You may find here the list of our current HCAS Fellows and short descriptions of their research projects.
Current HCAS Fellows
- Structuralism and narratology
- World-systems theory
- 'World literature'
- Utopian imaginary
Alternative Communities: Irrealist Tropes and the Collective Imaginary on the Literary Semi-Periphery of Europe
My research focuses on the emerging field of world-literature (understood in world-systemic terms) and explores imaginaries of social organisation and collective action in literatures on the European peripheries. This and other (semi-)peripheral regions of the world-system formerly part of the so-called Second Worldare usually glossed over in the popular analytical oppositions of Western/postcolonial or North/South. However, their comparative examination in world-literary terms and outside the usual confines of area studies can nuance the existing theories of literary history and cultural analysis and perhaps even show how these literatures productively intervene into the current crisis of political imagination. Two guiding aims of my research are, first, to give an analysis of the semi-peripheral collective imaginary, as it is captured, for example, in post-1990 Ukrainian, Belarusian, Hungarian and Estonian literary production; second, with this analysis to contribute to the on-going search for new Utopias and, more prosaically, to a rethinking of the scope and direction of literary and cultural theories.
I work in the field of language, literature and culture. Since my Ph.D. (Justus Liebig University Giessen, Germany) I have been interested in the possibilities of narrative expression of an enunciatively plural collective voice. My monograph on we-narratives is forthcoming with the Ohio State University Press. More recently, my research focus has shifted from narratology and Anglophone fiction to world-literature, comparative morphology, alternative futures and modes of social existence which fascinate the (semi-)peripheral literary imagination. Prior to HCAS I worked on these topics with support from the German Research Foundation (DFG), Kone Foundation and Alfred Kordelin Foundation.
- Democratic activism
- Oral history
- Transnational and global ethnography
Democratic Alternatives: Oral History, Civil Society and the Practices of Pluralism
In 1980s Yugoslav Macedonia, civic discourse flourished as citizens tested new forms of transformative political engagement. The subsequent wars in Croatia, Bosnia-Hercegovina and Kosovo have largely overwritten this moment: the lively debates, strikes and protests of the time have been largely forgotten, marginalized, or framed as examples of external agitation rather than home-grown activism. Drawing mainly on conversations with those directly involved, the project first asks the question why these events have been largely dismissed in the national and international narrative of Macedonian history: and second, seeks to show what benefits for contemporary civil discourse a closer examination of this period could yield. At the broader level, the book will also make the case for the value of critical oral history as a core methodology in interdisciplinary studies of democratic activism.
Keith Brown is professor of politics and global studies at Arizona State University, where he also serves as director of the Melikian Center for Russian, Eurasian and East European Studies. His research and teaching focus on the Western Balkans in global context, exploring in particular alternatives to violence, and the power of citizen activism.
- IR and political theory
- The role of language in politics
- Critical security studies
- Global environmental politics
- Postcolonial studies
Decolonizing Political Action
My project explores the nature of postcolonial agency through a comparative analysis of the modes of doing political action of four exemplary figures who are positioned very differently within the space of postcoloniality:
- Ho Chi Minh, the anti-colonial revolutionary communist fighter turned statesman who founded modern Vietnam;
- Aimé Césaire, the French parliamentarian, mayor of Fort-de-France and founder of the négritude movement, whose conception of decolonization was to remain within and transform the structures of the French Republic, rather than break with it.
- Frantz Fanon, the French résistant who took the opposite position. Fanon diagnosed the pathologies of colonialism and joined the Algerian war of independence against France;
- Dr Wangarī Maathai, the Kenyan women's rights and environmental activist and the Nobel peace prize recipient who stood up against the predatory practices of an authoritarian postcolonial state.
French-Kenyan born and currently living in Australia and in Denmark, I read philosophy, English literature and history at l'université de Paris-Sorbonne. I also have a masters degree in philosophy from l'université de Paris-Sorbonne and another in international relations from Cambridge University, where I also wrote my PhD. I have published in a wide range of journals in International relations and in political theory, including: European Journal of International Relations, International Organization, Raisons Politiques, Global Environmental Politics, Body and Society, International Political Sociology, Security Dialogue and Political Theory. My latest book is entitled: 'Birth of the State: the Place of the Body in Crafting Modern Politics' (Oxford: Oxford University Press)
- Sociology of Religion
- Digital Religion
- Digial Humanities
Why do Christian churches build congregations online – or not!
- How do churches and denominations respond to and implement digital media in their work?
- Why, and on what grounds, do different churches and denominations respond differently to digital media?
Three different Christian “branches” will be compared and contextualized – the Laestadian movement, the Church of Sweden, and the Charismatic movement (stemming from the Pentecostal movements). All three have very different approaches to digital media compared to each other, and all three have different roles in society, which makes them interesting and relevant to compare. Through studying and comparing these three we can learn how internal and external context plays into the negotiating process of being online. This is relevant not only within a religious field, but is relevant also outside the field of churches and denomination – why are some hesitant to implementing digital media, why are others not; is it a matter of sheer technology optimism or pessimism, or is it based upon an understanding in the context they are part of.
I have a PhD in the History of Science and Ideas (2003), an Associate professorship (Swedish Docent) in the Sociology of Religion (2013), I’ve been a researcher/lecturer and Director within the field of Digital Humanities (at Humlab, Umeå University), and now I’m holding a rather research oriented position within the Didactics of Religion.
- Cultural Memory
- Eastern Orthodox Christianity
- Literature and Cinema
- Medieval History
- Textual Criticism
The Second Baptism of Rus: Cultural Memory After Communism
This project investigates the memory politics of the contemporary Russian Orthodox Church. It documents the complex relations between the Kremlin and the Moscow Patriarchate and uncovers their collaborative efforts to transform cultural memory in Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus, in the three decades since the disintegration of the USSR. Mikhail Zadornov once described Russia as ‘a great country with an unpredictable past’. The study explores the development of these unpredictable pasts in the post-Soviet period and shows how they are being cultivated in an attempt to legitimize the contemporary Russian political order. "The Second Baptism of Rus" is currently under advanced contract with the "Religion and Conflict Series" at Cornell University Press.
Sean Griffin is an interdisciplinary scholar of Russia and Ukraine. His research focuses primarily on the history of the Orthodox Church and its role in the making of cultural memory: from the liturgy and chronicles of medieval Kyiv, to the blockbuster films and digital propaganda of modern Moscow. Before coming to Finland, Griffin was a postdoctoral fellow in the Society of Fellows at Dartmouth College, as well as a VolkswagenStiftung fellow in Münster, Germany. In 2021-2022, his research in Helsinki will be funded by grants from the Gerda Henkel Stiftung and the American Council of Learned Societies/Luce Foundation.
- Ocean studies/ climate change
- History of slavery
- Indenture and Mediterranean migration
- Colonialism and extractivism
Land-line is a video installation and academic essay exploring the significance of Telegraph Island in Oman in the development of nineteenth century telegraphic land cables between Persia and India, connecting this to extractivist politics in the area. It takes Thani Al Suwaidi’s 1994 novel The Diesel and Charles Edward Stuart’s Through Persia in Disguise: with Reminisces of the Indian Mutiny as points of departure to create a narrative that connects the aspirations of Empire and connectivity to ground level geopolitics, thinking about land, sea, deserts, horsemen. It will be a speculative story that reads reverberations between the politics of communication and extraction in the nineteenth century and those of the present.
Ayesha Hameed lives in London, UK. Since 2014 Hameed’s multi-chapter project 'Black Atlantis' has looked at the Black Atlantic and its afterlives in contemporary illegalized migration at sea, in oceanic environments, through Afrofuturistic dancefloors and soundsystems and in outer space. Through videos, audio essays and performance lectures, she examines how to think through sound, image, water, violence and history as elements of an active archive; and time travel as an historical method. Recent exhibitions include Liverpool Biennale (2021), Gothenburg Biennale (2019), Lubumbashi Biennale (2019) and Dakar Biennale (2018). She is co-editor of Futures and Fictions (Repeater 2017) and co-author of Visual Cultures as Time Travel (Sternberg/MIT 2021). She is currently Co-Programme Leader of the PhD in Visual Cultures at Goldsmiths University of London.
- International Relations Theory
- Social Constructivism
While at the Collegium, I will work on a book manuscript, "A Constructivist History of Khrushchev's Cold War, 1958-64." It is a follow-on to the 2012 Oxford University Press book, Reconstructing the Cold War. In the book I explore how predominant discourses of Soviet national identity, both at elite and mass levels, informs Soviet identity relations with the rest of world. In particular, I concentrate on Soviet relations with China, the US, and the decolonizing world. The US and China were significant defining Others for the Soviet elite in this period. Soviet suffering during World War II and continuing de-Stalinization were two cornerstones of Soviet national identity that both affected Soviet relations with the US, the West in general, and China.
Ted Hopf has served on the political science faculties of the National University of Singapore, Ohio State University, Ohio University and the University of Michigan. In addition to articles published in American Political Science Review, European Journal of International Relations, International Organization, Security Studies, Review of International Studies and International Security, and numerous book chapters, he has edited or authored five books. Reconstructing the Cold War: The Early Years, 1945-1958 (Oxford 2012), won the 2013 American Political Science Association Robert Jervis-Paul Schroeder Award for Best Book in International Relations and History and the 2013 Marshall D. Shulman Award, presented by the Association of Slavic, East European and Eurasian Studies for the best book published that year on the international politics of the former Soviet Union and Central Europe. Social Construction of International Politics: Identities and Foreign Policies, Moscow, 1955 and 1999 (Cornell University Press, 2002) won the 2003 Shulman Award. Hopf received his B.A. from Princeton University in 1983 and Ph.D. from Columbia University in 1989. He was a Fulbright Professor in the autumn of 2001 at the European University at St. Petersburg and a former vice-chairperson of the Board of Directors of the National Council for Eurasian and East European Research. His research has been supported by the Mershon Center, the Ford Foundation, the American Council for Learned Societies, the Olin and Davis Centers at Harvard University, and the Singapore Social Science Research Council. Making Identity Count (Oxford 2016), co-edited with Bentley Allan is the first installment of the project, Making Identity Count, which entails the creation of a large-n interpretivist national identity database of all great powers from 1810-2010. This project has spurred the creation of the Making Identity Count in Asia project, the results of which are available at Making Identity Count in Asia
- language change
- language and culture contact
- conversion to Christianity
- language socialization
- language description and documentation
Bilingualism at home and in church: a holistic study of language contact in social contexts
Language contact and multilingualism have been driving language change throughout the human history. A common outcome of multilingualism is transfer of linguistic features from one language to another in the speech of multilingual individuals. Yet how exactly transferred features become, or don’t become, a monolingual language norm remains poorly understood. A study of a multilingual West-African ecology proposed in my project, with Mano and Kpelle languages at its core, aims at filling this gap by looking at language contact through a dual lens: a close ethnographic study of the social context of contact and an analysis of its various linguistic consequences. I develop a methodologically innovative holistic program combining an investigation of individual and language-level processes, synchrony and diachrony, ethnography, corpus study and experiment.
I am an interdisciplinary researcher studying at the intersection of anthropology, sociolinguistics, and structural linguistics. My research is underpinned by extensive fieldwork and focuses on cross-linguistic and cross-cultural comparison; my current project explores language contact between the under-studied Mano and Kpelle languages in West Africa in their social context. I initially trained as a linguist, but quickly expanded my area of expertize into sociology and anthropology as well. I received my PhD at Inalco, Paris in 2015 and spent three following years as a postdoc in the Department of Anthropology, UC Berkeley. I came to Helsinki in 2017 and until 2020 was a member of the Helsinki University Humanities Program.
- Science and technology studies
- Economic sociology
- Feminist theory
Ecological Assetization: New Configurations of Economy and Ecology
This project aims to bridge the gap between environmental economics and the environmental humanities (broadly defined), by examining the phenomenon of ecological assetization. Ecological assetization is central to the current turn to the debt-based finance of the green economy but has until now received scant attention in environmental humanities. This project does not simply extract knowledge from environmental economics to supplement the theorisations of the environmental humanities, nor only criticize the former from the standpoints of the latter. Rather, it aims to generate productive conversations and collaborations between environmental economics and environmental humanities. It investigates one of the most challenging issues facing humanity today: how to simultaneously cultivate ecological and economic sustainability.
Liu Xin is a postdoctoral researcher at the Swedish School of Social Sciences, University of Helsinki. Liu has published in Australian Feminist Studies, Parallax, MAI: Feminism & Visual Culture, Girlhood Studies, NORA, Nordic Journal of Migration Research, Sukupuolentutkimus-Genusforskning, Feminist Encounters: A journal of Critical Studies in Culture and Politics. Her recent projects examine the phenomenon of air pollution in the Chinese context as well as the reproduction of norms in digital games.
- History of the United States
- Campaigns, elections, and voting
The politics of the gender gap in voting: the case of the United States in comparative perspective, c. 1968–c. 2000
A ‘gender gap’ separates the voting behaviour of women from that of men in many countries today, including the United States. This project explores how, and with what consequences, political actors in that country – not only candidates and elected politicians but also leading figures in interest groups – engaged with the emergence of the modern ‘gender gap’ in voting over the last third of the twentieth century. This exploration makes use of a comparative framework. Research by social scientists identifies connections between gender and policy preferences, visible in most post-industrial countries, but their work fails to explain differences between countries and it does not investigate questions relating to political actors’ agency. Work by historians about the rise of conservatism in the United States, within a context of political polarisation, has tended to neglect the gendered dimensions of these developments. By tackling such questions, the project seeks to achieve a better understanding of how gender intersects with electoral politics during the contemporary era.
A historian of the United States during the twentieth century, Robert Mason is the author of Richard Nixon and the Quest for a New Majority (2004) and The Republican Party and American Politics from Hoover to Reagan (2012). With Iwan Morgan, he is coeditor of Seeking a New Majority: The Republican Party and American Politics, 1960–1980 (2013) and The Liberal Consensus Reconsidered: American Politics and Society in the Postwar Era (2017). He has recently completed a biographical study of Spiro T. Agnew, and he is now conducting research on the history of the ‘gender gap’ in voting.
- Philosophy of time
- Philosophy of religion
From Divine Timemaker to Divine Watchmaker
I am examining the following four questions. What is time? In what sense is God responsible for the existence of time? What kind of structure might God give to a time series? What are the implications for religious doctrines of creation, providence, and life after death?
R.T. Mullins (PhD, University of St Andrews). Works on philosophical theology. Previous publications include "The End of the Timeless God," (Oxford University Press, 2016). "God and Emotion," (Cambridge University Press, 2020).
- Discourse analysis
- Law and society
- Human rights
Appropriated narratives of resistance
I study the ways in which political resistance, civil disobedience and conscientious objection are appropriated into the narratives of Western democracy, which, in turn, legitimate the use of power in the form of law. I am interested in the ways in which the attempts to fundamentally challenge the prevailing notion of ‘us’ (resistance) is narratively appropriated into ‘our story’ and thus deflated. I suggest that the theories of civil disobedience may result in appropriating the struggle of ‘the Other’ into ‘our’ narrative of ‘us’ as democratic, progressive, and liberal.
My research focuses on the interplay between power, law and society. My research interests expand from legal policy research to socio-legal theory and I am particularly inspired by different forms of discourse analysis. After completing my PhD I have conducted legal policy and access to justice research at the institute of Criminology and Legal Policy (University of Helsinki) and participated in the project SILE – Silent agents affected by legislation (Strategic research council).
- Philosophy of action
- Mental causation
- Metaphysics of persons and personal identity
- Theories of understanding
The Committed Mind
Recent social psychological research has led some psychologists and philosophers to conclude that the conscious mind is quite insignificant in shaping our behaviour. Beliefs, desires, or intentions that are consciously held by us are deemed largely irrelevant to generating even those behaviours of ours that we regard as intentional, deliberate. On this view, much or most of our behaviour results from unconscious processes. And yet we seem to be able to consciously devise and execute intricate and well-thought-out plans. And our conscious thought seems to allow us to plan and engage in shared intentional behaviours together with others. This research project – The Committed Mind – explores the hypothesis that scepticism about the role of the conscious mind does not take adequate account of the nature and causal role of commitment in the lives of neurotypical adult humans. The main aim is to develop a new philosophical theory of the nature of commitment. This theory will allow us to re-evaluate radical skepticism about the role of conscious thought in shaping our behaviour.
Lilian O’Brien works in contemporary analytic philosophy of action. She received her PhD in philosophy from Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island, and a B.A. and M.A. from University College Cork. She has taught at Vassar College, The College of William and Mary, University College Cork, and the University of Helsinki.
- big history
- climate change
- economic theory
- futures studies
- global political economy
- global justice and democracy
- international relations theory
- peace research
- philosophy and methodology of social sciences
World Statehood: The Future of World Politics
The future of humanity depends on our capacity to respond adequately to a number of self-generated global problems such as climate emergency, the extinction crisis, pandemics, economic instability, rising inequalities, nuclear war, and runaway technological developments (e.g. in AI, nanotechnologies). Our industrial civilization is also vulnerable to events such as a massive solar storm and outburst of space debris preventing access to the orbit. The problem is that our political imagination remains captive of state sovereignty, although our fates are deeply interconnected. This has been the starting point of much of international and global theory since the beginning of the 20th century (with roots in ancient philosophies), often discussed in terms of whether a world state is possible or desirable. The point of my project is to develop a new processual and evolutionary perspective on this problematic.
Originally trained as an economist, Heikki Patomäki has published extensively in various scholarly fields. Previously Patomäki has worked as a full professor at the University of Nottingham Trent (1998-2003) and RMIT University (2007-10) in Melbourne, Australia. He has also been a Visiting Professor at the Ritsumeikan University in Kyoto, Japan (2012). Patomäki is a member of the Finnish Academy of Science and Letters and lifelong member of Clare Hall, University of Cambridge. His new book The Three Fields of Global Political Economy (Routledge) is coming out in March 2022. In 2020/21, he received the Outstanding Activist Scholar awardee from the International Political Economy section of the ISA.
My research ranges across image and text, addressing questions about the more-than-human dimensions of ethics and art, defined as an openness to the living world. Key words: animals in literature and film; Simone Weil; more-than-human ethics
Simone Weil and Cinema: Looking, Eating, Letting Be
"Simone Weil and Cinema: Looking, Eating, Letting Be" brings together the religious philosophy of Simone Weil (1909-1943) and the area of film studies. The project’s aim is, first, to contribute to discussions of Weil’s aesthetics with an emphasis on the visual dimensions of her thought and, second, to reconsider cinema’s role in the age of the Anthropocene. Through a close engagement with Weil’s texts and conceptual framework, the project intertwines the disciplines of film, ecology, and theology to articulate a nonviolent ontology of cinema.
Anat Pick teaches Film at Queen Mary University of London. Her book Creaturely Poetics: Animality and Vulnerability in Literature and Film (Columbia University Press, 2011) develops a “creaturely” approach to literature and film based on the shared vulnerability of human and nonhuman beings. The coedited collection Screening Nature: Cinema Beyond the Human (Berghahn, 2013) intersects film studies and the emergent fields of ecocriticism and critical animal studies. Anat has published widely in the areas of animals in film, vegan studies, and non-anthropocentric film philosophy.
- Communication context
- Consumer society
- Foucauldian discourse analysis
Racism without others: Everyday mediations in Poland
In my postdoctoral project I cross-fertilise communication studies with disciplines such as sociology, history and social geography to understand racism in Poland where the racialised others are physically absent but continuously present in everyday communication. Decentring a recent racist turn in political and public discourses, I turn to the mundane communication avenues as sites where globally circulated racist discourses are articulated through the local socio-cultural and/or politico-historical repositories. In Foucauldian spirit, I examine how these discourses construct the racialised others as objects of knowledge and, in doing so, contribute to the augmentation of racist subjectivities in the Polish society. I theorise that in Poland racism is discursively instrumentalised to uphold the self-congratulatory national self-definition. The project pursues this proposition in three case studies. The first study probes how orientalist discourses prefigure representations of the racialised people and destinations that circulate in the blogosphere. The second study looks at how the discourse of threat, spuriously associated with multiculturalism, plays out in the national legacy media. The third study scrutinises how the discourse of un/worthiness of the racialised others intersects with the marginalisation of ethnic minorities in the built urban environment.
Kinga Polynczuk-Alenius is a media and communication researcher interested in the role of communication and its contexts in addressing, or not, ethical challenges that face an increasingly globalised world. To study this issue, she promiscuously branches out into various adjacent disciplines, such as sociology, social and cultural anthropology, social geography, and literary studies. She defended her doctoral dissertation, titled Ethical trade communication as moral education, at the University of Helsinki in 2018. Her articles have been published in academic journals such as 'Globalizations', 'International Journal of Cultural Studies', and 'Media and Communication'.
- Fertility behaviour
- Intergenerational transmission
- Early family environment (parent-child relationship, socioeconomic status, and psychosocial environment)
- Psychosocial determinants of physical and mental health
- Heterogeneity of depression
Psychosocial Factors Driving Fertility Decline in Finland and Other Nordic Countries
In my project, I focus on the role of fertility intentions in the recent fertility decline in the Nordic countries and explore them from psychological and demographic perspectives. In the last ten years, there has been a steep decline in the total fertility rates in the Nordic countries, with Finland exhibiting a particularly pronounced decline. The explanations for this decline are hotly debated but poorly understood. By using survey data from the Nordic countries, I investigate whether the actual fertility trends in the Nordic countries are anticipated by changes in fertility intentions. I also study how different psychosocial factors (such as values and attitudes; subjective well-being; early family environment; social networks) influence fertility intentions, and especially why people hesitate about having a first child. To understand why Finland exhibits the strongest fertility fall among the Nordic countries, I will compare psychosocial factors and fertility intentions in these countries.
I am a research psychologist working in the fields of health psychology, family psychology, public health, mental health, and fertility. My PhD in Psychology (Faculty of Medicine, University of Helsinki, 2017) was devoted to the transmission of psychosocial factors such as parent-child relationship and socioeconomic position across generations and their relation to offspring health. As a postdoc, I investigated the role of psychosocial factors in pupils’ symptoms in Finnish schools with indoor air problems (2018-2019) and heterogeneity of depression (since 2020). Currently, I am interested in the role of psychosocial factors in fertility behaviour in Finland and Europe.
- Political economy of climate change
- Environmental history of capitalism
- Political economy of sustainability transformations
- Far-right environmentalism
The Climate of the Far Right – Ideological and Materialist Articulations of Environmentalism in the Finnish and European Far Right
In my project, I study the role of the far right in the current climate and environmental crisis. I research the way the far right shapes its political and ideological agenda in a rapidly warming world where societies need to make unprecedented socio-ecological changes to mitigate global heating. To understand the current and future development of the “far-right environmentalism” in more depth, I will examine the Finnish far-right's understanding of nature, ecology, energy, and industrial organisation of nature in a longer historical perspective. I pay particular attention to the national and international crisis periods in which economic and ideological as well as environmental perceptions of political movements often face rapid reassessment. Furthermore, I analyse the differences and similarities between the environmental conceptions of the Finnish far right and the wider European far-right movement. My project contributes to the understanding of a topical and controversial tradition of environmental thinking as well as its future direction.
My initial training is in economic, social and environmental history. I am interested in the study of past and present socio-ecological transformations and environmental history of capitalism. I seek to understand social and economic conflicts and contradictions related to the environment at both the world-system and local levels. In recent years, I have turned more deeply to multidisciplinary environmental studies and researched such topics as political economy of sustainability transformations, low-carbon industrial transition, political ecology of Finnish forestry and political resistance to climate mitigation. I am an original member of the interdisciplinary BIOS Research Unit (established in 2015) and editor-in-chief of the critical and multidisciplinary journal Tiede & edistys (Science & Progress).
- Second language use
- English as a lingua franca
- Chunking and multi-word units
- Individual variation
- Complex systems
Language at the individual level: a radical usage-based approach
The language of an individual has seldom, if ever, been the primary focus of research attention. Despite the advent of the usage-based paradigm, which sees language as emergent from usage, and variationist sociolinguistics, which pays heed to the diversity of human experience, we are still for the most part interested in the ‘average man’. Using corpus linguistic and behavioural speech processing data, this research project strives to find out to which extent different individuals infer different regularities from their language experience.
Svetlana Vetchinnikova obtained her PhD in English Philology from the University of Helsinki in 2014. Since then, she worked in research projects on variation and change in English and on chunking in speech processing (PI: Prof. Anna Mauranen). More recently she was employed as a university lecturer in English Linguistics at the Department of Languages. She is author of Phraseology and the Advanced Language Learner (2019, Cambridge) and co-editor of Changing English (2017, De Gruyter) and Language Change: The Impact of English as a Lingua Franca (2020, Cambridge).
- Security threats, old and new
- Regional and global security
- Climate change
- Geopolitics of transformative technologies
- Speech act theory
- History and sociology of the international relations discipline
- Conflict theory and resolution
How to do Politics with Words: Securitization and other Speech Acts
How do some issues become “security threats” while others are matters for “risk management” and yet other are left for private priorities? This is not decided by some inherent quality of these different issues (is climate change really a security threat?), nor how we ‘perceive’ the issues. The decisive moment is an implicit negotiation of what kind of relationship to authorities we are willing to grant on this kind of issue. Should they be our protectors, our managers or get out of our way? The project will develop a theory of these different political forms and the creative act that brings them into being. It is anchored in speech act theory. This explanation of “how to do things with words” was invented by J.L.Austin in the 1950s. Philosophers of language and linguists have since ‘clarified’ the theory in ways that erased its central idea of actions that constitute new social relations. A theory of politics can be developed from speech act theory when it has been saved from the speech act theorists. Within security studies, the theory of securitization (coined by Wæver 30 years ago) has been influential and controversial. It provides lessons for how to develop speech act theory for political analysis. Now reworking its theoretical underpinnings can produce a “securitization theory 2.0.” with greater analytical precision and power
Ole Wæver is Professor of International Relations at the Department of Political Science, University of Copenhagen and founder of the research centers CAST (Centre for Advanced Security Theory) and CRIC (Centre for Resolution of International Conflicts). He coined the concept of ‘securitization’ and co-developed what is known as the Copenhagen School in security studies. Beyond security theory, his research interests include conflict analysis and conflict resolution, the history and sociology of the International Relations discipline, sociology of science, religion in international relations, climate change, politics of technology, conceptual history, and speech act theory. He has directed various research projects including currently ‘Human Rights and Peace Building’ and ‘Militarisation in Uganda’. He was on defense commissions and various other policy advisory bodies on security, climate and research policy; member of the Royal Danish Academy of Sciences and Letters; honorary doctorate from the University of Turku. Knighted
- Eighteenth-century studies
- The British empire
- Embodiment, materiality and experience
- Gender and intersectionality
- History of science
- Cultural and intellectual history
Electrifying Bodies: Electric Medicine, Gender, and Knowledge in the British Atlantic World, c.1740-1800
The eighteenth century marks a period of electricity enthusiasm, when the newly discovered principles of this miraculous natural force were being harnessed to the wonder and improvement of humanity by a horde of doctors, natural philosophers, and charlatans. This project investigates these new therapeutic uses of medical electricity in the eighteenth-century British Atlantic world from the perspective of patients’ bodily experiences and sensations. It argues that gendered and otherwise situated embodied experiences played a crucial but thus far overlooked role in the creation of eighteenth-century medical knowledge. The project employs an interdisciplinary methodology that combines historical methods with perspectives from feminist phenomenology and cognitive science. Using a variety of both patients’ accounts and scientific and popular publications as sources, the project shows that eighteenth-century scientific knowledge construction was hybridised and heterogenous, deeply embedded in tactile forms of knowing.
Dr Soile Ylivuori, FRHistS, is an early-career historian of Britain and its eighteenth-century empire. A graduate of University of Helsinki (2016), she has held a Marie Curie Research Fellowship (QMUL), a Beinecke and Lewis Walpole Libraries Research Fellowship (Yale), and an Academy of Finland Postdoctoral Fellowship (Helsinki). Her previous projects have examined questions of embodiment, material identities, and circulation of knowledge and power in the eighteenth century. She is the author of Women and Politeness in Eighteenth-Century England: Bodies, Identities, and Power (Routledge, 2019) and has published several articles in, for example, Cultural and Social History and the Historical Journal.
- Language politics
- Public policy
- Russian Federation
Russia's ethnic republics launched in the 1990s and pursued until recently the “topdown” language policies of the “revival” of their titular languages. The revivalist policies amounted to an attempt of the republics by designating their official state languages to reverse the shift of their titular ethnic groups from the native languages to Russian. The purpose of the research is to conduct an evaluation of these policies in the Finno-Ugric republics of Russia in order to assess the policy impact, understand reasons for its limits and suggest a new perspective on language revivalism. This is an interdisciplinary study that combines the perspectives of sociolinguistics, sociology of language and public policy. The study design combines qualitative and quantitative methods in a mixed-method approach in the paradigm of social constructivism. The research employs this framework for the first time in the Russian case and uses new conceptualizations to reflect the Russian multilingual realities.
Konstantin Zamyatin (PhD, Docent) is Senior Research Fellow of the Institute of Linguistics, Russian Academy of Sciences. His expertise is on language politics, ethnic politics and transborder minority politics. For more than two decades, he goes annually for fieldwork, mostly to the Russian regions, but also to Estonia, Hungary, Finland and Ukraine. He implemented several research projects, participated in larger research projects and programs in leading British and Swiss universities. He also worked as an expert, inter alia, for the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, the Ministry of Culture of Estonia and the Finnish Institute of International Affairs.