Events 2022-23

All seminars and other events are open to the public unless otherwise indicated.
The events are held in the Thunberg Lecture Hall unless otherwise indicated.
In many cases (but not all) it is also possible to attend via Zoom Webinar.
Please see below for detailed information about each event.

30 May, 2:15 p.m. SEMINAR - HYBRID EVENT
Wally V. Cirafesi, Pro Futura Scientia Fellow, SCAS
Researcher in New Testament Exegesis, Lund University
Ancient Synagogues and the Early History of Jewish – Christian Relations
Zoom Webinar:
By the time of the Byzantine–Islamic transition in Palestine in the seventh century, after hundreds of
years of religious rhetoric from the mouths and pens of Christian literary elite, the concept of “the
synagogue” had been firmly constructed as an irreconcilable rival to Christianity and “the church.”
Although forged in antiquity, this totalizing portrait of “the synagogue” has had remarkable staying
power. It has penetrated centuries of modern scholarship, and it continues to this day to function
as the basic point of departure in historical research on the New Testament and the so-called
“parting of the ways” between Judaism and Christianity. Indeed, despite the recent growth in syna-
gogue studies as an academic discipline, it remains the case that precious little attention has been paid
to how the diverse social and material realities of synagogues impacted the formation of Jewish and
Christian identities and their interaction in the first seven centuries of the Common Era. In this talk,
I will introduce my current research project, which attempts to rethink this so-called “irreconcilable
rivals” paradigm by considering the complex role ancient synagogues played as sites, rhetorical and
real, of Christian hostility and participation. When we consider a broad range of source material––
archaeology, literary texts, law codes, and others—the picture we get of ancient synagogues in this
period is far from the ethnically and culturally bound institution that it is often assumed to be. Rather,
it is a picture of a diverse institution that remained deeply engaged with its cultural surroundings,
underwent a variety of changes, and played an important role in the development of both Judaism
and Christianity, from the time of the earliest Jesus movement through Late Antiquity.

The Invasion of Ukraine: Impacts on World Agricultural Markets of a Large Production Loss,
One Year Later

Torbjörn Jansson, Fredrik Wilhelmsson
Zoom Webinar:
When Russia launched its large-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, international agricultural
commodity prices soared, creating turmoil on markets and raising fears of widespread famine. Using
a simulation model to estimate the likely short-term impacts of a significant production loss in Ukraine,
researchers at AgriFood Economics Centre at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU)
and Lund University found price effects that were much smaller than the ones observed on the agri-
cultural commodity markets. Reduction in exports from Ukraine was thus not sufficient to explain the
soaring agricultural commodity prices. Other explanations contributed to the price surge in 2022. What
were the reasons for this development?

In this CUSP Lecture, Torbjörn Jansson and Fredrik Wilhelmsson at AgriFood discuss how the invasion
of Ukraine has impacted – and not impacted – consumer food prices and supply, in the EU and globally.

Download flyer >> (PDF)

16 May, 2:15 p.m. SEMINAR - HYBRID EVENT
Carol Upadhya, Fellow, SCAS.
Visiting Professor, School of Social Sciences, National Institute of Advanced Studies,
Assetizing the Future: The Politics of Land and Development in an Indian New City Project
Zoom Webinar:
Land has returned to the center of debates on capitalism, urbanization, and global development
across several disciplines, including anthropology, geography, critical agrarian studies, urban
studies and political economy, and from multiple theoretical perspectives. In this presentation,
I discuss the contemporary ‘land question’ in the context of an urban mega-project in southern
India, where I have been conducting ethnographic research for the past ten years. In 2014, a new
capital city for Andhra Pradesh, Amaravati, was planned as an ultra-modern ‘greenfield city’ that
would also serve as the state’s key ‘engine’ of economic growth. The project consumed 35,000
acres of agricultural land, disrupting the lives and livelihoods of 100,000 people living in the 29 rural
villages encompassed by the master plan. In the presentation, I trace how the values, meanings and
affordances of land were altered through the imagination, planning and execution of the Amaravati
project and following its collapse in 2019. As the farmers who gave up their land to build a new
capital participated in this spectacular urban imaginary, they began to strategize, politically and
financially, to construct new futures as propertied urban citizens—especially by ensuring the future
value of their compensation plots. More broadly, I argue that in this case, the transformation of
agricultural holdings into urban property through land pooling represents not just the assetization
of land, but also the creation of a new kind of fictitious asset. These dematerialized plots of land
began to circulate within a regionally embedded transnational property market, creating new
avenues for accumulation as well as ‘dispossession’ as the risks of this speculative mode of
development were transferred to the farmers. Finally, I reflect on what the Amaravati story may
contribute to current debates on neoliberal development policies, urbanization, and the politics and
values of land in India and the global South.

9 May, 2:15 p.m. SEMINAR - HYBRID EVENT
Paul-André Bempéchat, Artist-in-Residence, SCAS.
Artist-Scholar, Institut Culturel de Bretagne.
Research Associate, Harvard University
Composer-Admiral-Scientist, Polymath Jean Cras: Conciliator between Art and Science,
Classicism and Impressionism

Zoom Webinar:
Jean Cras (1879-1932) was a remarkable man by anyone's measure. Twice a decorated hero of
the Great War, this Rear-Admiral of the French navy, scientist, inventor and moral philosopher,
was also a highly esteemed composer during his lifetime, enjoying the same stature and celebrity
as Fauré, Debussy and Ravel. Only since the centenary of his birth have both Cras and his music
gained the recognition and acclaim they once enjoyed.  Through his compositions, Cras strikes
the delicate balance between Celtic folk idioms and exoticisms inspired by his travels. His creative
legacy extends beyond the world of music to the world of science. His five patented inventions
include the navigational ruler-compass which bears his name, still in use to this day by the French
navy, coast guard and boating afficionados, marking this composer as a true Renaissance man of
the twentieth century.

5 May, 1:30 p.m. SYMPOSIUM
Nobel Symposium NS191: Efficient Light to Electric Power Conversion for a Renewable
Energy Future

Open session: Solar Cells Producing Power at Large Scale
Venue: Heinz-Otto Kreiss Lecture Hall, Ångström Laboratory, Uppsala University

This symposium is taking place during three days, with two and a half days dedicated to talks
and scientific discussions with invited high-level scientists and young excellent researchers, and
one afternoon with a broader scope, open to the public. The Nobel Foundation’s symposium
activities were initiated in 1965. Since 2019, the symposia are administrated by the Royal Swedish
Academy of Sciences and the Norwegian Nobel Committee and are dedicated to scientific areas
with recent break-throughs, or of primary cultural or social significance.

Pre-registration is required by 2nd May at the latest: Registration >>
Download the programme >> (PDF)
The symposium is organized by the Swedish Collegium for Advanced Study and Uppsala

Nobel Symposium NS191: Efficient Light to Electric Power Conversion for a Renewable
Energy Future

By invitation only.

2 May, 2:15 p.m. SEMINAR
Skylab Sahu, Barbro Klein Fellow, SCAS.
Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science, Miranda House, University of Delhi
Migration, Labour and Precarity in the Informal Sector in India
Zoom Webinar: N/A
India is at the crossroads of paradoxical development. On the one hand, it is one of the fast-growing
economies; on the other hand, the country is faring poorly in the human development index. As per
the National Sample Survey, 28.5 per cent of the population in India are internal migrants, of which
a considerable number work mainly as casual wage employees in the informal sector. Odisha is a
poor state, and many tribal and Schedule Caste from Western Odisha lack opportunities to work in
the vicinity and ensure their livelihood. They are forced to migrate and work as low-paid labourers
in other states in India. The primary research conducted in Odisha found that the recruitment process
under debt bondage was a modern form of slavery. The labourers worked in precarious conditions,
unacceptably for long hours, with no freedom of movement, and poor living conditions with no basic
amenities assured in the workplace. Labourers, in general, and women workers, in particular, faced
various health issues and occupational hazards. Women remained the worst sufferers of sexual
harassment, rape and death.

The presence of a State for the labourers remains ‘passive governance’ as it often gets content by
creating various legal provisions without adequate implementation and having a bureaucracy claiming
to work for the welfare of the people, farmers and workers. In the process, the state has enabled
maintaining the domination of the economic system, which is more favourable to the capitalists.   

27 April, 2:15 p.m. LECTURE - HYBRID EVENT
Michael Clarke, Professor, Department of Classics, University of Galway
Vernacular Becomes Classical: Greek and Celtic Perspectives on Poems and Manuscripts
Zoom Webinar:
This paper is concerned with the culture of authority in the history of European languages. The
starting-point is the strange fact that the presentation of poetry in medieval Irish manuscripts
physically resembles that seen in Byzantine Greek manuscripts (e.g. those of Lycophron) much
more closely than one would expect. I take as a case study the mysterious Old Irish poem Am
gaeth i mmuir
"I am a wind upon the sea", and explore issues concerning metaphor, metonymy,
and riddling obscurity that are raised by the poem and answered in the commentary materials in
the surviving manuscripts. This will be considered as an unusually early example of the trans-
formation of a vernacular into a "new book language", to use the terminology developed by Lars
Boje Mortensen for parallel developments in Norse, Old French, and other languages. 

The lecture is organized in collaboration with Greek studies and the Celtic Section at Uppsala

25 April, 2:15 p.m. SEMINAR - HYBRID EVENT
Mara R. Wade, Fellow, SCAS.
Professor of German, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
From Digital Humanities to the Emblem Book as album amicorum
Zoom Webinar:
Digital and traditional research are not mutually exclusive but reciprocal forms of conducting
research that mutually enrich each other. More than two decades of research for the web
resource Emblematica Online revealed that the decentralized “open source” model, a hallmark
of our technology today, can inform research about social practices of emblematics. By studying
how creators of emblems manipulated this genre’s “open source code” of motto, image, and
epigram to link diverse communities, I am able to reframe critical questions about the semantic
interplay of texts and images across early modern European society. Informed by concepts of
networking, linked open data, open source code, and the semantic web of knowledge, my digital
research inspired a new framework for the traditional scholarly monograph. A Social History of
the Renaissance Emblem
analyzes how a broad set of cultural practices emerged in the 16th century
through which emblems became critical to the fabric of social communication. The presentation
highlights four of these practices, and then examines the emblem book as an album amicorum as
a case study to illustrate the new approach to emblem studies.

18 April, 2:15 p.m. SEMINAR - HYBRID EVENT
Mathieu Grenet, Fellow, SCAS.
Assistant Professor of History, Institut national universitaire (INU) Champollion, Albi.
Junior Member, Institut universitaire de France
Servants of (at Least) Two Masters? Consuls between Multiple Allegiances and Exclusive
Loyalty, 17th-18th Centuries

Zoom Webinar:
What did it actually mean to represent a country, a polity or a prince, in the early modern period?
My research focuses on the social history of state service and officeholding, with a particular
emphasis on lower-ranking actors of international relations and diplomacy. I am especially interested
in the overlapping representation of different countries, a recurring yet overlooked phenomenon in
an age deemed “pre-national”. The aim of this research is to understand what led individuals to seek
the accumulation of consular offices from different powers, and how they legitimized their stance;
what types of political and social reconfigurations they induced locally; and lastly, how they contri-
buted to contemporary discussions about the sovereignty of the state, the loyalty of its subjects or
citizens, legal pluralism, ‘public good’ and ‘private interests’, as well as so-called ‘national’ affiliations.
It is in fact important to understand just how multiple loyalties were combined and interrelated,
especially when they were regularly suspected of being mutually exclusive.

30 March, 9:45 a.m. SYMPOSIUM - HYBRID EVENT
Indo-European Afterlife
Zoom Webinar:
With this symposium, we wish to shed some light on the notion of death and afterlife among
early Indo-European populations. Ritual funeral practices have left obvious traces in the
archaeological record and are described in great detail in several early IE texts. The challenge
of this symposium is to identify a possible common background for these notions and practices.
Are these parallels merely examples of analogical significance or can we uncover some unique
unifying cultural traits? The aim of this symposium is to create an interface between different
disciplines gathering data from various sources – archaeological as well as textual – in order
to build up a common basic vocabulary of poetic expressions, mythological concepts and
ritual activities involving mourning and preparing the diseased for the afterlife.

Download the programme >> (PDF)
The symposium will be followed by a reception.
Pre-registration is required for the physical event by 23 March 2023 at the latest.

This is an event of the research programme LAMP – Languages and Myths of Prehistory and
the Centre for Studies in Indo-European Language and Culture at Stockholm University, in
collaboration with SCAS.

23 March, 9:15 a.m. SYMPOSIUM - ONLINE EVENT
Going from Haunting Images of the Past to Positive Images of the Future: Interdisciplinary
Perspectives on Emotion, Memory and Mental Imagery

Zoom Webinar:
Mental images - the images we ‘see’ in our mind’s eye - have a powerful impact on our emotions,
and allow us to time travel, dream and imagine alternative possibilities as ‘flash forwards’. Mal-
adaptive forms of mental imagery are common across psychological disorders - from distressing
intrusive memories (‘flashbacks’) after trauma to a lack of positive mental images about the future
in depression. This international symposium aims to stimulate interdisciplinary thinking about mental
images, its fundamental nature as well as potential for psychological treatment innovation by bringing
together experts on mental imagery from a range of different domains.

Download the programme >> (PDF)(updated 20 March)
Please note that this is an online event only.

The symposium is organized as part of the Natural Sciences Fellowship Programme (Human
Brains & Societies).

21 March, 2:15 p.m. SEMINAR - HYBRID EVENT
Gísli Pálsson, Fellow, SCAS.
Professor Emeritus of Anthropology, University of Iceland.
Formerly Professor II, University of Oslo
The Discovery of Extinction
Zoom Webinar:
In my talk I will discuss the discovery of extinction in the modern sense of “unnatural” extinction
caused by humans, the focus of my forthcoming book THE LAST OF ITS KIND: THE SEARCH
I shall argue that the epistemic object of human-caused extinction – “Newtonian extinction”, as I
call it – arrived on the scientific and environmental agenda in Victorian Britain, in the wake of an
ornithological expedition in 1858 searching for remaining great auks (Pinguinus impennis), reported
to be disappearing. Informed by Darwinian theory and Victorian science, Alfred Newton, the first
professor of zoology at Cambridge University, set the stage for modern environmental politics,
partly by elevating scientific expertise above practical, “folk” knowledge. Acknowledging Newtons
contribution, I think it is time also to explore the limits of his thought during the Anthropocene. This
may mean rethinking the meaning and application of the species concept central to biological science
since Carl Linnaeus, expanding the extinction gaze to multi-species relations and the natural habitat.

14 March, 2:15 p.m. SEMINAR - HYBRID EVENT
Lisa Hellman, Pro Futura Scientia Fellow, SCAS, and the Department of History, Lund University.
Research Leader, Bonn Center for Dependency and Slavery Studies, Universität Bonn
Coercion and Freedom in Early Modern Globalisation seen from 18th-century Central Asia
Zoom Webinar:
What did it mean to be free in the past? Free to do what, or free from what? This talk follows 25,000
Swedish prisoners of war taken captive during the Great Northern War. In the first decades of the
18th century, these men and women were spread all over the Eurasian steppe. They were dispatched
to Dzungaria, to the Qing Chinese, Kazaks and Mongols. They were forced to tap into networks
reaching from Leiden and Constantinople, to Yarkand, Beijing and Nagasaki – and they did so as prisoners,
even as slaves. With these prisoners in focus, I nuance current narratives of the early history of modern
globalisation, both in terms of its geography and its actors. In line with current global history, I consider
connections across borders to have acted as a motor for historical change. I do not, however, presume
entanglements to have been an active choice. I hope to show how prisoners and slaves did not just suffer
the effects of global processes, but that they could actively shape scientific, diplomatic, social and economic
history – without wanting to. Ultimately, I hope to provide a view of early modern globalisation that include
overland connections, one that takes into account Asian expansions, and takes seriously also involuntary

7 March, 2:15 p.m. SEMINAR - HYBRID EVENT
Christopher E. Forth, Short-term Visiting Scholar, SCAS.
Dean’s Professor of History, University of Kansas
From the Far North to the Far Right: White Masculinity and the Myth of Hyperborea
Zoom Webinar:
This presentation explores the extent to which the New Right, Alt-Right, and Identitarian movements
in Europe and North America promote regenerated masculinity by invoking the myth of ‘Hyperborea’,
the primordial homeland of white Europeans once supposedly located at the North Pole. By subscribing
to what is sometimes called Nordicism or Borealism, many on the far right trace the essence of white
manhood –and white people generally – to the Arctic Circle in order to promote: 1) belief in a unified
pre-Christian white culture extending across Eurasia (‘from Brest to Vladivostok’) and 2) the notion
that a rugged Hyperborean warrior sleeps within the ‘feminized’ white male of the present. Insofar as
it encourages white people to imagine a primordial connection with mythical ancestors, ‘Hyperborea’
is an idea that hovers between several different forms of knowledge: the empirical, the esoteric, and
the ineffable. This presentation offers an overview of this work in progress.

28 February, 2:15 p.m. SEMINAR - HYBRID EVENT
Katharina Ó Cathaoir, Pro Futura Scientia Fellow, SCAS.
Associate Professor of Law, University of Copenhagen
Pregnant Patients and Scandinavian Health Law: A Feminist Appraisal
Zoom Webinar:
Data increasingly drives modern healthcare. Yet, data is not neutral. In a healthcare system reliant
on data to treat patients, how is this information used? In this lecture, I will explore Scandinavian
law related to pregnant patients through drawing on feminist legal theory.  While the pregnant body
is of intense political and commercial fascination, it has been neglected when it comes to gathering
clinical data. The lecture explores three examples: detention of pregnant drug or alcohol users,
treatment of pregnant patients with chronic health conditions and self-determination during labour.

Health law is a young but growing field of legal scholarship that spans questions on patients’ rights,
health care workers’ obligations and - in light of growing digitisation - transparency of processing
of patient data. Law is recognised as a determinant of health by actors like the World Health Organi-
zation. However, as this lecture will explore, the text of legislation and the manner in which it is applied
in practice can expose groups of individuals to paternalism and patriarchal approaches.

16 February, 2:15 p.m. PANEL DISCUSSION - HYBRID EVENT
The Promise and Peril of Biography
Henrik Berggren, Carina Burman, Fredrik Logevall, Anna Williams
Zoom Webinar:
Biography continues to be immensely popular with the reading public. Among academics, however,
it is often viewed with suspicion, on account of its supposed tendency to view the subject in isolation
from the larger forces, trends, currents, systems, and structures in which he or she operated. How,
then, should we view the biographical enterprise? Are there rules of the genre? Pitfalls to be mindful
of? A distinguished panel of authors will examine these and other questions.

Pre-registration is required for the physical event. The number of seats is limited and seats will be
distributed on a first come, first served basis. Register for the event no later than 9 February 2023.
Download the event flyer/programme (PDF) >>

16 February, 10:15 a.m. The 5th WITTROCK LECTURE - HYBRID EVENT
Fredrik Logevall, Laurence D. Belfer Professor of International Affairs, Harvard University
Writing a Political Life: On the Challenging Relationship Between Biography and History
Zoom Webinar:
The relationship between biography and history is complex. No attempt at a “life and times” study can
offer the full person or the full society; instead, the work must strive to illuminate the point at which
they overlap. This requires difficult choices, requires balancing agency and structure at every stage of
the process and taking care to not let the context overwhelm the individual life. For the political biographer,
there are additional challenges, concerning the nature of power and how to assess it. To what extent do
leaders make history, and to what extent are they constrained by time and space, by circumstances
beyond their control? And how to write political biography that does not distort the past by falsely insinu-
ating that history is made only by the rich and powerful? In this the fifth Wittrock Lecture, Fredrik Loge-
vall will consider these and other questions central to the task of “Writing a Political Life.”

Pre-registration is required for the physical event. The number of seats is limited and seats will be
distributed on a first come, first served basis. Register for the event no later than 9 February 2023.
Download the event flyer/programme (PDF) >>

7 February, 2:15 p.m. SEMINAR - HYBRID EVENT
Eric Cullhed, Pro Futura Scientia Fellow, SCAS.
Associate Professor of Greek, Uppsala University
On the Deeply Moving and the Merely Touching
Zoom Webinar:
Literary and art critics often link yet distinguish between ‘moving’ and ‘touching’ characters,
scenes and artworks. For instance, one is deeply moved by the Hellenistic statue of the pious
Trojan priest Laocoön and his sons, slaughtered by Poesidon’s sea snakes as he tries to save
the city by revealing the wooden horse’s secret. One is touched by the contemporary sculpture
of a nameless boy trying to withdraw a thorn from the sole of his foot, the so-called Spinario.
It has recently been argued that (a) being moved is a specific emotion, (b) that its formal object
is the thin goodness of exemplified final, important and impersonal thick values, and (c) that being
touched is an attenuated form of that phenomenon (Cova and Deonna 2014; Deonna 2020). First,
I dispute that the values that move us must be impersonal, since we can be moved by the personal
goodness of being loved, free or healthy. Second, I argue that being touched should be considered
a distinct type of affective phenomenon. To support this claim I refer to apparent differences
between the formal objects that the two affective phenomena relate to as well as to dissimilarities in
cognitive sophistication and phenomenology. Drawing on a wide range of examples I suggest that 
we are touched by that which invites love. Vulnerable, innocently suffering and affectionate beings
are touching insofar as they need and will be responsive to love.

31 January, 2:15 p.m. SEMINAR
Valbona Muzaka, Senior Global Horizons Fellow, SCAS.
Associate Professor, Department of Economic History, Uppsala University
Knowledge Leveragers: The Rise of a New Corporate Form
Zoom Webinar: N/A
From the late 19th century onwards, corporations have evolved to become one of the most
representative social institutions of our time whose assets, wealth, and fortunes are created by
and affect millions of people in their capacity as workers, consumers, savers, and citizens. That
we rarely think of corporations as a social institution is partly related to the radical transformations
that the corporate form has experienced under the pressures of what I call the neoliberalisation-
financialisation nexus. Widely used, confused, and abused, these two concepts are nevertheless
useful in capturing distinct but co-constitutive processes that have been transforming the fabric
of social, political, and economic life during the last three decades or so. Focusing on the proprietary
pharmaceutical sector, the presentation aims to shed light on a new kind of corporation that has
formed in the cauldron of neoliberalisation-financialisation pressures: the knowledge leveraging
corporation preoccupied predominantly with leveraging knowledge of two kinds, knowledge pro-
tected by state-backed legal titles, and that specific to orchestrating the various networks where
most of research, development, and production now occurs.

24 January, 2:15 p.m. SEMINAR - HYBRID EVENT
Valentyna Savchyn, Fellow, SCAS.
Associate Professor of Translation Studies, Ivan Franko National University of Lviv
Literary Translation, Dictionaries and Language Policy: Russification in Soviet Ukraine

Zoom Webinar:
The Soviet totalitarian regime not only violated human rights, it pursued an aggressive policy
of assimilation, seeking Russian cultural and linguistic hegemony over all Soviet republics.
Literary translation was no longer viewed as an apolitical activity and became an ideological
weapon and an efficient “means of forced cultural change” (Monticelli). Regime ideologues
sought control over both the selection of “reliable” authors / texts for translation and the ways
in which these texts were interpreted in the target languages. This policy led to a widespread
practice of indirect translations, with Russian intermediary texts as a criterion of fidelity. On
the other hand, literary translation was used to assert the hegemony of Russian culture and
literature by giving disproportionate prominence to Russian contemporary and classic literature.
Translations from Russian literature significantly outnumbered translations from other literatures
of the world. 

In Soviet Ukraine, however, the policy of Russification went further and targeted the language
itself in order to destroy it from the inside and downgrade its status to a kind of a local patois,
a dialect of the Russian language. The intrusion into the structure of the language resulted in
numerous changes that violated the norms of Ukrainian pronunciation, spelling, word-building,
grammar, and syntax. It was accompanied by a massive use of Russian calques and the substi-
tution of Ukrainian words and idioms with their Russian equivalents. Authentic Ukrainian words,
different from their Russian counterparts, were marginalized and labelled “artificial elements” or
“nationalistic forms,” which purportedly hindered language development and separated Ukrainian
from the Russian language. Such words often faced lexicographical deactivation, because dictio-
naries served as another important tool of assimilative language policy. This lexicographical practice
had a far-reaching adverse effect on literature and book publishing. Dictionaries became prescriptive
reference books and the source of lexical checklists a tool to exercise linguistic censorship by
publishing editors. This meant that the ideological vetting of literary translations was followed by a
linguistic vetting, and this made the Ukrainian experience quite dissimilar from that of other Soviet

Extensive repressive practices and tight ideological constraints in Soviet Ukraine gave rise to
translators’ activism and cultural resistance.  A number of translators took on new roles, in
particular – the roles of translation gatekeepers and language guardians in a situation of asym-
metrical power relations and under a threat of linguicide.

17 January, 2:15 p.m. SEMINAR - HYBRID EVENT
Mikael S. Adolphson, Fellow and Special Advisor, SCAS.
Keidanren Professor of Japanese Studies, University of Cambridge
Monetization Without Minting: A Challenge to Eurocentric Scholarship
Zoom Webinar:
“Japan does not exist.” That was the reply I got from my history supervisor at Lund University
in 1983 when I wanted to switch focus from medieval Europe to medieval Japan. What he
meant, of course, was not that the country does not exist but rather that Japan’s history was (is?)
irrelevant to the study of history in Sweden. I disagreed then and I disagree now, but it strikes
me that very little has changed in four decades. Japan is still not part of the curriculum in many
history departments, and at universities where Japanese language and culture are taught, Japanese
history is often ghettoized in area studies.

Is this marginalization justified? Perhaps the Lund old-timer was correct in that we can safely
ignore Japan in the discipline of history? Obviously, it depends on what one expects from the
discipline. If we only want nationalist narratives, then there is no need to study other areas
except to compare them to show the distinctiveness and perhaps even the superiority of our
own culture. But, if we believe that there is value in developing theoretical frameworks for
understanding societal developments, then each theory needs to take into account more than
just the European experience.

A good example of how the non-European world can enhance the discipline and refine its
theories is the question of the monetization of the economy, which has been seen as fundamental
to a strengthening of medieval states and eventually leading to the commercial revolution of the
“long thirteenth century” (1160s-1330s). A fundamental factor in this development is state-
controlled minting of coins, which both enabled efficient collection of taxes and the emergence
of extensive trade networks.

In thirteenth-century Japan, we find similar developments with an expanding and monetized
economy, the emergence of trade networks as well as of new classes of merchants and artisans.
But there the similarities end. Japan’s monetization occurred without the minting of a single coin,
as only imported coins from China were used for four centuries. European scholars marvel at this
development for without state-sponsored coinage, who would vouch for the value of the coins?
How could traders be assured that coins would be accepted as rent and tax payments when the
state itself had not condoned their usage? And why would Japanese rulers decide not take control
of minting with all the benefits it can yield in terms of income and control of trade and taxation?
One way of addressing these questions is to make a comparative analysis of the first minting of
coins in Scandinavia, which like Japan was peripheral to centers of high economic activity and
the minting of coins. Through such a comparison, I contend that we may better understand
Japan’s different trajectory but also be better placed to reconsider our theoretical approaches
and assumptions in economic history.

6 December, 2:15 p.m. SEMINAR - HYBRID EVENT
David Motadel, Fellow, SCAS.
Associate Professor of International History, London School of Economics and
Political Science (LSE)
Spectacles of Sovereignty: Persian Shahs in Imperial Europe
Zoom Webinar:
The paper will examine the great European tours of the Persian monarchs Nasir al-Din Shah (1873,
1878, and 1889) and Muzaffar al-Din Shah (1900, 1902, and 1905) in the era of high imperialism.
Both monarchs were received with full pomp by emperors, kings, and statesmen in St. Petersburg,
London, Berlin, Vienna, Paris, Rome, Brussels, and Istanbul. A global microhistory, the study will
offer a reinterpretation of the relationship between European and non-European rulers in an age of
European domination. It will explore how participation in the rituals and ceremonials of a state visit –
such as gift-giving, the exchange of decorations, and military spectacle –gave expression to the non-
European monarchs' dynastic legitimacy and their country's sovereignty. Ultimately, it seeks to show
that state visits provided non-European monarchs with a way of integrating themselves and their
countries into a system of international relations that was dominated by the European powers.

A Critically Urgent Discussion about Intercountry Adoption to Sweden and What Remains
to Be Done

Tobias Hübinette, Anna Singer, Gonda Van Steen
International adoption has by now been with us for more than seventy years in a row. First a
post-WWII and postcolonial phenomenon, then a Cold War and thereafter globalization
phenomenon, it is a movement that has placed approximately 1 million children in new geographical,
cultural, religious and racial locations and has given them new names and identities. However, little
critical attention was paid to this phenomenon, which therefore has been called the silent migration,
until the adult adopted persons started to speak for themselves, to question the need for and the
legality of their adoptions, to connect with each other transnationally across the globe, and to speak
openly about the profound racial and class issues involved in the practice. Sweden is the country that
proportionally has"received" the largest number of adopted children from abroad and that has now
committed itself to an in-depth investigation into the corrupt aspects of international adoption. What
is the Swedish investigation and other similar investigations around the world discovering? To what
extent are the investigations hampered by the loss or inaccessibility of records or falsified documents?
Can the sometimes unsettling results of the investigations bring resolution and reconciliation to the most
affected parties? And who has crafted the previous dominating narratives surrounding international

The panel participants will each deliver some position points (15 minutes each) and then engage with
the audience in a (moderated) Q&A session.

The event will also be available via Zoom Webinar:

The panel discussion is organized within the framework of the SCAS CUSP Series.
Read more about CUSP and the panel discussion >>

1-2 December. CONFERENCE
Communicating Diplomacy: Global Comparisons of Oral, Written and Material Early
Modern Negotiations

By invitation only.

29 November, 2:15 p.m. SEMINAR - HYBRID EVENT
Yvette Lind, Junior Global Horizons Fellow, SCAS.
Assistant Professor of Tax Law, Copenhagen Business School
(Tax)Citizen of the World - A Study of Humans as Capital in the Light of Globalization and

Zoom Webinar:
The phrase “No taxation without representation” describes a polity that is required to pay taxes to
a government authority without having any say in the policies of that government. This phrase is
applied to the global labour market as a way of understanding how widely accepted norms, such as
linking certain rights and benefits to citizenship and taxing individuals in accordance where they
physically reside, have been developed over time and to what extent these norms have stood the test
of time. In this project, these commonly accepted norms are challenged when arguing that they
perpetuate and exacerbate an unjust access to individual countries and subsequently inequality
between the affluent and the poor in the global labour market.

Globalization and mercantilism provide the underpinning theoretical framework for the overall study.
A study which is premised on the idea that international tax competition, in combination with prior
financial crises and the ongoing erosion of domestic tax bases, have led to a development where
individual countries are deliberately designing their legal systems to either attract or deter individuals.
In other words, to attract affluent individuals who are mobile by choice, such as high-net value- and
high-income individuals, while deterring poorer individuals, most often those who are forced to move,
for instance asylum seekers. Humans are consequently viewed as capital in this global labour market.

The study attempts to explore three core questions through the lens of a tax scholar:

  1. How has the global labour market changed in the light of globalization and mercantilism?
  2. To what extent can we identify differing relationships between the state and differing
    groups of individuals?
  3. How can we mitigate contemporary challenges stemming from the change in the global
    labour market, most noticeable those linked to taxation and citizenship?

22 November, 2:15 p.m. SEMINAR - HYBRID EVENT
Eliel Camargo-Molina, Natural Sciences Fellow, SCAS.
Researcher, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Uppsala University
Visiting Researcher, Imperial College London
The Phase Transitions of Our Universe: When the Smallest Things Transformed the Largest
Thing We Know

Zoom Webinar:
In this seminar, we will embark on a journey in space and time. From the smallest things we know,
particles, all the way to our very Universe, the largest there is. But we will also start today and end
up microseconds after the Big Bang. Afterwards, I will present the concept of phase transitions, a
physical process describing diverse phenomena from boiling water to the dynamics of a very young
Universe. I will end by summarizing the state of the art on the dawn of gravitational wave astronomy,
including the prospects of learning about our origins by listening to signals from the early Universe
and what we have learned so far in particle accelerators.

15 November, 2:15 p.m. SEMINAR - HYBRID EVENT
Janina Neufeld, Pro Futura Scientia Fellow, SCAS.
Researcher/Assistant Professor, Center of Neurodevelopmental Disorders at Karolinska
Institutet (KIND), and Department of Women's and Children's Health, Karolinska Institutet
Synesthesia and Its Associations with Autism, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, and
Detail-oriented Perception

Zoom Webinar:
During my Pro Futura fellowship, I am focusing on the link between synesthesia and mental
health. Synesthesia is a non-pathological sensory phenomenon where specific stimuli, like letters,
sounds or smells, automatically trigger additional sensory experiences, such as color or colored
shapes. This condition occurs in approximately 4% of the general population, is associated with
enhanced memory and is believed to be an extreme case of associations like they occur in everyone,
and that build the fundament of language and cognition. Synesthesia co-occurs with autism and
there is preliminary evidence for a co-occurrence with other mental health conditions and alterations
in general sensory processing (i.e. sensory hyper-sensitivity or enhanced attention to details).
In my project, I am exploring these associations, both more generally and with specific focus on
obsessive-compulsive disorder. For this, I am using twin design methods in combination with
behavioral and brain imaging assessments. Monozygotic twins share 100% of their genes and dizygotic
twins on average 50%. Hence, by comparing monozygotic and dizygotic twin pairs with each other,
I am  estimating the heritability of synesthesia and the genetic and environmental contributions to its
association with mental health conditions. Comparing measures of sensory perception and brain
connectivity between twins where one twin is more synesthetic then the other allows me further to
investigate the sensory and neural features linked to synesthesia while implicitly controlling for the
genetic and environmental factors shared by the twins.

9 November, 2:00 p.m. sharp. SYMPOSIUM - HYBRID EVENT
Dead Poets and their Undying Fame – Perspectives on the Indo-European Poetic Traditions
Bo Ralph, Peter Jackson, Ola Wikander
Zoom Webinar:
With this symposium, we wish to shed some light on the Indo- European poetic traditions. The
study of Indo-European poetics has a long history and a well established scholarly basis. Already
in the early 19th century, it was noticed by pioneering comparative linguists that many of the
archaic Indo-European languages share not just a grammar and vocabulary, but also non-trivial
poetic formulae. The best known example being an expression for imperishable fame in Vedic
Sanskrit and Homeric Greek. In more recent years, scholars such as Calvert Watkins, have
made significant progress in relating these poetic formulae to a cultural context, and more
complex parallels between early IE traditions have also been uncovered. Another emerging
area of research, also in focus at the symposium, is the way in which the Indo-European poetic
universe has influenced texts and traditions from other language families and how such contact
phenomena can help illustrate ancient cultural interactions.

The symposium will be followed by a reception. Pre-registration is required for the physical event.
To sign up, please contact by 2 November 2022 at the latest.

This is an event of the research programme LAMP – Languages and Myths of Prehistory and
the Centre for Studies in Indo-European Language and Culture at Stockholm University, in
collaboration with SCAS.

Download the invitation/programme as a PDF file here >>

8 November, 2:15 p.m. SEMINAR - HYBRID EVENT
Jeffrey Paller, Fellow, SCAS.
Researcher, Program on Governance and Local Development, University of Gothenburg
Associate Professor of Politics, University of San Francisco
The Contentious Politics of African Urbanization
Zoom Webinar:
Africa is experiencing a rapid rate of urbanization, yet its impact on politics is unknown. This book
project moves beyond modernization theories and structural political economy analysis and treats
urbanization as a contentious political process involving new and competing claims to urban space
and territory. By analyzing the process of bargaining and negotiation between neighborhoods and the
state, I explain why some populations are able to remain in place and gain access to public services –
while others are displaced, marginalized, or left behind. Drawing from ongoing cross-national data
collection, paired case comparisons between cities and neighborhoods in Ghana and Nigeria, and
historical institutional analysis, I argue that two factors account for variation in urban development: 
local political connections between community members and politicians, and the claims of belonging 
tied to land ownership and first-comer status.

25 October, 2:15 p.m. SEMINAR
Claudia Merli, Senior Global Horizons Fellow, SCAS.
Associate Professor of Cultural Anthropology, Uppsala University
Sterilization: Demographic Statistics, Fertility and the Making of Thailand’s National Body
Zoom Webinar: N/A
During this fellowship I am working on a book project investigating how Thailand’s state and non-state
actors, government as well as transnational organizations directed their attention onto individual bodies
to control individuals and groups, produce and enact knowledge regimes (specifically bureaucratic and
medical ones), and to govern conducts. In this context, bodies are a form of political space and become
the sites where individuals can also manifest political participation and resistance. I examine how the
historical trajectory of specific processes of identity, political, and biomedical practices can be read as
strategies of nation building and governance that were carried out through the making and unmaking of
national, regional and individual identities. While my attention is devoted to Thailand, the primary question
I investigate, the body as political space, is relevant to wider debates in political anthropology and political
science, focusing on state making and political participation.

In this talk at SCAS I will focus on two of the five historical defining moments that I analyse in the book:
I will first introduce Thailand’s post-war period when demographic mapping via statistics and develop-
ment of the national censuses represented the nation in visual forms that are bureaucratically constituting
subjects; then, I will describe the implementation of public health and family planning policies during the
1970s, with a special attention to campaigns of sterilization as medico-political rituals, integrated as part
of larger development programmes of modernization.

18 October, 2:15 p.m. SEMINAR - HYBRID EVENT
Sofia Näsström, Fellow, SCAS.
Professor of Political Science, Uppsala University
Democracy and the Social Question
Zoom Webinar:
In a time of mounting challenges to democracy worldwide, scholars, politicians and citizens pay
increasing attention to “the social question”. To fight the resurgence of authoritarianism, and recreate
confidence in democracy, it is not enough to support rule of law and elections. A stable democracy
also requires economic security and social integration. It diminishes hostility between groups, and
increases toleration in society.

Still, many political theorists hesitate to include the social question in the concept of democracy.
They argue that doing so undermines democracy: it satisfies material needs at the expense of political
freedom, it confuses democracy with the ideological substance of politics and/or it replaces democracy
with bureaucracy. In a new book project—Democracy and the Social Question—I examine the under-
lying assumptions behind these arguments, and show that they all rely on an overly reductionist under-
standing of democracy, as ideational, procedural and discursive respectively. The hypothesis is that by
redefining democracy as a political lifeform (in Montesquieu’s sense of the term), it is possible to integrate
the social question in the concept of democracy without falling prey to said dilemmas.

In the talk at SCAS, I will introduce three different interpretations of the social question, and indicate
how a reconceptualization of democracy as a political lifeform changes the direction of our inquiry.

The motivation for writing this book is not merely to offer new knowledge on the conceptual link
between democracy and the social question, and so fill a lacuna in contemporary democratic theory.
In a more general and long-term perspective, I hope it can contribute to better theoretical tools to
evaluate and understand trends of democratic decline and renewal, including variation in democratic

11 October, 2:15 p.m. SEMINAR
Elizabeth A. Lambourn, Fellow, SCAS.
Professor of Material Histories, De Montfort University, Leicester
Writing Ancient DNA (aDNA) into Medieval Indian Ocean History – Challenges and

Zoom Webinar: N/A
My fellowship project embraces the Collegium’s invitation for “curiosity driven” and even “risky”
research. Entitled Forgotten Frontiers: Islam and the Indian Ocean World 600-1000 CE this project
writes a new synthetic history of Islam’s early impact on the peoples, polities, trade routes and
regional circuits of the Indian Ocean region during the first four Islamic centuries It does so by
retrieving and (re)connecting a heterogeneous body of evidence - archaeological material, visual
sources, multi-lingual primary sources and newer genomic data – from across the vast area between
eastern Africa and East Asia. The project aims to challenge and enrich early Islamic historical study
by integrating an “eastern maritime frontier” – in effect the Indian Ocean - too often overlooked in
the subject’s dominant terracentric and westwards focused frameworks. For historians of the Indian
Ocean, its islands and surrounding terrestrial regions, this analysis promises a new connected history
of these crucial centuries including a more nuanced understanding of regional chronologies and
processes of Islamization.

This talk takes the opportunity to discuss probably the riskiest and most challenging aspect of my
project, namely that of how to integrate and reconcile aDNA evidence from across the Indian Ocean
region into a field of medieval history entirely reliant until now on written, visual and material sources.
With 15 years of archaeological science publications to build on, the time is ripe to address this problem
head on. I do so as a humanities researcher with no science background.

4 October, 2:15 p.m. SEMINAR - HYBRID EVENT
Julia Uddén, Pro Futura Scientia Fellow, SCAS, and the Departments of Linguistics
and Psychology, Stockholm University.
Affiliated Researcher, Department of Neurobiology of Language, Max Planck Institute
for Psycholinguistics, Nijmegen
Language Is Not Enough for Brains in Conversation
Zoom Webinar:
Being able to communicate face-to-face with another person requires skills that go beyond core
language abilities. In dialog comprehension, we routinely make inferences beyond the literal meaning
of utterances. For instance, the utterance "it is hot in here" will in some circumstances mean "can
you open the window?". This would be an example of a so-called indirect speech act. It is however
not known whether communicative skills such as recognizing speech acts, potentially overlap with
core language skills or other capacities, such as Theory of Mind (ToM) skills. I will talk about two
studies where I have investigated these questions using brain imaging. Participants listened to dialogs,
or participated in dialogs themselves, from within the scanner. The latter study allowed us to approach
the question of how intentions are formed when producing speech, during actual conversation. Based
on the results, I will argue that contextualized and multimodal communication requires neurocognitive
networks different from those associated with (1) core language, (2) ToM/complex emotion processing,
and (3) so called cognitive control. I will also touch on issues of interdisciplinary, vs cross- or multi-
disciplinary research.

27 September, 2:15 p.m. SEMINAR - HYBRID EVENT
Sverker Sörlin, Non-resident Long-term Fellow for Programmes on Environmental Humanities, SCAS.
Professor of Environmental History, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm
The Rise of Global Environmental Governance - A View from Stockholm
Zoom Webinar:
Since the emergence of the modern understanding of 'the environment' in the immediate post-WW II
period, attempts have been made to organize a reformed human-earth relationship. This has grown to
a massive global effort demonstrated in conferences, organizations, regulation, and a lot of policy
instruments, now encompassing hundreds of international agreements, 17 Sustainable Development
Goals, the IPCC, and countless other tools and measures, including a range of concepts and ideas
including 'Sustainable Development', 'Planetary Boundaries', and 'the Anthropocene'.

In an ongoing ERC Advanced Grant Project, SPHERE -- Study of the Planetary Human-Earth
I am researching the history of this rising phenomenon, sometimes called 'Global
Environmental Governance'. In this seminar I will present a part of SPHERE which is a book-length
study on the relative contribution of Sweden and Stockholm to this large global enterprise by myself
and my KTH colleague Eric Paglia. Sweden hosted the Stockholm UN 1972 conference on the human
environment and it has contributed, we argue, way above expectation for a long period of time both
before and after 1972.  In contrast to much environmental history, this is a progressivist rather than
declensionist version of a prominent feature of the modern world. It is also a book focusing on the
urban, institutional, scientific, and policy dimensions of the modern environment. The book, The
Human Environment:
Stockholm and the Rise of Global Environmental Governance is under contract
with Cambridge University Press.

22 September. CEREMONY & LECTURE
An Event in Honour of the Newly Appointed Scholars of the Pro Futura Scientia Programme.
In collaboration with Riksbankens Jubileumsfond.
By invitation only.

20 September, 2:15 p.m. SEMINAR
Gonda Van Steen, Fellow, SCAS.
Koraes Chair of Modern Greek and Byzantine History, Language and Literature,
King’s College London
The Face of Forced Consent in Post-war Adoption Dealings: What Does It Look Like?
Zoom Webinar: N/A
Greece facilitated the migration of some 4,000 of its children for adoption overseas. Between 1950
and 1970, the vast majority of these Greek-born children went to couples in the USA (to some Greek
American couples, but also to many more white American couples of any background and religion).
Some 600 Greek infants and toddlers were sent to the Netherlands for adoption. Some forty to fifty
to Sweden. These three countries were the largest recipients of Greek “orphans,” who are more
appropriately called “adopted persons,” because, in many cases, one or both parents were still alive
but did not have the means or family support to keep their child. In this presentation I look at the
coercive circumstances in which some of these "historic" adoptions took place.

13 September, 2:15 p.m. SEMINAR - HYBRID EVENT
Fredrik Logevall, Fellow, SCAS.
Laurence D. Belfer Professor of International Affairs, Harvard University
John F. Kennedy’s Cold War
Zoom Webinar:
How should we think about the relationship between biography and history? Is it the case that
biography is a sub-genre of history, and that any biographer who fails to write history fails to
produce something worthwhile? Or, as some argue, is the opposite true: the trick is to know
that biography is not history; it’s the story of a life. In this talk I will explore this question,
through the case of John F. Kennedy, one of the iconic political figures of the 20th century,
a leader known universally by his initials. To understand JFK and his role in American and
international politics, I will suggest, we have no option but to take a contextual approach,
one that considers the times as well as the man. And there’s a payoff here, indeed a double
payoff: situating Kennedy within the wider setting of the era helps us better comprehend not
only his rise, but his country’s rise, first to great-power status and then to superpower status.
The more we understand JFK and his ascent to the pinnacle of power, in other words, the
more we understand the world of which he was a part.