1st open faculty research seminar
Sept. 8, Lenina st., 23, room 501, 17.00 – 21.00
Free admission, everyone is welcome. The seminar is conducted in English.
(PhD in Physics, Université de Marseille; PhD in Philosophy, University of Montreal)
“Does Chance Hide Necessity? An investigation at the interface of philosophy and physics”
In this presentation I will investigate the ancient philosophical question: does every event have a cause, necessitating its occurrence, or are there some events that happen by pure chance, without cause? This debate (determinism versus indeterminism) is philosophical, but it can meaningfully be related to recent findings in quantum physics. I will argue that physics and philosophy are solidly intertwined in this matter, and that progress in *both* fields is only possible through a dialogue. If time is left, I will also address the concept of probability, which quantifies indeterminism. Although the mathematics of probability is well known (notably thanks to the work of Andrey Kolmogorov and the famous Russian school), the interpretation of probability – its meaning beyond mathematics – is highly debated. I will argue that this concept can throw new light on the determinism versus indeterminism debate.
(PhD in History, Harvard University)
“Return of the Hanseatic League or how the Baltic Sea trade helped to end the Cold War, 1945-1991”
This presentation will summarize the main findings of the dissertation that I defended at Harvard University, Department of History in May 2017. The archival research for the dissertation was carried out in Germany, Poland, Lithuania, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Russia, and the United States, in five languages. In essence, the presentation will shed light on the Cold War trade politics in the Baltic region, especially in the 1970s and 1980s. The main seaport cities it deals with are, from West to East: Rostock
(PhD in History, University of Kansas)
“Becoming a Schismatic: The Concepts of the “Schism” and “Schismatic” in the Church and State Discourses of Seventeenth and Eighteenth-century Russia”
My research explores the role of language in the identification and consequent persecution of Russian religious dissent, known as the “Schism” (Raskol), or the Old Belief (staroverie). In this presentation, I challenge the validity of the concept of the “Schism” itself since its meaning changed dramatically over the decades and centuries following its inception. What started in the seventeenth century as the language of ecclesiastical ostracism and stigmatization, had by the beginning of the eighteenth century transformed into the language of social order and discipline. From the mid-eighteenth century, the concept of “Schism” was linked directly to the doctrine of religious toleration, which the Russian elite adopted from the French Enlightenment.
(PhD in Performance Studies, University of California, Davis)
“We are petroleum”
“We are Petroleum” is a practices-as-research participatory performance experiment created to research how North Americans conceptualize their relationships with petroleum. During the performance participants, read aloud emulations of Gwich’in diplomatic testimony about being caribou people. In the emulations, the text is the same except the word “caribou” has been replaced with “petroleum.” The Gwich’in are an indigenous people whose homelands are in northeastern Alaska and northwestern Canada. For decades, they have been preventing oil and gas development in the calving grounds of the Porcupine Caribou herd. The herd sustains them and their identity. This essay examines the original Gwich’in testimony and the performance emulating their testimony to cast petroleum-human relations in terms of caribou-Gwich’in relations. The essay and performance use indigenous theories of law and ecological figuration to provoke considering petroleum relations as substantive kinship, structuring legal order, and a cosmology.