Anthropology, Critical policy analysis, Design, Environmental science, History, Political science

Co-funded by the Open Society University Network (OSUN), in cooperation with Vera and Donald Blinken Open Society Archives and Uppsala University, Sweden 




Course date

26 July - 30 July, 2021
Application for this course is closed.
Course Director(s): 

Ioana Macrea-Toma

Blinken Open Society Archives at Central European University, Budapest, Hungary
Course Faculty: 

Jenny Andersson

CNRS Sciences Po, Paris, France/ Uppsala University, Sweden

Tincuta Heinzel

School of Design and Creative Arts, Loughborough University, UK

Adela Hincu

Institute of Advanced Study, New Europe College, Bucharest, Romania

István Rév

Open Society Archives, Central European University, Budapest, Hungary

Narcis-Sorin-Marius Tulbure

Department of Finance, Bucharest University of Economic Studies, Romania

Emily White

Center for the Study of Land, Air, and Water, Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, USA
In the post-Covid-19 world, the problems already experienced by democracies with regards to social divisions and diminishing trust in public institutions are exacerbated by a growing epistemic crisis concerning the simultaneous need and contestation of expertise for public policy purposes. The existence of uncertain statistical data, the search for past models in dealing with hidden enemies, the public attempts to translate scientific knowledge and to make sense of decision-making processes, all point to a persistent need for advanced skills for working with governance data and discourses.    
Our course enhances participants’ skills in analyzing the incorporation of techno and scientific knowledge into public governance and discourses. The summer school seeks to provide the tools and categories to critically assess systemic responses in times of both contested expertise and scientificization of politics.    
The course will make connections between historical and current issues related to expertise by analyzing the genealogy of interventionist techniques and social inquiries. We will study the emergence of hybrid, policy sciences during the Cold War by analyzing the cases of sociology, (macro)economy, statistics, environmental sciences, and design. We analytically investigate the differences as well as convergences between East and West with regards to their data cultures and truth regimes in order to analyze the validity, intelligibility, and portability of scientific facts/ phenomena when being tested, communicated, appropriated across time and space.  
Last but not least, we shall connect the past problems of communicating science along ideological divides with current concerns of conveying valid scientific claims in a post-truth era. 
The summer school is offered to advanced-level undergraduate students, graduate students, junior faculty in humanities and social sciences, journalists and artists interested in writing articles or creating projects which might go beyond an academic context.   

Online course format

The summer school will consist of plenary sessions, seminars, one-to-one consultations and individual work. The daily time commitment will be of approximately 6 hours, equally divided between short live sessions (one hour each with breaks between them) and off-line work (3 hours).
A keynote lecture will open the summer school. The complex theoretical and historical problems will be taught in the format of pre-recorded (10-minute) and live plenary (20-minute) presentations. Lectures in both recorded and live format will include multimedia sources (documentary films, photos, archival materials) and will be followed by 20-minute discussions. Questions will be formulated in advance through the e-learning platform and the dialogue will be structured along the participants' written responses to them. In this way, discussions will already include the students' insights and perspectives. The end-of the-day seminars will consist of practical exercises and discussion of students' projects. On the basis of their individual projects, students will be guided to write a policy recommendation for a republic of "trans-science".
Participants will have the chance to develop their individual projects under the supervision of assigned or chosen tutors, and consultations will take place daily between seminars.
Students will be kindly asked before the beginning of the summer school to send a brief description of a topic that they would like to work on. They can include visuals in their proposals and will be guided to use a special platform (Sway). Examples of topics will also be provided in advance.Tutors and group discussions will be decided based on these preliminary drafts. Key readings will also be assigned prior to the beginning of the summer school.