Fourth UPTAKE PhD Training School


The fourth UPTAKE PhD Training School will be held from 26 August to 1 September, at the Institute for Russian and Eurasian Studies, Uppsala University, Sweden. Its main objective, as on previous occasions, is to offer an opportunity for research development, training and exchange of ideasfor PhD and postdoctoral students working in the field of Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies.

The theme of the Training School is to take stock of developments in and relations to Russia since the end of the Cold War, and the subsequent collapse of the USSR. The basic premise is that during these now close to three decades, Russia has been in more or less constant focus. In reflection of radical internal transformations, outside attitudes have swung from unbounded optimism, to doom and gloom, to re-energized beliefs in an economic boom and to perceptions, following the crisis in Ukraine, of Russia as a threat.

The purpose of the present Training School is to invite PhD and postdoctoral students to reflect on these developments, assuming that there are few if any developments in the region that have not in some way, directly or indirectly, involved Russia. Topics may be wide-ranging, from internal developments (Russian economic and political trends, including increased militarization), to external conflicts (from accusations against Russia of aggression against neighboring countries and of behaving like a bully in energy relations to increasing complications in relations with the  EU and NATO), and outside perceptions (persistent failures to get Russia right, from “transition” to military confrontation and the Kremlin’s increasing foreign policy ambitions).

The approach of the Training School is interdisciplinary, meaning that we welcome participation from across the social sciences, the humanities and law. Papers may focus exclusively on Russia, on the impact of and responses to Russian actions in neighboring countries, including but not limited to the Eastern neighbourhood, the Baltics, Central Asia and the Caucasus, and on the changing geopolitical role of Russia in the global order. Comparative approaches are also welcome.

The mainstay of the Training School will be the presentation and discussion of papers submitted by the participating students. Papers will be grouped into a series of panels with 3-4 presentations in each. Panels will be chaired by senior scholars, and appointed discussants will lead off, to ensure that all participants get valuable feedback on their contribution. In addition to the panel discussions, the Training School will include invited lectures by senior scholars in the field, and by Swedish officials reflecting on the changing political and security situation in the Baltic region. The event will open with a keynote address and conclude with a panel discussion where students are expected to show active participation.

In order to ensure that all papers presented receive adequate attention, places are limited to a maximum of 20 participants. Participation by students from Uppsala, Tartu and Kent – the UPTAKE partners – is fully funded by UPTAKE, subject to the eligibility criteria (this includes travel, accommodation and selected meals). External participants are warmly welcomed, but will be expected to secure their own funding for travel and accommodation. There is no participation fee.

The summer school is funded from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 691818 “Building Research Excellence in Russian and East European Studies at the Universities of Tartu, Uppsala and Kent (UPTAKE).”