Research networks currently supported by CIRCUS

* 2021-2022, ** 2022-2023

Aquifers in the Anthropocene *

Groundwater is largely invisible and subsequently unpredictable. How does this particular condition affect experts, political decision-makers and citizens? How does it shape regulations, conventions, and agreements, forge social practices, and produce conflicts as well as cooperation? By creating an interdisciplinary research network consisting of senior and junior scholars in Cultural Anthropology, Law, and Peace and Conflict Research, the network aims at establishing a new frontline research area within the Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences at Uppsala University. The network will provide state of the art references and turn aquifers (a body of rock which can contain or transmit groundwater) into a public object of concern for decision-makers and society at large, thereby supporting the sustainable and cooperative global use of groundwater.

Project leader: Susann Baez Ullberg, Department of Cultural Anthropology and Ethnology, cultural anthropology

The Digital City *

During the last decade, our society has undergone a transformation from analogue to digital. This transition has generated vast amounts of data describing things such as travel patterns, where and when we shop, make phone calls, etc. These data flows are often referred to as Big Data and are commonly used to measure societal performance. But Big Data alone cannot help us to answer society's central questions about e.g. sustainability, segregation and health. Instead, focus must be directed on mixing methods and approaches so that different datasets can be combined to progress knowledge. This research group will bring researchers together from a wide range of fields and backgrounds. The aim of the network is to allow a diversity of researchers to develop new collaborations on the basis of what the different groups' expertise has to offer.

Project leader: John Östh, Department of Social and Economic Geography

FAL: Fieldwork in Anthropology and Linguistics *

The world hosts an immense diversity of cultures as well as languages, the bulk of which are rapidly disappearing in the globalized world. Hence, it is a matter of urgency that they be documented before they will be lost forever. The idea for this network is to bring together researchers - primarily anthropologists and linguists – for whom fieldwork is a fundamental component of their research. Descriptive fieldwork as a method needs to be done efficiently, ethically and dynamically in order to respond to a changing world, especially as it concerns technological developments and the COVID-pandemic. The network wish to enable scholars from different disciplines to share experiences of fieldwork in a systematic way.

Project leader: Harald Hammarström, Department of Linguistics and Philology

Finding High-Level Image Content through AI Pre-Training with Contrastive Language-Image Pairs **

Modern online search engines are good at finding images that depict something tangible, such as for example apples. But the search engines are not so good at finding out what the images are really about – the apple could mean Newton's apple, which is said to have inspired him to discover the law of gravity. The network gathers researchers from art history, information technology and linguistics to develop better search engines, which not only find out what the images show, but also what they are about. Through a newly developed method called CLIP, you can through machine learning and artificial intelligence train neural networks directly on data in the form of raw text and massive amounts of images - that is, already texted images. CLIP is based on 400 million images from the web that are linked with their respective captions. The method allows a neural network itself to figure out what is what in the image. The network would like to improve the CLIP system through richer and more specialized descriptions.

Project leader: Jan von Bonsdorff, Department of Art History

Research Network on Digital Politics **

The digitalisation of society- the integration of social media platforms, blockchain technologies and AI-based systems - has vast implications for political life. It shapes election campaigns, public opinion, and how people participate in politics. More subtly, it introduces new elites, new resources in the form of data, and autonomous technological actors. Such developments raise important questions that hinge on the (re)distribution of political, social and economic power in the digital age. The Research Network on Digital Politics gathers researchers from political science, linguistics, law, information technology and media and communication studies to discuss issues that pertain to how digitalization shapes and is shaped by political practice and the distribution of power, and the values that come into play in attempts to govern, regulate and organise such processes.

Project leader: Alexandra Segerberg, Department of Government

Historical Study of National Christianities *

The image of Sweden as the Social Democratic middle way during the Twentieth Century is often pictured as a secular project. Welfare, future optimism, and solid housing meant a contrast to an old age characterized by poverty, oppression and religion. But in Sweden, Christianity never departed from modernity. New political forces and social strata wanted Christianity to be conveyed in new ways where ethics, solidarity and idealism would replace Luther´s small catechism. During the 1920s, elementary school teachers gained power with a Christianity which was liberal, democratically aimed, and based upon Jesus' Sermon on the Mount. The primary school functioned as a church for this other Christianity. This Interdisciplinary network will investigate this surprisingly unexplored religion as an expression of an attempt to create a Swedish national value base, and will be compared with similar projects internationally.

Project leader: Urban Claesson,  Department of Theology

Inner Strength **

Mental illness is a growing problem in society. Creating interventions to enhance the inner strength of particularly vulnerable groups, and thus enable reversal of a negative development, can prevent chronic illness. The network Inner Strength gathers researchers from psychology, philosophy, sociology, pedagogy, literature studies and theology who will work together with relevant social actors to create a common infrastructure and knowledge bank, as well as develop methods and theories for such interventions. The network’s activities will help alleviate the collective burden of exclusion and psychosocial vulnerability, and improve people’s opportunities to develop their well-bring and realise their potential, for their own as well as for the common good.

Project leaders: Freddie Lymeus, Institute for Housing and Urban Research  and Taeda Tomic, Department of Philosophy;

Heritage Transformations **

Heritage is a phenomenon in perpetual movement and under constant negotiation. Heritage Transformations explores how these processes can be understood from a multidisciplinary perspective. The network gathers researchers from an array of different academic disciplines, such as gender studies, archaeology, cultural geography, law, history of ideas, linguistics and musicology. The goal is to strengthen the conversation about heritage at Uppsala University as well as to contribute to the national and international discussion with new theoretical and methodological perspectives. The participants will work on a manifesto and an edited volume. In order to reach a larger audience, the network plans to produce a series of podcasts.

Project leader: Cecilia Rodéhn, Centre for Gender Research

Pod: How to Heritage

Leadership, effectiveness and the constitutional state in peace-time crises *

The Covid-19 pandemic has raised issues regarding the resilience of Swedish government institutions in the face of peacetime crises, as well as the constitutional and legal frameworks for crisis preparedness and management in Sweden. Despite numerous government committees investigating crisis issues in recent decades following a number of incidents, genuine reform of the Swedish crisis management system has not come to pass. In addition to this, there is a research deficit regarding crisis management in Sweden, especially regarding the constitutional and administrative frameworks. The purpose of this network is to promote interdisciplinary research on Swedish crisis management and preparedness and how they might be reformed.

Project leader: Olof Wilske, Department of Law

Racism and Discrimination in Swedish Schools **

Despite the democratic mission that guides the Swedish school system, studies show that racism and discrimination is part of everyday life at Swedish schools, from preschool to upper secondary school. Studies also show that school staff lack knowledge of racism and discrimination and that there are big and important differences between schools in respect to their work to promote equality and combat racism and discrimination. The network Racism and Discrimination in Swedish Schools gathers researchers from sociology, political science, educational sciences, and child and youth studies to coordinate the collective expertise on racism and discrimination in schools in Sweden. Through interdisciplinary interaction, the network will provide a systematic view of the scope, expressions, causes, and consequences of racism and discrimination within the Swedish school system.

Project leaders: Claes Tängh Wrangel, Centre for Multidisciplinary Studies on Racism and Hassan Sharif, Department of Education;

Uppsala Human Rights Research Network **

Human rights is a cross-cutting research field that explores issues ranging from political and philosophical perspectives on how we can understand “rights” as a concept and how rights are legally regulated, to how rights are applied and (can be) practiced in different parts of the world. It also investigates theoretical and practical consequences for the living conditions for those who are, or are not, considered as rights holders. The Uppsala Human Rights Research Network gathers researchers from law, theology and political science with the aim to highlight existing research on human rights at Uppsala University and to create conditions for new research, both through grant applications and through applied analyses.

Project leader: Anna-Sara Lind, Department of Law

Anxiety - a interdisciplinary research network *

Anxiety is a human emotion that in psychology is usually defined as the experience of fear of an imagined, but not present, threat. Anxiety is understood as a cultural expression and driving force on an individual and political level, as an aspect of religious and existential experience, and as an object shaping and being shaped by historical and societal contexts. The purpose of this network is to create a platform for interdisciplinary collaboration, where researchers from different disciplines can meet, exchange perspectives, and develop new forms of collaboration. Through dialogue and exchange, the network will deepen the understanding of a multifaceted phenomenon with broad scientific and societal significance.

Project leader: Malin Gingnell, Department of Psychology, Emotion Psychology

Last modified: 2022-09-06