studies. She has been a member of various international research projects and networks (e.g. EU Kids Online; COST Action Transforming Audiences, Transforming Societies; COST Action DigiLitEY) and acted as an expert consultant for different projects initiated by the European Parliament, European Commission, European Council and OECD. She also served as the main organizer and program chair of the Association of Internet Researchers conference AoIR2017 in Tartu (18.-21.2017). In 2015 she was awarded the Young Scientist Award by the President of Estonia and in 2017 she was awarded The Outstanding Young Person of Estonia (TOYP) award.

mengelMaria Murumaa-Mengel (PhD in media and communication) is a social media lecturer and the program director of journalism and communication at the Institute of Social Studies, University of Tartu. She is involved in research focusing mainly on young people’s use (and non-use) of social media, digital literacies (e.g. social media literacies and porn literacies) and the transformation of private and public in online spaces. More specifically, her most recent research has looked into how online risks (cyberbullying, e-bile, online shaming) and opportunities (online-participation and creation, intimacy) are changing everyday practices of youth.


antoniusSt. Anthony's seminar room (Lutsu 3)


Workshop 4 (Living Room Behind Stage, Widget Factory Kastani 42)
Gender and Violence
Dr. Kadri Simm (University of Tartu)

Is violence a necessary and constitutional part of human (nature)? Certainly all kids hit each other at some age (and it is considered developmentally normal), wars have characterized human existence throughout, and the very justification for the existence of the state has been thought to lie in the need to curb violence. A sociobiologist would observe the ants and the lions and conclude that violence is, in fact, perfectly natural! Yet most moral and political theories have throughout thousands of years tried to argue for strict limitations on violence. However, rarely has the focus been on gender or violence against women. In fact, the concepts, the arguments and the frameworks have often successfully constructed a world where gender-based violence has been invisible. For example, the well-known public/private divide crucial for liberal political theories for a long time meant that domestic violence and marital rape were not recognized.
Thus one of the most brutal and yet sadly traditional “troubles” associated with gender concerns violence. These days it is often referred to as gender-based violence - violence whose roots lie primarily in the gender of the victim. Associated with some of the most persistent violations of human rights globally, gender-based violence is often linked to gender inequality. Therefore, a more radical and larger question needs to be asked too – is gender-based violence rooted systematically in our cultures? If yes, then we should not treat instances of gender-based violence as isolated acts of psychologically disturbed individuals but attempt to approach this problem keeping in mind its systemic nature.
The Council of Europe’s Istanbul convention outlines that gender-based violence usually manifests itself in one (or more) of the following forms: physical, economic, sexual and psychological. Our workshop will mainly focus on aspects of the third and fourth type, more specifically on sexual violence and verbal violence (violence in speech, through language). 

Our workshop is broadly divided into three sessions: 

  • Philosophical reflections on gender-based violence, with special focus on two fundamental issues central to this phenomenon - the in/equality debate and the private/public divide. These concepts and how we perceive and apply them are crucial in understanding how and why gender- based violence operates.
  • A session on sexual violence. Drs Made LaanpereMade Laanpere is a medical doctor at the Tartu University Clinic, lecturer in obstetrics and gynecology in University of Tartu and the president of the Estonian Gynaecologists Society.  and Kai PartKai Part is a medical doctor at the Tartu University Clinic and Tartu Clinic of Sexual Health, lecturer in obstetrics and gynecology in University of Tartu.  have been at the forefront of building up a system of clinics that deal with the victims of sexual violence in Estonia. They will discuss their experiences. 
  • A session on violence in language/speech. Can speech constitute a form of violence? Or does that idea make sense exclusively as a metaphor? Alex DaviesAlex Davies is a researcher in Institute of Philosophy and Semiotics, University of Tartu. He is a philosopher of language working on miscommunication, politics of speech, context sensitivity and number of other related themes. More information is available from his homepage.  (a philosopher of language who has published on the regulation of extreme speech in a liberal context) will lead a seminar that explores one or two attempts to show that speech can literally constitute a form of violence.

simmKadri Simm is Associate Professor of Practical Philosophy in Institute of Philosophy and Semiotics, University of Tartu.

Her background is interdisciplinary, having  first studied history (University of Tartu), she then did her MA in gender studies (Central European University) and her PhD in philosophy (Tartu). Many of her projects are located at the intersections of moral and political philosophy, health care and new medical technologies. She has previously published on benefit-sharing debates in biomedicine, ethical and social aspects of genetic research, mental health, feminist philosophy and theories of justice.


elutubaLiving Room Behind Stage / ELUTUBA LAVA TAGA (Widget Factory, Kastani 42)

Living Room Behind Stage is located in the Aparaaditehas Culture Factory. The entrance is in the courtyard, placed next to Kogo Gallery. Free guest parking is available across Kastani street behind Hektor hostel.


Workshop 5 (Science Center AHHAA, seminar room Apollo, Sadama 1)
The Ambivalences of Oral History Tool: Contexts and Backgrounds in Interviewing
Dr. Anna Zawadzka (Polish Academy of Scinces)

Gathering data through interviewing has a long history in scholarship, well before historians discovered it in the 20th century as a method of investigating the past. Since the invention of the voice recorder in the 1960s, the method has become widespread and began to be considered the perfect tool to fill in the gaps in mainstream knowledge of the past and society. Those who did not then have a voice – women, ethnic minorities, the working class – were to be given their new space in historiography.
Yet the postmodern critique of this booming field of research and the conviction that there are no ‘ultimate facts’, only interpretations, brought a major shift to the method. Who has the interpretative authority? Whose voice is dominant in the final scholarly text? Is oral history just another source, like all the others, to scrutinise as piece of evidence?
Moreover, does this method harvest facts, or rather impressions of them? The data we collect while interviewing, what are they about: the events and phenomena we ask about and respondent wants us to inform, or respondents themselves: their mindset, world of their obviousnesses, limitations due to their placement in social stratification, their categories of perception?
How the socio-economic context - out of which gender roles and gender division of labour are crucial ones - intervene in the process of interviewing? How to estimate to what extent does it shape the experiences and the perception of interlocutors? How to make this interference a subject of acquired knowledge itself, instead of treating it as an obstacle? And, last but not least, what kind of ethical issues does this approach evoke?
The present workshop departs from these methodological and theoretical considerations to offer a hands-on space to discuss designing of research, mapping out case studies, and constructing interview scripts while being aware of the ambivalences of oral history tools.
The venue of the workshop is accessible for wheelchair users. For more information on accessibility please contact the organizers.

annaAnna Zawadzka is an Assistant Professor at the Institute of Slavic Studies of the Polish Academy of Sciences. She is also a lectuter at Gender Studies, University of Warsaw. Her book The First Time. Constructing Heterosexuality (2015) was based on interviews with women about the experience of virginity and virginity loss. Her current research focuses on antisemitism and anticommunism as active forces within the framework of current historical politics in Poland.


ahhaaScience Center AHHAA, seminar room Apollo (Sadama 1)



February 6, Thursday

9:30–10:00 Registration

10:00–10:45 Prof. Susanna Paasonen (University of Turku) (Jakobi 2-226)
Boredom and Enchantment in Networked Media
Moderator: Prof. Andra Siibak (University of Tartu)

According to a plethora of cultural diagnoses, the endless distractions of networked media, and those of social media in particular, are both addicting us and driving us to into states of perpetual boredom where nothing sticks, interests, or matters. While social media is broadly offered as a solution to boredom through the diversions it caters, these, combined with the habitual routines of using smart devices are regularly identified as being boring in themselves. Although this diagnosis of distracting boredom is often presented as being specific to the current socio-technological moment, its overall rationale echoes ones made by Simmel, Kracauer, Benjamin, and Lefebre alike in the course of more than a century. Engaging with these diagnoses, this talk does two things. First, it maps out boredom as an affective formation of flatness, blandness, and disinterest, and asks how it plays out in connection of media technology. Second, by taking cue from Jane Bennett, it reframes the issue as mundane enchantments and inquires after the value of micro-experiences, as small affective lifts, pushes and pulls, in and for everyday life. In doing so, I argue for understanding boredom not as the polar opposite of interest and excitement but as a matter of oscillating affective intensities, the outcomes of which are not predetermined or set.

paasonenSusanna Paasonen is Professor of Media Studies at University of Turku, Finland.

With an interest in studies of sexuality, networked media, and affect, she is the author of NSFW: Sex, Humor and Risk in Social Media (MITP 2019, with Kylie Jarrett and Ben Light), Many Splendored Things: Thinking Sex and Play (Goldsmiths Press 2018), Carnal Resonance: Affect and Online Pornography (MITP 2011), and the forthcoming Who’s Laughing Now? Feminist Tactics in Social Media (MITP, with Jenny Sundén) and Dependent, Distracted, Bored: Affective Formations in Networked Media (MITP). Susanna serves on the editorial boards of e.g. New media & society, Sexualities, and International Journal of Cultural Studies and is the PI of the Academy of Finland research project, Sexuality and Play in Media Culture (2017–2021) and the consortium, Intimacy in Data-Driven Culture (2019–2022).

10:45–11:15 Discussion

11:15–11:45 Coffee break

11:45–12:30 Dr. Roberto Kulpa (University of Plymouth) (Jakobi 2-226)
Knowing Your Place: From Geo-Temporal Politics of Sexualities to Resistance as Resilience-in-Togetherness and Friendship
Moderator: Assoc. Prof. Kadri Aavik (Tallinn University)

This lecture aims to explore hegemonic occidentalist power discourses (governmental and academic) and to think about willful ways of resisting them. Myself (and many of my esteemed colleagues) have often claimed that the post-1989/post-2004 ‘Europe’ is re-framed through the tropes of sexularism (J. W. Scott 2009), e.g. Western core (or ‘Right(s)full Just Europe’), while ‘post-communist Central-Eastern Europe (CEE)’ is taken as permanently transitioning semi-periphery, subject to the global imperatives of neoliberal growth (Kulpa and Mizielińska 2011).
The geo-operationalisation of sexual politics between the core and the semi-periphery (Wallerstein 2004) through the top-down vectors of ‘leveraged pedagogy’ (Kulpa 2014) or ‘sexual humanitarianism’ (Fassin 2010; Mai 2014) has been analysed through the examples of power discourses embedded within various institutional actors, such as the European Parliament, European Court of Justice, inter-national feminist & LGBT organisations, national governments. 
The occidentalism (esp. Anglo-American squint) is also present, and perhaps characteristic, of the academic knowledge production in/of gender and sexuality studies. Colleagues have shown how ‘queer epistemologies’ are too often tinted with gatekeeping and policing by the ‘native speakers’ of English (Silva and Ornat 2016). Others argue that structural and institutional economic inequalities, and individual complacency makes the ‘theory (Theory)’ the privileged capital of the Western scholars while ‘the Others’ are expected to be content as informants, data miners, case study analysts (Buchowski 2004; Kulpa and Silva 2016).
Yet, I do not want to settle on these ‘paranoid readings’ (Sedgwick 2003) of the manifold incarnations of the ‘us – them’ and ‘the West and the Rest’ (Hall) dichotomies. Not least for I fear that the line bifurcating critical and insightful activism/scholarship is too porous to avert the spillages of binarism and reification. But if so, then how do we – the ‘we’ of ‘Eastern Europeans’, of ‘non-Westerners’, of ‘non-natives’, of ‘The Rest’, of ‘the Others’ – resist these hegemonies to be able to flourish?
In the last part of the lecture, I will turn to thinking about the ‘weapons of the weak’ (J. C. Scott 1985) and ‘weak resistance’ (Majewska 2018) as possible modalities of willfulness (Ahmed 2014). Against, or rather in spite of, the (masculinised) heroism of coming outs, sexual revolutions, and spectacular displays of parades, I want to propose the ‘banality of friendship’, and an ethic of togetherness, as lived experiences, ethical concepts, and personal practices of not giving up, failing yet not falling, remaining truthful to your ideals, trusting, and being supported while supporting. Resilient, Together.

kulpaRoberto Kulpa is a Lecturer in Sociology in the School of Law, Criminology and Government, University of Plymouth.

He is interested in transnational sexual politics, nationhood and non-normative identities as interlocked with discourses of geography and temporality, and EUropeanisation. Another area of his research concerns the critical epistemologies of knowledge production in social and cultural studies, esp. in the contexts of the hegemonic geographies (‘West and the Rest’), and neoliberalisation of the education. The concept of ‘cultural translation’, the possibility of using decolonial and post-colonial theories in the study of ‘post-communist Europe’ is also important to me. Finally, recently he has been reading into ‘friendship’ and developing questions concerning wellbeing, resilience, and liveability in the precarious times.

12:30–13:00 Discussion

13:00–14:30 Lunch 

14:30–16:00 Parallel seminars 

Prof. Susanna Paasonen (Jakobi 2–129)
Boredom and Enchantment in Networked Media

The seminar will dwell on the topic of the morning lecture and concentrate on the following discussion points:

  • How can we think of experiences of living with ubiquitous connectivity beyond narratives of loss?
  • How would you distinguish dependence on networked media from being addicted to it? Does the distinction matter?

Dr. Roberto Kulpa (Jakobi 2–106)
Knowing Your Place: From Geo-Temporal Politics of Sexualities to Resistance as Resilience-in-Togetherness and Friendship

During the seminar we will pick up some of the themes and questions I have introduced during the lecture, and think collectively – together – about vignettes, obscurities, and heterotopias (Foucault) that are opening on our horizon.
Aside of the exalted perspectives, we shall mostly engage in thinking how some/any of these concepts and perspectives can be helpful in your own research projects, especially the theoretical and methodological toolboxes of your own research practice. So please be prepared to talk about your work, and not only about the set texts.
Finally, I also have a task for you. Having read the abstract above, and all the recommended readings, please suggest one text that in your opinion could act as a bridge between your research and my suggestions. (NB.: you can suggest an art object, film, physical artefact, exhibition, etc., – anything that seems meaningful to you).

February 7, Friday

9:30–10:00 Registration

10:00–10:45 Prof. Lucas Gottzén (Stockholm University) (Jakobi 2–226)
Foucault, Masturbation and the Caesura of Masculinity
Moderator: Dr. Tanel Lepsoo (University of Tartu)

This lecture introduces how poststructuralism, and particularly the work the French philosopher Michel Foucault, has been debated within masculinity studies. Discussions have ranged from ignorance, to critiques that he did not take gender relations seriously, to scholars employing his theories of power, discourse and subjectivity. I argue that Foucault has much to offer critical masculinity scholarship by re-reading his work as theories about men and masculinity. This is achieved by presenting two masculine figures that illustrate key components of his conceptual framework: the masturbating boy, where Foucault introduces the concepts “dispositif” (or apparatus) and biopower; and the free man in Greek and Latin antiquity, through which he theorized about the technologies of the self and the caesura of masculinity. Through exploring these concepts, masculinity emerges as a gendered technology for controlling sexual affect.

lucasLucas Gottzén is Professor at the Department of Child and Youth Studies, Stockholm University, Sweden.

His research takes feminist and critical perspectives on youth, gender and sexuality. His recent books include Av det känsligare slaget: Män och våld mot kvinnor (‘The (Un)Sensitive Kind: Men and Violence against Women’, 2019), Genus (‘Gender’, 2020, with Eriksson) and Routledge International Handbook of Masculinity Studies (2020, co-edited with Mellström & Shefer).

10:45–11:15 Discussion

11:15–11:45 Coffee break

11:45–12:30 Prof. Todd Reeser (University of Pittsburgh) (Jakobi 2–226)
Approaching Affective Masculinities
Moderator: Dr. Jaak Tomberg (University of Tartu)

The central question asked in this talk is: what does or can “affect” do to masculinity? The notion that affect opens up gendered potentialities has important implications for critical studies of men and masculinity. Ineffable moments of visceral potentiality can have the effect of revisioning masculinity away from normativity or hegemony, of putting it into motion, or of queering it. The experience of affect or affective representation can be constituted by nondiscursive moments that transform the stasis and boundedness of normative masculinity, opening it up to new configurations. But also, those revisionary moments may be temporary, contained, and evoked only to be effaced, serving ultimately to reinforce the normativity or hegemony of masculinity in a more pernicious way than without them. Extending affect studies, this talk offers a series of analytic models or methods, with specific examples, that scholars can use and adapt in their own work on masculinity and affect.

Bibliography: “Approaching Affective Masculinities” 

reeserTodd W. Reeser is Professor of French and Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies at the University of Pittsburgh, USA. His research treats questions of gender and sexuality in early modern and contemporary Europe and of theoretical approaches to masculinity. His books include Moderating Masculinity in Early Modern Culture (2006); Masculinities in Theory (2010); Setting Plato Straight: Translating Ancient Sexuality in the Renaissance (2016).

12:30–13:00 Discussion

13:00–14:00 Lunch 

14:00–15:45 Joint seminar 

Prof. Lucas Gottzén & Prof. Todd Reeser (Jakobi 2–106)
Masculinity, Foucault, Affect

In this seminar, we will discuss select approaches to the critical study of men and masculinity. Using the film Force Majeure as a point of departure, participants are invited to reflect on the strengths and limits of studying men and masculinity from Foucauldian and affective perspectives. Foucault presents the concept “dispositif” to analyze power as an outside force that produces certain masculine subjectivities, and the “caesura of masculinity” to discuss how masculinity is produced through technologies of the self. Both concepts aim at analyzing how affect is controlled. In contrast, affective approaches can revision masculinity as asubjective and outside discursive constraints. The relation between comfort/discomfort and masculinity will serve as one case study in how a given affect can be considered alongside masculinity (via Ahmed). We will through group discussion elaborate on, and interrogate, these approaches as well as compare and contrast them.

16:15–17:15 Concluding Discussion (Jakobi 2-226)
So What? How to Incorporate Gender into Estonian Humanities Research
Prof. Raili Marling (University of Tartu)


8th WinterSchool of GSCSA
Tallinn University
28 January–1 February 2019
4–6 ECTS

About winter school

‘What is the human today?’ seems to be the key question in our age of the Anthropocene and increased technological powers. This fundamental question with all its ramifications can be made productive for a critical re-evaluation of the field of humanities and for a revision of some traditional distinctions in humanist epistemology.

The 8th Winter School of GSCSA invites a reflection on the ways in which the Anthropocene, understood at its broadest, and the rapid technological changes influence our understanding of humanities in its different branches. The Winter School is particularly interested in how ecological and environmental approaches intersect with debates on human enhancement, genome editing, biotechnology, transhumanism, and artificial intelligence. Technological-scientific prospects of machine superintelligence or radical enhancement represent a potential non-human domain different from that of ecological approaches focusing on animal kinship. At the same time, various strands of posthumanism explore the question of the technological and the ecological other both separately and in relation to each other.

The discussions about redefining the human has its consequences for the redefinition of the humanities. The Winter School seeks to explore the potential and the limits of the humanities in coping with ecological and technological nonhuman concerns. The possibility of a more-than-human or better-than-human society recalibrates whatever has been thought previously about humanist knowledge tailored to the human world. In order to respond to the challenge of redefining the human, the humanities will have to broaden its scope. Question about the extent and nature of this broadening is one of the focal points of the winter school.

Plenary speakers

Prof. Stacy Alaimo (University of Texas at Arlington)
Prof. Ewa Domanska (Adam Mickiewicz University at Poznan; Stanford University)
Prof. Steve Fuller (University of Warwick)
Dr. Zoltán Boldizsár Simon (Bielefeld University)
Prof. Stefan Lorenz Sorgner (John Cabot University in Rome)
Prof. Sverker Sörlin (KTH Royal Institute of Technology)
Dr. Timotheus Vermeulen (University of Oslo)
Dr. Thomas Schwarz Wentzer (Aarhus University)

Practical information

Programme directors:

Dr. Eneken Laanes (Tallinn University / Under and Tuglas Literature Centre)
Prof. Marek Tamm (Tallinn University)

Programme manager:

Kristiina Sirkel (Tallinn University), e-mail (

Slam and student seminar coordinator:

Tiiu-Triinu Tamm (Estonian Institute of Historical Memory), e-mail (


This winter school is organised by the Graduate School of Culture Studies and Arts, supported by the Tallinn University's ASTRA Project, TLÜ TEE, University of Tartu ASTRA Project PER ASPERA, Estonian Academy of Arts' ASTRA Project EKA LOOVKÄRG, Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre's ASTRA Project EMTASTRA (European Union, European Regional Development Fund).

7th Winter School 
Fact and Method: data, borders and interpretation
University of Tartu, Estonia
February 5–9, 2018 
4 ECTS credits

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 7th Winter School “Fact and Method: Data, Borders and Interpretation” (February 5–9, 2018, University of Tartu, 4 ECTS credits).

About Winter School

This Winter School invites to combine critical reflection on fact and method.

By definition, fact is a piece of information presented as having objective reality. Does that correspond to truth? Is truth a singular or plural concept? In the academic world, scholarly truth appears to be more than one, through its ability to generate more than existed before, and less than one, by its tendency never to reach a finalised singularity. This idea of truth rests on its immanent capacity to communicate, exchange, transform, expand, and add nuances: when scholars communicate, exchange and interpret facts and knowledge from their various fields of research, the notion of truth transforms and paradigms shift.

What kind of methods are utilised in this process by different disciplines? What are the methods to discern or articulate, to analyse or interpret facts? Contemporary humanities treat methods also as an object of investigation. Methods provide limited interpretations of reality, while critical considerations of accredited paradigms reveal or disenchant hidden meanings, help to trace disciplinary histories and reveal disciplinary identities. Rethinking of methods proposes innovative ways for explaining the social role of academics, power relations, research ethics, or scholarly agency. The Winter School of 2018 aims to revisit the intense and complex relationships between objectivity and subjectivity, the given and creativity, conventional and alternative discourses, conflicting perspectives and consensus in argumentation, in order to reflect on the positioning of facts and on the making of method.

The programme of the Winter School consists of:

1) interdisciplinary lectures and discussions conducted by Estonian and guest lecturers;

2) seminars in smaller groups (previous preparatory work is expected);

3) one day of specialised and practical workshops outside the customary classroom environment.



9:15-9:50 Coffee and registration

9:50–10:00 Opening words, Prof. Kristin Kuutma, Programme Director of the Winter School (Jakobi 2-226)

10:00-10:45 Prof. Annika Rabo (Stockholm University) 
Anthropological Methods and an Analysis of Memory: Migration, Past and Present in Raqqa Province, Syria
Moderator: Prof. Kristin Kuutma (University of Tartu)

This lecture is based on intermittent anthropological fieldwork between 1978 and 2011 in the Syrian province of Raqqa. I will talk about an attempt to use material from this province as an example that speaks to a more general problem of facts and methods in Syria and elsewhere. I argue that anthropological methods offer entry points to start thinking about reconciliatory processes for future conviviality and co-existence in this province and elsewhere. Participant observation is central to the methods used by social anthropologists. Such observation typically entails intensive personal engagement and interaction with people – informants or interlocutors – in the often-unbounded setting dubbed the field. This engagement and interaction is not predetermined by a strict research design. Instead, we are trained to expect the unexpected. Ethnographic fieldwork thus allows for serendipity; that process by which we discover important things for which we were not even searching, or were unaware that we were even searching for to begin with.

Annika Rabo has been professor at the Department of Social Anthropology, Stockholm University since 2007. Previously she was associate professor at Linköping University, researcher at the Swedish Research Council and researcher at the Centre for Research in International Migration and Ethnic Relations – CEIFO – at Stockholm University. Annika Rabo received her Ph.D. in Social Anthropology in 1986 after completing a thesis on the political and social effects of a gigantic irrigation scheme along the Euphrates in northeast Syria. Analysis of categorisations and systems of classification, and analysis of state, bureaucracies and policies as well as state–citizen relationships have been central to her work. She has worked on numerous projects in the Middle East, mainly in Syria, since the late 1970s, as well as in Sweden, focusing on a variety of topics such as education, gender, kinship and law, as well as urban and rural development and transnational migration.

10:45–11:15 Discussion

11:15–11:45 Coffee break

11:45–12:30 Assoc. Prof. Ann Komaromi (University of Toronto) (Jakobi 2-226)
The Circulation of Trash in Art and Social Networks
Moderator: Assoc. Prof. Eneken Laanes (Tallinn University)

Trash – so abundant, so problematic, and yet so hidden from many of us in landfills, dump sites and floating masses in the middle of the ocean – represents something like the sublime unconscious of our globalised consumer society. In addition to posing a real, material problem, trash may be conceived philosophically in terms of the debris of history, which Benjamin’s angel sees piling up ever higher as he is blown backwards towards the future. As opposed to the clarity of facts and method – which are part of a means–end rationality we assume to be at the basis of Western society – trash is a mess that is hard to pick apart, not easily quantifiable and lacking the kind of discrete and ontologically secure status associated with ‘fact’ as it begins to decay into the environment. How do we bring to mind this decaying matter, and why should we need to do so? I will take an indirect approach to that question via reflection on ‘trash’ in the repressed art and writing of the late Soviet era. The texts circulated in samizdat often resembled ‘trash’ in their material qualities and in their content. However, such ‘trash’ played an important role in helping people enact the basis for a reconstituted society. Nonconforming late Soviet artists and thinkers – notably Ilya Kabakov and Boris Groys – worked through the notion of trash (musor) and its meaning. In this talk, I will examine their preoccupation with ‘trash’ in art works and theoretical discussions in order to demonstrate the potential of trash to renew our notions of art, history, everyday life and community. This meditation on material from a Soviet culture consigned to the ‘rubbish heap of history’ will be used to comment on the (absence of a) place for trash in first world capitalist societies today; in particular, I am interested in exploring the analogy between the networks of samizdat and contemporary social media, in order to test whether the suppression of ‘trash’ from slick consumer-oriented platforms may be part of what ails democracy today and makes its process vulnerable to ‘fake facts’ and ‘fake news’.

Ann Komaromi is Associate Professor in the Centre for Comparative Literature at the University of Toronto. Her research has focused particularly on late Soviet culture and the culture and public communities of dissidence. She has done extensive research on Samizdat, the uncensored publishing system of the Soviet Union. Her articles include analysis of uncensored literature and theory of samizdat textual culture. She is interested in the return of modernism and the avant-garde in nonconformist and oppositional literary and art movements of the post-War period. Current projects include studies of Jewish activism on both sides of the Iron Curtain, a comparison of French and Russian neo-avant-garde journals, and a study of ‘waste’ in works by various artists of the post-War era.

Selected Publications:

We Are Jews Again. The Jewish Movement in the Soviet Union, by Yuli Kosharovsky, edited and introduced by Ann Komaromi, Syracuse University Press, 2017.

Uncensored: Samizdat Novels and the Quest for Autonomy in Soviet Dissidence, Northwestern University Press, 2015 (Winner of the AATSEEL Award for Best Book in Literary/Cultural Studies, 2016).

Project for the Study of Dissidence and Samizdat, an electronic archive featuring uncensored journals, timelines of dissident movements and interview with activists from the Soviet Union, 1956-1986, (2015).

12:30–13:00 Discussion

13:00–14:30 Lunch (registered participants only) (University Cafè, Ülikooli 20, 2nd floor)

14:30–16:00 Parallel seminars (registration required)

Annika Rabo (Jakobi 2-114)
How to Study and Understand 'Natural' and 'Unnatural' Borders in the Middle East 

This seminar will focus on how borders in the Middle East have been – and are – popularly perceived inside and outside the region. The focus will be on social, political, linguistic, religious and national borders and boundaries, but also on the borders and boundaries of disciplinary knowledge.

Required readings

Brandell, Inga (2006) Introduction. State frontiers: borders and boundaries in the Middle East. London: I. B. Tauris, pp. 1-29.

Borders and the Changing Boundaries of Knowledge (2015) Inga Brandell, Marie Carlson and Önver A. Cetrez (eds), Istanbul: Swedish Research Institute in Istanbul.


Brandell, Inga. Sabir – On the boundaries of knowledge, nation and language

Setenay Nil Dogan. Changing the boundaries of knowledge

Schimansky, Johan. Reading borders and reading as crossing borders

Ann Komaromi (Jakobi 2-130)
Historical Facts as Part of Literary Collage

In this seminar we will consider the literary techniques of Andrei Bitov’s Pushkin House (Pushkinskii dom) in light of avant-garde collage. We will read Burger’s analysis of the avant-garde technique for bringing detritus from everyday life into the art work in order to shatter the illusion of the integrated whole of the artwork, and the unified subject to which it corresponds. Then we will consider Bitov’s method and purpose in this samizdat novel. By bringing historical facts suppressed and inconvenient to the State and to the family into the portrait of protagonist Lyova, Bitov effectively shatters Lyova’s integrated character and exposes the jagged contradictions of the late Soviet subject. The result is a literary portrait that requires the active intervention of the reader to synthesise meaning, a process that facilitates the kind of dialogic, unfinished process that could produce more authentic subjects and a more authentic society.

Required readings

Bürger, Peter, Theory of the Avant-Garde, trans. by Michael Shaw, Foreword by Jochen Schulte-Sasse, Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1984 (Theorie der Avantgarde, Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp, 1974)

Chapter 4 part 4. "Benjamin's Concept of Allegory”
Chapter 4 part 5. Montage" pp. 68–82
Notes pp. 116–119. 

Bitov, Andrei, Pushkin House, trans. Susan Brownsberger, Normal, IL: Dalkey Archive Press, 1998 (Pushkinskii dom, Ann Arbor: Ardis, 1978)

Prologue, pp. 3–7;
Section One - "Father" and "On Dickens Individually," pp. 11–34;
Section Three - "Demons Invisible to the Eye", pp. 266–280;
Epilogue, pp. 328–339.

18:00-22:00 Opening reception (registered participants only)
Hotel Lydia (Ülikooli 14)


9:30–10:00 Wake up coffee and registration

10:00–10:45 Prof. Paul Hoyningen-Huene(University of Hannover, University of Zurich) (Jakobi 2-226)
The Human Sciences between Quantification and Hermeneutics
Moderator:Assoc. Prof. Endla Lõhkivi (University of Tartu)

I begin by clarifying the terms ‘quantitative’ and ‘qualitative’, which appear to characterise the contrast between the main approaches to the human sciences. I then present a framework, within which the question of the appropriate procedures in the human sciences can be described and evaluated. i.e. systematicity theory (see P. Hoyningen-Huene: Systematicity, OUP, 2013). First, I discuss the aims of quantification, and its possible application in the human sciences. Second, I discuss the ‘counter-program’ of hermeneutics, in which the notion of “understanding [verstehen] of meaning” plays a central role. I shall argue that understanding, in a specified sense, is indeed essential to the human sciences, especially in our attempts to make sense of actions. The result will be this. In addition, in the human sciences, quantification is attractive because it strongly supports the defence of knowledge claims, i.e. the scientific status of the human sciences. On the other hand, the core concept of the human sciences, meaning, so far completely resists quantification. This is a tension that the human sciences will have to face for some time to come.

Paul Hoyningen-Huene is Professor emeritus at Leibniz Universität Hannover (Institute of Philosophy) and a lecturer at the Universität Zürich (Department of Economics). Hoyningen-Huene taught at the University of Bern, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, University of Pittsburgh, University of Konstanz, etc. Hoyningen-Huene's work has focused on issues in general philosophy of science, particularly on the philosophical writings of Thomas S. Kuhn and Paul Feyerabend and the subject of incommensurability. In his influential book Reconstructing Scientific Revolutions: Thomas S. Kuhn's Philosophy of Science he presents a Neo-Kantian reconstruction of Kuhn's philosophy of science and opposes an irrationalist interpretation of Kuhn.

In addition, Hoyningen-Huene is interested in the limits of reductionism in science, emergentism and the development of a theory of anti-reductionist arguments. His most recent book Systematicity: The Nature of Science is devoted to the question of the nature of science (including the social sciences and humanities) and develops the thesis that scientific knowledge is primarily distinguished from other forms of knowledge by being more systematic. In the field of ethics of science, Hoyningen-Huene has primarily dealt with questions concerning the responsibility of scientists and engineers. 

10:45–11:15 Discussion

11:15–11:45 Coffee break

11:45–12:30 Prof. Jüri Kivimäe(University of Toronto) (Jakobi 2-226)
Biographies, Life Stories, and Histories: Prolegomena to the Writing of History
Moderator: Prof. Pärtel Piirimäe (University of Tartu)

This lecture will examine the similarities, concurrences and differences between three genres of telling and writing the past events and peoples. Modern cultural practices will often amalgamate all three genres under discourse of history without paying attention to the questions of subjectivity, objectivity and intentionality of various historical narratives. The concept of historicism will also be evaluated in terms of the interpretation of history and the writing of history in postmodern times. What is the meaning of history and why the learned men and women have passion to write history are the questions bridging the lecture with the following seminar.

Jüri Kivimäe was born 1947 in Estonia, graduated Tartu State University in 1970, PhD in history in 1981, researcher at the Institute of History (Tallinn) 1975–1990, received scholarships from Svenska Institutet and Alexander von Humboldt Stiftung; Director of Tallinn City Archives 1990–1996; Visiting Assistant Professor at the Universities of Latvia (Riga), Turku and Tampere in Finland, Professor of General History and Chair of History Department at Tartu University 1996–1999; Chair of Estonian Studies and Professor of History at the University of Toronto 1999–2017. Kivimäes’ research focuses on the history of Eastern and Northern Europe, particularly on the history of the Baltic Sea Region, from the medieval and early modern period to the present. Special interests include comparative aspects of medieval colonization, early modern cultural transfer, cultures of memory and historical representation. Recent works: Rector Hans Kruus (2017), The Cultural Influence of the Lutheran Reformation in Estonia (2017), Books and Preachers: The Microcosm of Reval in the Age of Reformation (2017).

12:30–13:00 Discussion

13:00–14:30 Lunch (registered participants only) (University Café, Ülikooli 20, 2nd floor)

14:30–16:00 Parallel seminars (registration required)

Paul Hoyningen-Huene (Jakobi 2-114)
Systematicity in the Human Sciences

In the seminar, we will discuss systematicity theory’s analysis of the status of the human sciences. All texts are from Paul Hoyningen-Huene (2013): Systematicity: The Nature of Science, Oxford Studies in Philosophy of Science. New York: Oxford University Press. First, we have to understand what systematicity theory’s main claim is. We read and discuss Chapter 2: The main thesis (pp. 14-34). Then, we will deal with explanations in general, with explanations and understanding in the human sciences more specifically, and finally with explanation and understanding in particular areas of the human sciences. For this purpose, we read and discuss from Chapter 3, The Systematicity of Science Unfolded, the following Sections: Section 3.2.1 “Explanations: Some preliminaries” (pp. 53-56), Section 3.2.4 “Explanations of human actions” (pp. 62-63), Sections 3.2.6 “Historical Explanations”, 3.2.7 “Explanations and Understanding in the Humanities in General”, and “Explanations in the study of literature” (pp. 68-78).

Required readings

Paul Hoyningen-Huene (2013) Systematicity: The Nature of Science, Oxford studies in philosophy of science. New York: Oxford University Press.

Chapter 2: The main thesis, pp. 14-34.

Chapter 3: "The systematicity of science unfolded" 
3.2.1 "Explanations: Some preliminaries", pp. 53-56
3.2.4 "Explanations of human actions", pp. 62-63
3.2.6 "Historical Explanations", pp. 68-71
3.2.7 "Explanations and Understanding in the Humanities in General", and "Explanations in the study of literature", pp. 71-78

Jüri Kivimäe (Jakobi 2-130)
Reading and Writing History: A Journey into the Past

This seminar will discuss some specific questions when reading and writing history. The attendance of the previous lecture given by the instructor is recommended. We will attempt to clarify whether the perception of history is possible or not, and where are the limits of the reconstruction of the worldview and basic behavioral motifs of a historical figure and/or common man. The session will conclude with discussion of the representation of the past in the present intellectual and cultural heritage. All seminar readings will be delivered online before the lecture and discussion.

Recommended readings

Peter Burke (1997) “History as Social Memory”. - Varieties of Cultural History. Ithaca, New York: Cornell University Press, pp. 43–59. 

Roderick J. Barman (2010) “Biography as History”, Journal of the Canadian Historical Association 21 (2), pp. 61–75. 

Tiina Kirss, Jüri Kivimäe (2009) “Estonian Life Stories and Histories” - Estonian Life Stories, edited and translated by Tiina Kirss, compiled by Rutt Hinrikus. Budapest, New York: CEU Press, pp. 1–29.

Dominck LaCapra (2002) “Writing History, Writing Trauma”. - Writing and Revising the Disciplines, ed. by Jonathan Monroe. Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press, pp. 147–180. 

Frank Ankersmit (2009) “Truth in Literature and History”, pp. 1–13.

Marek Tamm (2014) “Truth, Objectivity and Evidence in History Writing”, Journal of the Philosophy of History 8, pp. 265–290. 

18:00-22:00 Dinner and Student Mixer (registered participants only)
Tartu Club of Different Rooms (Kastani 42)

The Tartu Club of Different Rooms is located in the Aparaaditehas Culture Factory, an up and coming creative hub just a mile away from the Tartu City centre. The current entrance to the club is through the green door in the courtyard, placed between the Muhu Pagarid bakery and restaurant “Aparaat”. Free guest parking is available across Kastani street behind Hektor hostel.


10:00-17:00 Workshops

Workshop 1 (Tartu Environmental Education Centre, Lille 10)
Dr. Alberto Acerbi (Eindhoven University of Technology) 
Emotions in 50 Years of Pop Song Lyrics: A Text Mining Approach

Recent progress in statistical techniques and data mining tools, coupled with the increase in computational power and storage, are allowing human and social scientists to access and examine unprecedented amounts of data. Similarly to ‘natural experiments’ in psychology or behavioural economics, these datasets record naturally occurring behaviours and can be used to track and analyse cultural and stylistic changes. 
In this workshop, we will focus on a medium-sized dataset, including 50 years (from 1965 to 2015) of the Billboard Hot 100 songs. The dataset comprises about 5,000 English language pop song lyrics, plus metadata on artists, year, and yearly rank. Our emphasis will be on the analysis of the emotional content of the lyrics (but other aspects can be examined as well if participants in the workshop have any specific interest). Examples of questions we could investigate are: How did the words used to express emotions change in successful pop songs during the last decades? Is there any relationship between the general mood of a song and its success? Are there recognisable trends in pop music, with songs getting happier or sadder? Do artists of different gender express emotion with different words?
The goal of the workshop will be mainly of a practical nature. Participants will learn the basics of text mining using R ( and Rstudio (, and will be provided with the tools to develop individual projects in the future. Previous knowledge of R is not required, but an interest in learning programming and data analysis is advised.

Required readings: 

Dodds, Peter S., and Danforth, Christopher M. (2010) Measuring the Happiness of Large-Scale Written Expression: Songs, Blogs, and Presidents, Journal of Happiness Studies.

Morin, Olivier, and Acerbi, Alberto (2016) Birth of the cool: a two-centuries decline in emotional expression in Anglophone fiction, Cognition and Emotion.

Slige, Julia, and Robinson, David (2017) Text Mining with R. A tidy approach. 

Chapter 1: The tidy text format 
Chapter 2: Sentiment analysis with tidy data

Online materials introducing R and RStudio:


Alberto Acerbi is an anthropologist with a particular interest in computational science. He is currently based in the School of Innovation Science of the Eindhoven University of Technology, where he works in a project called Darwinizing Culture: The Status of Cultural Evolutionary Theory as a Science.

He works in the field of cultural evolution. Within this field, his main research interests concern the data mining of large, naturally occurring datasets, such as digitised book collections, song lyrics, names registers, etc., to investigate cultural dynamics. On the more theoretical side, he is interested in the relationship between evolutionary and cognitive approaches to culture.

Finally, he has recently started to consider how cultural evolution can contribute to the study of cultural dynamics in the digital age, and, at the same time, how new digital media impact on human cultural evolution. The works of Alberto Acerbi have appeared in several international scientific journals, including Evolution and Human BehaviourProceedings of the National Academy of Science USAPLOS One, and the Journal of Cognition and Culture. A book about cultural evolution in the digital age is currently in preparation for Oxford University Press.

Workshop 2 (Hektor Design hostel, Riia 26)
Dr. Monica Gonzalez-Marquez (RWTH Aachen University) 
Learning to Read and Understand Scholarly Journal Articles Using Narrative Structure

Why is reading scholarly articles so difficult? Most learners experience a deep-rooted anxiety when told they must read scientific texts of any type. When asked, they describe the process as overwhelming, frightening, and intimidating (Negrete & Lartigue, 2004). Yet, when asked to read a novel, no such feelings emerge. This is very likely because readers know what to expect: a progression of events leading to a conclusion of some type. This is clear for two reasons. First, everyone has spent their entire lives submerged in stories. We begin hearing them on our mother’s lap, and eventually progress to guided readings of Madame Bovary at university. Second, as many have long intuited, we love stories because our brains are wired for them (e.g. Turner, 1996; Chow, et al., 2014). Note the passionate outrage when a television show is cancelled without an ending. There is increasing scholarly evidence (Ibid.) that story is deeply entwined in our psyches, and that in fact it may be the primary structuring mechanism used by the brain.

The experience most readers have with classic narrative is in stark contrast to reading science. Most never receive much training, other than being told repeatedly that what they are reading is not a story. We argue that this assessment is incorrect. If narrative underlies general information structuring, then it should also underlie scholarly literature. We therefore propose that once students learn to read science as narrative, their comprehension will increase significantly.

This workshop is intended to help students improve their comprehension of scientific journal articles. Students will be walked through the similarities between conventional narrative and scholarly literature as viewed through the events in the research process. The workshop will take the form of open discussion and hands-on practice reading actual articles from various fields. At the conclusion of the workshop, students will be able to identify the motivations for a given study, the question that was explored and how it was investigated, what was found and what questions remain for further study. 

Recommended readings

Chow, H. M., Mar, R. A., Xu, Y., Liu, S., Wagage, S., & Braun, A. R. (2014) Embodied comprehension of stories: Interactions between language regions and modality-specific neural systems. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 26, pp. 279-295.

Negrete, A. and Lartigue C. (2011) The science of telling stories: Evaluating science communication via narratives (RIRC method). Journal of Media and Communication Studies Vol. 2(4), pp. 98-110

Turner, M. (1998) The Literary Mind: The Origins of Thought and Language. Oxford University Press.

Monica Gonzalez-Marquez is Lecturer and Research Associate at the Department of English, American and Romance Studies (IFAAR) at RWTH – Aachen University, Germany. Her research focuses on developing empirically tested methods to improve science reading skills using cognitive narrative. She also studies the non-linguistic effects of bilingualism on spatial cognition. As a graduate student at Cornell University, she began the Empirical Methods in Cognitive Linguistics workshop series which continues to this day, and published the first edited volume dedicated to introducing empirical methodology to novice cognitive linguists entitled Methods in Cognitive Linguistics (2007). In recent years, she has become an advocate for open science, and of improved research and statistical methods in support of increased scientific reproducibility.

Workshop 3 (National Archives of Estonia (Noora), Nooruse 3)
Dr. Abel Polese (Tallinn University) 
(Almost) Everything You Always Wanted to Know about…Academia but Were Afraid to Ask

In contrast to a traditional (and romantic) view of a scientist as someone engaged in teaching activities or sitting under a tree, taking their time to reflect on fundamental questions (eventually publishing a book or an article), pursuing an academic career today means engaging on a much wider front. In addition to teaching activities, scholars are now required to publish in top journals (and the more the better, to satisfy the quantitative quality criteria dictated by quality-measurement institutions), engage with public dissemination, appear in the media, be present on social media, compete for national and international funding, network to get involved in international projects, edit collections, peer review articles and much more.

What is interesting, in all this, is that young researchers are supposed to learn how to manage their time, maximise their output, and make the right career choices with little or no guidance from more experienced academics. As a result of this change, a career that used to be chosen for the freedom it could offer is now one of the most stressful, and potentially unrewarding, careers one could pick. This is due to the fact that academics are now requested to be not only intellectuals but also entrepreneurs. Another reason is the lack of orientation and capacity to navigate an environment that has become utterly complex, and somehow hostile.

It is true that universities offer a growing variety of courses and trainings that can help researchers on their career. But it is also true that there is a lack of understanding of “the bigger picture”, that is, how to meet the multitasking requirements of modern academia and how to differentiate activities that will eventually benefit you, from ‘sterile’ ones that won’t.

Based on “the Scopus diaries” project, this workshop is intended to provide participants with tools and knowledge to design their own strategy so that they can not only survive academia, but understand the logics behind the series of choices that is required at all stages in academia. We will look for an answer to, inter alia, the following questions:

How to select a target journal for a publication

How to select a conference to attend

How to find resources to attend events

What format (book, article, chapter) to choose for academic dissemination and why

How to become more competitive in your national environment

Why to peer review colleagues’ work, when and how

And, in general, what are the principles of academic survival in the contemporary world

You can have a look at the project’s blog here:

Required reading:

A draft of the book that will be published by Ibidem Verlag (and distributed by Columbia University Press).

Abel Polese is a senior researcher at Dublin City University and Tallinn University. He is mainly interested in informal and alternative mechanisms of governance and theory and practice of development. In addition to his academic work, he has been involved in development projects in the former USSR and South East Asia, with a growing interest in the Middle East. His Sustainable Development in Cultural Diversity project was given the Global Education Award by the Council of Europe in 2011. He is co-editor of Studies of Transition States and Societies and has authored a number of resource tools and scientific articles in 9 languages. His most recent books are, Informal Economies in Post-Socialist Spaces: Practices, Institutions and Networks, (Palgrave) co-edited with Jeremy Morris, and Nation-Building and Identity in the post-Soviet Space: New Tools and Approaches (Ashgate) co-edited with Rico Isaacs. He is co-editor of the Scopus-indexed Studies of Transition States and Societies (

Workshop 4 (Science Centre AHHAA, seminar room Apollo, Sadama 1)
Asst. Prof. Anna Zawadzka  (Polish Academy of Sciences)
Difficult Interviewing: Strategies, Tools and Challenges of Oral History

Gathering data through interviewing has a long history in scholarship, well before historians discovered it in the 20th century as a method of investigating the past. Since the invention of the voice recorder in the 1960s, the method has become widespread and began to be considered the perfect tool to fill in the gaps in mainstream knowledge of the past and society. Those who did not then have a voice – women, ethnic minorities and the working class – were to be given their new space in historiography.

Yet the postmodern critique of this booming field of research and the conviction that there are no ‘ultimate facts’, only interpretations, brought a major shift to the method. Who has the interpretative authority? Whose voice is dominant in the final scholarly text? Is oral history just another source, like all the others, to scrutinise as piece of evidence? Or does it have the special status of a ‘window onto emotions’, a method that does not harvest facts, but mere impressions of them?

The present workshop departs from these methodological and theoretical considerations to offer a hands-on space to discuss interviewing strategies and experiences and to explore the boundaries and challenges of this ‘made in the USA’ method, particularly in the context of Eastern Europe. Special points of focus will be: interdisciplinary perspectives on interviewing, interviewing in a post-traumatic situation, and ethical/legal considerations.

Required readings:

Cave, Mark and Stephen Sloan (eds.) (2014) Listening on Edge: History in the Aftermath of Crisis, NY, Oxford University Press:

“Introduction: What Remains. Reflections on Crisis Oral History”, 1–16.
“Conclusion: The Fabric of Crisis: Approaching the Heart of Oral History”, 262–274.

Łukasz Konopa (2016) Trzcianne - a Case Study. A Polish-Polish war over Jews in witness accounts, Studia Litteraria et Historica nr 5, 1-25.

Recommended reading:

Cave, Mark and Stephen Sloan (2014) In the Ghost Forest: Listening to Tutsi Rescapes" in Listening on Edge: History in the Aftermath of Crisis, NY, Oxford University Press, 2014, 91–109.

Anna Zawadzka is an Assistant Professor at the Institute of Slavic Studies of the Polish Academy of Sciences. She is an expert on two fields: Gender Studies and studies on anti-Semitism. Her current research focuses on dominant patterns in Polish culture. Her emphasis is on antisemitism and anticommunism as active forces within the framework of current historical politics. Her recent publications include: “Recepcja piętna ‘żydokomuny’ w ujęciu międzypokoleniowym. Szkic do badań”, Teksty Drugie 1 (2016); “‘Żydokomuna’: The Construction of the Insult”, in: A. Wolff-Powęska, P. Forecki (eds.), World War II and Two Occupations: Dilemmas of Polish Memory (2016); “Tearing Off the Masks: Narratives on Jewish Communists”, Studia Litteraria et Historica 2 (2013). Her book "The First time. Constructing Heterosexuality" was based on interviews with women about the experience of virginity and virginity lost.

Workshop 5 (St. Anthony's seminar room, Lutsu 3)
Asst. Prof. Jennifer Spenader (University of Groningen) 
Writing Strategies for Academic Research

1. Writing strategies

Why do some busy academics tend to be able to finish papers, while others can never seem to get anything done? What are the writing habits of successful academic writers? What are the different writing strategies you can use at different phases of writing, for example to kick-start a project, to get to the ‘zero-draft’, to finish and polish the paper. What can you do to improve your writing skills so you can efficiently write text that is understandable and compelling? How can you establish better writing habits and make sure you spend time on the research you love? I'll address all these issues.  

2. Academic writing dissected: how does it work?

What types of writing do academics do and how can you approach each writing task. In this session we'll also work on improving one page abstracts, and talk about giving and getting feedback. 

We'll also talk about what publications have what values and what the process of journal submission is like. How can you maximise your chances of being accepted?

What do you do when you get back the reviews? How do you deal about rejection? How do you deal with reviewers?  

3. Architecture of a Journal Paper 

Here we will talk about each part of a journal article and talk about what successful strategies are available for your research field (journal article formats differ greatly according to field). We'll work interactively on outlining different types of journal paper.

Required preparation:

Please send the following materials to, naming each document with your last name first, for example LASTNAME_abstract.pdf (before January 5, 2018).

1. Send (and bring) a one-page abstract about your work (something you would send to a conference or workshop).

2. Send a paper from a journal that is characteristic of your field and represents a ‘model’ article for the type of article you would like to write.

3. Have in mind a research idea for a journal article that you have not yet begun to work on.

Recommended reading

Alley, Michael (1996) The Craft of Scientific Writing. New York: Springer.

Belcher, Wendy (2009) Writing Your Journal Article in Twelve Weeks: A Guide to Academic Publishing Success. Los Angeles: SAGE.

Boice, Robert (1990) Professors as writers. Stillwater (Okla.): New Forums Press.

Boice, Robert (2000) Advice for New Faculty. Needham Heights, MA: Peason.

Bolker, Joan (1998) Writing Your Dissertation in Fifteen Minutes a Day: A Guide to Starting, Revising, and Finishing Your Doctoral Thesis. New York: Holt.

Day, Abby (2010) How to Get Research Published in Journals. Farnham: Gower.

Johnson & Mullen (2007) Write to the Top! Houndmills, UK: Palgrave Macmillan.

Silvia, Paul J. (2007) How to Write A Lot. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.


Jennifer Spenader is an Assistant Professor in Language and Cognition at the Institute for Artificial Intelligence at the University of Groningen in the north of the Netherlands. Her research focuses on semantics and pragmatics. Her current research looks at lexical semantic and pragmatic influences on pronoun interpretation, but she has also worked on other semantic topics (NPIs, Quantification) and pragmatic topics (presuppositions, abstract objects, verb-phrase ellipsis). Spenader regularly uses both corpus and psycholinguistic experiments to study semantic and pragmatic problems, and in several instances has combined the two to really investigate a problem from all perspectives.

Spenader has done several experimental investigations of children’s interpretations of pronouns and reflexives (Hendriks & Spenader 2005/2006; Spenader, Smits & Hendriks, 2009.). She’s also been involved in numerous recent projects looking at the influence of event-based biases on pronoun interpretation (Spenader & Sprenger 2011, TIN and Tabu-dag), DETECT-2013 (Spenader 2013) and ESSLLI-2013 (Spenader 2013). Together with Prof. Dr. Johan Bos, I created the first annotated corpus of VP-ellipsis (Bos & Spenader 2011), available online for other researchers. Spenader also has a strong background in smaller corpus investigations, for example carrying out the first corpus study of presupposition triggers (Spenader 2002) as well as the first investigation of abstract object anaphora (Spenader 2001) and more recently, resultative connectives (Andersson & Spenader, 2014).

18:00-22:00 Dinner (registered participants only)
Tartu Art Museum (Raekoja plats 18)


CANCELLED 10:00–10:45 Prof. Tarmo Soomere (Estonian Academy of Science, Tallinn University of Technology)(Jakobi 2-226)
The Long Way from Separated Facts and Isolated Data to Coherent Picture in Marine Sciences
Moderator: Prof. Riho Altnurme (University of Tartu)

Tarmo Soomere is a mathematician and marine scientist, the first Professor of Coastal Engineering in Estonia (2005) and since 2014 the President of the Estonian Academy of Sciences. His scientific interests are mainly concentrated on wave matters, with applications to the analysis and mitigation of marine hazards to the coastal zone, preventative methods of coastal protection, and management of coastal zone and water resources.

He has twice received the national science award (2002 and 2013) and the Baltic Assembly Prize for science in 2007, was elected to the Estonian Academy of Sciences in 2007, Academia Europaea in 2009 and the Latvian Academy of Sciences (foreign member) in 2015, was nominated as Honorary Professor of the James Cook University (Australia) in 2010 and elected Honorary Doctor of Klaipeda University (Lithuania) in 2017, received the title of the best communicator of science and technology in Estonia in 2011 and the state decoration 3rd class White Star order in 2014. His publication list contains more than 200 peer-reviewed papers, about 100 texts in conference proceedings and dozens of popular articles and science policy essays. A highly unusual distinction for a scientist came from the society in which he lives when he was declared Person of the Year in Estonia in 2005 by daily newspaper Postimees (The Postman) for his contribution to forecasting a devastating storm.

11:15–11:45 Coffee break

11:45–12:30 Prof. Ewa Dąbrowska (University of Birmingham) (Jakobi 2-226)
You Can not Teach an Old Dog New Tricks – or Can You? Age Effects in Second Language Learning
Moderator: Dr. Jane Klavan (University of Tartu)

Are children better language learners than adults, and, if so, why? Drawing on insights from theoretical linguistics, applied linguistics, and psychology, this lecture will provide a critical examination of some of the research on ultimate attainment in second language acquisition, focusing on second language grammar. We will also investigate to what extent the differences in ultimate attainment can be explained by maturational factors, the amount and type of input, language aptitude, and different kinds of motivation, and how these factors interact with education.

Ewa Dąbrowska is Professor of Linguistics at the University of Birmingham, and has previously worked at Northumbria, Sheffield, Sussex, Glasgow and Gdansk. Her research is focussed around three main themes:

1) individual differences in linguistic knowledge in both native and non-native speakers and their causes;

2) the mental status of linguistic units and generalisations, and the tension between linguists’ descriptions and the representations that speakers actually use when producing and understanding utterances; and

3) formulaic language, and in particular, the role that lexically specific units (fixed phrases and frames with slots that can be filled with novel lexical material) play in first language acquisition as well as adult production and comprehension;

Her publications include Cognitive Semantics and the Polish Dative (Mouton de Gruyter, 1997), Language, Mind and Brain: Some Psychological and Neurological Constraints on Theories of Grammar, Edinburgh University Press/Georgetown University Press, 2004), Ten Lectures on Grammar in the Mind (Foreign Language Teaching and Research Press, Beijing, 2013 and Brill, 2017), and numerous articles. She is President of the UK Cognitive Linguistics Association and formerly served as editor-in-chief of Cognitive Linguistics. 

12:30–13:00 Discussion

13:00–14:30 Lunch (registered participants only) (University Café, Ülikooli 20, 2nd floor)

14:30–16:00 Parallel seminars (registration required)

CANCELLED Tarmo Soomere 
Towards Reasonable Balance of Facts and Wider Context in Decision-making

Science is usually attributed to the imperative of production of exclusively indisputable and inescapable facts. Such facts are often negative, pessimistic and unpatriotic (Michael Deacon). The process of decision-making, from everyday life to high-level policy, faces a set of different challenges. It is not unusual that the facts turn out to be uncertain and values in dispute, but stakes are high and decisions must be made urgently. In this (so-called post-normal) mode we observe a shift from stressing the value of single facts to the significance of understanding the chain of arguments that stands behind bare facts and the usefulness of the art of looking at the facts in a wider context.

Required readings: 

Beer, Gillian (2016) Untangling Alice. Gillian Beer reveals the currents in Lewis Carroll’s worlds. Nature 539: 356.

Deacon, Michael (2016) In a world of post-truth politics, Andrea Leadsom will make the perfect PM. The Telegraph.

Post-truth politics. Wikipedia.

Saltelli, Andrea, Funtowicz, Silvio (2017) What is science’s crisis really about? Futures 91, 5-11.

Saltellia, Andrea, Giampietro, Mario (2017) What is wrong with evidence based policy, and how can it be improved? Futures 91: 62-71.

Stehrl, Nico, von Storch, Hans (1995) The social construct of climate and climate change. Climate Research 5: 99-105.

Sutherland, William J., Spiegelhalter, David and Burgman, Mark A. (2013) Twenty tips for interpreting scientific claims. Nature 503: 335-337.

Tyler, Chris (2013) Top 20 things scientists need to know about policy-making. The Guardian.

Post-normal science. Wikipedia.

Ewa Dąbrowska (Jakobi 2-438)
A Critical Examination of Age Effects Research

In the seminar, we will look at how theoretical conclusions about age effects are affected by the kind of task used in different studies and the nature of the populations tested.

Required participation in an online experiment

Before the seminar, please follow this link to complete an online language experiment. 
We will discuss the results of the experiment in class, and you will have the opportunity to see how your performance compares with that of native speakers. The tasks come from an experiment that I am currently running, and I am planning to use the anonymised data for research purposes. If you prefer not to participate in the study, please indicate in the final comments box at the end of the survey (after the thank you message), and your data will be deleted.

After you have completed the online experiment, please read DeKeyser et al. 2010 and Andringa 2014. 
Here are some questions for you to think about before the seminar:

About the online experiment:

1. Which task (Spoken Grammaticality Judgment, Written Grammaticality Judgment, or Sentence-Picture Matching) do you think is easiest/most difficult for (a) native speakers and (b) second language learners? Why? 
2. Within each task, were there any particular sentences or sentence types that were more difficult than others? Why? 
3. Do you think some sentence types might be particularly difficult for speakers from particular L1 backgrounds? Why?

About DeKeyser et al. and Andringa:

4. What do you regard as the strengths of this study? Its weaknesses?

Required reading

Dekeyser, Robert, Alfi-Shabtay, Iris and Dorit David (2010) Cross-linguistic evidence for the nature of age effects in second language acquisition. Applied Psycholinguistics 31, pp. 413–438.

Recommended reading

Andringa, Sible (2014) The Use of Native Speaker in Critical Period Hypothesis Research. Studies in Second Language Acquisition 36, pp. 565–596. 

17:00-22:00 Reception and film (regsitered participants only)
Elektriteater (Jakobi 1)

17:00-18:00 Reception 1
18:00-19:45 Film and discussion: documentary "The Land of Love" (2016), director: Liivo Niglas (University of Tartu)
Moderator: Prof. Art Leete (University of Tartu)
19:45-22:00 Reception 2


9:30–10:00 Wake up coffee and registration 

10:00–10:45 Prof. Ernst van Alphen (Leiden University) (Jakobi 2-226)
The Affective Turn: The Implosion of Meaning, the Explosion of Information, and the Release of Affects
Moderator: Dr. Jaak Tomberg (University of Tartu)

In the recent past there have been several pleas for more attention to transmissions of affect, and less attention to signification. Theoretically, this is because theories in the humanities and our vocabulary have already focused on signification excessively and abundantly. Historically, this is because the explosion of information through digital media since the 1990s has brought with it an implosion of meaning. As a result, human subjects seem to act less and less upon meanings, insights or knowledge, and unreflectively more and more upon affects. The recent phenomenon of the success of populist political parties demonstrates this convincingly. One of the reasons for this implosion of meaning is the increasing role of social media. The significance of texts and images disseminated through social media is usually of little importance: they communicate only the ‘shadows of meaning’. They are disseminated not because of what they mean, but with regard to how they work performatively and affectively. In my talk I will discuss the turn to affect and some of the problems of how affect is used in critical analysis. I will especially focus on artworks that reflect on the ‘poor images’ of digital media, especially on the photographs of Thomas Ruff.

Ernst van Alphen has been a Professor of Literary Studies at Leiden University since 2000. In his research as well as in his teaching, he is particularly interested in issues that are central in modern and post-modern literature and in the relation between literature and the visual arts. The literary texts and art works on which he focuses are usually part of the movements of the historical avant-gardes, modernism, or postmodernism. For a number of years, van Alphen had a particular interest in literature and art representing the Holocaust, and published several books on this topic. Theoretically, he is interested in problems related to trauma and memory and their role in literary and artistic representation, but no longer only in the context of the Holocaust. A perspective that is usually part of his research is that of gender studies, especially in relation to masculinity. Before Leiden University, he worked at Utrecht University and the University of Nijmegen; at Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen in Rotterdam he held the post of Director of Communication and Education. Ernst van Alphen has also been appointed as Queen Beatrix Professor of Dutch Studies, as well as Professor of Rhetoric at the University of California, Berkeley. His most recent book publications are, Art in Mind: How Contemporary Images Shape Thought (University of Chicago Press 2005), Staging the Archive: Art and Photography in Times of New Media (Reaktion Books 2016), and Failed Images: Photography and its Counter-Practices (Valiz, In press).

10:45–11:15 Discussion

11:15–11:45 Coffee break

11:45–12:30 Prof. Gregory Alles (McDaniel College) (Jakobi 2-226)
Religious ‘Facts’ and Facts about ‘Religions’: Factuality as a Problem in Studying Religions
Moderator: Prof. Ülo Valk (University of Tartu)

Perhaps no other topic of study faces problems of factuality more acutely than does religion. Never mind fundamentalist claims about “creation science” and the historical accuracy of events reported about the divine Ram, to take two examples that have resulted in active political agitation. The study of religion(s) within academic institutions is fragmented, and disagreements over what counts as fact underlie many of the divisions: theologians versus scholars of religions, insiders versus outsiders, those who privilege the study of religious experience as essential versus those who claim that the study of religious experience is impossible, those who see their proper role as defending the value of religious “facts” against the dominance of “scientism” versus those who see their proper role as the critique of religion(s) and their claims, perennialists versus particularists, comparativists versus contextualists, phenomenologists versus cultural critics, cultural constructivists versus cognitive scientists, “idealists” (or subjectivists) versus “realists” (or objectivists or realists), and last ­– at least as far as this list is concerned – but certainly not least, those who formulate facts about religion(s) and those who claim that for most of history and in most parts of the world there can be no facts about religion(s) because the fact is that what have been called religion(s) were not in fact religion(s). What, then, counts as a fact when one studies religions? The question is the subject of active discussion not just among scholars of religions within particular discursive communities but also among scholars of religions from different parts of the globe as they come together for active collaboration, and it becomes an issue as these scholars interact with those who practice other disciplines.


Gregory Alles is professor of religious studies at McDaniel College. He has a B.A. degree from Valparaiso University (Indiana) and M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Chicago. His special interests include religions of Asia, especially South Asia (India, Sri Lanka, etc.), as well as theories of religion and the study of religions in colleges and universities worldwide. In 2008 he edited the volume Religious Studies: A Global View (Routledge). He is currently involved in a research project on the religion and culture of a group of adivasi (indigenous) people in western India, as well as research with McDaniel College students on religious communities in and near Westminster, such as the Islamic Society of Carroll County. Prof. Alles’s professional activities include editing one journal, Numen (with Olav Hammer, University of Odense, Denmark), and serving on the editorial boards of Religion, Method and Theory in the Study of ReligionStudies in Religion/Sciences religieuses, and the Moscow e-Journal of Religion. He has twice received Fulbright research awards to India, and in 2006 received the Mircea Eliade Centenar medal from the government of Romania.

12:30–13:00 Discussion

13:00–14:30 Lunch (registered participants only) (University Café, Ülikooli 20, 1st floor)

14:30–16:00 Parallel seminars (registration required)

Ernst van Alphen (Jakobi 2-114)
The Turn to Affect

The seminar will continue the discussion initiated at the lecture, touching on different approaches to affect, especially the work of Brian Massumi, Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, and Eugenie Brinkema.

Required reading

Alphen, E. J. van (2008) Affective Operations of Art and Literature, RES 53/54, pp. 20-30.

Alphen, E. J. van (2012) Making sense of affect. In: Bond, A. (Ed.) Francis Bacon: Five Decades. Sydney: Art Gallery NSW, pp. 65-78.

Brinkema, Eugenie (2014) Preface. In: The Forms of Affects. Durham and London: Duke University Press. i-xvi.

Bennett, Jill (2005) Insides Outsides Trauma Affect and Art. In: Empathic Vision: Affect, Trauma, and Contemporary Art. Stanford: Stanford University Press, pp. 22-45.

Recommended readings

Brennan, Teresa (2004) Introduction. In: The Transmission of Affect. Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press, pp. 1-23.

Brinkema, Eugenie (2014) Grief and the Undialectical Image. In: The Forms of Affects. Durham and London: Duke University Press, pp. 76-112.

Massumi, Brian (1996) The Autonomy of Affect. In: Patton, Paul (ed.) Deleuze: A Critical Reader. Oxford: Blackwell, pp. 217-236.

Sedgwick, Eve Kosofsky (2003) Shame, Theatricality, and Queer Performativity: Henry James’s The Art of the Novel. In: Touching feeling: affect, pedagogy, performativity. Durham, N.C., London: Duke University Press, pp. 35-65.

Gregory Alles (Jakobi 2-438)
Indigenous Methodologies and Non/Indigenous Researchers – Are Facts Context-Specific?

Over the last several decades a global notion of indigenous identity has developed, and along with it have come extended reflections on research. One of the bluntest assessments of the academic project comes in a frequently quoted phrase by the Maori writer, Linda Tuhiwai Smith: “The word … ‘research’, is probably one of the dirtiest words in the indigenous world’s vocabulary.” To anyone with a knowledge of the history of colonialism and what is often spoken of as postcolonialism, this judgment will not come as a complete surprise. One response has been the development of indigenous methodologies. To adapt a phrase by Salman Rushdie (“the empire writes back”), which was itself adapted from the filmmaker George Lukas and picked up as a title by Bill Ashcroft, Gareth Griffiths, and Helen Tiffin, these scholars advocate projects of “researching back.” This seminar will take an introductory look at some basic texts in “indigenous methodologies.” Among other questions, these texts pose questions about the values implicit in academic work, the methods appropriate to research, the role of indigenous and non-indigenous researchers, and the extent to which facts vary with the context and the researcher.

Required readings

Kovach, Margaret (2009) Indigenous Methodologies: Characteristics, Conversations and Contexts. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

Chapter 1.

Kovach, Margaret (2010) “Conversational Method in Indigenous Research.” First Peoples Child and Family Review 5, no. 1, pp. 40–48.

Porsanger, Jelena (2004) “An Essay about Indigenous Methodology. Nordlit 15, pp. 105–120.

Smith, Linda Tuhiwai (2012) Decolonizing Methodologies: Research and Indigenous Peoples. London and New York: Zed Books. “Foreword” and “Introduction” (pp. xi–xv and 1–18).

Walter, Maggie, and Chris Andersen (2013) Indigenous Statistics: A Quantitative Research Methodology. Walnut Creek, CA: Left Coast Press. “Introduction”, pp. 7–20.

17:00-19:00 Closing reception (registered participants only)
Vilde and Vine (Vallikraavi 4) 


Hosting institution: University of Tartu
Programme Director: Professor Kristin Kuutma (University of Tartu; Head of the GSCSA Programme at the University of Tartu) 
Programme Managers: Anastasiya Astapova (GSCSA), Ann Veismann (GSLPS) 
Student Coordinator: Anastasiya Astapova (GSCSA) (University of Tartu),

This Winter School is organised by the Graduate School of Culture Studies and Arts (GSCSA), and co-organized by the Graduate School of Linguistics (GSLPS), Philosophy and Semiotics. The event is supported by the University of Tartu ASTRA Project PER ASPERA and Tallinn University's ASTRA project, TLÜ TEE.

New natures, entangled cultures: perspectives in environmental humanities 
6th Winter School of Graduate School of Culture Studies and Arts

Tallinn University
23-27 January 2017

Jamie Lorimer "What is the wild, and who decides? Rewilding and the futures of nature conservation"
Abstract: This lecture starts from a history of a group of cows that were ‘back bred’ by two zoologists working with Nazi patronage in Germany in the 1930s. Lutz and Heinz Heck wanted to recreate the aurochs: the extinct antecedent to all domestic cattle. Their cattle were caught up in various plans to ‘restore’ or ‘rewild’ the occupied territories of Eastern Europe. The animals survived the war and have subsequently been deployed in contemporary initiatives to Rewild Europe, becoming central to schemes to restore ‘naturalistic grazing regimes’ akin to those in place at the end of the last ice age. Through a focus on Heck cattle, the lecture will map the shifting conceptions of the wild illustrated in this story – attending to understandings of what the wild is, where it might be found, and who gets to decide. In conclusion, the lecture looks to the future and assesses the potential of rewilding as a new mode of conservation for the Anthropocene: the new epoch initiated when humans became a planet changing force.

Kate Soper "The Humanities and the Environment: Nature, Culture and the Politics of Consumption" 
Abstract: In response to ecological crisis, there is much anxiety today about the destruction and ‘loss’ of nature. But there are also doubts about what we mean by the term ‘nature’ and what still counts as ‘natural’ in a world so technically controlled and made over by human beings. The lecture will open with some critical reflections on recent approaches to the conceptualisation of ‘nature’ and their implications for a ‘greener’ politics. It will focus in particular on the role of ‘consumerism’ and prevalent conceptions of human prosperity in causing environmental destruction, and present this as a key area for the attention of environmental critics within the humanities.

In exploring these ideas, I shall draw on my current research on ‘alternative hedonism’ and its response to ecological crisis, where I have been emphasising the sensual and spiritual pleasures of escaping the consumerist model of the ‘good life’ and calling for a cultural revolution in thinking about work and time-expenditure as the necessary first stage in building a mandate for a sustainable socio-economic order. The humanities should not, in this context, be charged with a directly political agenda. But they can certainly help to keep open a debate about the nature of prosperity and human well-being, and their input will be essential to any transition to a more stable and rewarding future. I will end with a couple of examples of how a more consumption oriented approach within environmental literary criticism might conduct its readings (drawing on Shakespeare’s King Lear and some aspects of English Romanticism).

Dolly Jorgensen "Making a user turn in the environmental humanities" 
Abstract: Humans see distinctions between artifacts, which are constructed by human hands with human ingenuity, and nature, which we tend to think of as somehow not made by humans even if we acknowledge that little nature is left untouched by humans. An artifact at its core is related to the word artificial, meaning made by human hands through art/craft. The word artificial then is most often used to represent the opposite of natural, a word which then implies not manmade. These distinctions play into how scholars approach environmental humanities topics, which tend to focus on nature as subject and artifact as something that modifies (often negatively) nature. Yet I would argue that the concept of artificial may be misguided if we consider life from the nonhuman point of view. In the environmental humanities we need to shift focus from the artifact’s human producer to its non-human user. We can look to the field of history of technology where a shift has been underway over the last thirty years to focus on the user instead of just the producer. In these newer technology histories, how end users react to, incorporate, and modify the technologies are just as important as the original invention and design. I would like to suggest that environmental humanities scholars also need to make a “user” turn when thinking about new natures and entangled cultures.

Timothy LeCain "The matter of humans: putting nature back into culture through the environmental humanities"  
Abstract: For much of the previous century, culture has often been defined in opposition to nature, a tendency that only deepened as the cultural and linguistic turns came to stress the centrality of human discourse in shaping and perhaps even creating reality. More recently, however, new scientific and humanistic insights have begun to suggest a far more complex view of culture, one predicated on two key propositions. First, that human bodies and minds are much more deeply embedded in the natural material world than previously believed. And second, that this natural material world is much more dynamic and creative than previously understood. These propositions, if accurate, together suggest a compelling need to develop what we might term a post-anthropocentric “deep culture” that emerges not in distinction from a passive nature, but rather with and through a dynamic nature. This radical new understanding of what it means to be human logically demands a new humanism, and the environmental humanities, post-humanism, and neo-materialism are pointing the way.

Bronislaw Szerszynski "Earthly powers: situating the human within the deep past, deep present and deep future of our planet" 
Abstract: In this lecture I will develop a way of understanding the ‘deep present’ of the Earth: an approach to the powers and properties of the Earth and its parts that cuts across conventional boundaries between inanimate matter, living things and artefacts, and that thus treats human society and its technology as ‘Earthly’ phenomena enabled and constrained by physical processes. I will explore how this deep present is also conditioned by the planet’s ‘deep past’ – by the contingent trajectory of emergent complexity and self-reinvention navigated by a far-from-equilibrium Earth under thermodynamic imperatives – and how it thus includes ‘virtual’ or potential planetary states that are ‘real but not actualised’ in the Earth. I will also suggest that this approach offers ways of thinking about the ‘deep future’ of an Earth that may yet go through more major transitions and transformations – and indirectly help to prepare human thought for the encounter with extra-terrestrial worlds.

Gregg Mitman "Parasites of capital: tales of ecology and disease in a neoliberal age" 
Abstract: SARS. Avian influenza. Ebola. Transgressions across animal/human borders? Industrial diseases of our own making? Causal explanations abound. Ecological perspectives on emerging diseases proliferate, from the dynamics of host-microbe interactions to the cycles of global capital. But new forms of life, and their ecological understanding, have been emerging in industrial landscapes in the making for generations of humans and microbes. How the adaptation and evolution of microbes to engineered worlds has troubled the boundaries of nature and society, challenged questions of agency and causality, and altered concepts of ecology and health is the subject of this lecture.

David Moon "Place and nature in Russian environmental history" 
Abstract: The importance of ‘place’ and ‘nature’ in human and environmental history is a central analytical theme and methodological approach of our recent research in the environmental history of Russia and the Soviet Union. Our work highlights the importance of local environments and the specificities of individual places to understanding the human-environment nexus. This focus is accentuated by the fact that we have visited and travelled extensively in many of the places we write about. Thus, we have gained first-hand experience of the specificities of local natural systems, and gained a sense of how these places look, sound, taste, feel, and smell. We have also met, talked to, interviewed and in other ways engaged with members of the local populations, specialists in a variety of disciplines who study them, and people who manage and administer them. In this way, our research also makes an important methodological intervention to the research and practice of history: that to write the fullest history, historians need to embed themselves in the places that they study. In this way, our work underscores that ‘place’ is both a topic of study as well as a theoretical model and methodological approach for scholarship.
I will give in the lecture examples from a recent research project: Exploring Russia’s Environmental History and Natural Resources, funded by The Leverhulme Trust involving scholars from UK, US, Russian and Ukrainian universities, which involved field trips and academic workshops at the Solovetskie islands, St Petersburg, Lake Baikal, Ulan-Ude, Kyiv, Chernobyl’, Ekaterinburg and the Urals region.

Harriet Hawkins "Creating Earth futures? GeoHumanities and geographical imaginations of global environmental change" 
Abstract: Our current Environmental crisis, with its often entrenched divisions between nature and culture, can be understood as a crisis of the imagination. A crisis which could be ameliorated by finding better ways to imagine nature and humanity’s relations to it. This lecture uses artistic case studies and creative methodologies to experiment with geographical imaginations and anthropocene fabulations. In doing so it examines the possibilities and the limitations of such environmental re-imaginations. If, as is often claimed, the Anthropocene is thoroughly disorderly of ways of thinking and being – so intensifying the need to come to terms with scrambled understandings of, for example, nature-culture and space-time – this paper explores how GeoHumanities (as itself a disorderly mode of scholarship and practice that yokes geographical scholarship with arts and humanities scholarship and practice) might be up to such challenges. A central proposition of the GeoHumanities offered here is that modes of creative doing are able to develop modes of practice and thinking for Anthropocene times. Developing case study examples this paper explores three tenants of the geographical imagination; entanglement, scale and distance to reflect on the possibilities and limitations of imaginations and fabulations as responses to these disorderly times.