CECT




The event of the year for the Centre of Excellence in Cultural Theory is the autumn conference – an international scientific event dedicated to general theoretical topics.

The autumn conference takes place alternately in Tallinn and Tartu, in the last weeks of October.


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University of Tartu, Estonia

April 22–24, 2015

The eighth conference of the Centre of Excellence in Cultural Theory invites researchers to reflect upon the dynamics between cultural theory and cultural practice. Live theory, as we understand it, is cultural theory that is carried out today, that is currently relevant to the effort to make sense of culture as it is lived – practiced and experienced by people – at a particular time and in particular socio-environmental conditions. Lived culture encourages us, as researchers, to understand how and why people do, and make sense of, things in a particular way. Like culture itself, live theory is not conclusively defined or finalised, although it may rely on existing ideas in cultural research. Live theory refers to our constant struggle to find a balance between attempts to interpret culture through analytical conceptualisations and open-ended imaginations, visions that aim to describe emergent cultural phenomena. Furthermore, we see cultural theory itself as part of cultural practice – by describing and explaining culture we also create it in different terms and imageries.

Different types of contribution of and collaborations between scholars from various disciplines are welcome. The topics of the panels are formulated around broad concepts that provide opportunities for different theoretical imaginations of the current research into how culture is being lived today as well as in the past.

Plenary lecturers:
Prof. em. Eileen Barker (Sociology of Religion, London School of Economics)
Who and what belongs where - and when and why? Boundary construction, maintenance and change in new religious movements

Prof. Charles L. Briggs (Folklore Chair, University of California, Berkeley)
Of bats, viruses, humans, trees, and chickens: Multispecies relations and the limits of knowledge

Prof. Hayden Lorimer (Chair of Cultural Geography, University of Glasgow)
Crafting cultural theory at the Gates of Heaven

Panel I: Time and space
Panel II: Nature and culture
Panel III: Borders and centres
Panel IV: Dominants and alternatives

Key dates and deadlines:
Abstracts due: December 12, 2014
Acceptance notification: December 19, 2014

A conference fee is not required but there will be no reimbursement of accommodation and travel costs for conference guests (except for CECT members). More information about accommodation choices will be provided after acceptance notification.

Conference poster and Facebook event

Organisers
The Centre of Excellence in Cultural Theory (EU, European Regional Development Fund), University of Tartu, Tallinn University.

Contact
Conference administrator: Monika Tasa, CECT project manager
Email: cect@ut.ee
Phone: (+372) 737 6534
http://cect.ut.ee

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University of Tartu, Estonia
October 30 – November 1, 2013

The Sixth Autumn Conference of the Centre of Excellence in Cultural Theory (CECT) focuses on the issues of embodiment, personhood, subjectivity, and experience, as well as on the connection of these concepts with the understanding of cultural identity. The notion of identity is often treated in the framework of controversial efforts of dialogic interpretation. Recognising the individuality of the studied subjects, it becomes tricky to merge a variety of self-understandings into a coherent whole. Identity appears to us as an interconnected play of superficial and fundamental, ideological and physical, essentialised and dialogic. The conceptual initiative of our conference is inspired by these controversial cognitive dimensions. We encourage our colleagues to develop theoretical and empirical approaches through a conceptual matrix that focuses primarily on the proposed concepts of understanding and interpreting cultural identity.

Plenary lecturers include:  
Prof. Billy Ehn (Umeå University)
Making the familiar strange. Autoethnography and reflexivity in the cultural analysis of home
Interview in Sirp
Dr. Chris Fowler (Newcastle University)
Death as the transformation of personhood: Relationality beyond the grave
Interview in Sirp
Dr. John Wylie (University of Exeter)
Eye-opener: The phenomenologies of landscape drawing
Interview in Sirp
Dr. Katharine Young (independent scholar, visiting lecturer at UC Berkeley)
The mimetic series of the body: Narrative, memory, and time in somatic psychology
Interview in Sirp

 

Panel I: Revisiting key issues in the methodology of studying culture: reflexivity, representation and experience
Panel II: Negotiating embodied experiences
Panel III:
Learning landscapes: stories, senses and sensitization
Panel IV: Dynamics between public and private
Panel V: Death as the transformation of personhood

Key Dates and Deadlines:
Abstracts Due: June 1st, 2013; Extended Deadline: June 18th, 2013
Acceptance Notification: July 1st, 2013
Registration Deadline: September 15th, 2013

Full Paper Submission: October 15th, 2013

A conference fee is not required but there will be no reimbursement for accommodation and travel costs for conference guests (except for CECT members). More information about accommodation choices will be provided after acceptance notification.

Organisers
Centre of Excellence in Cultural Theory (EU, European Regional Development Fund), University of Tartu, Tallinn University

Contact
Conference administrator: Monika Tasa, CECT project manager
Email: cect@ut.ee
Phone: (+372) 737 6535


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Tallinn University, Estonia
October 17–19, 2012

The V Autumn Conference of the Centre of Excellence in Cultural Theory (CECT) focuses on the issues of border dynamics in culture. Culture is structured through multiple borders, visible and invisible, making the culture comprehensible and understandable. Borders facilitate communication – as well as block it. Culture b/orders itself against the background of otherwise organised cultures. The functioning of culture can be approached as a continuous negotiation of borders, as an attempt to define itself and its surroundings, to create meaning and translatability. Therefore, temporal, geographical and symbolic borders in culture are never static but in continuous change. Borders are the areas of sharp activity substantially contributing to the dynamics of culture: shifting and moving borders are the basic processes of cultural innovation.

Plenary lectures
Prof. Anssi Paasi (Department of Geography, University of Oulu)
“Border studies on the move: Going beyond territorial-relational divide"
Read the interview with prof. Anssi Paasi in Sirp.

Prof. Stephen Wolfe (Border Poetics research group, University of Tromsø)
“Memoryscapes into borderscapes: Notes on progress towards a border aesthetics”

Read the interview with prof. Stephen Wolfe in Sirp.



Panel I:
B/ordering Ruptures: The Dynamics of Self-Description

Panel II:
Drawing Borders: (Re-)materialising Ideologies in Landscape and in Practice

Panel III:
Imagining and Representing Boundaries of Believable Realities

Panel IV:
Silence in Cultural Practices: Agency, Power and Ideology on the Border of Language

Panel V:
Movement of Humans and Animals: Freedom, Limits, Margins



Key Dates and Deadlines

Abstracts Due: June 1st, 2012 
Acceptance Notification: July 1st, 2012
Registration Deadline: September 1st, 2012 
Full Paper Submission: September 20th, 2012

A conference fee is not required but there will be no reimbursement for accommodation and travel costs for conference guests (except for CECT members). More information about accommodation choices will be provided after acceptance.

See the poster.

Organisers
Centre of Excellence in Cultural Theory (EU, European Regional Development Fund), University of Tartu, Tallinn University

Contact
Conference administrator: Monika Tasa, CECT coordinator
Email: cect@ut.ee
Phone: (+372) 737 6535


IV Autumn Conference of the Centre of Excellence in Cultural Theory
THINGS IN CULTURE, CULTURE IN THINGS

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University of Tartu, Estonia
October 20–22, 2011

Things in culture, cultures in things and lest we forget, all that stuff in between. Objects, artefacts and matter, even sometimes the immaterial, have been comprehensively theorised and contextualised through a number of intriguing case studies. Since the groundbreaking publication of The Social Life of Things in 1986 to the launch of the Journal of Material Culture ten years later, the material world in its cross-cultural, multi-temporal and interdisciplinary study could never quite be the same again. Indeed, the very concern for the effects and affects of the ways in which materiality changes over time is the one that this interdisciplinary conference hosted by the Centre of Excellence in Cultural Theory (CECT) seeks to address.

A well known adage in this field of enquiry is that things make people as much people make things. The relationships we develop and share with a tangible arena of artworks, buildings, infra-structures, monuments, relics and everyday objects varies from the remote to the intimate, from the fleeting to the durable, from immediate to mediated, from the passive to the passionate, from the philosophised to the commonsensical. Within the practices of creative processes and their use or non-use of the physical world, things gain meaning and status. They become endowed with agency, symbolism and power. Our journeys through the world of things generate a multitude of emotions: pleasure, attachment, belonging, angst, envy, exclusion, loathing and fear. They also feed into the propagation of on-going myths, narratives and discourses which oscillate between the robust and the ever shifting.

Plenary lectures
Dr. Elizabeth Crooke (Museum and Heritage Studies, University of Ulster)
„Bullet holes bring reality“: The significance of things in the context of the Northern Ireland conflict
Prof. Dr. Ruth-E. Mohrmann (Seminar für Volkskunde/ Europäische Ethnologie, Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster) 
“Research into the history of material culture”
Prof. Stephen H. Riggins (Department of Sociology, Memorial University of Newfoundland)
“The natural order is decay: The home as an ephemeral art project”
Dr. Joanna Sofaer (Department of Archaeology, University of Southampton)
“Pots and stories”

Key topics
(i) Dynamics – Changing of meaning, practices, functions and modality in time and space
- displaying / collecting (museums, galleries and institutions);
- archaeological practice / how objects are made meaningful through their use;
- naming and renaming; assembling and dismantling;
- modality, mediation, remediation; (sources of) knowledge of things;
- innovation and technologies;
- biographies of things / life stories;
- recycling, reuse, waste, entropy, heritage.

(ii) Identity – Ways we relate to and use things
- identification / objectification;
- memory (memorials);
- cultural autocommunication;
- symbolic usage of things – heritage, monuments, rituals;
- consumption, consumerism / commodification;
- naming, narrating and silencing (or censoring) things;
- embodiment and things.

(iii) Methodologies – How we study things
- objects and subjects of research;
- material aspects of research / materiality of research;
- disciplinary and interdisciplinary methodologies;
- historiographical approaches;
- what things are - genres and types of things in different disciplines;
- historical epistemologies.

Key Dates and Deadlines
Abstracts Due: June 1st, 2011
Acceptance Notification: July 1st, 2011
Registration Deadline: September 1st, 2011
Full Paper Submission: October 1st, 2011
Conference: October 20th–22nd, 2011

A conference fee is not required but there will be no reimbursement for accommodation and travel costs for conference guests (except for CECT members).

Organizers
Centre of Excellence in Cultural Theory (EU, European Regional Development Fund), University of Tartu, Tallinn University

Contact
Conference administrator: Monika Tasa, CECT coordinator
Email: cect@ut.ee


October 28.-30., 2010
Tartu, Estonia

This year the international autumn conference of the Centre of Excellence in Cultural Theory (CECT) focuses on the topic of time as a category which, in every respect, touches upon human agency and entity. Issues of past, present, future and the culture of history (time) are symptomatic to our era. This topic also enables us to intertwine the viewpoints of the different disciplines of cultural research.

The autumn conference aims at critical and reflexive discussions on the tendencies of how time functions within culture. An additional starting point would be the ways different media construct time within the framework of private, institutional, group specific, etc., interests. The points of departure for discussion would be the following interconnected aspects of the construction and representation of time/temporality:
• The mediality and intertextuality of time; specific genres of mediating time, their socio-cultural, technical, etc., development;
• Agency, private and public aspects in the production and reception of temporality; empowerment and domination in the construction of temporality;
• Institutional (museum, archive, school, church, etc.) and group specific usage of time and its means of mediation;
• The domain of the category of time in social and culture studies; the concept and discussion of time in different disciplines and approaches; how we use concepts based on time to define our objects of study, how the times on object- and meta-levels are related.

The conference is organised by the cultural communication studies, folkloristics, ethnology, religious studies and semiotics CECT research groups. However, the aim of the conference is to dislocate the established topography of the academic landscape and – focusing on the consciousness of time in culture – encourage research that leads to presentations employing the possibilities of several disciplines. Joint presentations by researchers from different research fields are preferred.

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Second CECT Autumn Conference:
Spatiality, memory and visualisation of culture/nature relationships: theoretical aspects

October 22.-24., 2009
Tallinn, Estonia

More information



First CECT Autumn Conference

November 21.-22., 2008
Hotel Barclay, Tartu

Conference language: Estonian

Program and abstracts (in Estonian)
Pictures





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