Kollegium Talks in Spring 2022: from God, emotion and freedom to decolonizing the Enlightenment and Putin's holy war

The Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies hosts three Kollegium Talks events at Think Corner Stage this spring: "God, Emotion, and Freedom" on April 25 at 5:00 pm, "Decolonizing the Enlightenment" on May 9 at 5:00 pm, and "Putin’s Holy War, Russian Orthodoxy and the Invasion of Ukraine" on May 23 at 5:00 pm.

Kollegium Talks is a discussion series hosted by the Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies (HCAS) at Think Corner of the University of Helsinki. In each Kollegium Talk, Helsinki Collegium fellows and their guests discuss a topic that connects their research interests and opens fresh perspectives to the humanities and social sciences and to the world we live in. 

Join the debate at Think Corner Stage or via live stream (see links below)! The discussions will also be recorded for later viewing and will be posted on the HCAS Youtube channel for two weeks. 


KOLLEGIUM TALKS: Putin’s Holy War, Russian Orthodoxy and the Invasion of Ukraine

23 May at 5:00 pm at Think Corner Stage

Speakers: Sean Griffin (HCAS) and Elina Kahla (University of Helsinki)


Live stream at https://www2.helsinki.fi/fi/tiedekulma/katso-ja-kuuntele 


Kremlinology is back in a big way. Thinkers and pundits of every stripe, throughout the world, are once again seeking to uncover the secret motives and exotic ideologies of the Russian political elite. Only this time around, unlike in the days of Soviet atheism, the smoke signals coming from the Kremlin are increasingly linked with the incense rising from Moscow’s onion-domed churches. But what role has the Russian Orthodox Church really played in the invasion of Ukraine? In this Kollegium Talk, two specialists in eastern Christianity will address this question and discuss the relationship between religion and war in Putin’s Russia. 

Speaker bios: 

Sean Griffin is an interdisciplinary scholar of Russia and Ukraine. His research focuses primarily on the history of the Orthodox Church and its role in the making of cultural memory: from the liturgy and chronicles of medieval Kyiv, to the blockbuster films and digital propaganda of modern Moscow.  Griffin is currently a Core Fellow in the Collegium for Advanced Studies at the University of Helsinki. His newest book, The Sacred Reign of Vladimir Putin, will be published by Cornell University Press. 

Elina Kahla is Principal Investigator and Adjunct Professor in Cultural History of Russia, affiliated at the Aleksanteri Institute, University of Helsinki. Her current research interest focuses on church-state relationship and the agency of Russian Orthodox Church in wider society. 

KOLLEGIUM TALKS: Decolonizing the Enlightenment

9 May 2022 at 5:00 pm Think Corner Stage, University of Helsinki 

Speakers: Charlotte Epstein (HCAS & University of Sydney), Rosi Carr (Birkbeck University of London) and Soile Ylivuori (HCAS)

**UPDATE: We regret to announce that Charlotte Epstein cannot take part in the event.**


Live stream at https://www2.helsinki.fi/fi/tiedekulma/katso-ja-kuuntele


The title of this event is both conceptually broad and politically provocative. When we say we should ‘decolonize the Enlightenment’, what does that mean? What is ‘the Enlightenment’? Why should it be decolonized? What would that look like? We will discuss these questions in a relaxed conversation about the Enlightenment and its present-day legacies ranging from liberalism and civil rights to militant ethnonationalism and ecocatastrophe. 

Speaker bios: 

Rosi Carr is a historian of the eighteenth-century British world. An honorary research fellow at Birkbeck and visiting lecturer in imperial histories at City, University of London, they have held fellowships at the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities, at Edinburgh, and the University of Sydney (supported by a Menzies Bicentennial Fellowship). The author of Gender and Enlightenment in Eighteenth-Century Scotland (Edinburgh University Press, 2014), they have published widely on eighteenth-century British history and are now working on Whiteness, Enlightenment and colonial violence focusing on the Sydney colony in Eora country and addressing Pacific and Atlantic connections. 

French-Kenyan born and currently living in Australia and in Denmark and in Helsinki as HCAS Fellow, Charlotte Epstein read philosophy, English literature and history at l'université de Paris-Sorbonne. She also has a masters degree in philosophy from l'université de Paris-Sorbonne and another in international relations from Cambridge University, where she also wrote her PhD. Epstein has published in a wide range of journals in International relations and in political theory, including: European Journal of International Relations, International Organization, Raisons Politiques, Global Environmental Politics, Body and Society, International Political Sociology, Security Dialogue and Political Theory. Her latest book is entitled: Birth of the State: the Place of the Body in Crafting Modern Politics (Oxford University Press). 

Soile Ylivuori is a historian of Britain and its eighteenth-century empire and a Core Fellow at HCAS. A graduate of University of Helsinki (2016), she has held a Marie Curie Research Fellowship (QMUL), a Beinecke and Lewis Walpole Libraries Research Fellowship (Yale), and an Academy of Finland Postdoctoral Fellowship (Helsinki). Her previous projects have examined questions of embodiment, material identities, and circulation of knowledge and power in the eighteenth century. Ylivuori is the author of Women and Politeness in Eighteenth-Century England: Bodies, Identities, and Power (Routledge, 2019) and has published several articles in journals including Cultural and Social History and the Historical Journal. Her current project examines patients’ embodied experiences of medical electricity in the long eighteenth-century British Atlantic world.


KOLLEGIUM TALKS: God, Emotion, and Freedom 


25 April 2022 at 5:00 pm at Think Corner Stage at the University of Helsinki (Yliopistonkatu 4)

Speakers: Ryan Mullins (HCAS), Ritva Palmén (University of Helsinki), Aku Visala (University of Helsinki)


Live stream at https://www2.helsinki.fi/fi/tiedekulma/katso-ja-kuuntele


What does it mean to be human? What is the meaning of life? These are enduring questions that depend on the nature and existence of God, emotions, and freedom. In the first Kollegium Talks event of this spring, we will take a lighthearted look at different understandings of God, the role of emotions in our lives, and whether or not we have free will.  

Speaker bios: 

R.T. Mullins (PhD, University of St Andrews) has published over 50 essays on various topics in philosophical theology related to models of God, philosophy of time, personal identity, the problem of evil, disability theology, the Trinity, and the incarnation. He has published three books, The End of the Timeless God (Oxford University Press, 2016), God and Emotion (Cambridge University Press, 2020), and Dios, las Escrituras y las Emociones (Universidad Peruana Union Press, 2021). Mullins has held research and teaching fellowships at the University of Notre Dame, the University of Cambridge, the University of St Andrews, and the University of Edinburgh. He is currently a senior research fellow at the Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies. When not engaging in philosophical theology, he is often found at a metal show.   

Ritva Palmén is a docent of philosophy of religion, University of Helsinki. Currently, she acts as a Finnish Academy Research Fellow leading her project “Social emotions in medieval and Renaissance intellectual history”. Previously, she has acted as a core fellow at the Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies (2017-2020) and worked in several Finnish Academy projects. Her research interests include history of philosophy, medieval philosophical theology and the study of emotions broadly understood. Within her research, she has been keen to develop interdisciplinary approaches, seeking opportunities for interacting with scholars both within her own field and outside. She has published a monograph on medieval theories of imagination (Brill, 2014) and co-edited volume Recognition and Religion: Contemporary and Historical Studies (co-authored with Maijastina Kahlos and Heikki J. Koskinen, Routledge 2019). She has also written several articles published in journals such as Speculum, Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies, Medieval Encounters and History of Political Thought. Her most recent articles elaborate on the emotion of shame, idea of inner security and cognitive dimension of admiration. 

Aku Visala (Ph.D. Philosophy of Religion, University of Helsinki) is a post-doctoral researcher at the University of Helsinki, Finland. He has held postdoctoral positions in Oxford, Princeton, and Notre Dame universities. He is the author of a number of books, including Naturalism, Theism and the Cognitive Study of Religion: Religion Explained? (Ashgate), Conversations on Human Nature (Routledge) and A Philosophy of Free Will (Helsinki University Press). In addition to composing electronic music and watching bad movies, his interests include analytic theology, cognitive science, theological anthropology and free will. 




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