Seminar With Oszkár‎ Roginer: “/self/perception of minorities and knowledge production”

“The research project proposed a comprehensive analysis of a structural flaw in the social sciences and humanities, which is similar to – or even part of – methodologic nationalism. A concept, which is proposed by many scholars of late-modern nationalism studies, migration studies, globalisation studies, global history, historical sociology, comparative literature, and which emerged as a specific form of an analytic problem in research of Central- and Southeast European ethnic minorities as well. Encountered first in the Hungarian minorities in the post-Yugoslav states, Romania, Ukraine and Slovakia, the problem is also present in the research on Albanian minorities in Macedonia, Serbia and Montenegro; Serbian minorities in Kosovo and Montenegro, the German minority in Italy, or even smaller communities like Czechs in Banat, Croats in Molise or Arbanasi in Zadar, as well as other ethnic or religious groups and metropolitan diasporas throughout the continent. A similar methodological perception can be seen in case of the Armenian, Jewish and Roma communities, as well as in the research of current migration flows and refugees throughout Europe. From the viewpoint of a state’s population, all these types of non-majority communities share a specific perception in research, which is insular, often simplistic and analytically insufficient.

Imagining the inter-state system as a set of bordering containers, the country in which the given minority lives is considered as the elementary frame of research. This way however, neither the findings nor the conclusions did usually not extend beyond state borders, while in most cases, they stayed within the inhabited region of the given minority. Furthermore, this insular (self)perception is hallmarked by a discourse of exclusion, oppression, denial and rejection throughout the 20th century, which in turn is almost without exception understood as a unique signifier of the researched minority. These, and a number of other delimiting circumstances left only the given nation-state as the sole point of reference, moreover as an agent of exclusion from participation, and denial of rights. This resulted in an archipelagic logic of ethnic minorities throughout the 20th century and determined most research trajectories since the early 1920’s, up until contemporary scholarly work. Traditionally, research on ethnic minorities has been mostly done in the fields of history, ethnography and literature, supplemented by sociology, political science, art history and architecture in the past three decades. It addressed folklore, literary production and a number of historical topics, while there is a focus since the 1990’s on demography, European integration and peace-building as well. Nevertheless, this structural flaw can be traced throughout the 20th century until today, and it can be accepted to some degree within the hard inter-state system of borders in the era of modern, industrialised nation-states. It is however more and more questionable in the last decades, when cross-border cooperation, migration and flow of commodities increases, and when the rejections from the side of majorities are rendered irrelevant.
The aim of my research is thus, to point out the deficiencies in the (self)perception of minorities, by which the inter-state system is imagined as a combination of bordering containers, with minorities as secluded subsystems of these societies. Moreover, the inquiry attempts to contest the binary structure of majority-minority, address it beyond methodologic nationalism, and by deconstructing the conventional perceptions of time, space and social realities, lift up the narrow composition of the conceptual imagination in a world, where (various) ethnicities are more interconnected, than ever before. By questioning these routine assumptions, I will tried put them in a historical perspective as well, and define a framework from which research on minorities should be emancipated.”

Oszkár Roginer was born in 1986, in Novi Sad, Yugoslavia, where he studied Hungarian Studies at the University of Novi Sad (Serbia). After receiving his diploma in 2009, he moved to the University of Pécs (Hungary) in order to pursue his PhD in Literary Sciences, and defending his thesis in 2016. In 2014 he started an International Joint Degree MA in Cultural Sociology at the University of Zadar (Croatia) and the Karl Franzens University in Graz (Austria), and obtaining his MA in 2016. He is currently a PhD candidate at the Centre for Southeast European Studies in Graz, where he is working on his thesis on the construction of the Hungarian minority literary field in the post-Habsburg space. Between 2009 and 2014 he worked as a radio journalist and theatre critic in RTV Vojvodina, and in the daily newspaper Magyar Szó in Novi Sad. His most important publications include the monographs A város mint (ellen)érv. [The City as a (counter)argument]. (2015), and A jugoszláviai magyar irodalom terei – A (poszt)jugoszláv magyar irodalom és a téralapú közösségi identitás-konstrukciók viszonya a sajtóban (1945–2010)[Terrains of Hungarian Literature from Yugoslavia – Correlations between (post)Yugoslav Hungarian Literature and the constructions of spatial collective identities in the press (1945–2010)]. (2019) His academic interests lay in Hungarian minority literature, Hungarian press history of Yugoslavia, geocriticism, historical literary sociology, collective identities, memory studies.

Seminar with Oszkár Roginer in dialogue with UNIRI CAS SEE fellows was held at the University campus in Rijeka on December 6, 2019.

Seminar with Valentina Moro: “Staging gender in Antiquity: why is this archive still crucial for feminist theory? The case of the study of kinship”

“The research project I worked on at CAS SEE focuses on feminist discourses and methodologies. In this seminar presentation, I discussed several contributions in the research field of Gender in Antiquity, which are significantly relevant for their feminist methodology. This links my research as a fellow in Rijeka and my previous work, insofar as I have a Bachelor’s degree in Classics and, in my Ph.D. dissertation, I have analysed several Greek tragedies from a political perspective. On the one hand, my aim is to demonstrate why such an archive was and still is so important for scholars such as Judith Butler, Adriana Cavarero, and Bonnie Honig (whose work I will refer to, among others’). On the other, I will insist on a specific methodological approach in the study of gender in Antiquity, which analyses kinship ties as being agonistically constructed in the characters’ speeches.
From the 1970s onwards, many scholars in both fields of Political theory and Classics have been referring to the Greek tragedies, calling into question the idea of gender. The political relevance of their analysis is related to the way in which each of them problematized the theatricality of the representation of gender in the Greek sources. I am particularly interested in several scholars who focused on female characters in ancient literary sources by analysing the network of relationships in which they are embedded – and especially kinship relationships.
For instance, Victoria Wohl evokes Deleuze and Guattari’s critique to the traditional interpretation of kinship ties and gender roles as fixed structures, hierarchically depending on the figure of the Father. Judith Butler investigates the specificity of kinship ties and problematizes whether they are constitutive relationships deeply rooted within a political community or whether they depend on an authoritative narration (which requires a validation). And so on.
Which are the specific feminist approaches these scholars deployed in analysing the Greek tragedy? If we aim to reconsider the history of the political concepts from a feminist perspective, which is the possible contribution of the research on gender in Antiquity?”

Valentina Moro obtained her Ph.D. in Philosophy at the University of Padua (Italy) in 2018. In 2016 and 2017 she was a visiting research fellow at Brown University (USA). Her research intersects the fields of political theory, classics and gender studies. Currently, she is a research fellow at the Center for Advanced Studies – South East Europe at the University of Rijeka (Croatia) and at the Istituto italiano per gli studi filosofici in Naples (Italy). She co-edited the book Polis, Erōs, Parrēsia. Letture etico-politiche contemporanee della tragedia greca (Padova University Press, 2018) and she is a member of the editorial board of the journal Materiali foucaultiani.

Seminar with Valentina Moro was held at the University campus in Rijeka in dialogue with UNIRI CAS SEE fellows on December 6, 2019.

Seminar with Snežana Vesnić “Altered Time and Memory: Analog(y) of the Digital”

“My intention is to provide a new theoretical concept of the relation of analog/digital in order to then draw on it as a technology for the creation of new cultural models of the European Union. In a practical sense, I would like to construct a theoretical basis, critically deconstructing the relation analog/digital, with which I will create new contingencies for a virtual production of new cultural conceptions. Nelson Goodman (Language of Art, 1968) formulates the difference between the analog and digital through a parallel with continuous and discrete, distancing the concepts of analog and digital from their origins. In this understanding, a digital system has nothing special to do with digits and an analog system with analogy. The basic distinction between digital and analog, then, is a representation scheme: the digital is differentiated or discrete, while the analog scheme is continuous or dense. In architecture, according to Greg Lynn, the digital is impossible to isolate from the architectural project since the digital is an integral part of its process. On the other hand, Peter Eisenman problematizes the digital as that which possesses no memory.
In this text, I will project the new concept of “altered archeology,” showing that continuity and the production of time and memory are ensured by constant transformations of the analog into digital and vice versa. Thus, the analog gives the digital authenticity, while the digital’s technological potential becomes an arsenal for the creation of (the new) analog. In the final instance, drawing on Derrida’s line that “there is no political power without control of the archive, if not memory,” I will make a digital experiment of deconstructing EU Barcode, the art project designed by Rem Koolhaas.
In the following phase, this model would be applied to the city of Rijeka, aiming to use the results of this experiment in the Rijeka 2020 project: constituting the first architectural laboratory for the rebranding of the city of Rijeka. My purpose is to exploit the potential of difference, diversity and minority as analog reservoir for generating new visions, digital strategies and methodologies of the European project.”

Snežana Vesnić, PhD is an architect, currently working as Assistant Lecturer at the Faculty of Architecture of the University of Belgrade, where she also previously attended the Faculty of Applied Arts. She is a founding partner of the architectural studio Neoarhitekti (Belgrade) and award-winning author, twice nominated for the Mies van der Rohe Award (2009, 2019). Vesnić conducts scientific research in the field of architectural philosophy and aesthetics. She received her PhD in 2018 from the Faculty of Architecture, University of Belgrade, with a thesis entitled “Philosophy and Aesthetics of the Architectural Concept: Object of Reality and Object of Illusion.” Her theoretical work and architectural practice are focused on research and production of “architectural concepts.”

Seminar with Snežana Vesnić was held at the University campus in Rijeka on December 6, 2019.

Seminar with Guglielmo Feis: “Coding for Humanities”

“The talk takes a hands on practical approach to show how a little bit of familiarity with programming may benefit a researcher in the humanities. We are the machines, pcs are our tool. It is our duty to set them properly and use them to do less boring work (e.g.: typesetting bibs) and have more time to actually think and do our research. After a brief presentation of the benefits of this “Coding for Humanities approach”, I showed how Python programming language doesn’t bite and that Markdown speeds up the production of research outputs.
I briefly introduced GitHub as a way to store and track your progress, while collaborating with the world.
I then presented some real-world tools to automate boring academic task like merging and cutting PDFs, renaming files, organizing bibliographies, building a template to write grant proposals, etc.
To show something useful as well as interesting, I briefly touched Montecarlo simulations and agent-based modelling as well as parsing papers to perform some natural language processing (NLP).”

Guglielmo Feis is a philosopher (BA, MA) with a Ph.D. in Philosophy of Law (i.e. Faculty of Law) “experiencing first hand how to conduct interdisciplinary research and getting bashed from both sides. At least it is harder to get bored, working this way.”.
He has worked on impossibility in the legal domain, Ought implies Can, Social Ontology, normativity conflicts and a bunch of other topics (see on Academia or Research Gate for more). “I’ve been lucky to have wonderful co-authors. Now I am actively engaging working on blockchain and the law (and their philosophical relevance) plus the artifactual thesis of law.”

Seminar with Guglielmo Feis in dialogue with UNIRI CAS SEE fellows was held at the University campus on December 5, 2019.

Seminar with Sabino Paparella “About ‘e-selfing’: from self-branding to Quantified Self”

“Whether is considered under the bad aegis of ‘surveillance capitalism’s’ new-panopticism (Crary, 2013; Zuboff, 2019), or as the ‘organized networks’ affordance (Rossiter, 2006; Lovink/Rossiter, 2011) towards social movements, the political efficiency of new digital media however depends on the transduction of a body-individual physical identity in the Netizen’s digital one. We need a digital identity in order to log in the web. Can it be considered properly a representation of our self? Digital technology seems to imply rather a production of the self, by the sound of things. This production of self set up by the digital dispositif – henceforth ‘e-selfing’ – comes by a search for authenticity of the self. One of the main features of Web 2.0 is the rising need for a digital True Identity, endorsed by the claim of ‘absolute transparency’;. Unlike the geek sub-culture of Web 1.0, which was celebrating multiple identity of self by using alias, avatar, nicknames, the interactive digital turn, implemented first by the blogosphere and then by the social media, involves the definition of an unambiguous and verifiable self, which stays always the same and acts predictably, according to a strategy of ‘narrative hypercoherence’ (Ippolita, 2016). We would suggest here to outline e-selfing in terms of disintermediation. Disintermediation usually means the shortening of the supply chain from a producer to a consumer. But what about a system, like the currently digital one, in which producers and consumers are the same (so-called ‘prosumers’)? Put another way, what if the object of disintermediation is properly Self-access, the access to
one’s digital self? What kind of mediation, or resistance, is dropping out in this case?

We will investigate to what extent the output of disintermediation in some strategies of e-selfing (self-branding) could be a decreasing relational nature of the self. Maybe what is at stake in the evaluation of this relationality is the possibility to find something like a ‘digital subjectivity’. An individual becomes a subject insofar as is object of another one. It depends on acknowledging that the very identity is related to being addressed from someone: in other words, what we are is not the same than who we are (Cavarero, 1997). Is the digital production of our coherent, True Self capable of this distinction? If ‘who we are’ is performing in process, through specific and prompt acts, to what extent can it be expressed by the universal knowledge of a computable essence, by ‘self-knowledge through numbers’, as in Quantified Self (QS) digital community? Who I am is contingent, that is to say: any time, I’m who I perform, although I may not to. That goes both ways: ‘who I am’ means the possibility of preferring not to do ‘what I am’ too, like the Melville’s Scrivener Bartleby. This missed overlap, the gap between who and what we are, which some e-selfing strategies maybe risk filling in the light of the transparency principle, conveys the subjectification power, which only makes political an identity.”

Sabino Paparella, fellow of UNIRI CAS SEE, is “Cultore della materia” (assistant) in Theoretical Philosophy at the University of Bari (Italy), where he got his PhD and where he taught in the Master Program in “Philosophy, Politics and Economics in Med (PPE)”. He mainly deals with French contemporary philosophy and he spent some research periods in Paris. He wrote some papers on the political implications of discursive and conceptual machineries.
He took part in the Italian Thought Network and in the “Permanent Seminar of Philosophy and Politics” at Scuola Normale Superiore (Pisa). He worked as journalist and, currently, he is teaching “History and Philosophy” at the high-school.

The seminar was held on December 5, 2019 in dialogue with UNIRI CAS SEE fellows at the University Campus in Rijeka.

Seminar with Dragana Kovačević Bielicki

Mapping the anti-migrant protests in Serbia, Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina through their online media coverage (2015-present)

“The ‘migrant crisis’ in Europe in 2015 and beyond has resulted in an abundance of pro- and anti-migration discourses and practices. The continuous arrival and transit of migrants has been accompanied by rising anti-migration sentiments and reactions. This presentation will focus on the organized anti-migrant protests in three transit countries along the Western Balkan migration route: Serbia, Croatia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina (hereafter BH), in the period between 2015 and present. The aim is to first map and consequently explain the anti-migrant protests that have been organized across the territory of these three countries starting from the so-called migrant crisis and into the present, through the lens of their online coverage. Protests are one of the most visible practices used to express rejection of any social phenomenon, also a practice that tends to attract media attention. Online news media are among the most prominent environments relevant to the reproduction of cultures of rejection and cultures of acceptance alike. This is why, in addition to mapping the protests so far organized, this research will seek to explain how these protests are framed in the online news media, and what experiences and discourses fuel the negative reactions to migrants and migration. Serbia and Croatia are two of the Western Balkan countries that have been prominently featured as transit countries along the Balkan route during the ‘crisis’ in 2015 and 2016. In addition, it is important to include BH in the proposed case study, a currently highly relevant transit country. In the first years of the ‘crisis’ BH was not widely seen as one of the desirable stops along the route for most migrants. However, in 2018, due to the constant redirection of migrants arriving to the Balkans, BH experienced the unprecedented scale of migrant movement through its territory, people attempting to cross to Croatia and further. This resulted in recent widespread media coverage of the migrants’ movement and treatment in this country as well. This presentation will theoretically be framed through the notion of interdiscursivity, seen as the key to understanding how discursive change is related to social change. The interdiscursive context of a text refers to recontextualization of other texts and discourses (Fairclough 1992; Wodak & Fairclough 2010). Digital ethnography is the method I will employ to collect material, while the analyzes of the material will be informed by Multimodal Critical Discourse Analyses or MCDA, most specifically as outlined by Kress and Leuven (2001).”

Dragana Kovačević Bielicki is a migration researcher with background in social anthropology and philosophy.  She received a PhD in Migration, Nationalism and Culture Studies in 2016 from the University of Oslo. In addition, she holds degrees from Central European University (MA, Nationalism Studies) and the University of Belgrade (BA, Philosophy). A monograph based on her doctoral research was published in 2017 with the title Born in Yugoslavia – Raised in Norway: Former Child Refugees and Belonging (Oslo, Novus Press, 2017). She is a returning lecturer in Peace and Conflict Studies at the International Summer School, University of Oslo.

The seminar in dialogue with the UNIRI CAS SEE Fellows was held via Skype on December 5, 2019 at the University Campus in Rijeka.

Seminar with Ivan Flis

Are Open Science practices the solution? The case of psychology’s replication crisis

“The seminar takes a critical look at the role of Open Science practices and advocacy within the ongoing replication crisis in psychology. Open Science is a multifaceted interdisciplinary movement that spans the modern university, within which scientists themselves criticize established scientific practices of data collection and storage, development and sharing of analysis pipelines, publication and dissemination of research papers, and the so-called “incentive structures” that organize the hiring and advancement of faculty in Global Northern academia. Many of the Open Science interventions are in practice a type of a digital revolution within the academic system, the paradigmatic example being the push for Open Access in scholarly publishing. Reform centered around Open Science practices is proposed as a solution to the ongoing replication crisis in scientific psychology. In this seminar, I will discuss the impact of Open Science reform while taking into account the intellectual and institutional history of psychology as a science, in order to draw some epistemologically relevant conclusions about the ongoing crisis and its proposed solutions.”

Ivan Flis is a research fellow at UNIRI CAS SEE in Rijeka. He recently obtained his PhD in History and Philosophy of Science at Utrecht University in the Netherlands and before that an MA in Psychology at the University of Zagreb. In his PhD thesis, he researched the role of methodological standardization in psychology’s disciplinary formation in the late 20th century, from the perspective of conventional history of science and scientometrics. His main areas of research are history of 20th century psychology, philosophy of social science, and digital humanities.

The seminar was held on May 15, 2019 at the University of Rijeka Campus, Sveučilišni odjeli building (Ul. Radmile Matejčić 2, 51000 Rijeka).


Jelena Belić

Structural Injustice, Shared Obligations, and Civil Society

In this co-authored paper, we aim to shed more light on the shared obligations of individuals to address structural injustice. Following Iris Young, structural injustice occurs when a myriad of institutional and individual actions leads to outcomes that unfairly disadvantage many people (Young, 2011). To address structural injustice, individuals should take collective actions, including participation in civil society organizations (CSOs), but it is up to them to decide how and when to do so. We call this discretionary view. In the paper, we point to difficulties the discretionary view faces, and we argue that they can be overcome by a proper understanding of the moral relevance of CSOs. Once we acknowledge the importance of the role CSOs play in our moral universe, we might as well accept that our discretion with regard to supporting them is not as broad as many tend to think[1].

[1] Paper co-authored with Zlata Bozac (CEU).

Jelena Belić is a political philosopher working on a variety of issues including theories of cosmopolitanism and global justice, human rights, political obligation. More specifically, her interests include but are not limited to the role of formal and informal institutions in practical reasoning, Hume’s work on conventions, natural duties of justice, the debate between moral and political conceptions of human rights, philosophy of international relations, philosophy of law. Besides doing research, Jelena is also interested in methods of teaching philosophy as a subject. Jelena received her PhD in political philosophy from the Central European University in September 2018 for defending the dissertation “On the State’s Duty to Create a Just World Order”. She is a visiting lecturer at Eötvös Loránd University in Budapest.

The seminar was held at the University of Rijeka at January 30, 2019.