Event invitation: Three sessions of the Tartu Conference on Russian and East European Studies open to the public

The Sixth Annual Tartu Conference on Russian and East European Studies on 12–14 June 2022, invites everyone interested to attend three open sessions.

A keynote address by Prof Vitaly Chernetsky (University of Kansas):

Confronting Epistemic Injustice: Ukraine as a Challenge to Our Field

If there is a common thread in the world’s reaction to Ukraine’s spirited resistance to Russia’s renewed invasion since February 24, 2022, it is surprise. Ukraine defied expectations, providing numerous examples of dignity under pressure, social initiative and organization, support of the war effort as well as aiding the displaced and the wounded. The broader Western, let alone international, expert community had to admit that it knew and understood little about Ukraine, had a habit of recycling uncritically absorbed stereotypes and ideological talking points, many of them of Russian imperialist origin, and in its soul-searching had to admit to a history of marginalizing Ukrainian studies and ignoring or dismissing Ukrainian voices. In other words, there was an entrenched pattern of epistemic injustice towards Ukraine. At the same time, the Russian military assault against Ukraine was prepared and accompanied by a campaign of epistemic violence against Ukraine, attacking its integrity and legitimacy and denying its agency. Thus the horrors of this war, in addition to the atrocities perpetrated by the Russian army, revealed a deep ethical and intellectual challenge affecting the very essence of academic inquiry in Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies. This talk is an invitation to our academic community to join in the project of confronting and undoing epistemic injustice towards Ukraine and considering the broader implications of this much-needed process through which our field needs to go.

The session will be moderated by Siobhan Kattago (University of Tartu)

The event will take place on Sunday 12 June at 18:00–20:00 at Ülikooli 18, Assembly Hall of the University of Tartu, or can also be followed online at www.uttv.ee.

A keynote address by Prof Andrea Pető (Central European University):

Lessons Learned from Gendering Illiberalism

This talk aims to analyze the complex relationship between gender and illiberalism, discussing reasons why both illiberalism and the category of gender are difficult to grasp. It argues that the present form of illiberalism is a joint result of the structural failures of the European (neo)liberal democratic project, the dark legacy of European history, and the complexities of the concept of gender. It reviews the recent research on how illiberal governance is produced and sustained on the level of ideology, discourse, strategies, policies, and financial operations that have come engaged with these issues from different directions. It explains that the ‘illiberal offer’ is widely attractive because it allows for identification with the individual’s own choices and promises a safe and secure community as a remedy for individualism and social atomization. Lastly, the talk argues that gender works as a kind of ‘symbolic glue’ for illiberal states. It concludes that illiberalism should not be perceived as a revival of authoritarianism, but rather a new form of governance resting on previous democratic concepts and institutions – all of them are gendered – and warns about the consequences of illiberal science policies.

The event will take place on Monday, 13 June at 16:30-18:00 at Ülikooli 18, Assembly Hall of the University of Tartu, or can also be followed online at www.uttv.ee.

Ukraine: What has it taught the world and what can we do to secure a better future?

The roundtable will discuss the reasons why it took an outbreak of a major war for Ukrainian voices to be taken seriously by large parts of the academic and policy community, and on the lessons that must be drawn from Russia’s aggression and Ukraine’s heroic resistance.

The roundtable will be chaired by Dmytro Khutkyy (University of Tartu).

The team of presenters will include Vitaly Chernetsky (University of Kansas), Olga Matveieva (University of Tartu/ Dnipro University of Technology), Elżbieta Olzacka (Jagiellonian University), Bettina Renz (University of Nottingham).

The event will take place on Tuesday, 14 June at 17:00 at Lossi 36, room 214.

Everyone interested is welcome to attend the sessions!

The full conference programme can be accessed here.

Forwarded by  Fidan Vali, Communication Specialist, fidan.vali@ut.ee