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Higher Seminars at the Division

While many people slow down and prepare for vacation, the higher seminar coordinator is in heavy planning for the fall. The Higher Seminar is the colloquium series of the Division where invited guests as well as our own researchers presents seminar on themes from our core areas of history.
The fall of 2021 offers a mix of doctoral defenses, mid-seminars and the annual Archipelago Lectures. Read more in the preleminary program, and feel warmly welcome to attend. This coming semester we hope to be able to have some on-site seminars, but we start on zoom. Do you want som background on the seminar series? See cooridnator Katarina Larsen’s text from our report below.

Higher Seminars at the Division

Text by Katarina Larsen, from the Biennial Report, 2019-2020

The higher seminar series at the division reflects the broad range of exciting topics of research. From “A sea change in Environmental humanities” to studies of history of indigenous communities in the Arctic context, nuclear technology, educational imaginaries, science policy studies, health development projects and innovation in Mozambique, and urban water management. These were just a few of the topics that we had the chance to and discuss during 2019 and 2020. Usually, we have between eight to ten seminars per semester. Adding up the numbers for the past two years, we had about 34 presentations, in addition to a handful of doctoral dissertations and the annual Archipelago lectures.

The higher seminar has a longstanding history at the Division. A text is circulated about a week before the seminar, the author presents for 45 minutes and the next 45 minutes are devoted to discussion. The regular schedule is Mondays 13.15–14.45. The seminar is an institution allowing for scholars at the division to present their ongoing work and also for us all to hear invited speakers. Among presentations we also follow the process that graduate students go through in the program, from presenting the from doctoral plan (the “PhD PM”), through mid-seminar (at 50%) and the final seminar (80 to 90%). Both the mid-seminars and final seminar have invited discussants. Moreover, these presentations give a chance for doctoral students in early stages of their PhD-project to “open a window” to see how the final stages of the doctoral projects take shape and allowing for cross-cohort learning for doctoral students.The seminar series is an open to anyone. The schedule is published online and we frequently have quests in the audience. As organizer of the higher seminars during 2019–2020, I often get comments like “it seems like your colleagues really do show up at your seminars” and “you have some really interesting topics so I would like to hear more about the upcoming seminars”.

During spring 2020, the pandemic turned the higher seminars into an online event, which provided both limitations and opportunities. More scholars from universities abroad, and in Sweden, have found their way to our higher seminar series. This is reinforcing the idea that the series should be a place to meet and exchange ideas, present arguments, discuss virtues and limitations of different research methods, and constitute a space for scholars to learn across scientific disciplines and thematic areas. So, we hope to see you, too at the next higher seminar, starting Monday 13.15, Stockholm time!

Katarina Larsen,
Coordinator of the Higher seminar series, 2019–2020
Div. History of Science, Technology and Environment