Cultivating Interdisciplinarity: CEU’s 2021 University-Wide Seminars Launch With “On Consolation”

The 2021 series of Central European University’s (CEU) University-Wide Seminars begins this Thursday, February 11 with “On Consolation: Finding Solace In Dark Times”. The seminar, which shares the name of CEU President and Rector Michael Ignatieff’s forthcoming book, features Department of Philosophy Professors Maria Kronfeldner and Tim Crane, and Department of Political Science Professor Janos Kis in conversation with Ignatieff.

“On Consolation: Finding Solace In Dark Times” will be an interdisciplinary dialogue informed by the book of the Rector (to be released in late 2021), which looks to philosophy, great figures in history and traditions of consolation to discuss the recovery of hope and resilience during a precarious twenty-first century. CEU’s University-Wide Seminars aim to foster interdisciplinary learning and are open to CEU faculty, students and staff. They bring researchers from different departments closer together to facilitate the development of new collaborative projects in research, teaching and outreach.

This year, in particular, the seminars play a special role in mitigating the effects of increasing isolation of researchers at a time of pandemic. During this time of restricted movement, the seminars bring scholars from multiple disciplines into a shared forum, enabling generative insights on selected topics, refining existing projects and identifying new possibilities for cross-unit collaboration.

The next University-Wide Seminar will be “Decolonizing the Curriculum at CEU: Variety, Obstacles, Results”. While there have been various initiatives in recent years at CEU, coming largely from students, which challenge the continued dominance of Western white scholarship and academics at the university, this seminar will open a discussion of ongoing practices and initiatives aimed at decolonizing the curriculum, intellectual and practical difficulties encountered in the process and strategies and resources that can be helpful in achieving that goal. Later this academic year, a third seminar will address “The Politics of Nostalgia” focused on master narratives of a future history and the role of memory in understanding present political realities and identities. 

CEU’s University-Wide Seminars series are part of the CEU Intellectual Themes Initiative (ITI), which started in 2015. This initiative takes into account the accelerating rate of change of the contemporary world and the overwhelming growth in available information. To support students and conduct research on how to navigate through such complexity, the university-wide ITI invites its faculty members, student and administrative staff to propose joint ideas for tackling complex societal issues.

The 2021-22 ITI call for proposals is currently open with a deadline for university-wide courses on February 28, 2021, and for collaborative research projects on March 31, 2021.