Summer University

In partnership with other European universities, organisations and research groups, CBEES at Södertörn University offers a summer university for doctoral students. The topics vary from year to year.

ReNEW Summer University 2020

Identity Politics: Comparative Perspectives on the Nordic Countries and East Central Europe

In light of the COVID-19 outbreak, the latest travel bans for academic staff, and the closing of a number of national borders we have reluctantly decided to postpone ReNEW Summer University to late spring 2021. 

If you have any questions, please refer to the FAQ section below, or contact us:

Identity Politics: Comparative Perspectives on the Nordic Countries and East Central Europe

Application form

This course addresses PhD candidates who wish to enhance their knowledge of collective identities and identity politics as well as their competence in comparative methods. We include perspectives from various disciplines in the humanities and social sciences. Empirically, our focus is directed towards the Nordic countries and east central Europe, including the Baltic Sea region. You are eligible to apply for the course if you are enrolled as a PhD candidate at your home university and have a good command of spoken and written English.


Collective identities such as national, ethnic and religious affiliations, lifestyles, or gender and sexual orientation are increasingly politicized. This calls for historical and contemporary analyses of the social processes and political actions that shape and disrupt social cohesion. The ReNEW Summer University offers comparative tools for making sense of how the transformations of the past decades have affected populations and identity construction in the Nordic region and east central Europe. Starting in the Polish city of Gdańsk, moving by ferry across the Baltic Sea, and concluding in the Swedish capital of Stockholm, shifts of perspective and transnational reflection are uniquely incorporated in the course design. Internationally renowned experts from disciplines such as history, political science, and others will explain major trends and problems, demonstrating the application of comparative methods. The course consists of a rich variety of lectures, seminars, and excursions. It requires an active participation from the students, includes the discussion of draft papers by the participants, and the submission of a learning diary after the course meetings.

Credit and assessments

Upon successful completion of the course, participants will be issued a certificate over 8 ECTS credits.

The acceptance of the course for the PhD programme in which you are enrolled is a matter you need to check with your university. Successful completion of the course presupposes the delivery of a draft paper (with some comparative aspect, usually this will be related to your PhD topic) no later than one week before the course start, active classroom participation, and submission of a learning diary no more than one month after the course.


The subsidized course fee is 5500 SEK. For this sum you will get the full academic programme and experience in two countries, accommodation in Gdansk and Stockholm (shared rooms), ferry transfer including cabin space from Poland to Sweden, refreshments during the course, noon and evening social activities including most of the lunches and some other meals.

Courses schedule and location

The course begins at the University of Gdansk, Poland moving by Ferry to Sweden. The course then continues at Södertörn University, Stockholm.

More information on the locations and schedule will be given later.


Q: What are the accommodation options?

Both in Stockholm and Gdansk is provided accommodation in shared rooms.

On the ferry boat from Gdansk to Sweden will be participants divided into cabins with 2-4 berths.

Q: Can I choose different accommodation options, e.g. a single room?

This is possible in individual cases and is subject to availability. This option is not included in the fee.

Q: How far is the accommodation from Södertörn University/University of Gdansk.

Stockholm: In a 5-10 minutes walking distance from the University.

Gdansk: It is about 20 minutes by inexpensive public transport.

Q: Can my partner/friend join me on my trip and stay with me?

Stockholm: This option is possible only after the summer university has finished. If you wish like to prolong your stay in Stockholm and enjoy Midsummer External link, opens in new window., please contact for further details.

Gdansk: Yes, for additional fee.

Application process and rules

Q: How do I apply?

You must apply via the online application form.

Q: Where do I apply?

Please see above.

Q: What is the application deadline?

We will announce it on this site later this year.

Q: What do I need to upload? In what format?

You must provide two documents:

  • A short CV (max. 1 page) and description of your PhD project, research interests and motivation for taking the course (500 words).
  • Proof of studies (confirmation of enrolment on PhD studies confirmed by your university)

The documents can be uploaded in a Word or PDF format.

Q: Can I apply without immediately providing the documents?

Yes, you may fill in your application first and upload the documents later. However, the documents must be uploaded by the application deadline.

Q: Can I submit my application/documents via email?

No, the only way to apply and/or submit documents is through the application portal.


Q: I am a student in the last year of my Master's degree and would like to participate in the Summer University. Is this possible?

ReNEW Summer University 2020 is for doctoral students, so you must already have a Master´s degree to be eligible to apply.

Visa and other documentation

Q: Can you help me with a visa application?

First, please consult:

Those selected for the course will be contacted with more information about invitation letters after application deadline.

Scholarships and fees

Q: How much does the course cost?

The subsidised course fee is SEK 5500.

Q: Are travel costs to and from ReNEW Summer University 2020 included in the scholarship?

No, participants cover the travel costs to and from the Summer University.

Q: When do I pay the fee?

Those selected for the course will be contacted with more information about payment after application deadline.

Q: What is included in the fee?

Academic programme and experience at universities in two countries, accommodation in Gdansk and Stockholm and on the ferry from Gdansk to Sweden (shared rooms), refreshments during the course, noon and evening social activities, including some meals, boat tickets.

Q: How can I pay the fee?

It is possible to pay by credit card.

Q: If I live in Stockholm/Gdansk, do I still need to pay same fee even though I do not need the accommodation?

Yes, living with other participants at the Summer University is part of the experience and one of the key elements of the Summer University.

Q: Can you purchase my flight tickets?

Unfortunately, we are not able to do this.

Programme and course-related information

Q:What kind of course and outline does it have?

The course is built around lectures, seminars, and excursions. It includes group work and the discussion of draft papers written by the participant.

Q: Where can I find the programme?

The programme is currently being updated and will soon be published on this webpage.

Q: Do you have syllabuses from earlier summer schools and summer universities.

Yes. Files are available at the bottom of this webpage.

Q: What are the learning objectives?

On completing this course, participants will have enhanced their skills in applying comparative methods and deepened their knowledge of collective identities and identity politics in both historical and contemporary perspectives, with a focus on Scandinavia, the Baltic Sea region, and eastern central Europe. They will have trained their ability to discuss research literature and their own and their peers’ contributions in an international arena, as well as writing a research paper. They will have enhanced their understanding of how different academic disciplines tackle issues of mutual concern, and trained their respect for perspectives from a multitude of backgrounds.

Q: What is course format and teaching methods?

The course is built around lectures, seminars, and excursions. It includes group work and the discussion of papers written by the participants. There will be a reading list with literature that is to be read in advance of the course (approx. 25 articles or chapters).

Excursions: both in Gdansk and Stockholm. Details will be provided later.

Q: What is the course grading?

Grading: Pass/Fail. It is based on class participation (50%), course paper (25%) and learning diary (25%).

Q: What is the course reading?

This is will be published in the later stage.

Programme activities

Q: Are there any non-educational activities included in Gdansk/Stockholm?

Yes, there will be guided tours both in Gdansk and Stockholm and also some other activities.

Q: Will I have any free time?

The schedule for summer university includes time for your own activities.

Organisers of the ReNEW Summer University 2020

Norbert Götz is a professor at the Institute of Contemporary History, Södertörn University, Stockholm, Sweden. He has also a background in Nordic studies and social sciences from Berlin. His experience includes statistical, conceptual history, institutional, diplomatic, and many other comparisons. In his latest work he proposes a new periodisation of humanitarian efforts, based on the comparison (and contextualisation) of famine relief in the 1840s, 1920s, and 1980s (forthcoming 2020 with Cambridge University Press). Recently, he has been highly engaged in graduate schools and work with emerging scholars in Sweden and internationally.

Norbert is an advocate of the cautious comparison between apples and oranges – depending on season preferring a slice of one or the other.

More information available here.

Kazimierz Musiał is a professor at the University of Gdańsk (Scandinavian Studies), specialising in area studies of Northern and Baltic Europe. He has researched images of the Nordic welfare states in Roots of the Scandinavian Model (2002) and transformations of higher education in Northern Europe in University in the frame of its time (2013). His current research interests include transnational modalities of integration in the Nordic–Baltic area, with particular focus on the role of epistemic communities and knowledge regimes in the making of the Baltic Sea region.

More information is available here External link, opens in new window..

Joakim Ekman is a Professor of Political Science, with a special focus on the Baltic Sea Region and Eastern Europe, and the Director of the Centre for Baltic and East European Studies (CBEES), Södertörn University, Stockholm. He is also the Director of the Swedish National Centre in the Baltic University Network (BUP).
Ekman's research interests comprise democratisation, public opinion and political participation. His most recent work is Political Culture in the Baltic States: Between National and European Integration (by Kjetil Duvold, Sten Berglund and Joakim Ekman, Palgrave 2019).

Contributing teachers

Marta Grzechnik, PhD, is an assistant professor at the Institute of Scandinavian Studies at the University of Gdansk, Poland. She is a historian with research interests in the twentieth century history of the Baltic Sea region and north-eastern Europe, regional history, history of historiography and history of colonialism. She obtained her PhD in History and Civilization from the European University Institute in Florence, Italy, in 2010. In 2018/2019, she was a German Kennedy Memorial Fellow at the Center for European Studies, Harvard University.

Mary Hilson is a professor of history at Aarhus University, Denmark. She moved to Denmark in 2015, having previously worked in the UK at the Department of Scandinavian Studies, University College London. She has also spent time as a guest researcher in both Sweden and Finland. She has taught and researched on different aspects of Nordic and transnational history, including the ‘Nordic model’ in the twentieth century, and the co-operative movement in the Nordic countries and internationally.

Mary has another long-term project, which is to cycle Norway’s ‘kystruta’, a long-distance cycle route that goes all the way from the Swedish border in the south to the border with Russia in the north. It’s about 4500 km – so her summer holidays are planned for quite a few years ahead.

Andrey Makarychev is visiting professor at the Johan Skytte Institute of Political Science, University of Tartu. He is also a guest professor at the Center for Global Politics, Free University in Berlin and a senior associate with the CIDOB thinktank in Barcelona. His previous institutional affiliations included George Mason University (US), Center for Security Studies and Conflict Research (ETH Zurich), and the Danish Institute of International Studies. He teaches courses on "Globalization", "Regime Change in post-Soviet Eurasia", "EU-Russia Relations", "Regionalism and Integration in the post-Soviet Area", "Media in Russia". In recent years he has co-authored two monographs, Celebrating Borderlands in a Wider Europe: Nations and Identities in Ukraine, Georgia and Estonia (Nomos, 2016), and Lotman's Cultural Semiotics and the Political (Rowman and Littlefield, 2017). He has co-edited (all with Alexandra Yatsyk) a number of academic volumes, Mega Events in post-Soviet Eurasia: Shifting Borderlands of Inclusion and Exclusion (Palgrave Macmillan, 2016), Vocabularies of International Relations after the Crisis in Ukraine (Routledge, 2017); Borders in the Baltic Sea Region: Suturing the Ruptures (Palgrave Macmillan, 2017).

Irina Sandomirskaja is a professor of cultural studies at Södertörn University’s Centre for Baltic and East European Studies. A graduate of theoretical linguistics in Moscow, 1992, she has since developed her research in a variety of directions within language, literature, and film studies, with a focus on Russian cultural history of the Soviet period. She is known for her book on the language of Russian and Soviet collective identity, Kniga o Rodine: opyt analiza diskursivnykh praktik (A Book about the Motherland: Analyzing Discursive Practices, 1999) and a critical theory of language in its relation to Stalinist biopolitics, Blokada v slove: ocherki kriticheskoi teorii i biopolitiki iazyka (Besiegement in Language: A Critical Theory and Biopolitics of Language", 2013). She is the author of over 50 articles and anthology chapters in Russian, English, German, and Swedish.

Irina’s motto is a quote from Mikhail Bakhtin, “Everything could have been different”.

Tomasz Zarycki is a professor at and director of the Robert Zajonc Institute for Social Studies at the University of Warsaw, Poland. He holds a PhD in sociology and a “habilitation” degree from the Institute for Philosophy and Sociology of the Polish Academy of Sciences. His main fields of interest include the sociology of politics, culture, knowledge and memory, as well as the social and political geography of the countries of Central and Eastern Europe, with particular emphasis on Poland and Russia. His latest book in English is Ideologies of Eastness in Central and Eastern Europe (Routledge, 2014).

More information is available here External link, opens in new window..

Mark Bassin (to be confirmed)

Mark Bassin is Baltic Sea Professor at the Centre for Baltic and East European Studies (CBEES) at Södertörn University, Visiting Professor of Eurasian Studies at the Institute for Russian and Eurasian Studies at Uppsala University, and an Associate Fellow at the Swedish Institute of International Affairs. His academic background is in the history of ideology, political geography and geopolitics, with a regional focus on Russia-Eurasia and Central Europe.

Mark has been a resident fellow at the American Academy in Berlin, the Remarque Institute for European Studies at New York University, the Kennan Institute for Advanced Russian Studies in Washington DC, and the Institut für Europäische Geschichte in Mainz. He has also been awarded major research grants from the Fulbright-Hays programme, the British Academy, the Leverhulme Trust, the DAAD, the Foundation for Baltic and East European Research, and the Slavic Research Center (Hokkaido).

Grzegorz Piotrowski (UG & ECS) is a graduate of anthropology of culture and philosophy within the framework of the Interfaculty Individual Humanities Studies at the Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań. For years he has been dealing with the issues of civil society and radical transformation of political and grassroots movements. In 2011 he defended his doctoral dissertation "Alterglobalism in postsocialism: A study of Central Eastern European Activists" at the European University Institute in Florence. Since then he has worked at Södertörn University in Sweden on many research projects on social movements (ecologists, squatters, anarchists) and is currently implementing a project on anti-racist mobilizations in the countries of the Baltic Sea Region. He works as a researcher at the European Solidarity Centre in Gdańsk and is an assistant professor at the Institute of Sociology at the University of Gdańsk.

Lizaveta Dubinka-Hushcha, is a postdoctoral research fellow at the Department of International Economics, Government and Business, Copenhagen Business School. She has a multiple degree in international relations, economics and linguistics and is author of more than 40 articles and publications on Denmark and Belarus (with a focus on small state issues and alternative sources of power). As proponent of a dialogical approach to international relations and contributor to the so-called Copenhagen School of International Relations, Lizaveta is currently working on politics of memory, identity in a post-globalisation era and the concept of genocidation.

Magdalena Muszel is a graduate in ethnology and cultural anthropology at the Jagiellonian

University in Kraków, and she defended her PhD thesis at the European University Institute in Florence in 2013. She devoted her doctoral dissertation to issues related to changing gender relations in the family under the influence of transnational migration (Family through the Gender Lens: Poles in Ireland). Her extensive research experience includes also 5 years of designing and implementing applied qualitative social and marketing research for professional research companies: Danae sp. z o.o. and SocioLogic. She was responsible for managing over a dozen projects, including conceptualization and operationalization of research problems and analytical techniques, preparation of tools and analyses of results. Magdalena specializes in comparative methods (qualitative vs. quantitative) and in particular in ‘Interviewer effects in qualitative research process’. Magdalena is President of the Zatoka Foundation that is involved in many social and feminist initiatives.

Summer University 2020