For those who are interested, here are three courses that I am giving at Ruhr-Universität Bochum in the fall 2023/24. The courses are held in English, in face-to-face sessions.


Protests in Eastern and Western Europe since 2010

The Russian army invasion of Ukraine in 2022 and international debate on the efficiency of Kremlin propaganda largely obscured the fields of civic critique and resistance in Russia and Ukraine, which fit into a larger space of citizen movements in Eastern and Western Europe. The purpose of the course is to revisit the earlier conditions of civic dissent and activism in several societies and to remap them in the war-time context of a growing political cohesion.

The course links together repertories of action, conceptual and biographical analysis, thus allowing to detect direct relations and structural similarities between Ukrainian Maïdan, Turkish Gezi, Russian Bolotnaya, Spanish Indignatos, American Occupy and French Yellow Vests. The approach developed in the course lets interpret more accurately the war-time transformations of civic sensibilities and tactics of civic counter-power in the changing framework of political authority.

Examining several well documented protest cases unfolded in different parts of Eastern and Western Europe, the course introduces into several important topics going far beyond the typical media coverage. This includes the ways social composition of the protest articulates with claims of leaderless governance and political representation; the role social justice and moral purity play in the inclusiveness and exclusiveness of the civic mobilization; visions of the right of rebellion and of the principles of non-violent resistance according to the educational patterns of the participants. The role of media coverage and of police repressions adds important dimensions in the explanation of the shape and repertory of civic movements.


Everyday life, consumption culture and planned leisure in the late Soviet Union, historical and regional shifts

Since the late 1950s and up to the late 1980s, Soviet governance knew a growing shift from a class-based antagonistic culture to a socially stratified and individually mapped model of the nation. The new culture of “peaceful coexistence“ was based on political and consumer technologies borrowed from a large scope of European and American techniques of governmentality (in terms of Michel Foucault). The governmentality is relying on a growing knowledge concerning population’s own qualities, objectively measured predispositions and even tastes, which serves the base for a rational (“scientific” in the Soviet case) management of its cohesion and loyalty. Soviet supermarkets and leisure camps, cinema theaters and even family flats were shaped in view of the acquired knowledge in demography and consumer practices, while making the population to accept centralized patterns of time usage and material infrastructure.

How this model functioned in the Soviet planned economy constantly shaken by convulsions of shortages? What kind of anthropological everyday culture it produced? At which point regional inequalities and ethnic differences were taken in charge in this model, namely from one Soviet republic to another? And finally, which place was assigned in this context to the previously declared and constantly confirmed Communist transition?

The course introduces a rich variety of textual and visual sources, as well as new fruitful approaches to the field of Soviet everyday and consumer culture. A methodological discussion making part of the course will help the participants to frame your own research questions, to better shape the field of study and to test your insights on zoomable topics from the Soviet 1960s-80s. A comparative dimension will be introduced, letting the sources and concepts be analyzed in the context of the contemporary Western policies in the USA, Germany and France.


Draw me your society: visual research of social imagination of Eastern Europeans in Germany

Does it exist a mean to quickly reach the vivid nuances of social imagination of a person who does not even speak the same language as you well enough? The course offers such a mean basing on visual sociology methods combined with a classic social study. The essential technique consists in letting the informants draw the society and a variety of socially meaningful situations (work, family, migration, future), immersing the results into biographical context. This gives a powerful tool which allows an access to social experience and shared imaginary of persons from Eastern European societies coping to find their place in Germany or other European countries. Following this approach, differences in region, age, education, profession and some other factors related to informants’ trajectories are taken into account in order to situate the visual manifestations in their cultural and social context.

The course is designed as a temporary research laboratory, open to participants of any discipline and study level who wish to master methodology of visual research and to discover deeper levels of social imaginary. The course is grounded in a study experience previously accumulated in Russia, France and Italy. The body of the previously acquired materials serves for comparison and interpretation. Meanwhile the research protocol is fine-tuned in collaboration with the participants of the course and flexibly adapted to the collectively discussed priorities. This leaves a possibility to go deeper into family stories or to compare the immigrants’ imagination with the locals’ one.


Link to the course-related information on the university web site.