RECET First History and Social Sciences Festival "Transformations of Freedom"


Venue: Campus of the University of Vienna („Altes AKH“), Hof 1, in a festival tent
Position of the tent:

Free entrance

zur deutschen Version

“Freedom” is one of the key terms of our era. The revolutions of 1989 marked the alleged triumph of the “free world”. The European Union is founded on “four freedoms.” And neoliberalism–much discussed, and much criticized–embraces freedom as its fundamental principle. Current debates focus on economic freedom and political freedom, individual and collective freedom, freedom of speech, of the arts and of scholarship.

Freedom thus has multiple dimensions. Yet freedom is also ambivalent. During the Covid-crisis it needed to be balanced with other concerns such as public health and security.  “Liberté” and “égalité” do not necessarily go hand in hand: in Eastern Europe, the experience of freedom since 1989 has also been an experience of growing inequality. Chinese-style authoritarian capitalism demonstrates that economic and political freedom are not mutually constitutive. And in Europe, too, political freedom is under threat by anti-democratic tendencies.

In the first RECET History and Social Sciences Festival, high-profile voices from academia, politics, civil society, the arts and culture will discuss the multiple dimensions and contradictions of freedom, alongside its many transformations over the past decades. These lectures, debates, and panel discussions will be accompanied by a rich cultural program.



Tuesday, 21.06.2022

15:00-15:30: Opening
Prof. Sebastian Schütze (des. Rektor), Dr. Eva Nowotny (Universitätsrat), Prof. Philipp Ther (RECET)

15:30-17:00: What Unfreedom Can Teach us about Freedom 
Prof. Christoph Möllers (HU Berlin), Moderation: Prof. Claudia Kraft (Universität Wien)
The event will take place in German

17:00-18:30: The Great Exodus: On (Un-)Freedom in Putin’s Russia
Dr. Irina Scherbakowa (Memorial), Moderation: Irena Remestwenski (RECET)
The event will take place in German
Organized in cooperation with the Commission for Migration and Integra-tion Research at the Austrian Academy of Sciences and the Refugee Out-reach and Research Network within the framework of the World Refugee Day 2022.

Followed by a reception with music by Andrej Prozorov (Ukraine)


Wednesday, 22.06.2022

14:30-16:15: Freedom in Times of “Big Tech” and “Big Data”
Roundtable discussion with Dr. Janina Loh (Stabsstelle Ethik, Liebenau-Stiftung), Sarah Kriesche (Ö1), Ole Nymoen (independent journalist, Jena), Prof. em. Hannes Werthner (TU Wien), Moderation: Dr. Magdalena Baran-Szołtys (RECET)
The event will take place in German

16:30-18:00: The Freedom to be Mobile: Borders and Border Controls in the 21st Century
Prof. Steffen Mau (HU Berlin), Moderation: Prof. Dorothee Bohle (University of Vienna)
The event will take place in German

18:30-20:00: Freedom of Literature. Literature of Freedom
Reading and discussion with Kateryna Babkina (writer, Ukraine), Sylwia Chutnik (writer, Poland), Nils Strunk (actor at Burgtheater, Vienna), and texts by Serhij Zhadan (writer, Ukraine), Moderation: Dr. Magdalena Baran-Szołtys (RECET)
The discussion will take place in English. German and English translations will be available for all texts read.

20:15: Movie Screening: “Ukrainian Sheriffs”(original with English subtitles)
with a video greeting by director Roman Bondarchuk (Ukraine)
Alternative venue: Alte Kapelle on the Campus (


Thursday, 23.06.2022

14:30-16:15: China and the Chinese People’s Search for Freedom during the 20th Century
Roundtable diskussion with Dr. Federico Pachetti (Corvinus University Budapest), Dr. Amanda Zhang (St. Andrew’s University), Yitong Qiu (London School of Economics), Moderation: Prof. Sabrina Habich-Sobiegalla (FU Berlin)

16:30-18:00: Against the World: Anti-Globalism and “Freedom” in Interwar Europe
Prof. Tara Zahra (University of Chicago), Moderation: Prof. Peter Becker (University of Vienna)

19:00-21:00: Concert: Isama Zing (Slovakia)


Friday, 24.06.2022

14:30-16:15: Illiberal Economies? On Economic Freedom in Poland and Hungary
Discussion with Prof. Júlia Kiraly (former vice president of the Hungarian National Bank) and Prof. Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz (former president of the Polish Central Bank and Mayor of Warsaw), Moderation: Dr. Lars Fredrik Stöcker (RECET)

16:30-18:15: Freedom and Unfreedom of Movement: Perspectives on Migration and Transformation
Roundtable discussion with Natalia Gebert (Foundation "Open House"), Prof. Manuela Bojadžijev (HU Berlin), Prof. Jannis Panagiotidis (RECET), Moderation: Dr. Thuc Linh Nguyen Vu (RECET)

18:30: Movie Screening: „The Other Side of Everything“ (Original with English subtitles)
With a discussion with director Mila Turajlic (Serbia), Moderation: Dr. Anna Calori (RECET)
Alternative venue: Aula on the Campus (