Author:
Nele Tammeaid

Unique winter school unravels the interactions between humanity and planet survival

From 29 January to 2 February, the international winter school "Survivance and Survival:  Theory and Method" will focus on the question of the survival of humanity by looking at it from the perspective of the humanities. The preservation of languages, cultural memory and related critique, and cultural narratives will be explored. The winter school will host both Estonian and foreign experts, whose public lectures are open to everyone interested.

"Public debates often discuss the survival of languages, species, peoples and even of the entire planet. We intend to start a dialogue between these mostly negative debates and the concept of survivance proposed by Native American writer Gerald Vizenor. Besides tragedy and disappearance, it is also necessary to emphasise the power of action and creativity that we can use to solve the crises ahead,“ explained Raili Marling, Professor of English.

The public lectures will highlight the current issues in historical relations between countries as one of the most special topics seldom discussed in Estonia. Sociologist and social anthropologist Łucja Piekarska-Duraj from the Jagiellonian University in Kraków will talk about interpreting populist policies of memory and returning postcolonial heritage. Magdalena Zolkos, Associate Professor at the University of Jyväskylä, will examine the interactions between relational memory and respect for the living cultural heritage of indigenous peoples.

An acute topic in the Estonian public sphere, which is also related to memory and heritage, is the fate of the Uralic languages spoken in Russia, introduced by Professor Petar Kehayov from the University of Tartu. Professor Julia Sallabank from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) at the University of London will also focus on the preservation of languages in modern culture, deliberating in her lecture how to relate to colonial heritage in the process of language revival.

Sonja Dümpelmann, Professor at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München who studies the cultural layers of urban landscapes, will delve even deeper into the topic of sustainable development of our planet. The questions of urban occupancy, but from the angle of a cultural phenomenon, will also be addressed by Annie McClanahan, Associate Professor at the University of California, Irvine, whose research focuses on gigworkers – an increasing workforce also in Estonia – and the associated culture of control.

Inspired by the theme of the European Capital of Culture Tartu 2024, the winter school explores different cultural scenarios and practices from the perspective of the humanities: for example, the preservation of languages, cultural memory and related critique, and cultural narratives, to which solutions will be proposed in lectures, seminars, workshops, and roundtables.

The winter school is hosted by the University of Tartu; the project "Cooperation between universities to promote doctoral studies" (2021–2027.4.04.24-0003) is co-funded by the European Union. The event is organised in cooperation with Europaeum, a network of leading European universities, with 25 participants from member universities.

More information about the public lectures and speakers is available on the event website.

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