7th Winter School “Fact and Method: data, borders and interpretation”


5-9 February 2018


This Winter School invites you to engage in critical reflection on fact and method. By definition, a fact is a piece of information presented as having objective reality. Does a fact, so understood, correspond to the truth? Is truth a singular or plural concept? In the academic world, scholarly truth appears to be plural: it appears to generate more than existed before, but at the same time, it also appears to generate less than existed before, because of its tendency never to reach a finalised singularity. This feature of truth is manifest when scholars communicate, exchange and interpret facts and knowledge from their various fields of research—it is in those circumstances that the notion of truth transforms and paradigms shift.

What methods do different disciplines use in this process? What methods are used to discern or articulate, to analyse or interpret facts? Modern day humanities also treat methods themselves as objects of investigation. Methods provide limited interpretations of reality, while critical considerations of accredited paradigms reveal or disenchant hidden meanings, help to trace disciplinary histories and reveal disciplinary identities. Reflection upon method opens the door to new ways to understand the social role of academics, power relations, research ethics, and scholarly agency.

The 2018 Winter School aims to revisit the intense and complex relationships between objectivity and subjectivity, the take-as-given and the innovative, conventional and alternative discourses, conflicts of perspective and consensus in argumentation, in order to reflect upon the positioning of facts and upon the making of method.

 The programme of the Winter School consists of:

1) interdisciplinary lectures and discussions conducted by Estonian and guest lecturers;

2) seminars in smaller groups moderated by guest lecturers;

3) one day of specialized and practical workshops.

Winter School lecturers include:

Prof. Ernst van Alphen (Leiden University), Prof. Ewa Dabrowska (University of Birmingham), Prof. Paul Hoyningen-Huene (Leibniz Universität Hannover, University of Zurich), Prof. Jüri Kivimäe (University of Toronto), Prof. Ann Komaromi (University of Toronto), Prof.Annika Rabo (Stockholm University), Prof. Tarmo Soomere (Estonian Academy of Sciences, Tallinn University of Technology)

Winter School workshops include:

“Emotions in 50 years of pop song lyrics: a text mining approach” by Alberto Acerbi (Eindhoven University of Technology)

“Learning to read and understand scholarly journal articles using narrative structure” by Monica Gonzalez-Marquez (RWTH Aachen University)

“(Almost) everything you always wanted to know about…academia but were afraid to ask” by Abel Polese (Tallinn University)

“Difficult interviewing: strategies, tools and challenges of oral history” by Magdalena Waligórska (University of Hamburg)

“How to be successful in academia: publishing like a pro” by Jennifer Spenader (University of Groningen)

The language of the degree course is English. Participation is free of charge.

All workshops require previous registration. Plenary lectures are open to the public!

Upon full participation in the study programme students will be awarded 4 ECTS credits.

Online registration opens on Winter School homepage on November 27, 2017, and closes January 5, 2018.

Students will be notified of their acceptance at the beginning of January 2018.

The accommodation and travel costs of the students of GSCSA and GSLPS will be reimbursed. Accommodation will be arranged by the organizers.

Please find more information on the Winter School homepage

Hosting institution: University of Tartu
Co-organizer: Graduate School of Linguistics, Philosophy and Semiotics
Programme Director: Professor Kristin Kuutma (University of Tartu; Head of the GSCSA Programme at the University of Tartu)
Programme Managers: Anastasiya Astapova (GSCSA), Ann Veismann (GSLPS)
Student Coordinator: Anastasiya Astapova (GSCSA) (University of Tartu), anastasiya.astapova@ut.ee

This Winter School is organised by the Graduate School of Culture Studies and Arts, and co-organized by the Graduate School of Linguistics, Philosophy and Semiotics. The event is supported by the University of Tartu ASTRA Project PER ASPERA, Tallinn University’s ASTRA project, TLÜ TEE.