12 June 2024

Keti Chukhrov has appreciated her year at LiU as the Tage Danielson visiting professor. She is impressed by the democratic organisation and the true spirit of assistance and collaboration at IKOS, LiU.

Keti Chukhrov.
Keti Chukhrov is an art and cultural theorist with an interest in philosophy, politics, media theory and art. In addition to this, she is also a writer and an artist. Karin Midner

“I’ve learned a lot while being here and was really surprised by the multifaceted collectivity at IKOS. The university is very well organised. I was impressed by the role of negotiation between colleagues. Everyone is involved regardless of their research and views, this is something completely different from German, British, and even more so, Russian academia, where the collectives are more hierarchical and controlled from above. I appreciate when decisions can be made collectively, so it was a challenge working at IKOS and spending those two productive semesters here.”

A productive freedom

Keti Chukhrov has been the Tage Danielsson visiting professor since September 2023. When she arrived, she knew very little about Danielsson and the impact of his work on Swedish society.

“I’ve learned that he practised a special kind of humour, which exceeded entertainment and was more of a social analysis. I’d place his style somewhere between Monty Python and the Russian writers Mikhail Zoshchenko and Daniil Kharms.”

Chukhrov has highly appreciated the freedom she has experienced at LiU. It has been a great opportunity for her to learn new things beyond her theoretical interests. She has arranged seminars where she shared her research on performativity and investigations on the post-socialist institutions, which encounter difficulties in building non-authoritarian socialities. One of the subjects has been cultural politics and institutional strategies in art that affected the war, as well as reconsiderations of the concepts that formed modernity in the context of contemporary de-colonial critique.

She emphasised the influence of social democracy on academia, which is more tangible in Sweden with its high level of tolerance and special social care than in any other place.

Stimulating meetings with PhD students

Chukhrov refers to the concept of ”Jantelagen" – the Swedish social tradition of ‘deflating the ego’, which teaches evading conceitedness in one’s career:


“I guess the Jantelagen ethics helps to find the balance between the necessity of achievements and professional equality between colleagues.”


She emphasised the differences between Swedish academia and the competition-based systems at the universities in the USA and UK where she has worked. She then reflected on the advantages and drawbacks of the Swedish system, which seems to be more collaborative and transparent, and mentioned equity and horizontal communication between PhD students and professors at LiU.

Keti Chukhrov.
Karin Midner
“The PhD students I met here are already independent researchers. My lecturing here has rather been a forum for discussion and a place for exchange of experiences; I have learned a lot from these brilliant younger colleagues. They take responsibility, are highly engaged and do not hesitate to be critical. It’s really interesting how openly they leave feedback on each other's work, and are concrete and honest without insulting.”

A contrast to Russia

The peaceful time spent on her research became a drastic contrast to the war conditions caused by the Russian invasion of Ukraine which was the reason for her exile from Russia. As a result of the war, the leading Russian university where she had been working since 2016 – The Higher School of Economics – was deserted both by students and professors. Many had been fired. The contexts that had been constructed over decades were annihilated in a few months.

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