Transformations of Freedom! - RECET First History and Social Sciences Festival

21  June 2022    3:00 am CEST

The first RECET History and Social Sciences Festival - wiiw is part of the RECET joint research network

In cooperation with:


Free entrance: Campus of the University of Vienna (“Altes AKH”), festival tent in courtyard 1 (Hof 1)


RECET is a joint research network of the University of Vienna, the Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies (wiiw), and the Vienna University of Economics and Business (WU).

"Freedom" is one of our era's most important terms.
The 1989 upheavals were supposed to be the triumph of the "free world."
"Four freedoms" are the cornerstones of the European Union. And neoliberalism, which has been highly debated and critiqued, embraces freedom as its central concept. Economic and political freedom, individual and collective freedom, freedom of speech, the arts, and research are all key topics in the present day.

As a result, there are various aspects to freedom, it is ambiguous. It had to be balanced with other considerations during the Covid-crisis, such as public health and security. "Liberté" and "égalité" do not always go together: throughout Eastern Europe, since 1989, the experience of freedom has also been one of growing inequality. Authoritarian capitalism in the Chinese style indicates that economic and political liberty are not mutually constitutive. Anti-democratic tendencies are also threatening political freedom in Europe.

High-profile figures from academia, politics, civil society, the arts, and culture will examine the numerous facets and paradoxes of freedom, as well as its many modifications over the last decades, during the first RECET History and Social Sciences Festival. A full cultural program will accompany these lectures, debates, and panel discussions.


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 Turajilic (Serbia), Moderation: Dr. Anna Calori (RECET)
Alternative venue: Aula on the Campus (

No prior registration required.