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.

December 2019

09
Dec
2019

30 Jahre nach dem Staatssozialismus: Zehn aktive Baustellen

Eine Generation nach dem Ende des europäischen Staatssozialismus – von vielen erhofft, von wenigen vorausgesagt – ist eine Zwischenbilanz an der Zeit. Die anfangs gehegte Erwartung, dass sich in Mittel- und Osteuropa die vermeintliche Normalität des demokratischen Kapitalismus nach westlichem Muster etablieren würde, war von Anfang an naiv. Worin bestehen die aktuellen Probleme von Gesellschaften, …
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November 2019

25
Nov
2019

Ukraine’s Search for Identity and Heroes

Since the Lenins fell after the Maidan Revolution, Ukraine has been looking for new heroes to replace him on his pedestal, and for a national story to unite around as a way to break with Russian President Vladimir Putin’s “Russian world.” Ian Bateson will talk about his reporting over the past five years, from his …
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18
Nov
2019

People­—Things—People

In materialistic utopias, things only unite people, not divide them. Such happy lands are free from market exchange and, consequently, redistributive procedures. Instead, the goods people need are rationed by the government, or decommodified and exchanged between friends, or abundant and free for everyone. No wonder the 2008 crisis and digital technology progress has made …
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11
Nov
2019

How Did We Get from “Love Me Do” to Donald Trump?

In this colloquium, Evgenyi Dainov presents his project which is an analysis of the ideas that motivated societal processes from 1962 to 2016 in Europe, the USA and other relevant places. Using a Hegelian methodology, the analysis concentrates primarily on rock music as the privileged arena for the Zeitgeist throughout most of the period under …
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October 2019

28
Oct
2019

The Soviet Abortion Decree of 1920 and the Next Hundred Years of the Abortion Controversy

In the early 20th century, doctors turned abortion into a highly politicized topic that allowed them to debate the essential “illness” and large-scale “cures” of the late Russian Empire. In 1920, the Bolshevik decree “On the Protection of Women’s Health” was the first in the world to legalize abortion, and it became the hallmark of …
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21
Oct
2019

Deus Malignus

In the context of what is called digitalization we are witnessing a stunning renaissance of an uncritical, almost metaphysical understanding of thinking machines. Alan Turing, however, in his famous article “Computing Machinery and Intelligence”, made it quite clear from the outset that the metaphysical question of whether machines are capable of thinking must be replaced …
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14
Oct
2019

How Could Art Reflect on Trauma?

How do you make art about someone else’s traumatic past? What would you say to explain the victim’s experience to others, and where would you stop your story? And what would change if you yourself belong to the traumatized group whose story you are telling? Would your evidence be credible, or will it automatically be …
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07
Oct
2019

Recollections of the American Half-Century

Now a Visiting Scholar at Harvard’s Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies, Ambassador Simons spent most of his U.S. Foreign Service career (1963-1998) working in East-West relations.  In October 1986 he was part of the U.S. team at the Reagan-Gorbachev meeting in Reykjavik: he was in fact the U.S. notetaker on the Sunday afternoon …
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September 2019

30
Sep
2019

Europe’s Futures Colloquium IV

The Many Faces of Sustainable Work, Wealth, Health, and Welfare The project will deal with a topic I have been working on long since – The Varieties and Fragility of Sustainable Work, Wealth, Health, and Welfare. It will focus on public lectures and new publications aimed at translating complex findings from theory and comparative empirical research into …
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23
Sep
2019

Europe’s Futures Colloquium III

The EU’s strategic sovereignty in times of contestation Ten years ago, the Lisbon Treaty promised a stronger, more coherent and more effective EU foreign and security policy. This anniversary comes at a time when the Union is confronted with rising internal and external obstacles as well as expectations. The EU’s neighbourhood is characterised by conflict …
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16
Sep
2019

Europe’s Futures Colloquium II

The Emigration Dynamics in the Western Balkans How can record highs in the emigration of qualified people from the Western Balkans be beneficial for the region and its prosperity and future growth? Tapping into 6 million strong diaspora may offer some answers. Engaging with diaspora is critical not only to help consolidate the regional economic …
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09
Sep
2019

Europe’s Futures Colloquium I

Illiberal Regression of Democracy as an Opportunity for Political Extremism: The Case of post-Communist Slovakia The working hypothesis of the project is a consideration that no less important factor of the growth of right-wing radicalism in Slovakia is – besides ethno-politics and social deprivation – a  illiberal regression in the execution of power by mainstream …
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June 2019

03
Jun
2019

Dilemmas of Popular Sovereignty: Tocqueville’s Perspective

Might a 19th century thinker help us grapple with political dilemmas of the 21st? This talk brings Tocqueville to bear on liberal democracy’s present discontents by exploring his understanding of popular sovereignty and its ramifications for democratic politics. While Tocqueville embraced popular sovereignty as an abstract principle and American practice, he also diagnosed its inherent …
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May 2019

27
May
2019

European Elections 2019: The Day After

European elections represent the biggest electoral contest in Europe. But since the first votes in 1979, turnout in European parliament elections has been declining ever since. Could anything be different this time? One of the most important tests for the future of the EU seems to be the next European elections. These are the first …
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13
May
2019

The East/West Within

Austrian Jews under the Habsburg crown came to be perceived and to perceive themselves as sharply divided by an imaginary boundary between East and West. The presumption of a more traditional and insular Jewish communal life in Galicia, in particular, in contrast to the assimilated Judaism of cities like Prague and Vienna, resulted at times …
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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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