Global Theory, Local Practice

Student conference in social sciences and the humanities
organised by the Baltic Graduate School in co-operation with the Graduate School of Culture Studies and Arts

The theoretical frameworks for most disciplines of social sciences and the humanities have been elaborated in the context of Western Europe and North America, and, with rare exceptions, the conceptual background against which their validity is judged is that of affluent, technologically advanced and democratic social wholes. But is it possible to take such theory for granted? Can it be that by highlighting certain social and cultural phenomena it occasionally leaves others in the dark, and that precisely these others have the determining role in certain processes that evolve outside the North Atlantic civilisational area? For example, how do we experience phenomena of popular culture that are conceived of as realistic, but remain completely unrelated to our own life-world – from where Pandora and Springfield seem to be at an almost equal distance? We are accustomed to think that the discourses promoting gender equality are always progressive and that literature upholding conservative values is always serving the interest of the rulers – but can this be said of the way Soviet society treated women or of the literatures of the Baltic countries in the post-war period? On the one hand, it is quite clear that Western theories has provided us with powerful tools for the research on any society and culture, but on the other, it seems justified to say that the explanatory power of these theories also has its limits.

Key-note speaker:
Bruce M. Knauft, Professor of Anthropology, Emory University

Plenary speakers:
Professor Rein Raud, Tallinn University
Professor Tiina Ann Kirss, Tallinn University
Professor Anna Verschik, Tallinn University

The aim of this conference is to bring together students from all areas of social sciences and the humanities who have experienced methodological mismatch problems in their research – where the traditional theories of their discipline do not seem to provide them with completely adequate answers to their questions. After all, the only way to overcome such problems is to define these problems with clarity and find solutions for them in a more interdisciplinary context.

Abstracts (max 200 words) for the conference should be sent in electronic form, either *.doc or *.rtf format, to Evelin Banhard ( ) by 30 September 2010, the presenters will be notified by 15 October 2010. Registration is closed!

All travel and accommodation costs within Estonia will be covered for the members of The Graduate School of Culture Studies and Arts.