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Regular version of the site

Situating the ‘Global’ in Contemporary Humanities



The concept of the ‘global’ gained currency since the 1980s in the emergent paradigms of global history and the anthropology of globalisation, and the critique of comparative perspectives in area studies and literary scholarship. How is the global as a matter of academic concern interlinked with the globalisation after the end of the Cold War and more recent geopolitical, and ecological realities — as well as with the globalisation of the humanities and social sciences themselves? What are some of the contours of global networks, cultural flows and hierarchies which we explore — and in which we are also implicated as scholars, authors and teachers? How do academics react to the globalisation of politics of knowledge in different countries and regions? Discussing these issues is the goal of the first annual conference of the School of Arts and Humanities of the HSE St Petersburg.


Conference highlights include:

•  Key note address “The Human Touch: Why the Humanities are Needed for Global Environmental Change, and How” by Poul Holm (Trinity College, Dublin), a pioneer in environmental history of the oceans, the director of the Trinity Centre for Environmental Humanities and Vice-Chair of the Humanities of Academia Europea.

•  Panels and round table discussions on the global history of empires, environmental humanities, digital art, Marr’s linguistics and anthropological museums.

•  Roundtable on globalisation of academic knowledge by editors of the journals American Ethnologist, Social Anthropology/Anthropologie Sociale, Ab Imperio and Laboratorium, followed by the presentation of the new editorial team of the Social Anthropology/Anthropologie Sociale, the journal of the European Association of Social Anthropologists (EASA) and their first issue of this journal.

•  Screening of “Cloudberries” (2019, 22 min) film by Ruth Maclennan (Official Selection BFI London Film Festival 2019 - Experimenta Strand - World premiere)


Conference programme and paper abstracts are enclosed




17 October:

15:30 opening (room 302)

      16:00 Roundtable “Global histories of Empire” with Federica Morelli (U Turin), Alexander Semyonov, Nikolai Ssorin-Chaikov, Tatiana Borisova, Evgenii Khval’kov (HSE);

     Presentation of the MA “Global and regional history” (HSE St Petersburg)


       18:30 Plenary session (room 302)

Key note address: Poul Holm (Trinity College, Dublin), “The Human Touch: Why the Humanities are Needed for Global Environmental Change, and How”

“Cloudberries” (2019, 22 min) film by Ruth Maclennan (U of the Arts, London) Official Selection BFI London Film Festival 2019 - Experimenta Strand - World premiere


18 October

11:00-17:00 Parallel panels:


Panel 1.“Environmental Humanities” 18 October 11:00-17:00 (room 414)

•   Per Högselius (KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden) “From uranium to water: reinterpreting resource scarcity in the history of nuclear energy”

•   Achim Klüppelberg (KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden), “Nuclear Decision-making in the Soviet Union: Investigating Water in Expert Cultures Concerned with the Siting of Nuclear Power Plants”

•   Alexandra Bekasova (HSE St Petersburg), “From ‘Stepson of Nature’ to Valuable Industrial Resource: Limestone in Russia, 1870-1920s”

•   Roger Norum (University of Oulu, Finland) and Alessandro Rippa (University of Colorado at Boulder, USA), “Environing Global Infrastructure Locally: China’s ‘green’ Belt and Road development in Southeast Asia”

•   Amanda Bosworth (Cornell University), “Environmental Diplomacy in the North Pacific: How the Fur Seal Organized Nations as a Boundary Object/Subject, 1867-1911”

•   Natalia Maksimishina (Central European University), “Never Mind the Sun, Comrade, It’s We Who Are the Bosses: Time and Temporality in the Soviet Arctic in the 1930s”

•   Julia Lajus (HSE St Petersburg) and Alexey Kraikovski (HSE St Petersburg), “‘The Space of Blue and Gold’: The Nature and Environment of Solovki Islands in History and Heritage”


Panel 2: “Ethnographic Museum in the Optics of the Anthropology of Globalisation” 18 October 11:00-17:00 (rooms 221 and 413)

•   Andrey Golovnev (Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography “Kunstkamera”, RAS), “Exhibiting the Atlas of Nomadic Technologies”

•   Svetlana Adonieva (St Petersburg State U), “Ethnographic Museum as Taxonomy: Ethnic Self-Identification as a Process”

•   Polina Vanevskaia (HSE Moscow), “Constructing India in Contemporary Museum Spaces in St. Petersburg”

•   Valentin Diaconov (Garage Museum of Contemporary Art, Moscow), “Museum of Digital Poverty: How do class and inequality manifest in the ethnographic display?”

•   Han Vermeulen (Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology), “Leibniz’s Ethnolinguistics and Russian Ethnographic Expeditions from Müller to Boas”

•   Nikolai Ssorin-Chaikov (HSE St Petersburg), “The gift order of things: empire, territory and museum collections of the Nicholas II trip to the East”

•   Stanislav Petriashin (Russian Museum of Ethnography), “Soviet Family of Nations”: The Quest for Coevalness in Stalinist Ethnographic Museums”


Panel 3: “Turning the Digital Turn in the History of Art” 18 October 11:00-17:00 (room 409)

Benjamin Binstock, Center for Advancement of Visual Technologies in Art History (Amsterdam) “Turning the Digital: An Imaginary Rembrandt Museum and Imaginary Vermeer Museum”

•   Margarita Kuleva (HSE St Petersburg), “Data (In)sensibilities”

•   Panos Kompatsiaris (HSE Moscow), “Mapping Artistic Networks in Post- Biennials”

•   Bruno Moreschi (Innovation Center of the University of São Paulo), “Institutional critique 2.0 - Artistic Experiences in Artificial Intelligence Systems”

•   Margarita Skomorokh (Laboratory for Computer Games Research, St Petersburg), “Moving / Touching / Seeing: Haptic Vision in Digital Games”

•   Victor Kudryashov (Media Materia, St Petersburg), “How art speculates future”


Panel 4 “Language, Thought and Material Culture: Legacies of the Leningrad School of Typology and its Context in History of Ideas” 18 October 11:00-13:30 (room 413)

•   Evgenii Golovko (Institute of Linguistics, RAS) TBA

•   Alexander Dmitriev (HSE Miscow), “Philology's departure and return: searching for the last century's intellectual identity”

•   Boris Gasparov (HSE St Petersburg), “Marr and Saussure: one hundred years later”

•   Nikolai Vakhtin (EUSPb), “St Petersburg studies of languages and peoples of the North and its demise”

•   Ekaterina Velmesova (U Lausanne), “Nikolay Marr’s heritage: new venues for research”


    17:30  Roundtable “Globalization of Academic Knowledge” (room 414)

Panelists: Sarah Green (U of Helsinki, chair of EASA, the European Association of Social Anthropologists); Niko Besnier (U of Amsterdam, outgoing editor-in-chief of American Ethnologist); Alexander Semyonov (HSE St Petersburg, editor-in-chief of Ab Imperio); Elena Bogdanova (Centre for Independent Sociological Research, editor-in-chief of Laboratorium); Laia Soto Bermant and Nikolai Ssorin-Chaikov (U of Helsinki and HSE St Petersburg respectively, coeditors-in-chief of Social Anthropology / Anthropologie Sociale); Igor Fediukin (HSE Moscow); Aleksandra Kasatkina (Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography “Kunskamera”/HSE St Petersburg)

Presentation of the new editorial team of the Social Anthropology/Anthropologie Sociale, the journal of the European Association of Social Anthropologists (EASA) and their first issue of this journal. Editorial team: Nikolai Ssorin-Chaikov, Laia Soto Bermant, Lukas Lay, Jeanne Kormina



19 October

Roundtable “Citizenship and Empire” (10:00-12:00) (room 118)

Panelists: Sergey Glebov (Amherst and Smith), Frank Gruener (U Bielefeld), Alexander Semyonov (HSE St Petersburg) and Federica Morelli (University of Turin).


Panel “Russian Empire and the History of Animals” (12:30-14:30) (room 118)

•   Anton Kotenko (HSE St Petersburg), “Zoological garden as an imperial institution”

•   Marina Loskutova (HSE St Petersburg), “Honey harvesting and forestry in the Russian empire in the 19century”

•   Anastasia Fedotova (S.I. Vavilov Institute of History of Sciences and Technology, RAS) “European bison in museums: why (animal) history matters?”


Conference program: Conference Programme (PDF, 166 Кб) 

Conference website: https://spb.hse.ru/en/humart/globalhum/

Contacts: Nikolai Ssorin-Chaikov (nssorinchaikov@hse.ru)