Invited Lectures in the Humanities

Invited Lectures in the Humanities is a series of lectures of the Doctoral School of the Humanities which is an interdisciplinary seminar in English offered to all PhD students of the Adam Mickiewicz University. The series of lectures is designed to enable the PhD students to learn how to conduct research at the highest level through direct contact with experienced as well as young researchers who have already achieved noticeable success in their disciplines. In addition, the aim of lectures is to open PhD students up to the inspirations coming from various disciplines developed throughout the School of Humanities at Adam Mickiewicz University. The lectures planned for the current academic year will cover the following disciplines: anthropology, ethnology, philosophy, history, art history, cultural studies, religious studies, theology.


Venue: Aula XVII (Rektorat), Wieniawskiego 1, Poznań


16th of January 2020, 17:00 (Thursday)

Gender research in Science & Technology Studies (STS):  A Closer Look at Variables

Prof. Alesia Ann Zuccala, University of Copenhagen

Prof. Alesia Ann Zuccala

Alesia Zuccala is currently an Associate Professor at the Department of Communication, University of Copenhagen.  In 2004, she graduated with a PhD in Information Science from the University of Toronto, Canada and has travelled widely to take on research and teaching positions in Australia, the United Kingdom, and the Netherlands.  Her specialization is in the field of bibliometrics and scholarly research evaluation.  Dr. Zuccala has been a long time member of the International Society for Scientometrics and Informetrics (ISSI), and an active participant of the European Network for Research Evaluation in the Social Sciences and Humanities (ENRESSH).  She has recently served as co-editor of a special issue on “Scholarly Books and their Evaluation Context in the Social Sciences and Humanities“ for the ASLIB Journal of Information Management, and many of her publications appear in journals such as ScientometricsResearch Evaluation, and the Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology.  

Abstract

Research concerning gender and science, specifically gender disparaties and the advancement of women, has become a revitalized topic in Science and Technology Studies (STS); building upon the tracking mechanisms of the early 1980s to late 1990s.  Advanced data sources have enabled scholars to focus on metrics and performance indicators, as well as technologies like machine learning.   The use of terminology has recently been emphasized, where the so-called ‘scientific’ use of phrases or metaphors affect how women are viewed in academic communities.  Now, with various funding initiatives, scholars are urged to assist in the identification of innovative Gender Equity Plans (GEPs), both in EU universities and research organizations, and in dialog with third world countries (e.g., Horizon2020, 2019).   Research is sometimes slow to produce change, but evidence confirms that science is clearly better as a result of gender diversity.  Nielsen et al., (2017) call this the “collective intelligence factor

However, there are well-known challenges associated with operationalizing gender in STS.   For instance, with large bibliographic datasets of authors (or patent inventors), a fundamental challenge is to match names to their respective genders.   In bibliometrics, name-to-gender matches are imperative, but in other fields like psychology, medicine, and education, sometimes the researcher will manipulate or “blind” gender as a variable.  Gender-as-variable can thus be treated differently, depending on the type of investigation.   In this lecture, I will review and clarify the function of variables in gender research, specifically to highlight the role of proxy, intervening, and confounding variables.  By taking a closer look at variable types we not only see a need for more interdisciplinary research concerning gender, but recognize how various themes (‘ways of knowing’) tend to arise time and time again in qualitative texts concerning female experiences.    


27th of February 2020, 17:00 (Thursday)

Dr hab. Monika Bobako, Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań

Are Poles white? Frantz Fanon, Polish identities and the question of race

Fot. Adrian Wykrota

Monika Bobako – professor at Adam Mickiewicz University, PhD in philosophy. A graduate of Adam Mickiewicz University and Central European University in Budapest. She is the author of books on Islamofobia jako technologia władzy. Studium z antropologii politycznej (Universitas, 2017) and Demokracja wobec różnicy. Multikulturalizm i feminizm w perspektywie polityki uznania (Wydawnictwo Poznańskie 2010), as well as the editor of the Teologie emancypacyjne  (Praktyka Teoretyczna, 2013) and Islamofobia. Konteksty (Praktyka Teoretyczna 2017). She is interested in issues of race and racism, including Islamophobia and anti-Semitism, and the problems of the postcolonial world, especially of Muslim societies. She also investigates with feminist issues, especially in the context of political theory and philosophy of religion. In 2018, her book Islamofobia jako technologia władzy. Studium z antropologii politycznej was awarded the Jan Długosz Award and a nomination for the Tadeusz Kotarbiński Award.

Abstract

The most general objective of the lecture will be to problematize a relationship between Polishness and whiteness and to pose a question regarding a role that a category of race has played in constructing social relations and identities in the Polish context. The lecture will start with a presentation of theoretical approaches developed in whiteness studies as well as critical race theory and then will proceed to discuss their applicability to studying Polish manifestations of the „race question”. The main reference point for the analysis will be Frantz Fanon, a philosopher, psychiatrist and anti-colonial revolutionary whose books Black skin, white masks and The Wretched of the Earth have become classic works in theory of race and racism. Although they were the reaction to concrete, historically situated experiences of racial oppression and colonial domination, they also provide a more general model for conceptualizing race hierarchies, whiteness and non-whiteness. The main feature of this model is that it directly relates the dynamics of race to the processes of colonization. The lecture will argue that there is a number of insights and categories in Fanon’s works that prove particularly useful for any attempt to theorise Polish whiteness as well. One of them is a concept of the „white mask” that allows to interestingly reinterpret the experiences of the Eastern European/Polish subjects. They are the subjects who, on the one hand, have considered themselves predominantly „white-skinned”, but, on the other, have often put on all kinds of „white masks” in order to compensate for the limitations of their symbolic and material peripherality within the white (post)colonial Europe. Following the Fanonian understanding of the link between colonialism and race the lecture will argue that to specify the parameters of Polish whiteness one has to explore a number of key areas in which the relation of Polish subjects to the centers of the (post)colonial Europe have been differently constructed.


12th of March 2020, 17:00 (Thursday)

Prof. Marcin Miłkowski, Institute of Philosophy and Sociology PAS

Cognitive Architectures and the Unity of Mind

Prof. Marcin Miłkowski
(Photo by Adam Burakowski) 

Associate Professor in the Section for Logic and Cognitive Science at the Institute of Philosophy and Sociology, Polish Academy of Sciences. He published Explaining the Computational Mind (MIT Press 2013), awarded with the Tadeusz Kotarbiński Prize of the Section I of the Polish Academy of Sciences and the National Science Center Award for outstanding young scholars in social sciences and humanities in 2014. He was presented with Herbert A. Simon by Association for Computers in Philosophy (IACAP) for his significant contributions in the foundations of computational neuroscience (2015). He is now Principal Investigator of NCN SONATA BIS 5 grant “Cognitive Science in Search of Unity” (2015-2020). One of the outcomes is a special issue of Theory & Psychology “Mechanisms in psychology: The road towards unity?” (29(5), 2019)). He is also co-editing a special issue of Synthese on mechanistic explanation and unification.

Scientific interests of Prof. Miłkowski focus on philosophy of science, including philosophy of cognitive science, and philosophy of mind and information. He is also interested in computational linguistics. 

Abstract

What makes the sciences of the mental unified? Allen Newell (Newell 1973, 1990) famously proposed to unify the research by appealing to cognitive architectures. Cognitive architectures are structures whose function is to display phenomena studied by psychologists, be it abstract problem solving, limitations of short-term memory, or temporal patterns of responses to stimuli in experiments. They have become a major approach to modeling the mind as a unitary phenomenon in cognitive science, for example in ACT-R (Anderson 2007), and they have remained immensely important in cognitive neuroscience. Instead of building minimal micro-models of particular psychological tasks, researchers can appeal to unified cognitive architectures whose structure is supposed to be biologically plausible.

But are contemporary cognitive architectures really unified? Do they really bring about a unified theory of the phenomena in question, or just a motley of individual results collected in the single computational simulation? Maybe cognitive architectures are just a misnomer, and these are rather cognitive slums filled with temporary constructs. One easy reply, along the lines of massive modularity of mind, would be that minds are exactly that: motley collections of cognitive features that might look like junk from a distance. 

My approach is however different. The question is: what renders a model of mind unified and integrated? Is there a way to produce a unified cognitive architecture, and not just an integrated one? I will insist that explanatory unification is the process of developing general, simple, elegant, and beautiful explanations; while explanatory integration is the process of combining multiple explanations in a coherent manner. My argument is that researchers have been busy with integrating individual results, and not with unifying the model. But this is not necessarily a bad thing, as my discussion of alternative attempts at unifying principles of cognition, be it in cybernetics (in terms of negative feedback), GOFAI (in terms of the physical symbol system hypothesis) or predictive processing, show that these do not explain cognitive phenomena in a detailed manner but only offer general frameworks or methodology.

References

Anderson, J. R. (2007). How Can the Mind Occur in the Physical Universe? Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Newell, A. (1973). You can’t play 20 questions with nature and win: Projective comments on the papers of this symposium. W W. G. Chase (Red.), Visual information processing (ss. 283–308). New York: Academic Press.

Newell, A. (1990). Unified Theories of Cognition. Cambridge, Mass. and London: Harvard University Press.

19th of March 2020,  17:00 (Thursday)

Dr. Aline Courtois, University of Bath

Academic Precarity: invisible workers in the higher education sector

Dr Aline Courtois is a lecturer in the Department of Education at the University of Bath. She holds a PhD in Sociology from University College Dublin and Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne. Previously she was a research fellow of the National University of Ireland and a postdoctoral researcher in the Centre for Global Higher Education at UCL IOE. She has published widely on elite education, student mobility, academic precarity and other higher education topics in international journals such as Higher Education, Journal of Education Policy, British Journal of Educational Studies, Gender Work and Organization, British Journal of Sociology of Education. Her recent book Elite Schooling and Social Inequality: Privilege and Power in Ireland’s Top Private Schools, was published by Palgrave.

Abstract

Universities increasingly rely on hourly pay and other forms of insecure employment (and non-employment) to carry out core teaching and research tasks. Precarious academics are typically excluded from official statistics and workplace-based headcounts. Their work and their presence may be invisible even to their colleagues, while their access to various academic spaces is severely curtailed by lack of funds and/or recognition. They may work across institutions, between sectors, relocate frequently and float in an out of employment over time – forms of spatial and career mobility that further marginalise them and make invisible their struggles. Based on work conducted primarily in Ireland with Dr Theresa O’Keefe of University College Cork (Courtois and O’Keefe, 2015; O’Keefe and Courtois, 2019), the paper discusses the methodological and conceptual challenges for researchers, activists and those in-between, of documenting and challenging the casualisation of labour in universities.


26th of March 2020,  17:00 (Thursday)

Dr. Zehra Taşkın, Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań, Hacettepe University

Time to Change Traditional Citation Counting Methods: Next-Generation Approaches for Content-Based Citation Analyses

Zehra Taşkın is a visiting professor at Adam Mickiewicz University, Scholarly Communication Research Group and an assistant professor at Hacettepe University, Department of Information Management (iSchool), Turkey. Her main research interests include research/er performance evaluations, next-generation performance indicators, scholarly communication and social network analyses. Her works have been published in prestigious journals such as Scientometrics, Online Information Review and Library Hi-Tech. In addition to her works in international literature, she also has articles on scholarly communication in popular science journals. She has involved in various projects. In this context, she took part in researches funded by NASA Astrobiology Institute and Tokyo Institute of Technology. She also had an active role in Libraries for Everyone Project which is supported by Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Currently, she is the principal investigator of the project entitled “creating content-based citation analysis system for English and Polish” which is supported by the Polish National Agency for Academic Exchange. All detailed information about Dr Taşkın is available on her website: http://zehrataskin.com

Abstract

Researchers around the world are evaluated based on the number of articles they publish and the citations they receive to these articles. In this context, most productive or most-cited authors are announced as the most prominent and influential authors in their fields and they can reach incentives and promotions easily with the help of the numbers. Ranking obsession, which dominates the whole world, has also been effective in increasing the value given to the numbers of publications and citations. After attaching such importance to the numbers, Academia has faced with unethical practices. Scholars, who want to game with the numbers, manipulate the system easily because the traditional evaluation system just counts the numbers. In the current state, it is important to develop a new system that is easy to use and can be easily adapted to the existing systems. Today, it is thought that the most important development that can replace traditional citation counting is to focus on the content of citations by using the opportunities provided by information technologies. The main aim of content-based citation analyses is to classify citations according to their semantic and syntactic features. It is possible to classify citations in terms of their meanings, purposes, shapes and arrays by using natural language processing techniques. By adopting such applications to different disciplines and different languages, research evaluation processes in academia might be improved. In the lecture, which will be held on March 26, 2020, currently developed content-based citation analysis method will be introduced, and information will be given about the studies carried out for Polish and English languages.


16th of April, 2020  17:00 (Thursday)

Dr. Paul Rekret, Richmond University

Streaming Playlist as Cultural Form

Paul Rekret is Associate Professor of Politics at Richmond American International University in London. He is the author of two books, Down With Childhood: Popular Music and the Crisis of Innocence, and Derrida and Foucault: Philosophy, Politics, Polemics and editor of a forthcoming edition of George Caffentzis’ Clipped Coins, Abused Works & Civil Government: John Locke’s Philosophy of Money. His work in political and cultural theory has been published in journals including Theory, Culture & SocietyConstellationsSouth Atlantic Quarterly and Journal of Popular Music Studies and he writes regularly for cultural publications including Frieze, the Wire and the Quietus.

Abstract

This presentation examines changes to the experience of popular music given its consumption through mood-based playlists on internet streaming platforms. By displacing the ‘single’ and the album as a form of music distribution the platform represents a new mode of value production for the music industry, one where music sales are secondary to the generation of user data, branding, device and bandwidth sales. These transformations in turn reflect wider changes: the ubiquity of music across time and space that music streaming involves further entails changes to music’s social function and its aesthetic form. In creating a frictionless harmony among sonic elements, genres, cultures and epochs, the playlist generates an imagined unity into which it interpellates the subject of interminable production and consumption.


8th of May 2020, 17:00 (Friday)

Prof. Martin Müller, Université de Lausanne


14th of May 2020,  17:00 (Thursday)

Dr. Agata Zysiak, University of Warsaw


21th of May 2020,  17:00 (Thursday)

Prof. Huang Young, The Chinese University of Hong Kong


28th of May 2020,  17:00 (Thursday)

Prof. Rens Bod, University of Amsterdam