Series of talks by the Faculty of Social Sciences on January 14

The Faculty of Social Sciences participates the annual Night of Science event by organizing a series of talks in English. Each talk lasts 20 minutes, after which there is time for questions and comments. See the fascinating topics below and join the event online on January 14. We are looking forward to lively discussion!

Join the Zoom meeting here. You are welcome to join and leave the event at any point.


18:00 Antti Tarvainen: Colonial fictions of innovation: Understanding the immersive power of Silicon Valle

It is said that the economy is becoming more fictional, more dreamlike. The purpose of this talk is to dive into the dream-images and fictions of Silicon Valley. Specifically, I will explore the role of colonial and violent fictions in the contemporary dreams of innovation. By researching the colonial fictions of Silicon Valley, I suggest, we may better understand the contemporary transformations in our global economy and the ways in which its dreams and nightmares materialize into real life. 

Antti Tarvainen is a doctoral student of Global Development Studies at the University of Helsinki. Antti's research project studies the expansions of innovation economy in Silicon Valley (US) and Silicon Wadi (Israel/Palestine). Antti spent the year 2019/2020 at the New School for Social Research as a Fulbright visiting scholar.

18:30 Mona Livholts: Immaterial Monuments, Narrative (In)equality and Glocal Social Work in Urban Spaces 

This lecture presents a critical and creative analysis of the power of monuments in urban spaces to reflect and narrate privileged worldviews of elites. It argues that glocal social work, through post-human and social justice perspectives inspired by architecture, human geography, social sculpture and creative writing, can promote critical spatial practice-based knowledge useful for creating inclusive, equal and safe urban spaces. The lecture draws on the author’s experiences from the participatory art workshop “Immaterial Monuments” in the Western Balkans and discusses removal of monuments in Europe and USA spring 2020.

Mona Livholts is Professor in social work, Department of Social Sciences, Helsinki University; Affiliated member Helsinki Institute of Urban and Regional Studies, Urbaria; founder and leader of the international writing network RAW, Reflexive Academic Writing 2008-2017. She works with creative writing, art, intersectionality and sustainability in social work research and education. In a current project she conducts a series of studies on emergent forms of glocal social work from a post-anthropogenic perspective in urban settings.

19:00 Kris Clarke: Decolonizing Pathways towards Integrative Healing in Social Work 

Social work emerged as a quintessential ‘modern’ Western profession in step with settler colonial nation-building projects in the late nineteenth century to mediate the human consequences of industrial capitalism . Its aim has been – paradoxically – to challenge state policies and advocate for social justice while supporting and operating with oppressive colonizing structures though practices that have often reinforced anthropocentric, gender, sexual, ableist and racial violence. Indeed, historical social work practices have sought to integrate citizens into the norms of dominant society by enforcing 'universal' state policies that have routinely ignored diverse differences, needs, and experiences. Starting from a discussion of the contribution of decolonial theories to social work, this presentation focuses on the role of water in social work as a pathway towards integrative healing. 

Kris Clarke is Associate Professor at the University of Helsinki, Faculty of Social Sciences. She is a queer Irish American who has held faculty appointments at the University of Tampere, Finland, and California State University, Fresno. She has worked in the field of advocacy with migrants living with HIV in the European Union. She has also organized several social memory projects to develop dialogues between community members and students. Her research focuses on structural social work, social memory, LGBTQ+ issues in social work, and harm reduction. A portfolio of her work can be seen at

19:30 Säde Hormio: What is the responsibility of individuals for collectively caused harms?

Many harms and wrongs in our world are caused collectively. Examples include climate change, the use of sweatshop labor in global supply chains, or the scarcity of certain groups of people in leadership positions. These harms and wrongs are caused and upheld by a number of agents, none of whom can affect the outcome directly on their own. Why should we care about what we do if the effects of our individual actions are imperceptible? This talk argues that when we understand the potential in our participation, we can create new groups and networks that can affect even systemic harms.

Säde Hormio is a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellow at Practical Philosophy. Her research focuses on shared and collective responsibility.

20:00  Gwenaëlle Bauvois: The glocalisation of the Yellow Vests movement in Finland

The Yellow Vest movement started in France in November 2018 and spread all over the world - online and offline. These different protests have often been grouped under the same Yellow Vests banner, although they are also rooted in a local context and crystallize different issues. In this presentation, Gwenaëlle Bauvois investigates two aspects of the Finnish Yellow Vests movement. Firstly, to what extent the ‘crisis’ narratives on the Yellow Vests are transnational and domesticated from France to Finland. Secondly, how grassroots Yellow Vests in Finland have mobilised themselves and what is the role played by social media and countermedia in this mobilization. 

Gwenaëlle Bauvois is a sociologist. She works as a university researcher at the Swedish School of Social Science and is based at the Centre for Research on Ethnic Relations and Nationalism (CEREN).

20:30 Igor Mikeshin: Christianity in Russia and Russian Christianity 

Could there be a Russian Christianity? Is there anything national or even ethnic about a particular religion? Is it all about the Russian Orthodox Church? In my talk, I will address the role of Christianity in Russian history and contemporary Russia, its diversity, and ideologies. Using the examples of the Russian Orthodox Church and evangelical Protestant communities, I will discuss what is Russian about Russian Christianity.

Igor Mikeshin, PhD (VTT, Helsinki, 2016), is a postdoctoral researcher in Social and Cultural Anthropology, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Helsinki. He is a participant of the research group "Religion, Self, and the Ethical Life" ( with the research project on the narratives of gender, sex, and family in Russian Evangelicalism.