Online lecture: "Peripheral Contingencies: Examining the Experiences of International Scholars in Latvia" by Ieva Puzo (06.05.2022)

06 May 2022 um 1pm CEST, online via Zoom

Ieva Puzo postdoctoral researcher at Rīga Stradiņš University, Latvia

Abstract: In this lecture, I examine the notion of academic life course from the perspective of international scholars in Latvia—a research system in the European East characterized by fragmentation, limited funding, and projectarization, yet also visions of increased international visibility and competitiveness. The starting point for the discussion is the inherent contradiction embedded in the contemporary regimes of knowledge production: while the ideal of gaining a permanent, stable job in academia remains aspirational, fixed-term contracts and uncertainty are the reality for an increasing number of research workers around the world. Mobility across borders is a crucial element of this tension: it is part of the academic life course that is supposed to lead to a permanent job in the future, yet often turns into an indefinite process of moving from one country and institution to the next one. Based on semi-structured interviews with international scholars in Latvia as well as other ethnographic data, I examine how this contradiction may be experienced in more peripheral contexts of academic knowledge production. Through the narratives of my interlocutors, I suggest that international scholars in Latvia encounter both heightened job insecurity and, simultaneously, professional and personal opportunities.

Ieva Puzo received her PhD in cultural anthropology from the University of Pittsburgh and is now a postdoctoral researcher at Rīga Stradiņš University, Latvia. Her research interests lie in the intersection of science, mobility and labor, and her current project investigates the experiences of international scholars in various national contexts.

The Video of the lecture can be found here