KOLLEGIUM TALKS: THINKING FUTURE WORLDS - three online discussions with Helsinki Collegium fellows in April (1.4., 15.4., 29.4. at 5:00 pm)

What does it mean to live in a moment of multiple crises – environmental, societal, medical, economic? Can the EU build a better future, and what should its global role be? How will social media shape the politics of the future? In each Kollegium Talks event in April 2021, two Helsinki Collegium fellows meet on the Think Corner Stage to discuss a topic that is central to their own research and crucial for understanding our contemporary moment and its possible futures. Join the debate online via live stream from Think Corner!

Kollegium Talks is an ongoing discussion series hosted by the Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies (HCAS) and Think Corner at the University of Helsinki. Please note that the discussion on April 15 takes place on Zoom (see link below). The discussions will also be recorded for later viewing.

1.4. at 5:00 pm 

KOLLEGIUM TALKS: From the Anthropocene to Bat Soups – Thinking Extinction (our own and that of others)  

Speakers: Christine Daigle & Xin Liu 


The world is in turmoil due to the multiple crises we face – environmental, societal, medical, economic. What does it mean to live in such a moment of crisis? Must we rethink ourselves, nonhuman others, the world and their relations in order to develop new tools to exist in this world? If the extent of these crises is such that they cannot be reverted or resolved, must we not learn to live in the mode of crisis? What does that entail? We will discuss prominent concepts of this age of crisis – such as “Anthropocene,” “Extinction,” “Sustainability.” We will challenge the humanist value system permeating these concepts and ask: what are the ethical and political implications of living beyond humanism? 

Speaker Bios: 

Christine Daigle is Professor of philosophy and Director of the Posthumanism Research Institute at Brock University. In addition to her work in posthumanism, material feminism, and the environmental posthumanities, she has published extensively on the works of Friedrich Nietzsche, Jean-Paul Sartre, and Simone de Beauvoir. Her current research at the Collegium explores the concept of posthuman vulnerability and its ethical potential as seen from a posthumanist material feminist point of view. 

Xin Liu is a postdoctoral researcher at the Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies. Her research has been published in journals such as Australian Feminist studies, Parallax, Media theory and Journal of Environmental media. Her interests include science and technology studies, economic sociology, and feminist theory. Her project at the Collegium investigates one of the most challenging issues facing humanity today: how to simultaneously cultivate ecological and economic sustainability. 

15.4. at 5:00 pm 

KOLLEGIUM TALKS: Is Another Europe Possible After All? Reflections on the European Green Deal and the COVID Recovery Plan 

Speakers: Magnus Ryner & Heikki Patomäki 


The European Union is a contradictory entity, in which many invest hope for a better future while at the same time subjecting it to seemingly ruthless criticism. This can be summarized by the slogan ‘another Europe is possible’. Are recent EU initiatives such as the European Green Deal and the COVID Recovery Plan indicative of this? Or is Europe irredeemably locked into a market-based order that sits uneasily with social citizenship norms and requirements of democratic legitimation? Can the EU build cohesion by identifying external threats and enemies? What should its global role be? This session addresses these questions as a starting point for a more general discussion about whether social scientists can paint scenarios of the future to determine what might be possible and desirable. 

Speaker Bios: 

Heikki Patomäki is Professor of World Politics in Helsinki. He was originally trained as an economist and has published extensively in various scholarly fields ranging from Big History and philosophy of social sciences to European, global and futures studies. The logic of critical realist social-scientific explanation, and a related theory of human emancipation, is the main thread connecting these areas. His most recent book is Disintegrative Tendencies in Global Political Economy. Currently he is working on two books, Three Fields of Global Political Economy and, with Jamie Morgan, Timeless Economics. Previously Patomäki has worked as a full professor at the University of Nottingham Trent (1998-2003), UK, and RMIT University (2007-10) in Melbourne, Australia. He has also been a Visiting Professor at the Ritsumeikan University in Kyoto, Japan (2012). Patomäki is a member of the Finnish Academy of Science and Letters and lifelong member of Clare Hall, University of Cambridge. 

Magnus Ryner is Professor of International Political Economy and former head of the Department of European and International Studies at King's College London. He has published extensively on the problem of welfare capitalism in the era of global neoliberalism, as well as on the so-called 'Nordic Model', the German social market, and European integration. By drawing on post-Keynesian and regulation-theoretical traditions, his current project seeks to explain why globalization and European integration are associated with socio-economic stagnation in Europe and the US. More specifically, it addresses the problem of American and German hegemony after the 1971 collapse of Bretton Woods. 


29.4. at 5:00 pm

KOLLEGIUM TALKS: Social media and politics of the future: Complicating scenarios for a complex world 

Speakers: Airi-Alina Allaste & Kinga Polynczuk-Alenius 


The global uptake of social media platforms has profoundly reshaped contemporary politics. This development could be approached from contradictory standpoints: one that highlights users' political agency in productively and creatively employing affordances of social media, and the other that argues that social media exacerbate the current democratic crisis. On the one hand, we witness unprecedented access to information and diversification of political participation. On the other hand, we are concerned about spread of disinformation and algorithmically engineered communicative fragmentation that feeds political polarisation. This session expands on these starting points to reflect on how social media impact societal debates, activism and political communication in ways that will shape the politics of the future.     

Speaker Bios: 

Airi-Alina Allaste, Professor of Sociology at Tallinn University, Estonia, focuses her research, publications, and teaching on youth-related topics, qualitative methods, and the analyses of meanings that people attribute to their lives. She has been a coordinator of many projects on youth cultures, lifestyles, participation and motilities. She has published numerous peer reviewed articles and edited seven books/special issues on these topics.   Currently, she is vice-president of the international research committee of the Sociology of Youth, ISA and has served recently as a member of the European Sociological Association executive committee (2015-2019). 

Kinga Polynczuk-Alenius is Postdoctoral Researcher (Core Fellow) in media and communication at the Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies, where she is working on a project concerning mediated racism and nationalism in Poland. Her articles have been published in journals such as 'Nations and Nationalism', 'Globalizations', 'International Journal of Cultural Studies', 'Journal of Nonprofit & Public Sector Marketing', and 'Media and Communication'. 

More information:

Research Coordinator Kaisa Kaakinen, +358 2 94122493, kaisa.kaakinen@helsinki.fi

This event series is part of the Year of Research-based Knowledge 2021

More information about the initiative of the Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture, the Academy of Finland and the Federation of Finnish Learned Societies: https://tutkittutieto.fi/en/