- Project Design Session — 2019
- Проектная сессия — 2018Project Design Session — 2018
- Project Design Session — 2017
- Research Projects:
Faculty Search. Multidisciplinary Research Project Design Session. 28 faculty candidates, 21 universities, 9 countries. 3,4,5 March. Video, Selected Episodes.
During the session, which took place on March 3-5, our candidates self-organized into multidisciplinary teams and proposed collective research projects to be realized at SAS. All the candidates, along with invited external experts, SAS staff and other stakeholders discussed the proposed projects thoroughly in order to find and help outline those most promising for the formation of SAS research agenda.
BIO:Greg Yudin earned his BA & MA degrees in Sociology at the Higher School of Economics, Moscow, and his PhD in Philosophy (2012) at the University of Manchester. He is currently a Senior Researcher in the Laboratory for Studies in Economic Sociology at the Higher School of Economics. His main areas of research are democratic theory and economic anthropology. His papers have been published in the leading international and Russian peer-reviewed journals in philosophy, sociology, and anthropology. Greg is also currently heading the first MA program in Political Philosophy in Russia at Moscow School of Social and Economic Sciences. He is a regular columnist for Vedomosti newspaper and the Internet magazine Republic. He is doing his second PhD in Politics at The New School in New York.
Bio:Ilya Kalinin is an Associate Professor at Department of Liberal Arts and Sciences (http://artesliberales.spbu.ru/), St.-Petersburg State University; 2016-2017 – Visiting Professor, Freie Universität Berlin. His researches focus on early Soviet Russia intellectual and cultural history, practices of self-fashioning of Soviet Subject and on the historical and cultural politics of contemporary Russia as well (post-soviet social and cultural transformations; contemporary Russian politics of history, dialectics of modennization/demodernization and politics of identity in contemporary Russia). He is editor-in-chief of the Moscow-based intellectual journal “Emergency Rations: Debates on Politics and Culture (Neprikosnovennyj Zapas: Debaty o politike i culture)” and two series of books published in Moscow Publishing House “New Literary Observer”. He has published in a wide range of journals including Ab Imperio, Baltic Worlds, Sign Systems Studies, Social Sciences, Russian Literature, Russian Studies, Russian Studies in Literature, Slavonica, Wiener Slawistischer Almanach, New Literary Observer, etc. His book “History as Art of Articulation. Russian Formalists and Revolution” is recently forthcoming in New Literary Observer Publishing House (Moscow).
BIO:Edmund J. and Louise W. Kahn Term Professor in the Humanities, Chair, Program in Comparative Literature and Literary Theory, University of Pennsylvania. Kevin is a cultural historian and holds a Ph.D. from Stanford University. He works on the representation of history and collective memory in Russia, Russian historiography, Russian lyric poetry, and post-Soviet Russian culture. He is author of History in a Grotesque Key: Russian Literature and the Idea of Revolution (Stanford University Press, 1997; Russian translation, Academic Project, 2007) and Terror and Greatness: Ivan and Peter as Russian Myths (Cornell University Press, 2011). Currently, he is completing work on the book Culture Inside Out: Russians In Latvia and working on a project concerning Russian historiography from the 18th to the 21st centuries.
BIO:Nikolai Ssorin-Chaikov is Associate Professor at the Higher School of Economics, St. Petersburg. He graduated in History/Ethnography from Moscow State University (1987), and received his MA (1991) and PhD (1998) in Anthropology from Stanford University. He taught social anthropology at the University of Cambridge from 2001-2015. He specialises in Siberia and Russia, but has also carried out research in Britain and the United States. His research interests include anthropology and history of the state and governance, exchange theory, time, anthropology of aesthetics, and history of anthropology. Publications include The Topography of Happiness: ethnographic contours of modernity (in Russian: Topografia schastia: etnograficheskie karty moderna) Moscow: New Literary Observer Publishers 2013; special issue Ethnographic Conceptualism of the journal Laboratorium (2013), Gifts to Soviet leaders. Exhibition Catalogue (Pinakotheke 2006) and monograph The Social Life of the State in Subarctic Siberia (Stanford University Press 2003)
Oksana Bulgakowa, Professor of Film Studies at the Gutenberg University in Mayans, is a Moscow-born scholar who lives in Berlin. She has published several books on Russian and German cinema, alongside directing films, curating exhibits, and developing a number of multimedia projects.
- mind-body problem
- private language
- rule-following problem
- riddle of induction
- community point of view
- affective turn
- Hume sociology of emotions
Bio:Andrei Nekhaev is a Professor at the Department of Philosophy and Social Communications at Omsk State Technical University, where he has been a faculty member since 2010. Earlier he had been working at the Department of Social Sciences at Omsk State Military Institute. He graduated from Omsk State University in 2002, majoring in History. His primary fields of research regarding history encompassed the theory of historiography alongside with the nation-understanding studies. He was awarded his Ph.D. degree at the University of Tyumen in 2006. Currently his research interests lie in the areas of analytic philosophy and sociology.
Research interests:Andrey’s primary research area is analytic philosophy. He is especially interested in such subareas as the mind-body problem and the rule-following problem (link 1, link 2, link 3). His views in philosophy were strongly influenced by Hume, Wittgenstein, Quine and Kripke. The secondary research area of Andrey is sociology. He mostly focuses on two subareas – the sociology of knowledge and the sociology of emotions in his current research. He attempts to explore a point of view in sociology alternative to Durkheim's theory. It is rooted in Hume's account of passions. The foci of the Hume's sociology are the issues of influences observed between the emotional component of human nature and the multiple forms of human actions. Andrey’s additional area of research is nationalism studies. Foremost he is interested in exploring the relationships between group identities, shared passions and ideological constructions. He tries to stick to a synthetic point of view, combining primordialist and situationist approaches. Additional information is available here.
- Work fiction
- Refusal of work / Inoperativity / Strike
- Politics of refusal
- Human strike
- Comparative literature
- Theories of community
- Theories of the event
- Italian feminisms
- Irish studies
In 2016-2017 Anne Mulhall was Artemis A.W. and Martha Joukowsky Postdoctoral Fellow in Comparative Literature at the Pembroke Center for Teaching and Research on Women at Brown University. She completed a PhD in Comparative Literature (Cultural and Critical Theory focus) at King's College London in December 2015. She has an MA in Comparative Literature from New York University and an MA in Anglo-Irish Literature from University College Dublin, where she also completed her BA in English and Philosophy. Her current work addresses a series of questions surrounding the culture of information, work, and human agency in contemporary European and US thought.
Anne's new book project, "Philosophy, Redemption, and the New Literature of the Office" will address how contemporary literature (French, German, Italian and US) has articulated an urgent new philosophical approach to work. Starting from the hypothesis that the human has become a mere agent in the systems of the knowledge economy, she tries to illuminate how this recent boom in office literature has sought to disrupt casual identifications of work and life. Through descriptions of what she calls ‘metaphysical overflow’, a ‘being-human’ bodily momentum that manifests itself in moments of breakdown, illness, idleness, fatigue, and laughter, this literature, she argues, has offered a redemptive refusal of cybernetic work infrastructures. Her project fuses literary, philosophical and political-theoretical methodologies. This research has so far generated an article for a volume of Modern and Contemporary France, “Work in Crisis” (2017).
Her new work evolved out of her PhD thesis, “Tiqqun and the Event: Literature, Philosophy, Politics”, which examines Tiqqun, a philosophical journal published in France between 1999 and 2001. Drawing on the Kabbalistic teaching of Tikkun Olam (destruction and repair of the world), Tiqqun articulates a philosophical critique of new configurations of capitalism and imperial domination at the dawn of the twenty-first century. Focusing on how the collective (also called Tiqqun) use imaginary figures, or “conceptual personae,” [link 1, p.61-84] as the mouthpieces of their philosophy, the book explores how they create fidelities to a series of political, literary, and artistic “events”. Their unique philosophy of being, she argues, is one that constructs contemporary subjectivity in a relationship with the past, while simultaneously outlining a future shape of resistance that defies both frameworks and demands. Emerging from this work so far is an article on the politics of hospitality, surveillance, and the female urban explorer in millennial spaces (forthcoming with New Formations) and another exploring Tiqqun’s relationship with the work of James Joyce, currently being revised for James Joyce Quarterly. She is currently revising her PhD manuscript for publication. This year at Brown, she taught a class on the afterlives of 1970s and 80s radical Italian feminisms.
- Late Middle Ages, Early Modern Europe
- Visual tudies, pictorial turn, visual rethoric, iconography
- Christian symbolism
- Historical anthropology, Annales School
- Identity studies
- Ritual and performance
- Material culture
Bio:Dmitry Bayduzh graduated from Institute of History and Political Sciences of the University of Tyumen (2003) and obtained his PhD (2007) at the same university with the dissertation devoted to self-representation of the Teutonic Order at the end of the 12th – the beginning of the 14th centuries. His advanced training was at the Numismatic department of the State Hermitage in St. Petersburg (2004), the Institute of World History of Russian Academy of Sciences (2005, 2010), universities of Warsaw, Toruń (2006, 2008) and Berlin (2014-2015). Since 2003 he works at the University of Tyumen, since 2014 – as an associate professor of medieval history.
Research interests:Dmitry’s scientific interest areas are constructing and transformation of identities and models of self-representation in the Middle Ages, as well as visual signs systems which were their carriers. Based on the history and culture of the Teutonic order (Deutscher Orden) he studies strategies of self-expression based on various artefacts: heraldry, seals, coins, memorial effigies and brasses, etc. The most informative source is the seals of Order’s officials which express gender, confessional, social and other identities. These artefacts allow defining and deciding a wide range of fundamental historical, cultural and methodological problems: interaction of the individual and group (corporation), norms and practice, mentalities and ideologies, private and official spheres, identity and power; they also shed light on texts and images, various visual practices and ways of communication.Dmitry’s research has cross-disciplinary character, situated on the intersection of history, art, anthropology, and sociology. Its methodological basis is constituted, first, by semiotics anthropology of Brigitte Bedos-Rezak, which provided an identification of the person and the signs representing her in medieval culture. An important role is played by an understanding of images not as objects of an esthetics (art) but performers of various social functions (Hans Belting), the theory of interpretation of single (Erwin Panofsky's iconology) and serial images (Jérôme Baschet). Susan Crane’s theory of a ritual and performance allows considering them as self-making practices, but not simple reflection of identity.
- Religious studies
- Conceptual history
- Discursive practices
- Material culture
- Digital humanities
- Early modern Europe
- Eastern Europe and Russia
Evgeny Grishin is a historian of Europe and Russia in the period of early modernity with particular interests in language, religion, and materiality. He received his Bachelor’s degree in History and Law from Viatka State University of Humanities in Kirov and his Master’s degree in Russian History from the European University at St. Petersburg. In 2017 Evgeny earned his PhD degree with honors in History from the University of Kansas. He has been awarded scholarships from the Fulbright Foundation, Gerda Henkel Stiftung, German Historical Institute, among others.
Evgeny’s research concerns the role of language in the identification and consequent persecution of religious dissent, specifically of Russian religious groups known collectively as the “Schism” (Raskol), or the Old Belief (staroverie). The study treats language not as merely a means of communication, but rather as a complex social practice. This approach to language is manifested in the works of the Cambridge school of conceptual history (link 1) and Begriffsgeschichte. At the same time, Evgeny views religion as an important part of human experience not reducible to ideology or institutions. He takes part in several international projects (link 1, link 2) directed towards the study of religious discourses and ideas in Early Modern Russia. However, Evgeny’s research interests go beyond language and into the realm of material culture. He is specifically interested in the ways multiple identities are being constructed and manifested through material objects. The adoration of the tangible iconic images in various Christian cultures serve as an example of this phenomenon.
Right now Evgeny is working on the religious dimension of the human-nature relationships within the project “Material Relations: Nature, Subjectivity, and Love”.
Evgeny’s publications include:
- “1773 Decree on Religious Toleration,” in Christian-Muslim Relations. A Bibliographical History. 1500-1900, ed. by David Thomas and John Chesworth (Leiden; Boston: Brill, forthcoming in 2019).
- “Feofan Prokopovich,” in Ibid.
- “‘Their Prayer Is Reaching God…’ Old Believers and Icons in 18th-Century Russia,” in Iosif Volotskii and Eastern Christianity: Essays Across Seventeen Centuries, ed. by David Goldfrank, Valeria Nollan, and Jennifer Spock. Washington, DC: New Academia Publishing, 2017. P. 239-262.
- “The Origins of the Old Belief in Viatka: A Conceptual Problem,” Canadian-American Slavic Studies, vol. 51, no. 1 (2017), 105-121.
- “Simon Azar’in,” in Christian-Muslim Relations. A Bibliographical History. Volume 8. Northern and Eastern Europe (1600-1700), ed. by David Thomas and John Chesworth (Leiden; Boston: Brill, 2016), 905-910.
- “Rodion Grekov,” in Ibid., 921-923.
- “‘Raskol’ i ‘raskol’niki’ v tserkovnom iazyke XVII i XVIII vekov” (“The ‘Schism’ and ‘Schismatics’ in the Church Language of the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries”), in Tserkov’ govorit / The Church Speaks / Die Kirche Spricht (research blog), accessed November 6, 2017, https://f.hypotheses.org/wp-content/blogs.dir/2917/files/2016/03/Гришин-Е.-Раскол-и-раскольники-в-церковном-языке_Final-1.pdf.
- “K voprosu o publikatsiiakh ‘12 statei o raskol’nikakh’ tsarevny Sof’i” (“Towards the Question of Publications of the ‘12 Provisions Concerning Schismatics’ of Tsarevna Sof’ia”), in Materialy Mezhdunarodnogo molodezhnogo nauchnogo foruma “Lomonosov-2010,” ed. by I.A. Aleshkovskii, et al., electronic source (Moscow: MAKS Press, 2010).
- “‘Reforma’ ili ‘ispravlenie’? K ponimaniiu tserkovnykh izmenenii serediny XVII veka” (“‘Reform’ or ‘Correction’? Towards an Understanding of the Ecclesiastical Liturgical Changes in the Seventeenth Century”), in Pravoslavie: Konfessii, instituty, religioznost’ (XVII-XX vv.), ed. by Mikhail Dolbilov and Pavel Rogoznyi (St. Petersburg: Izdatel’stvo Evropeiskogo universiteta v Sankt-Peterburge, 2009), 15-29.
- Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies, 49th Annual National Convention. Boston, USA. December 6-9, 2018: paper titled “Seventeenth-Century Muscovite Theology of Love Through the Works of the Archpriest Avvakum.”
- Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies, 49th Annual National Convention. Chicago, USA. November 9-12, 2017: roundtable titled “Religious Change, Transgression, and the Impact of the Protestant Reformation in Early Modern Eurasia: On the Quincentennial of the Reformation.”
- Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies, 48th Annual National Convention. Washington, DC, USA. November 17-20, 2016: roundtable titled “Christian-Muslim Relations. A Bibliographical History 1500-1800.”
- Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies, 46th Annual National Convention. San Antonio, TX, USA. November 20-23, 2014: paper titled “The Origins of the Old Belief in Viatka: A Conceptual Problem.”
- Deutsches Historisches Institut Moskau, Stipendiatentag. Moscow, Russia. September 18, 2014: paper titled “Iazyk o ‘Raskole’ v Rossii rannego Novogo vremeni” (“Language of the ‘Schism’ in Early Modern Russia”).
- 2013 Ralph and Ruth Fisher Forum at the University of Illinois. Urbana-Champaign, IL, USA, June 14-16, 2013: paper titled “Peasant Old Believers and Imperial Space in Early Modern Russia.”
- Association for the Study of Eastern Christian History and Culture, 5th Biennial Conference. Washington, DC, USA, March 8-9, 2013: paper titled “Old Believers and Icons.”
- Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies, 43rd Annual National Convention, Washington, DC, USA, November 17-20, 2011: paper titled “The Concepts of ‘Schism’ and ‘Schismatic’ in the XVII - Beginning of XVIII Centuries: The Evolution of Meaning.”
- Norwegian University Center in St. Petersburg, International Seminar “Orthodoxy in Russian Culture and Society.” St. Petersburg, Russia, May 26-29, 2010: paper titled “The Third Census of Population in 1761-1764 and the Old Believers of South Viatka: Towards the Question of Confessionalization in Russia.”
- Media studies
- Software studies
- Walter Benjamin
- Machine utopias
- Avant-garde; Sensuality and violence
- Theory of power
- Left ideas on art and social order
Bio:Igor Chubarov is a senior research fellow at the Institute of Philosophy, Russian Academy of Sciences, member of the Logos Journal editorial board, professor at the Centre of Modern Philosophy and Social Sciences at Moscow State University. He obtained his PhD from MSU in 1999 and a full Doctoral Degree from Russian State University for the Humanities in 2014. Igor’s book Collective sensibility: Theory and practice of the left avant-garde (Moscow, HSE, 2014) was awarded by Andrey Bely prize, Innovation Award and U-Art Foundation prize (2015). He was a scholar of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation and the Volkswagen Foundation. He is the author of works on early-Soviet Proletarian art, Russian philosophy, theories of power and violence, the theory of machines and media theory.
Research interests:Igor’s research interests most relevant for SAS pertain to the analysis of new identities, ways of communication and relations of power and knowledge in the times of the rapid development of digital media. These processes are influenced both by changes of social patterns which are riddled by violence practices and power games. Over the past few years, we have witnessed not only the occurrence of new social identity, anthropological models and ways of communication, but also a relatively autonomous actor-network structure that produces new senses, new types and methods of dissemination, storage and perception of knowledge and information. Such interactions enhance philosophical reflection on identifying those important messages that new media produces according to W. Benjamin, M. McLuhan, Donna Haraway, Friedrich Kittler and Lev Manovich. Thus, my present projects are focused on analyzing and rethinking of the emerging social order that has a chance on diminishing violent, exclusive and destructive social patterns.
- Discourse studies
- Dispositif analysis and apparatus theory
- Critical theory
- Media and cultural studies
- New and online media
- Media infrastructure
- Digital humanities
- Social semiotics and multimodality
- Discourse polyphony
- Public knowledge
Bio:Jan Krasni holds a PhD in German and Media Studies from the Konstanz University, Germany, and BA and MA degrees in German Philology from the University of Belgrade, Serbia. He has been teaching in Germany (Leipzig University and Free University Berlin), Serbia (University of Belgrade), and Bosnia (University of Eastern Sarajevo). Additionally, Jan has also been working on research projects in the United Kingdom (University of Warwick), and Germany (Sorbian Institute in Bautzen/Budyšin, Lusatia). He is also interested in literature: he writes and translates from and into the German language.
Research interests:Jan’s research interests are anchored in the fields of discourse theory, and the media related discourse and dispositive analysis. He is focused on the question how the apparatus, i.e. infrastructures of online media determine the discursive production of meaning. As for the dispositive, Jan investigates the technological and the societal setting of the given phenomenon together with its impact on the society, and on the representation within the information flow. In the same context, he analyses what role different semiotic resources play in multimodal representations and how they form the polyphony of the discursive position(ing)s. The multimodal discourses define largely public knowledge and collective memory. The cognitive research within cultural studies examines the influence of technology on the “culture of perception” in the interplay of the human intuition, technological intuitivity and cognitivity of both actors. Finally, in order to achieve social impact of discourse research, Jan works also with artists in research projects on phenomena related to social networks. Jan sees Discourse Studies as a post-disciplinary field which, depending on the research object, demands methodological pluralism, i.e., qualitative, quantitative and/or mixed methods and software tools (link 1, link 2) In this sense, he pleads for critical reflections and elaborated discussions on the theory, methods and methodologies within discourse analysis. This approach is relevant when talking about the problems of automated analysis of multimodal discourse. It also relates to ideological analysis in automatized discourse production in such areas as politics, culture, economy, etc.
- Collective irrationality
- Mass hysteria
- Self-delusion and illusion
- Influence of mass media across cultures
- Studies of happiness
- Artistic performances in public spaces
- Russia in an Asian context
- Gender rights
- Female genital cutting
Bio:John Chua is an associate professor of film studies and communications at Richmond University and received his Ph.D., MA, and MBA from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana, and his BA from Knox College in Illinois. John’s Ph.D. thesis looks at the cross-cultural perceptions of horror. He has also worked at Moscow State University and University of Southern California. In other capacities, John worked as a trainer of citizen journalists in Iraq and a screenwriter of animated feature films.For the last seven years he documented on film the existence of female genital cutting as an indigenous practice across all inhabitable continents, to expose an irrational and often secret tradition. John has often worked with Guardian News Media on this topic.
Research interests:Given John’s diverse background, his interests are multifaceted. The researcher moved from earlier studies in horror films to documentation of what the UN characterised as a human rights horror to newer interests listed below. Over the last seven years, John travelled widely to document female genital mutilation on all inhabitable continents. From the Russian Caucasus and Middle-East conflict zones to the Peruvian Amazon and American Midwest and beyond, he gathered interviews with FGM survivors, cutters, doctors and experts in unusual places. The soon-to-be completed documentary The Cut: Exposing FGM Worldwide, shows conclusively that FGM exists across religions and races. As a male outsider, John was allowed to interview and research on FGM by people most affected by it. He wants to document connections between cultures and ‘universality’ of certain behavioural patterns, although John is unclear whether Freudian or any other ‘universalist’ approach is possible. Outside areas of religions, gender rights, and sexuality, John is interested in performing arts in public spaces and their contributions to social/economic development. He likes to build on what Bakhtin wrote on the carnival to cover concepts related to ‘professional’ street performers. The researcher is also interested in the ‘measurements’ and future studies on happiness (he teaches humour and laughter across cultures for example). He is also interested in the concepts of self-delusions. John advocates making video documentaries as a research tool. He believes in producing scholarly works and parallel outputs accessible to the public.
- History of ideas
- Political theory
- Outsider intellectuals
- Integral theory
In the late 1990s John Tangney worked as an education officer with the James Joyce Cultural Centre in Dublin, helping to develop an education program for high school students and university undergraduates. This work inspired him to go to Trinity College, Dublin, to study literature following which, in 2001/2002, he spent some time teaching English in Japan. He did his doctoral work in the English Department at Duke University between 2003 and 2009. The dissertation was called The End of the Age of Miracles: Substance and Accident in the English Renaissance and it dealt with the transvaluation of medieval values in early modernity, focussing particularly on writers from the 1590s and early 1600s including Shakespeare, Nashe, Spenser, and the Jacobean dramatists. After graduation John worked at NTU, Singapore, from 2009 to 2015, teaching courses on Shakespeare, Renaissance Literature, Classical Literature and the History of Literary Theory. While there he was a co-organiser of an international conference on ‘The Contemporary’ in 2011 and served as Graduate Studies Coordinator. In 2015, he returned to Ireland where he spent time doing a coding bootcamp, and was involved in the launch of a new cultural magazine based around rare and unusual books, called The Time Traveller. At SAS he is a member of the Cultures of Rationality research group, and teaches Great Books in the core curriculum, as well as the electives ‘Memories, Dreams, Confessions’: Writing the Inner Life and ‘An Imperial Affliction’: Depression in Literature. He also runs The Intellectual Diversity Podcast.
John is interested in the History of Ideas, especially the afterlives of premodern ideas in modern culture. Kant observed in his first critique that the history of philosophy could be divided between Platonists and Epicureans. John has adapted this idea in essays on Yeats and Iris Murdoch, and on the films of Alex Proyas, trying to see how incommensurable worldviews are reconciled in the artistic imagination. This theme also informs his philosophical essay on Into Eternity, Michael Madsen’s documentary about nuclear waste, published in 2017 by Religion and the Arts. This work is connected to questions about the limits of liberalism as a paradigm within which to understand the different value systems that have to do business with each other in today’s world. John has discovered resources for thinking about this problem outside academe, in the integral theory of a 20th century Platonist like Jean Gebser and together with his research group is trying to see whether it’s possible to bring him into dialogue with the philosophies of matter and language that circumscribe the academic world. In other projects, John is writing a commissioned article on Death in Shakespeare, and researching the noon topos in literature and philosophy. Noon is a moment of materialist despair that can give way to an encounter with alterity that may be feminine, divine or alien. It links to questions of sexual difference, the soul and even artificial intelligence, helping him think about how the Epicurean founders of cybernetics have drawn on the resources of the Platonic tradition in their conceptualisation of thermodynamic processes and of autopoetic systems.
- Media art
- Media theory and history
- Science and technology studies
- Affect theory
- Artificial intelligence
- Sensory translation
- The “inhuman”
Ksenia Fedorova is a media art researcher and curator. She is currently completing her PhD in Cultural Studies at the University of California Davis with the dissertation titled “Feedback Interfaces, Encodings of Affect in Media Art and Technoculture”. She holds Ph.D in Philosophy/Aesthetics (St.Petersburg State University, Ural Federal University, RU), MA in Art History (University of Colorado, Boulder), and MA in Philosophy (Ural State University). Ksenia’s research interests encompass media art theory and history, aesthetics, philosophy, techno-cultural studies, science and technology studies, visual culture and curatorial studies. She is the co-editor of Media: Between Magic and Technology (2014, in Russian, short-listed for the national Innovation and Kandinsky awards, 2014) and an author of more than 30 articles (including in Leonardo Electronic Almanac, Media & Culture Journal, Acoustic Space, Dialog of Arts). In 2007-2011, she was an initiator and curator of the “Art. Science. Technology” program at the Ural branch of the National Center for Contemporary Arts (Ekaterinburg, RU). Ksenia has taught classes on media and media art theory and history in Russia, the U.S. and Austria and participated in numerous international conferences.
The research focuses on how new technologies affect our perception and ways of thinking, including understanding of the self and its relationship with the world. Ksenia earlier work addressed the effects of technological mediation through the notion of the technological sublime. Today digital technologies become the pertinent context for the experience of something that exceeds our capacity for sensible comprehension. Yet, it works differently than the classical sublime. The claims of machinic intelligence to represent something about us that escapes our cognitive abilities confront us with the alien within ourselves that undermines the stability of the human position as a subject of aesthetic experience.
Ksenia’s current research concentrates on the problem of communication and translation of affect via feedback interfaces in media art and technoculture. Operation of feedback is fundamental for human cognition and perception, and given today's technological capabilities, it also becomes a critical ethical and political issue: by allowing the technology (such as biofeedback or machine vision) to help us to look back at ourselves we delegate it a certain agency over often sensitive and private data. Particularly, the researcher considers the effects of the psychological mechanisms of projection and recognition in the context of algorithmic procedures in digital simulation (link 1, link 2). Ksenia bases her observation on the material of artistic practice placed in dialogue with the broader theories of the "self", mediation and interactivity. Her other interests include the issues of transmediality, proprioception, augmented and virtual reality, locative media, diagrammatic modeling, affective computing, speculative design, wearable technology.
- Evolutionary theory
- Philosophy and anthropology of the Environment
- Interspecies economies
- Comparative literature
- Science fiction
- Children’s literature
- Medical anthropology
Bio:Layla AbdelRahim received her B.A. from Bryn Mawr College. Upon graduation, she won the Watson Fellowship to conduct an anthropological study in Europe. She spent a year at l’École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales in Paris before receiving her M.A. from Stockholm University. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Montreal. Her dissertation was published by Routledge in 2015. She is also the author of a book on the anthropology and philosophy of education, published by Fernwood in 2013. She has worked in refugee relief and journalism of war in North East Africa and currently teaches at the University of Quebec in Trois-Rivieres on a part-time basis.
Research interests:Layla is interested in the underlying premises of civilisation and the principles of life in wilderness. These premises and principles inform specific economic positions and social organisation that different groups adopt with direct repercussions for the environment. To understand the mechanisms that ensure the endurance of cultural choices, even when these choices are not viable, the researcher uses comparative and interdisciplinary research methods to examine the issuing material, social, and symbolic cultures and political and socio-economic paradigms. In other words, she works on a comprehensive approach to the Anthropocene and its concomitant Holocene Extinction from a biocentric perspective to explain the ecological crisis and the eruption of violence around the world. Layla interest in the epistemic foundation of civilised society came from my work on nationalism, violence, and war and led her to explore the links between fictional and scientific stories of origins and anthropological and other narratives of predation as well as the mechanisms of reproduction of violence through education and other cultural encoding. This investigation resulted in two peer-reviewed books. Wild Children – Domesticated Dreams: Civilization and the Birth of Education (Fernwood 2013) is an obvious wink at Foucault and it explores the ways in which the underlying premises of predation imbue the structure of pedagogy. Children’s Literature, Domestication, and Social Foundation: Narratives of Civilization and Wilderness (Routledge 2015) examines the impact on the environment that the civilised premises of the Anthropocene had through various mythological, religious, and scientific explanations about humanity and the world. For more info on Layla's work see here.
- Comparative studies
- Cultural economics
- Cross cultural communications
- Value systems
- Cultural transmission
Bio:Liudmila Simonova is a professor and chair in the Department of World Economy and International Business at the University of Tyumen. She received her Specialist degree and a PhD (1983) from the University of Tyumen and her Full Doctorate degree (2003) from St. Petersburg State University of Economics and Finance. She worked as the director of the Regional Export Academy in Tyumen and as an expert consultant for the Strategic Development Department of Tyumen regional government. She is also a member of the dissertational council on sociology at the University of Tyumen.
Research interests:Whether and how much culture matters as to economic outcomes and what its relation to institutions are; measuring the value of culture and the effect of values on economic performance; the role of trust in economic development, trust and corruption; methods of cultural variables assessment (Hofstede (link 1, link 2), Laurent, ground values as suggested by Harvard Business School); elicitation of culture elements, defining human behavior as affecting social and economic development; defining institutions and methods of the culture's transfer and change; analysis of economic successes and failures of particular countries, associated with cultural variables; culture, language and cross-cultural communication; managing cultural differences (link 1, link 2) and understanding diversity in global business (link 1, link 2, link 3).
- General philosophy
- History and philosophy of science
- Foundations of quantum mechanics
- Probability theory
- (In)determinism and free will
- Methods of creativity
- Foundations of neuroscience
- Einstein, Spinoza, Tolstoy: three men, one theory
BIO:I studied physics in Ghent (MSc in engineering physics), Marseille (PhD) and the École Normale Supérieure in Paris (post-doc). Already in this period my main interests shifted from classic physics to the foundations of the field – a research area in which the fundamental axioms are questioned and investigated. This brought me naturally to philosophy, which I studied at the University of Montreal (PhD). Some of the advantages of working in philosophy are that it allows to address a broad range of interests, and that it somehow incites to look for the unifying ideas, the fashionable ‘big picture’ (I will leave this little idea here very vague). Philosophy also encourages to ask ethical questions on research, technology, science and society. If I would have to summarize my most eye-opening experience of these last years, then it would be the observation that, at the very fundamental level, science and philosophy are solidly intertwined, and can greatly inspire each other. An idea popular among interdisciplinary practitioners, but not yet popular enough in other communities!
RESEARCH INTERESTS:My main research interests are in foundations of (quantum) physics, philosophy of science, naturalized ontology and epistemology, and the methods of creativity and innovation. More concretely, at the moment I am working on projects related to: (1) free will; (2) determinism; (3) causation / causality; (4) new theories underlying quantum mechanics (Bell’s theorem, the Bohmian and hydrodynamical interpretation of quantum mechanics); (5) probability theory; (6) methods of creativity and innovation.In somewhat more detail:
- Free will: At the School of Advanced Studies, State University of Tyumen, Russia, I am principal investigator of a project entitled: “Free will : implications of state-of-the-art research in natural sciences for humanities and social sciences”. Whether humans have a free will or not is one of the classic questions of philosophy; a staggering number of philosophers and scientists (neuroscientists, physicists, psychologists,...) have studied it. It touches on a large spectrum of philosophical and scientific questions. I look in particular forward to investigating the neuroscientific basis of consciousness, the mind, and free will, and to studying how this field can help clarify our concepts. More info can be found here.
- Determinism: I believe that the deterministic worldview, dear to e.g. Spinoza, Einstein and Tolstoy (to name only these), is far from having disclosed its full heuristic potential – i.e. its potential for finding new underlying mechanisms or explanations in a variety of fields. Consider, as one example, the now longstanding ‘crisis’ in physics, notably related to the difficulty to unify quantum mechanics and gravity (cf. The Trouble with Physics, by notable physicist Lee Smolin). I sometimes suspect that this crisis is due to the very approximate understanding we have of the divide between deterministic versus probabilistic systems. This research is in progress; some more technical papers can be found here and here. As another example, I believe it is also possible to show the heuristic value of determinism for mathematics (e.g., first investigations show that it is possible to generalize the Central Limit Theorem of probability theory, a result to be published). For the relevance of determinism for a philosophy of a fulfilling life, my favorite reference is the Ethics of Spinoza.
- Causation / causality: Another longstanding debate in philosophy concerns the notion of ‘cause’. In philosophy of science and metaphysics it is now widely believed that cause is a multifarious concept, and that an overarching definition does not exist. I disagree. Here and here are first publications on the subject.
- Quantum mechanics and its problems: Quantum mechanics is the powerful and uniquely precise theory of atomic and subatomic particles and systems. It is considered by physicists as absolutely ‘fundamental’, in the sense that projected future theories will have to comply to quantum mechanics. However, as for intuitive and philosophical understanding, to my taste the standard (“Copenhagen”) interpretation of quantum mechanics is remarkably unsatisfactory. This official interpretation, largely due to Niels Bohr, makes such counterintuitive assumptions as that quantum events have no causes; are somehow ‘nonlocal’ (but how precisely ?); and maybe even dependent on the knowledge of the observer – thus reviving ancient philosophies as those of Berkeley and Mach, among others. This theory, even if it suits many professional scientists because of the ‘minimal’ assumptions it makes (“there is nothing beyond what we can calculate and measure”), is upon closer inspection quite weak, I believe. For instance, the claim that quantum events are ‘acausal’ seems to me in the end self-defeating or an unjustifiable assumption – moreover one that is heuristically not helpful, since it proclaims in a sense the end of research. I am well aware this is a strong claim, because it goes against the mainstream beliefs. Surely much research still must be done in this area before definite answers can be given; so the interface between quantum mechanics and philosophy will remain fascinating for quite some time. Some publications: here, here, and here.
- The paradoxes and interpretation of probability: I argue that the countless paradoxes of probability theory are due to an imprecise interpretation of what a ‘probabilistic system’ is. Also, the mysterious role of the ‘observer’ in quantum mechanics actually comes from probability theory. A few publications can be found here and here.
- Methods and practices of interdisciplinary creativity and innovation: I had the opportunity to use and test some known and less known methods for creativity during consulting projects for companies as Altran Technologies, Carl Zeiss, Infineon (ex-Siemens), HydroQuebec and Bombardier Aerospace. There are surprisingly efficient methods, for instance based on ‘enhanced shared creativity’, which can lead to problem-solving or, in an industrial context, to patentable ideas (I am author or co-author of seven patents).
- A list of publications can be found at the Minkowski Institute (where I have a pro-bono position)
- My link on PhilPapers
- Cognitive studies
- Film studies
- Cultural anthropology
- American pragmatism
- Enactive media
- Embodied mind
- Theory of emotions
Bio:Lyubov Bugaeva is a researcher in cinema and literature, Drhab (2012) and PhD (1995), Associate Professor at St. Petersburg State University, Russia, a Fulbright scholar (2007-2008) and a Kone Foundation Fellow (2015). She taught at universities in Salzburg, Austria (2002-2007), SUNY Albany, USA (2007), Ras-al-Khaimah, UAE (spring 2013), Warsaw, Poland (fall 2013), and Helsinki, Finland (2015). She is the founder of the Kinotext Group in St. Petersburg, the author of Literature and rite de passage (St. Petersburg, 2010) and of more than 150 articles (in Russian and English).
Research interests:The mind is fundamentally embodied. We move, we stop, we feel, we think, we perceive as “creatures of the flesh”, being actively and bodily engaged with the environment. Whatever we do experientially, we also do emotionally. And we acquire our experience and share it – through acting and storytelling. A story can be told not only verbally but also through gesticulation, facial and body dynamics, movement, and dance.As part of her research activity Lyubov would propose a complex, multi-disciplinary study of the cognitive basis of visual embodied narratives in various types of media, including cinema and enactive “body-based” interaction systems applied in participatory narrative media, as well as in an urban environment, which is defined and appropriated through “spatial practices” (e.g. walking in the city).The relevant questions include: What triggers our emotional engagement with a story in various narrative media (cinema, games or drama therapy)? What does body language tell us and how does it involve us in what is going on in the world, fictional and real? Does the character of the communication change if participants are engaged in interaction with mediated fictional worlds and virtual characters?Examining the connection of embodied narratives to real-life schemata and certain types of situations, and the universal and culturally specific features of narrative elements, would help to understand mechanisms of storytelling as well as mechanisms of emotions and culturally determined effects of audiovisual media. Narrative mapping could represent events that unfold over time.
- Corpus linguistics
- Corpus statistics
- Natural language processing
- Translation studies
- Translation universals
- Linguistics cohesion and coherence
- Translation quality
- Error annotation
Bio:Maria Kunilovskaya has a Specialist degree in Foreign Language Teaching (English) and a Specialist degree in Civil Law from the University of Tyumen. She holds a PhD in Contrastive Linguistics supervised in Saint Petersburg State University and awarded by the University of Tyumen (2004). Currently she is an associate professor in the Department of English Philology and Translation Studies at the University of Tyumen. She specializes in translation studies, text/discourse linguistics and corpus linguistics.
Research interests:Maria’s research is centered on identifying statistically prominent linguistic features of translations (link 1, link 2, link 3). The idea is to utilize them in an algorithm to measure textual quality of translation and detect translationese. In this approach translational quality is operationalized as linguistic distance from a given gold standard, e.g. non-translations. This project is a special case of (roughly) the following research steps, which involve processing corpora and can be applied to recovering knowledge from text in social studies, discourse analysis, media studies: (a) building corpus resources relevant for the task (see my own work); (b) revealing task-relevant textual features (how does text represent the information you are interested in?); (c) devising ways to extract respective linguistic features from data through developing formalisms (directly or through annotation). Both (b) and (c) can be done either in a theory-driven approach based on statistics (R is useful for that) or data-driven approach, including machine learning (link 1, link 2) (which can be done with Weka); (d) evaluating extraction results, testing combinations of features revealed (in a multidimensional scenario) for effectiveness; (e) collecting and handling corpus statistics and interpreting results against initial hypotheses. Corpus and computational linguistics is a way to make sense of the complexity of a human language through formal modeling. It produces tools that are practicable in solving tasks in other fields when text is a primary source of information. Notably, one of the most recent turns in artificial intelligence research is linguistic .
- Labour economics
- Labour market
- Local labour markets
- Labour market institutions
- Spatial labour markets inequality
- Labour market outputs
- Individual labour supply
Bio:Marina Giltman graduated from the University of Tyumen in 2000. Her specialization was Management of Regional Economy. After graduation she worked as a specialist in the Committee of International Trade and Foreign Affairs in Tyumen regional government. Marina got her PhD in Economic Theory from Kazan National Research Technical University in 2004. From September 2004 till present she is an associate professor in the Department of Economic Theory and Applied Economics at the University of Tyumen.
Research interests:Marina’s current research interests are related to the spatial dimensions of the labour markets inequality including regional and local labour markets and their outputs. These topics are relevant to the research areas of two most famous European research institutions of Labour Economics: IZA Institute of Labor Economics (for example, Lindley J., Machin S. (2013) Spatial Changes in Labour Market Inequality) and The Centre for European Economic Research (ZEW) (i.e. Local Labour Markets and Changing Labour Markets). Marina is trying to research the differences between the regional and local labour markets in Russia following two basic theories: the Model of Local Labour Markets Equilibrium and the Russian Labour Market Model. So far she has finished the project “The Functioning of the Russian Labor Market Model in Russian Regions” supported by the Russian Foundation for Humanities. The study showed that it is possible to allocate at least two groups of regions with specific manifestations of the Russian Labour Market Model, namely, areas with high employment elasticity and regions in the High (Far) North of Russia characterized by compensative differentials and specific labour protection legislation together with the specific geographical characteristics.
- Media studies
- Political communication
- Dual-process theories of information processing
- Social movement studies
- Collective identity
- Public and private
- War studies
- Post-soviet society.
BIO:Maxim Alyukov is a researcher with the Public Sociology Laboratory and a PhD Candidate in Faculty of Arts at the University of Helsinki. He started his career as an engineer and then turned to psychoanalysis: Maxim was a curator at Freud's Dream Museum, and an editor, author or translator working for several Russian journals focused on Lacanian psychoanalysis. Currently he takes part in a number of PS Lab projects on civil society, protest movements, and war in the post-communist world, as well as working on a dissertation about Russian TV viewers during the political crisis in Ukraine. Maxim holds Specialist degrees in engineering from the State Marine Technical University, and in psychology from the East European Institute of Psychoanalysis, as well as an MA degree in sociology from the European University at St.Petersburg.
RESEARCH INTERESTS:Maxim’s research interests can be roughly divided into two parts. the first is media studies and political communication. His MA dissertation was about art-activism as a way to mobilize publics and to build alternative (counter) public spheres. In the PhD dissertation this interest was transformed into more traditional political communication research. In order to question both the widespread accounts of Russian citizens as conservative, exposed to the myth of national grandeur and, thus, prone to media effects, and the overly positive approach that pictures TV viewers as critical analysts successfully deciphering news, the dissertation employs the toolkit of communication research and social psychology (link 1, link 2). It shows that viewers engage both critical (systematic) and semi-automatic (heuristic) approaches to TV news depending on context, and their exposure to media effects is a result of the absence of a safe environment for discussion rather than of the intrinsic features of the viewers themselves. Second, as a member of the the PS Lab, Maxim is involved in a number of projects related to the Bolotnaya protest in Russia, Maidan and Anti-Maidan mobilizations in Ukraine, and the war in Donbass. He is interested in such issues as collective identity, social justice and the articulation of social justice agendas, and the ways they are transformed by the post-Soviet context.
- Philosophy of the self
- Critical theory
- Philosophy of language
- Critical and creative thinking
- Philosophy of literature and art
Rossen’s research on both ethics and the art of thinking of the self conveys the sense that the self can neither confine its proper self-understanding to the pointers of certain essentialist conceptions, nor can it adequately determine itself drawingon limited sets of methods and principles of determinations. Instead, it n eeds to overcome any such determinations byunderstanding them as ultimately being transcendent to discourse and bound to practice and human responsibility. In a broader sense, he links the understanding of the human subject to the sum-total of its own cultural achievements, while the task of the philosophy of the self–to sorting out its essential aspects, by constantly revisiting and reinventing these achievements. This website contains links that might be useful for non-specialis ts to get info on these areas.
- Biographical research
- Civic and political activism
- Growing up of adolescents
- Political involvement and participation
- Political socialization
- Post-Soviet society
- Public and private
- Social movement studies
- Sociology of childhood
- War studies
Svetlana Erpyleva is a sociologist, a researcher with the Public Sociology Laboratory and a PhD-candidate of the University of Helsinki. She started her education in the Sociological Dept. of Moscow State University, but was dismissed due to her participation in the protest campaign against the dean as a member of OD-Group. She acquired a BA in sociology from the Higher School of Economics in St. Petersburg and an MA in sociology from EUSP. Since 2011 she has been part of a number of PS Lab research projects on civil society, protest movements, and war in the post-communist world. Her primary field of research is a research with children and the study of political socialization and biographical analysis. She is an author of articles on political socialization and public participation published in peer-reviewed journals, and a co-author of the collective monograph «Politics of Apoliticals» (2015, in Russian).
Svetlana is interested in a number of issues related to social movement studies, civic and political participation, political socialization, the socialization of adolescents, political reasoning and participation of children, and research with children in general. Her MA research was about how adolescents learn politics and how society treats adolescents in politics. Since then she has been interested in broader problems at the border of social movement research, sociology of childhood and pedagogy: adult-child relationships, growing-up during adolescence, the possibility of children’s public participation. While starting to work on her PhD devoted to the socialization of civic activists in Russia, she became interested in issues of political socialization, career research, and biographical analysis. As part of the Public Sociology Laboratory, she studied Maidan and Antimaidan mobilizations in Ukraine and the war in Donbass. She was also involved in collective research on new local activism as it emerged in Russia after mass nationwide protest movement in 2011. Within the framework of this project she was interested in the problem of the interconnection of “civic” and “political” in activism, pragmatic sociology applied to Russian reality, and theories of events.
Currently, she is involved in multidisciplinary research project “Citizenship Under Conflict: Reimagining Political Belonging” at SAS, where she is responsible for analyzing “active citizenship” practiced by children and adolescents in the course of their socialization. Her research experience in socialization has also resulted in an original university course, “Theories of Socialization: How We Become Those Who We Are,” which she teaches at the School of Advanced Studies.
- Sociology of youth
- Sociology of art
- Cultural studies
- Youth culture
- Youth subcultures
- Leisure studies
- Folk culture
- Dark culture
- Qualitative methodology
Bio:Tatyana Gavrilyuk graduated from Russian State University for the Humanities in 2007 and received a PhD from the same university (2010). She is currently an associate professor at the Industrial University of Tyumen. Tatiana has undergone professional development in Russian Academy of Sciences Institute of Sociology (Moscow) and LeuphanaUniversity (Luneburg, Germany), presented the results of her research, participating in several international scholarly events, including the meetings of International Sociological Association (Yokohama, 2014, Vienna, 2016).
Research interests:Tatyana’s research interests include the sociology of youth, contemporary social theory, qualitative methods in social sciences and subcultural studies. Her PhD thesis was devoted to the studying of youth subcultural differentiation using the method of typological analysis. She currently researches subcultures by means of field ethnography and qualitative data analysis in cross-cultural context, paying attention to the global and local trends of the subcultural development. Her most recent article concerns dark culture as a global hybrid phenomenon, consisting of many solidarity groups with movable boundaries, changeable membership, fragmented identity and different ideological orientations of its representatives (link 1, link 2, link 3). Also, she has had an experience of investigating marginalized street youth gangs (the Russian phenomenon of “gopnics”) and the neo-folk subculture which reanimates the ethnic elements of traditional Slavonic folkculture. The theoretical issues are also important, especially the theory and methodology of subcultural studies in British and American tradition and their adaptation to the study of the realities of Russian youth (link 1, link 2, link 3, link 4). In addition to subcultural studies, the wider range of problems have become an object of interest for Dr.Gavrilyuk, e.g. value orientations, structural limitations and possibilities of youth social transition in Russia, the image of the future and temporal strategies of youth, the biographical studies of youth successful life trajectories, cultural capital of various youth groups, and the current historical research in sociology of music pertaining to the early Soviet period.
- Japanese philosophy
- Russian philosophy
- Film studies
- Architectural theory
- Philosophy of space
- Virtual reality
Bio:Thorsten Botz-Bornstein was born in Germany and studied Russian at the University of Münster for two years. In 1985, he enrolled in philosophy at the Sorbonne Paris-I. He obtained a maîtrise in philosophy in 1990 and a Ph.D. in philosophy from Oxford University in 1993. As a postdoctoral researcher based in Finland Thorsten undertook research for four years on Russian formalism. He received a ‘habilitation’ from the EHESS in Paris in 2000 and worked as an adjunct. For three years Thorsten had scholarships in Japan for research on the Kyoto School. Later he worked for the Center of Cognition at Hangzhou University in China and taught philosophy at Tuskegee University in Alabama. At present he is working at the Gulf University for Science and Technology in Kuwait.
Research interests:As a philosopher Thorsten is interested in the notion of the “organic”, which brought him to hermeneutics, structuralist stylistics, Derrida, but also Nishida Kitaro’s basho (場所, place), the Chinese notion of wen(文) or the Russian idea of Всеединство (All-Unity). He continues working on philosophy, but often applies abstract theories to concrete phenomena. His research is situated on the crossroads of philosophy, cultural studies, aesthetics, religious studies, and political science. The best way to understand what Thorsten is working on is to go on his website and to have a look at the publication list; alternatively, here is a list of his research themes:AESTHETICSCoolness, Comparing Japanese and African American coolness (link 1, link 2), Cool Ethics “ Coolness between Virtue Ethics and Aesthetics”, Kitsch and Bullshit (link 1, link 2, Japanese aesthetics and kitsch)PHILOSOPHY OF SPACESpace in Russia and Japan, On Hong Kong and Dubai, On the Maidan in KievSUBCULTURESTattoos, graffitti, Japanese culture in Kuwait TRANSCULTURALITYBook on transcultural architectureCOMPARING CULTURESAmerica and China, Russia and JapanISLAMHijab in Kuwait, Hijab and tattoos, Veils and sunglasses, ISIS, terrorismRELIGIONOn relativismFEMINISMOn Barbie, Respect and shameMEDICAL ETHICSViagraVIRTUAL REALITYVirtual realityTHE FUTURE OF EDUCATIONCrisis of education, The problem of “excellence”
- Cold War
- Baltic Region
- International Relations
- Economic History
- Maritime History
- Nazi Germany
- Free Will
- Philosophy of History
- Determinism in History
- Neuroscience of Drug Addiction
BIO:Tomasz Blusiewicz is an assistant professor of history at the School of Advanced Studies at the University of Tyumen, Russia. His doctoral research focused on international relations and economic cooperation in Eurasia in the second half of the 20th century. Tomasz’s thesis, defended at Harvard University in May 2017, is entitled Return of the Hanseatic League or how the Baltic Sea Trade Washed Away the Iron Curtain, 1945–1991. In his project, Blusiewicz developed a transnational perspective on the Baltic region, from Hamburg in the West to Leningrad in the East, and highlighted the role played by Hanseatic port cities such as Rostock, Gdańsk, Kaliningrad or Riga, all of which served as “windows to the world” linking communist-controlled Europe with the globalizing world in the Cold War era. Tomasz’s collegiate alma mater is the University of Chicago, from which he graduated in 2011 with a double BA in history and philosophy.
RESEARCH INTERESTS:At the SAS, Professor Blusiewicz is a co-founder and a core member of an interdisciplinary research team that launched a project entitled Free Will: Implications of State-Of-The-Art Research in Natural Sciences for Humanities and Social Sciences. More details about this project are available here. Prof. Blusiewicz’s role on the team is to engage in collaboration with natural scientists and philosophers in order to investigate which among the cutting edge findings from those fields can help to reinvigorate his own academic discipline. Beyond theoretical implications stemming from such an interdisciplinary exchange, an early outline of which has been submitted to the Journal of Philosophy of History, Blusiewicz also applies them to historical practice. He is working on a series of articles that examine the record of narcotic use in Nazi Germany, including a close examination of Hitler’s personal experience with such substances (a peek into his explorations is available here. A new historical methodology that includes both fresh empirical findings in the history of Nazi Germany combined with creative interdisciplinary borrowings from dynamic scientific disciplines, Blusiewicz believes, can help to breathe fresh air into some old historical debates.At SAS, Blusiewicz teaches both general core courses and advanced history courses. Two examples of his courses can be viewed here:
- Environmental humanities
- Cultural study of law
- New materialisms
- Greek and medieval thought
- Eurasian indigenous politics
- 19th-century comparative literature
- Psychoanalysis and attachment theory
Zachary Reyna is a political theorist working in the environmental humanities and cultural study of law. He received his PhD in Political Science from Johns Hopkins University (USA), where his dissertation offered an ecological reading of the natural law tradition that rethought the concept of political obligation for contemporary environmentalist politics. He he taught political theory and environmental thought at Johns Hopkins and Towson University, and is the assistant editor of the journal “Political Theory”. He is now professor in political theory at SAS.
Zachary’s research focuses on how social and political obligations create attachments, produce bonds, and engender belonging to shared environments and ecosystems that extend beyond the human world (link 1, link 2, link 3). He sees his work primarily as a response to questions about the place of embodiment, the hard sciences, and nature in the humanities and the role of the humanities scholar in the twenty-first century academy (link 1, link 2, link 3, link 4, link 5). His doctoral dissertation explored the concept of political obligation (link 1, link 2) in environmental political thought through the lens of the natural law tradition (link 1, link 2, link 3). Drawing on a diverse range of thinkers from Sophocles, Aquinas, Rousseau, and Sacher-Masoch to Lou Andreas-Salomé, Zachary argued that political obligation is not simply a “moral duty” restricted to rational human citizens, but an ecological practice binding human-nonhuman interaction—the “connective tissue” of the sublunary biosphere, as Aquinas puts it.
Currently he is working on two projects. The first explores the political-philosophical implications of the conservationist practice of “rewilding”. Here Zachary argues that rewilding projects should be seen as sites where new forms of political obligation are emerging. The second project considers how the rise and fall of the nineteenth-century folktale, and its structure of belief-unbelief-denial, can illuminate the contemporary phenomenon of climate-change denial.