I am a member of KuFo (the culture studies research group), one of Karlstad University’s prioritized research groups.
My research has three orientations. The first concerns overall theoretical and political-philosophical questions about the modern project, globalization, multiculturalism and human rights, with particular focus on Europe and Russia, although the perspective is partly complemented by postcolonial views. The second is in medical humanities, where I study controversies in psychiatry, suicide prevention, public health and nutrition from historical and cultural perspectives. The third orientation consists of aesthetically-cultural ideas and practices that are analyzed in relation to different philosophical, political and social contexts, while these ideas themselves cast an explanatory light on the context in which they belong.
The common denominator of these three research interests is partly my conceptual-history approach (combined with hermeneutics and sometimes phenomenology and material cultural studies) and, partly, my interdisciplinary orientation in trying to identify in disparate materials mutual contact points that can instructively reflect each other. Here I have been inspired by Fredric Jameson’s idea of cultural translation (transcoding).
As a humanistic researcher, I try to produce results that, at best, can be useful for theoretical discussions as well as clinical and practical activities in areas such as the social sciences, natural science, medicine, politics, administration and cultural projects. Humanists should perhaps not demand the privilege of holding the ultimately correct answers, but they can probably illuminate and evaluate different crucial options at a deeper level.
Selected Academic Publications
Lettevall, Rebecka and Kristian Petrov (eds.) (2014). Critique of Cosmopolitan Reason: Timing and Spacing the Concept of World Citizenship, New Visions of the Cosmopolitan 2, Patrick O’Mahony and Tracy Skillington (eds.), Oxford: Peter Lang (340 pp) [externally peer reviewed]. ISBN: 978-3-0343-089804. ISSN: 1664-3380.
Petrov, Kristian (2006), Tillbaka till framtiden: Modernitet, postmodernitet och generationsidentitet i Gorbačevs glasnost´ och perestrojka (Back to the Future: Modernity, Postmodernity and Generational Identity in Gorbachev’s Glasnost and Perestroika [with a summary in English]), Södertörn Doctoral Dissertations 11, Huddinge: Södertörn University (SH) (408 pp). ISBN: 978-91-89315-67-9. ISSN: 1652-7399. http://www.diva-portal.org/sh/abstract.xsql?dbid=1155
Petrov, Kristian (2010), Döden i livet och livet i döden: Förutsättningar för en befolkningsinriktad suicidprevention i ett idéhistoriskt perspektiv (Death in life and Life in Death: Conditions for Community/Public Health Based Suicide Prevention from a Viewpoint of the History of Ideas), Mariestad: Public Health Committee, Region Västra Götaland (52 pp).
Selected Papers in Journals and Anthologies
Externally reviewed (by anonymous peer reviewer)
Petrov, Kristian (2015). “Att förutsäga framtiden – och förlösa den: En undersökning av den postkommunistiska transitologins idéhistoria och tidsuppfattning” (How to Predict (and Deliver) the Future: A Study of the Intellectual History and Concept of Time of Post-Communist Transitology), Nordisk Østforum, vol. 29, No. 4: 387–417. https://www.idunn.no/nof/2015/04/att_frutsga_framtiden_-_och_frlsa_den_en_underskning_
Petrov, K. (2014). “The Concept of Transition in Transition: Comparing the Post-Communist Use of the Concept of Transition with that found in Soviet Ideology”, Baltic Worlds, vol. 7, No. 1: 29–41. http://balticworlds.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/BW-Transitology-1-2014.pdf
Petrov, K. och R. Lettevall (2014). “Toward a Critique of Cosmopolitan Reason”, in Critique of Cosmopolitan Reason: Timing and Spacing the Concept of World Citizenship, K. Petrov and R. Lettevall (eds.), New Visions of the Cosmopolitan 2, Patrick O'Mahony and Tracy Skillington (eds.), Oxford: Peter Lang: 3–34.
Petrov, K. (2013), “The Art of Dying as an Art of Living: Historical Contemplations on the Paradoxes of Suicide and the Possibilities of Reflexive Suicide Prevention”, Journal of Medical Humanities, vol. 34, No. 3: 347–368. http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10912-013-9235-7
Petrov, K. (2013), “Russia in the European Home? Convergence, Cosmopolitanism and Cosmism in Late Soviet Europeanisation”, Europe-Asia Studies, vol. 65, No. 2: 321–346. http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/09668136.2012.759718
Petrov, K. (2012), “Från blodbesudlat kolonialsocker till livsviktigt blodsocker: Svensk-europeiska teman i sockrets globala kulturhistoria” (From Blood-Stained Colonial Sugar to Life-Essential Blood Sugar: Swedish-European Themes in the Global Cultural History of Sugar), RIG: Kulturhistorisk tidskrift, nr 3: 129–154. http://journals.lub.lu.se/index.php/rig/article/view/10587
Petrov, K. (2008), “Construction, Reconstruction, Deconstruction: The Fall of the Soviet Union from the Point of View of Conceptual History”, Studies in East European Thought, vol. 60, No. 3: 179–205. http://www.springerlink.com/content/128286460937736h/
Internally reviewed (by editor)
Petrov, Kristian (2015), “‘Transition’ in Hindsight: 1990s Transitology as an Object of Intellectual History”, in Beyond Transition? Memory and Identity Narratives in Eastern and Central Europe, Barbara Törnquist-Plewa, Niklas Bernsand and Eleonora Narvselius (eds.), CFE Conference Papers Series 7, Lund: Centre for European Research, Lund University: 11–22.
Petrov, K. (2011), “Från autocheir till suicide” (From Autocheir to Suicide), in Språket i historien, historien i språket, Mats Andrén et al. (eds.), Arachne 22, Gothenburg: Department of Literature, History of Ideas and Religion, University of Gothenburg (LIR): 351–363.
Petrov, K. (2010), “Söta drömmar och diaboliska frestelser” (Sweet Dreams and Diabolic Temptations), in Drömmar: En vänbok till Ingemar Nilsson, Mats Andrén et al. (eds.), Arachne 21, Gothenburg: LIR, 205–222.
Petrov, K. (2010), “Frihetens tveljus: Om 1700-talets förflutna framtid” (Paradoxes of Freedom: On the Bygone Future of the 18th century), in 1700-talets Göteborg, Charlotta Dohlvik et al. (eds.), Gothenburg: Gothenburg State Museum, 7–33.
Petrov, K. (2004), “Från vetenskaplig socialism till socialistisk vetenskap: Reflektioner kring sovjetisk vetenskapsideologi mot bakgrund av den ryska idéhistorien” (From Scientific Socialism to Socialist Science: Reflections on Soviet Science Ideology from the Point of View of the Russian History of Ideas), in Vetenskapshistoriska uppsatser, Aant Elzinga & Ingemar Nilsson (eds.), Arachne 19, Gothenburg: LIR: 29–74.
Petrov, K. (2004), “A Third Way for the Second World? Russia's Ambivalent Identity”, in Contemporary Change in Russia: In From the Margins?, Egle Rindzeviciute (ed.), Baltic and East European Studies 3, Huddinge: SH: 31–54.
Petrov, K. (2000), “Den ojämna kampen: Om fyra säkerheter i Kants teori om det sublima” (The Losing Battle: On the Security System in Kant’s Theory of the Sublime), in Kants tredje kritik: Sju essäer, Sven-Eric Liedman (ed.), Arachne 15, Gothenburg: LIR: 25–46.
My previous teaching experiences—from the University of Gothenburg, Södertörn University, Borås University and the European Humanities University in Minsk—encompass all academic levels. In particular, I have taught in the disciplines of the History of Ideas and Educational Science, but I also have experience from subject areas such as Russian, Political Science, Health Sciences, Philosophy, Theory of Science and Research Methodology. Recurrent teaching topics include human beings as social and cultural creatures, cognitive and epistemological approaches, political ideologies, human rights, the Swedish Model and East-West/North-South cultural encounters.
As a teacher at Karlstad University, I currently have the privilege of being responsible for courses in Cultural Studies on globalization and multiculturalism, cultural heritage, Nordic cultural and contemporary history and cultural studies theory and methodology as well as thesis supervision (candidate level). I also give lectures and supervise on courses in history. At the PhD-student level, I teach in the philosophy, theory and history of science and have been deputy supervisor of a doctoral student in political science.
Together with Sofia Wijkmark I am a coordinator of Karlstad University’s collaboration with Västanå Theater. I also deliver lectures and conduct discussions outside academia on topics such as globalization, multiculturalism, critique of culture and civilization, the open and secular society, perceptions of time in different cultures, the relationship between Russia and Europe, human rights, totalitarian ideologies, and diet- and health-related controversies. An additional area concerns the cultural history of emotional life and mental illness, in relation to questions related to gender and social media use in the information age. Over the years, I have also had the advantage of getting my research results spread in Swedish and international media.
Regarding academic cooperation projects, I am one of the main organizers of the international conference Selma Lagerlöf 2018 at Karlstad University, and I arranged the international interdisciplinary conference Cosmopolitanism in a Wider Context: Conceptualizing Past and Present at Södertörn University and the Nobel Museum in Stockholm in 2011. I am also a member of the networks Swedish Society for the Study of Russia, Central and Eastern Europe and Central Asia; Cultural Borders of Europe; Higher education; Medical History Network; and the History of Political and Social Concepts Group.
I was born in Karlstad in 1975 but after growning up in Karlstad and Trollhättan, I have mostly lived in Gothenburg, from where I also have my undergraduate education. The studies at the University of Gothenburg resulted in a Bachelor’s degree in History of Ideas and Science (also including Philosophy, Russian, Sociology and Eastern European Studies), as well as a teaching degree in Intellectual and Cultural history, Philosophy and Russian. In addition, I also have a journalist degree from Poppius journalistskola.
I started my postgraduate studies in the History of Ideas and Science at the University of Gothenburg in 2000, but I also did significant parts of these studies at Södertörn University and RGGU in Moscow (Russian State University for the Humanities). In 2006, I defended my PhD thesis Tillbaka till framtiden: Modernitet, postmodernitet och generationsidentitet i Gorbatjovs glasnost och perestrojka (Back to the Future: Modernity, Postmodernity and Generational Identity in Gorbachev’s Glasnost and Perestroika). It deals with the concepts of glasnost and perestroika, how they were coined in 19th century tsarist Russia and recycled in both Stalinist and reformist practices during the Soviet era. In particular, I focused on how these concepts were put forward by Gorbachev and his modernist generation, as well as how they were perceived by the final Soviet generation, including representatives within Russian postmodernism. The beginning and the end of the Soviet empire were reflected by the rise and fall of glasnost and perestroika, with implications for how the image of the past can both release and extinguish a society’s future possibilities. In particular, I focused on the reform policy’s consequences in the field of culture and the media, with post-Soviet development as an external reference point.
Immediately after the defense of the dissertation, followed a period of intensive teaching, mainly at the University of Gothenburg (including Valand Academy of Fine Arts). During this time, I also had the privilege of conducting an investigation at the County Council in Västra Götaland on public health issues taking into account historical and cultural perspectives.
2010–2012 I was a postdoctoral fellow within the cultural-theoretical research theme Cosmopolis: Cultural Technologies and Cultural Public Spheres at the Center for Baltic and East European Studies at Södertörn University. In 2013, I became Reader in History of Ideas and continued working at the university, partly as a lecturer in the history of ideas and partly as a researcher within the project East of Cosmopolis: The World Citizen and the Paradox of the Undocumented. The latter resulted in the anthology Critique of Cosmopolitan Reason: Timing and Spacing the Concept of World Citizenship, which I edited together with Rebecka Lettevall (Peter Lang, 2014).
In August 2015, I became a senior lecturer in Cultural Studies at Karlstad University, a discipline for which I also have the privilege of being the subject representative. Cultural Studies at Karlstad University are mainly centered on the Cultural Studies Program, but also include courses within the field, based on cultural analysis and cultural policy, as well as two course packages oriented towards the history of ideas and visual studies respectively.