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Arts & Humanities Research Council
British Academy

Bringing Humanities Back: Studying Politics and Foreign Policy through Research in the Humanities and Popular Culture

Start: Apr 24, 2014 06:00 PM
End: Apr 26, 2014 07:00 PM

Location: University of Cambridge

This workshop was held in April 2014. See below for a report on the workshop, the programme and for feedback we received from participants.


The workshop “Bringing Humanities Back” aimed to develop a network of researchers and practitioners who are interested in using their humanities research to develop a deeper understanding of societal processes and politically relevant issues in the CEELBAS region. The call for applications was circulated via various mailing lists, websites, social media and posters. The workshop brought together 24 participants and applicants from CEELBAS institutions and other British, European and US universities. The event was organised across three days.

The first day, Professor Ted Hopf, who has produced authoritative studies in Russian politics through popular culture, delivered a public lecture, “Social Constructivist Research of Russian Politics”. In addition, Professor Hopf led an informal discussion on the use of social constructivism with the staff and students of the Department of Politics and International Studies and Department of Modern and Medieval Languages.

On the second day, Professor Hopf ran four training sessions. These covered the use of discourse analysis, research into popular culture in the study of Russian politics, and the applicability of his method to research into other societies in the CEELBAS region. The questions of historical, geographical and political Others were addressed. An important element of the training was the interaction between Professor Hopf and participants. During each session the introduction by Professor Hopf was followed by a discussion of the applicability of his methods to other areas. The focus on the opportunities of cross-disciplinary dialogue between humanities and social sciences was strengthened.

The third day of the workshop was centered on the presentations by younger scholars of their work done at the intersection between humanities and social sciences. Professor Hopf as well as members of the Department of Politics and International Studies and Slavonic Studies commented and gave their feedback on student presentations.

Report by Vsevolod Samokhvalov, University of Cambridge


See a programme for the day at the following link: programme (pdf file)


We were pleased to receive plenty of positive feedback from the workshop. A selection of comments is presented below:

“I sincerely thank you and all the CEELBAS for this outstanding academic initiative, which allowed me to meet with high-ranked scholars and colleagues. In particular, I was very inspired by the workshop led by Professor Hopf, with whom I could discuss some specific aspects of my topic” – Raphaelle Auclert, Sheffield

“Very inspirational but also practical” – Ana Omaljev, Reading

“It was fascinating! Indeed, all the young researchers who had attended the two-day event were extremely happy…some even claimed that in two days they have advanced more in their methodology than in the last several months” - Kanshko Sangar, UCL SSEES