Expertise and engagement – scholarship, personal experience and political agendas





The Turku Institute for Advanced Studies (TIAS) invites proposals for papers and panels for an interdisciplinary conference on expertise and engagement.

Academic expertise is simultaneously exploited and challenged in many areas of society. What does it mean to be ”an expert”? How do different kinds of public arenas change the idea of expertise as an academic practice? How are affect, experience, and presuppositions included in the practices of expertise? Is it possible for a scholar to be an activist, or does public engagement affect the academic’s scholarship and career? Can practices in academia support activism? The aim of the conference is to discuss how to integrate personal experience and social or political activism with scholarly work.

 The conference on expertise and engagement consists of three thematic streams. We invite scholars at various career stages across different disciplines to address the following issues:


• Activism: The first stream considers the role of activism within scholarly work. How can an activist agenda be combined with research? When and how are scholarly and activist goals in conflict? Can political engagement enhance the scholarly value of research?


 • Experience: The second stream examines the role of experience in scholarly work. How can or should a scholar bring his or her personal experience to bear in research? Are there discipline-specific ways of handling the researcher’s own involvement in his or her subject matter?


• Media: The third stream explores how issues of media, power, and expertise play out in public. How does an expert use power, and how is academic expertise exploited by political or other authorities? What role does the discourse of expertise play in everyday media culture, and in what way is the position of an expert saturated with authority?


The seminar will include a keynote lecture by Charles R. Hale from the University of Texas at Austin, known for his work on race and ethnicity, identity politics, consciousness and resistance.


The Plenary speakers are:


•                         Elisa Aaltola, (University of Eastern Finland)

•                         Markus Jäntti (University of Helsinki)

•                         Suvi Keskinen (University of Turku)


Proposals for panels or individual 20 minute papers should be sent to no later than August 10, 2017. The proposal should include a title and a brief description (up to 200 words for individual papers or 500 words for panels). A panel may consist of three to four individual papers or a roundtable discussion. Panel proposals should include a rationale for the panel as a whole. When proposing a roundtable, please give a brief account of the panelists’ background as it bears on the topic. Please indicate which stream you think your proposal fits best.


For more information TIAS coordinator Silja Laine .


Welcome to Turku!




Silja Laine PhD

Research coordinator

TIAS Turku Insitute for Advanced Studies

20014 University of Turku


Office: Sirkkala, 3rd floor, room 306


tel- +358 (0)2 333 6904