We are please to inform our students that student mobility between Ural Fedearl Unvieristy and University of Minho, Portugal, has been approved by the Erasmus+ program. We look forward to student and faculty exchange.
June 26 2017
Among the graduates from the Ural federal university in 2017 there has not been a more international (and more learned) company than Masters in Political Philosophy!
June 24 2017
Our students have successfully passed the state attestation examination and brilliantly defended their Master theses. Dita Puspitasari and Rose Joy Smith were particularly noted by the defense board. Congratulations, Masters of Political Philosophy!
The Institute of Social and Political Sciences held its annual Convention, which included two conferences “Modernity Junctures: Avant-garde as a Cultural and Anthropological Project” and “Religion in the Public Sphere: Paradoxical Presence”. Program’s students, including our graduate Basem Atieh, second year student Lorenzo Buscicchi, and first year students Erhan Komurcu and Daniil Kokin made presentations in the conference on religion.
The second year students have completed their courses and now they will have five months to finish their Master theses. The topics were selected to reflect the interdisciplinary agenda of the program and ranged from historical analysis of how modern ideology coalesced with traditional religions in Indonesia to whether Foucault’s concept of disciplinary power could be helpful in investigating educational institutions in Pakistan. Other Master thesis themes included discourse analysis of how national identity was presented in Russian President’s speeches; perception of sovereignty by Iranian youth; legitimacy of international humanitarian interventions from Rawlsian perspective, and justification of existentialist eudaimonism.
In Fall Semester 2016, international faculty were invited to teach two courses in our program. Annika Hvithamar, Professor at the University of Copenhagen, was lecturing in the course Religion and Politics. In the same course, Elena Stepanova, principal fellow of the Institute of Philosophy and Law of the Russian Academy of Sciences, delivered a lecture and moderateed the round table on traditionalist discourses in modern religions. Bert van den Brink, Professor of Utrecht University, came to Ekaterinburg in early December to give his lectures and master-classes within the History of Political Philosophy course.
After the year of hard work our first year students were taken to a field trip in Sverdlovsk region. We visited Nevyansk, one of the oldest towns in the region with a famous Leaning Tower, villages Byngi, boasting a fantastic 18th century church, and Kunara, whose exuberant house of smith Kirillov brings Russian myths and fables alive.
MA in Political philosophy celebrates its first graduates
After launching in 2014, the UrFU Master’s program in Political philosophy celebrates its first graduates, who have passed the State exam and defended their Master’s thesis
On May 31, Basem Atieh (Syria) and Roman Sosnov (Russia) defended their Master’s thesis and thus completed the full course of studies in Political philosophy. Basem’s thesis, Concepts of Justice in Contemporary Political Discourse of Syria focused on the recent developments in the theory of justice, specifically on the discussion between the representatives of the so-called “universalist” and “contextualist” approaches to justice. Can there be a universal normative model of social justice in a global multicultural world? After having analysed the concept of justice in the Constitution of Syria and other important contemporary political documents, the author concluded that the notion of justice is always embedded in the particularities of social, economic, political, cultural and religious structures of a given society.
Roman Sosnov in his thesis Philosophy of conservatism in the context of alternative projects of modernity in the 20th century analysed conservatism against the background of “multiple modernities” theory, focusing on how conservatism is different from anti-modern philosophies (traditionalism and national-socialism). Roman also analysed the phenomenon of “Soviet conservatism” in the writings by the Soviet philosopher of the 1920s-1970s Mikhail Lifshits. In conclusion, Roman argued that by re-conceptualizing the relation between tradition and modernity “multiple modernities” approach allowed us to analyze Russian history in a new light.
There were questions from the audience and moments of heated discussion during the defence. However, both students defended their thesis with flying colours and got the highest degrees. The diploma ceremony is to follow soon!
Program’s networking opportunities and e-learning
Starting from September 2016, the MA program in Political philosophy will introduce two new classes taught jointly by the program’s faculty and professors from European universities. Professor van den Brink of Utrecht University and Professor Andrey Menshikov will teach “History of Political Philosophy” course. Professors Elena Stepanova and Andrey Menshikov will teach “Religion and Politics” in cooperation with Annika Hvithamar of the University of Copenhagen. Class sessions will take place here, at the UrFU. Several lectures will be delivered via Skype in real-time format by international faculty and later the visiting professors will come for the face-to-face teaching. The networking opportunities became possible partially due to the development grant awarded to the program by the administration of UrFU.
As part of the curriculum development program’s faculty expanded some of the existing courses to be taught in e-learning format, through the learning management system HyperMethod. These are “Academic Writing in Social Sciences and Humanities,” “Computer-based Research in Social Sciences and Humanities,” and “Micropolitics: Ethnomethodology in Political Research.” Placing course materials to the e-learning platform will allow for more flexibility in teaching and will allow students to receive instruction not only in the traditional classroom format, but outside classroom as well.
Course “History of Political Concepts” by visiting professor Andrey Dudchik (Minsk, Belarus)
In March 2016, the program welcomed visiting professor Andrey Dudchik of the Belarusian State University (Minsk, Belarus) to teach a course “History of Political Concepts” for first-year MA students. The visit became possible due to the development grant awarded to the program by the administration of UrFU. The course explored methodological differences between the history of ideas, Begriffsgeschichte and conceptual history, as well as the problems of transferring, translating and assimilating such constitutive concepts as liberty, civil society, and the state. For the final assessment, students presented their own research on the concepts of their own choice, such as sovereignty, democracy, happiness, and justice.
In addition to coursework, professor Dudchik conducted a roundtable for faculty and students at the Department of Philosophy under the title “Philosophy in popular culture.” According to Dudchik, nowadays, every conceivable product of mass culture is busy praising or ridiculing philosophers’ and their ideas. These are graphic books and manga, thrillers and comedies, biopics and campus novels, computer games and YouTube clips, T-shirt mottos and tattoos. The heated discussion ensued on how professional philosophers can and should react to these forms of marketization of their work.
Training in pedagogy for first-year students
At least half of graduates of Master’s programs at the Department of Philosophy pursue teaching career at some point in life. Therefore, the program’s curriculum involves training in pedagogy. This includes a course in pedagogy of higher learning during the first semester and a one-month internship at one of the Universities in Ekaterinburg during the second semester in the program.
This year, students spend their internship at the University for the Humanities (http://gu-ural.ru/). During this time, each student delivers several lectures, conducts seminars and runs extra-curricular activities at the request of the teaching faculty. The goal of the internship is to acquire pedagogical skills, to have knowledge of lesson planning and to learn how to deliver study content.
Students are assigned to the Department of socio-cultural service and tourism and to the Department of foreign languages at the UH. These are the only departments, where the language of instruction is English. The content of teaching has less to do with philosophy than with students’ backgrounds and cultural heritage. Students are asked to prepare lectures about their home countries as tourist destinations.
“How is teaching about tourist attractions in my home country going to help me to become a specialist in Political philosophy?” some students asked when the internship just started. However, it became quite clear soon that teaching a class requires more than just knowing the subject. One needs to have skills necessary to prepare and lecture, lead a group discussion and hold the attention of thirty-something students in the classroom. The internship allows to learn these important skills and to prepare to a teaching career in higher education.
New academic year kick-off: guest lecture by Yulia Gradskova (Södertörn University, Sweden)
The MA in Political philosophy kicked off its 2015-2016 academic events series with the guest lecture by Yulia Gradskova (Södertörn University, Sweden) “Transforming the Orient: (post) imperial discourses of Soviet modernization?”
The lecture addressed the issue of (post)colonial underside of Soviet modernization. Soviet Union declared itself a multi-national state, where traces of Russian Imperial colonialism were to be abolished. In the 1920s, the Bolshevik government launched the project of emancipation of the formerly oppressed national minorities. A similar project of emancipation of women emerged at that time as well, as part of Soviet modernizing ethos. How did these two emancipation projects intersect? How were women of formerly oppressed nations treated under the new social order?
To answer these questions, Gradskova used the framework of postcolonial studies, in particular, ideas on coloniality of knowledge by Madina Tlostanova. She analyzed the ways in which women of national minorities were constructed as both ethnic and gender “other.” She used archive materials of the Committee for Improvement of Work and Everyday Life of women and Soviet silent films from the late 1920s-early 1930s, in order to explore the intersection of the "women's question" with "national question" in the context of the (post)imperial challenges indicated by the revolutions of 1917.
In May 2015 Institute of Social and Political Sciences in partnership with the MA in Political Philosophy hosted the second student spring school. School theme of this year was formulated as "Visual Political: Representation and Recognition", which attracted participants of a broad disciplinary spectrum: from visual psychology to visual studies of Russian history.
The school program was opened by presentations of Bert van den Brink (Utrecht University), who introduced students to the theory of recognition (A.Honneth) and visual analysis of the public sphere (D.Ellen) to demonstrate the role of visual images in production of social injustice. They were followed by a number of lectures by Nicholay Ssorin Chaikoff (Cambridge University) devoted to the visual and performative aspects of gift exchange and the analysis of how objects like tea sets, presented to Stalin in 1949 and depicting episodes from Bazhov’s tale visualized not only the formation of the Soviet state, but made apparent the ambiguity of the gift exchanges within imperial hierarchy. Almira Usmanova (European University) presented on her concept of fluid publicity and the role of contemporary art in the formation of discursive public spaces. The closing event of the school was a meeting with a local director of ethnographic films Andrew Golovnev and the discussion on dilemmas of representation in anthropology, on the responsibility of a researcher in distributing resources of visibility and on the principles of the Ural school of ethnographic cinematography.
The school culminated with joint student projects, which participants developed during the 4 days of the school. Through the analysis of empirical data, gathered in the visual landscape of Yekaterinburg, the participants were able to demonstrate the intersectionality of the main categories of social reality - age, ethnicity, gender and class.
International interdisciplinary conference “Modernity Junctures: Exploring New Vistas in the Study of Society”, part of the ISPS Convention
Institute of Social and Poltical Sciences, Department of Philosophy and the faculty of Master Program in Political Philosophy are running the third edition of Modernity Junctures conference at the Ural Federal University on April 6-7, 2015. More detailed information about the program can be found in attached files.
Course "From German Enlightenment to Critical Theory" by visiting professor Bert van den Brink
In November, at the invitation of the international Master Program in Political Philosophy of the Institute of Social and Political Sciences and as part of its curriculum professor Bert van den Brink (Philosophy and Religious Studies, University of Utrecht) delivered a course "From German Enlightenment to Critical Theory" for the first cohort of the program’s students. The course provided an overview of an essay "On Education" by Emanuel Kant, as well as detailed and insightful reading of one of the most difficult texts of political philosophy of the twentieth century, "Dialectic of Enlightenment" by Theodor Adorno and Max Horkheimer. This was followed by the analysis of the Jurgen Habermas’s "theory of communicative action" - as a large-scale theory of society and as an attempt to overcome deep pessimism of Horkheimer and Adorno in assessing Enlightenment and rationalism in general. The series of lectures was completed by Foucault's essay "What is Enlightenment?", in which the author calls himself the heir of Kant what comes as an unexpected confession by the philosopher, who devoted himself to criticism of rationality and the subject.
Professor Bert van den Brink is a longtime partner and scientific consultant of the Master Program in Political Philosophy. Next academic meeting with him at the Ural Federal University is scheduled for May 2015.
Social Sciences Research Laboratory
On April 30 - May 4, 2014 the Institute of Social and Political Sciences held a unique scientific and educational event: Interdisciplinary International Student Spring School "Social Sciences Research Laboratory." The school was realized in lectures and master classes by local professors (M.Homyakov, D.Pobedash, E.Trubina, N.Veselkova, D.Rudenkin, E.Mikryukova, N.Chernyaeva, M.Guzikova), and guest speakers ( M.van Gelderen, B.van den Brink, M.Rivkin-Fish) on current research practices in contemporary social disciplines and humanities. The school provided students with training in international standards of academic writing, in latest visual methods in sociology, in applied research in the field of urban studies, gender studies, as well as with an overview of classical perspectives in political philosophy (theory of tolerance, the condition of democratic subject). In addition to conventional educational formats the school’s program incorporated direct project work: students presented their scientific accomplishments for collective peer-review and had the opportunity to consult with experts and work in small groups on the concepts of prospective collaborative research. Among the school attendees were students from 7 cities of Russia and international participants from Tatarstan, Kyrgyzstan, South Korea, China and Japan.
Feedback from the school participants:
"Thank you so much for such a wonderful school! I am not able to adequately assess the level of its usefulness, since it just rolls over. Thanks to you, I undertook a distant journey for me, went through a myriad of emotions and impressions, significantly expanded my knowledge and made new friends! I hope that someday we will meet again within your hospitable walls. Good luck to you! "
«I am really happy to have participated in the program. This was a very well organized and nice event. As an exchange student at UrFU, I am surprised that these kinds of programs do not take place more often. These kinds of schools are very good for the university itself»
"This school - a real breakthrough for our university and department!”
International interdisciplinary conference “Modernity Junctures: Post-Socialist Institutions, Subjectivities and Discourses in Comparative Perspective,” part of the ISPS Convention 2013
On May 23-24, 2013 Ural Federal University and the Program’s team hosted the conference “Modernity Junctures: Post-Socialist Institutions, Subjectivities and Discourses in Comparative Perspective.” In the conference’s focus was the discussion of the overlapping models of social relations in post-socialist societies. The conference enjoyed the contributions by researchers from the US, Hungary, Germany, Kirghizia, as well as a number of Russian cities. More detailed information about the past conference and its participants can be found in the attached documents.
Создано / Изменено: 13 мая 2015 / 7 июля 2017