Fellows Colloquium

Fellows Colloquia are public events which take place on Mondays from 16:00 to 17:30. Their aim is to give the IWM Fellows and Guests a possibility to present their current project and discuss it with other Fellows and Guests currently at the IWM and with the broader Viennese audience. At every colloquium there is a speaker, a moderator and – if possible – a commentator. Fellows Colloquia encourage valuable interdisciplinary conversation, which is one of the aims of Fellowships at the IWM. The colloquia are also an occasion to learn about each other’s projects and begin, or continue, an intellectual exchange that would benefit each person’s research, whilst fostering a vibrant academic community at the Institute. We welcome Guests as well as Vienna based academics in this forum and expect active participation of all IWM Fellows.

May 2019

06
May
2019

What is Political Cruelty? 

“The important point for liberalism is not so much where the line is drawn,” Judith Shklar writes in a fascinating moment in her critique of cruelty, “as that it be drawn, and that it must under no circumstances be ignored or forgotten.” Where is this line? And who lives under its ambiguous constitutionality? Neither in her 1989 theses …
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April 2019

15
Apr
2019

European Universities

Universities all around the globe nowadays find themselves in an almost schizophrenic situation: highly successful and growing on one hand, yet suffering from pressure and uncertainty on the other hand. The presentation will explain how this situation is caused by problems of accountability that universities face in the age of popular democracy. Secondly, it will …
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08
Apr
2019

Vicious and Virtuous Circles in the Rural Economy of East European Borderlands (19th-20th Century)

The borderlands of Eastern Europe, that is the territories on the edges of the three empires Austro-Hungarian, Tsarist and Ottoman, remained predominantly rural in character well into the 20th century. As late as 1960 up to 40% of the population in the region still lived and worked in the countryside. The social history of the …
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01
Apr
2019

Workers’ Experiences of Post-Soviet Deindustrialisation

As the socialist project went bankrupt with the break-up of the USSR, workers were left in an ideological vacuum. It was filled either by hope-filled dreams of  successful individual adaptation to the capitalist order, or by nostalgic sentiment towards the Soviet past as a means of critiquing the present, or (on the contrary) by blaming …
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March 2019

27
Mar
2019

How Smart People Got Too Powerful and Why That Might be About to Change

There is one overarching explanation for current political discontents that is hiding in plain sight: cognitive ability—that hard to define ability that helps people to pass exams and then process information efficiently in their professional lives—has become the gold standard of human esteem. People with higher levels of cognitive ability—what one might call the cognitive …
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25
Mar
2019

Messianism and Sociopolitical Revolution in Islam

This report of my work on progress follows a new theoretical approach to the sociology of revolution offered in Revolution: Structure and Meaning in History to appear next month with regard to the motivation to revolutionary action. This approach shifts the focus of analysis from the putatively general causes of revolutions to the specific motivation …
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18
Mar
2019

Soviet Ukrainian Patriotism in Brezhnev`s Dnipropetrovsk

One of the biggest Soviet industrial centers, a city of more than a million people in southern Ukraine, Dnipropetrovsk (today Dnipro), was closed to foreigners beginning in 1959 because of the secret rocket production in the city. It was also considered ‘Brezhnev’s city’ because the first secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union …
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04
Mar
2019

How Does Scholarship Persuade?

In this talk, I will identify as one of the main sources of authority in a scholarly argument an implicit–or, in some cases, explicit–conversion narrative.  This narrative, in which the scholar confronts evidence that compels him or her to a conclusion very different from the expected one, is at the core of scholarship as such, and …
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February 2019

25
Feb
2019

Democracy and Conspiracy

We live in an age of both informational excess and epistemic poverty. More sources of knowledge than ever are accessible to an ever greater number of people, but this accessibility has created an environment in which manipulation, propaganda, neurotic scrutiny and mild paranoia flourish. Drawing on research about conspiracy theories and their communities, this talk …
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18
Feb
2019

Real Existing Post-Socialism

In the colloquium Muriel Blaive will outline her book project on memory politics in the Czech Republic. She will especially ponder on the conflation between memory and commemoration, research and activism, history and politics. The talk will broach five aspects: 1) the totalitarian paradigm adapted to the post-1989 Czech terrain; 2) an epistemology of the …
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11
Feb
2019

Modern Cruelty

This lecture is part of a research project which is focused on discourses on cruelty that means on a form of an organized speech that legitimates cruelty as a positive or at least as an unavoidable element of life and is essential for male identity. It is connected with a ‘realism’ arguing that cruelty is …
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January 2019

28
Jan
2019

Marx, Colonialism, and India

The ways in which the colony features in Marx’s thoughts as an object of knowledge also make the  colony a part of the global history of capital, and goes beyond the usual binary of colonialism/nationalism or colony/nation. It also forces us to think of associated questions of primitive accumulation, borders, universalism, concrete, etc. Colonies were …
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21
Jan
2019

Pflegerinnen: Migrant Women in Domestic Care

New forms of solidarity have emerged among Eastern European migrants working in domestic care in Western countries. Far from their families and often working in isolated places, these women rely a lot on social media. They are part of several Facebook groups, where they find useful information, learn about their rights and how to navigate …
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14
Jan
2019

Beyond the “Power of the Powerless“

A closer look onto the intellectual context of Havel’s famous essay reveals that, among Czechoslovakian dissidents, there were more serious critiques of his piece than outspoken supporters. The fact that Havel became an iconic figure of the 1989’s revolution and the successive road towards freedom makes it difficult to look impartially on the discourse of …
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