Flying University of Transnational Humanities Summer School for Graduate Students and Young Scholars

Flying University of Transnational Humanities
Summer School for Graduate Students and Young Scholars July 15-18, 2012
Hanyang University, Seoul, Korea


The Flying University of Transnational Humanities (FUTH) is an annual summer school for graduate students and young scholars interested in the transnational paradigm of humanistic inquiry. FUTH takes its name and immediate inspiration from Poland’s Flying University, an underground institution that offered an alternative education outside the confines of state control and government censorship. The program is particularly concerned with developing critical understandings that resist the ideological and conceptual hegemony of the nation-state and the epistemological and hermeneutic conventions that support it. This does not mean that FUTH seeks to dispense with the “national” and construct a reified “transnational” with which to replace it, or to foster “transnationalism” as an ideological alternative to “nationalism.” Rather, FUTH aims to free our imaginations from essentialist approaches to the nation or the state and to offer new ways of thinking about the political, social and cultural order of the world, both past and present.

The Flying University of Transnational Humanities is accordingly:

Trans-cultural: FUTH not only critically examines the production and circulation of (transnational knowledge and culture, but it also problematizes imagined geographies of the “East” and the “West.” We explore periods, places, and subjects as fluid and hybrid, rather than as confined and constrained by geopolitical or cultural boundaries.

Trans-disciplinary: FUTH seeks to comprehend the complex nature of various trans-cultural issues through trans-disciplinary approaches. To that end, FUTH is open to scholars, educators, researchers and students from all academic specializations.

Trans-institutional: FUTH is an intellectual network, founded and run by a global consortium of scholars, departments, and institutions. With the support of this network, we hope to facilitate trans-cultural and trans-disciplinary collaborations.


Started in 2010, the Flying University of Transnational Humanities is organized annuall–usually in the summe–by the Research Institute of Comparative History and Culture (RICH), Hanyang University, Seoul, Korea. FUTH consists of a series of advanced lectures, student presentations and feedback sessions where renowned scholars from RICH’s partner and other institutions are invited to share their knowledge, insights and perspectives. Student participants are required to study the recommended readings in advance. They are also expected to present their own scholarly work related to the theme of each year. The official language of FUTH is English, although the possibility of trans-lingual practices is being considered. Graduate students and recent PhDs interested in the transnational turn in the humanities and social sciences are welcome to apply with a presentation proposal.

The overarching theme for the first three years (2010-2012) is “borders.” There have been numerous studies on how borders are constructed, negotiated, and policed and how they are simultaneously transgressed, challenged, and renegotiated. Borders are no longer seen simply as physical divisions but as discursive practices and cultural institutions. However, the multiplicity and hybridity of borders (e.g., national, cultural, geographical, gender, political, economic, etc.), as well as their transnational scalability (e.g., local, national, supranational, global, etc.), have yet to be intensively investigated. To address this gap, the first FUTH “Regions and Regionalization” in 2010 examined regions as sites of bordering practices and processes. In 2011, the second FUTH “Border-crossing Self” extended the scope of discussion to explore the ways in which the construction and performance of subjectivities and identities are connected to the demarcation and transgression of borders.

The third FUTH will take place at Hanyang University, July 15-18, 2012, under the title of “Borders of Knowledge.” As numerous empirical studies in intellectual history, sociology of knowledge, and history/sociology/anthropology of the social, human, and natural sciences have convincingly demonstrated for several decades, the production, dissemination and use of knowledge, though seemingly universal, are always embedded in specific social, cultural, and historical contexts. Often, the subject, the object and the modus operandi of knowledge are defined, construed, and constrained by (national) borders. Knowledge and its associated practices thus shaped may in turn reinforce, reproduce or redefine those very borders. How then, does knowledge travel across borders? Rather than following the naive modernist assumption that knowledge is spread because it is true and/or is channeled through universally transferable methodical practices, one should approach the travels of knowledge as themselves explananda rather than merely explanans for other phenomena. For instance, one may ask, what are the ways in which locally-produced knowledge is translated, adapted, appropriated, or contested in different local contexts? By the same token, one may also ask, how does knowledge, despite its local origins, come to acquire a proclaimed universality or globality? With such questions as a basis, the third FUTH in 2012 aims to provide graduate students and young scholars with a unique opportunity to critically examine the making and unmaking of the borders of knowledge–including the social sciences, humanities, natural sciences, and other forms of knowledge.

Lecturers (surname-alphabetical order)**

Alice L. Conklin (Department of History, Ohio State University, U.S.A.)

Christian Fleck (Department of Sociology, University of Graz, Austria)

Sari Hanafi (Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, American University of Beirut, Lebanon)

Johan Heilbron (Centre Europeen de Sociologie et de Science Politique de la Sorbonne, France / Erasmus University Rotterdam, The Netherlands)

Michael Kim (Graduate School of International Studies, Yonsei University, Korea)

– And other lecturers will be announced soon.

Eligibility / How to Apply

FUTH 2012 welcomes applications from graduate students as well as recent PhDs of all fields who are interested in the transnational paradigm of humanistic inquiry and also currently conducting research on topics related to the theme of the making and unmaking of borders of knowledge. All student participants are expected to give a full paper presentation on their own scholarly work.

Applicants should fill out the form on our website ( and send it as attachment to along with their CV, research statement and an abstract of proposed presentation. The deadline for applications is March 16, 2012.

Costs / Accommodation

There is a registration fee of USD 80. While accommodation including breakfast and lunch will be provided, participants are expected to arrange their own funding for travel and daily living expenses. Partial travel grants may be awarded to a limited number of applicants.

For further details, please contact:

Research Institute of Comparative History and Culture
College of Humanities, Hanyang University
Seoul 133-791, Korea
Fax: +82-2-2298-0542

About Paula

Paula lives in the vortex of academic life. She studies medieval Japanese history.
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