Senior Lecturer Pärtel Piirimäe was chosen to carry out research at Swedish Collegium for Advanced Study

Pärtel Piirimäe, Senior Lecturer of Institute of History and Archaeology, University of Tartu, was chosen to Swedish Collegium for Advanced Study (SCAS) as a Pro Futura Scientia Fellow. On 28 November, Piirimäe will have a lecture in Uppsala “The law of civilized nations“, in which he will introduce his research project to the Swedish colleagues and other interested participants.

The main target of Swedish Collegium for Advanced Study (SCAS) is to offer a possibility for scientists to completely dedicate to science work during two semesters as a rule. Piirimäe is doing research within the framework of the scheme of Pro Futura Scientia, which is intended for scientist who are at the early stage of their career in order to make it possible for them to have smaller workload as a lecturer for some time and to deal more with research.

The fellowship lasts all together five years, four years out of which are financed by SCAS with the support of Swedish National Bank. “Two or three semesters out of the five years are spent in SCAS and two more semesters in a “fellow council”, e.g. in Princeton, Cambridge, Berlin or somewhere else – the rest of the time is spent teaching part-time at a home university,” said Piirimäe, adding that fellowship used to be initially open only for the universities of the Nordic countries, but last year the University of Tartu was first time invited to participate.

According to Piirimäe, he had to present his most important research works in order to apply, incl. PhD thesis, and thorough interviews were held in Uppsala with the candidates who got to the second round. “I got an idea of the spirit and principal amiability of SCAS to interdisciplinary research already during the selection procedure,” said Piirimäe.

During the year, each residing fellow gives one lecture in addition to smaller presentations at seminars. The lecture is open for other interested participants as well. The science project, based on which Piirimäe was selected into the council, deals with the role of natural law and notion of “civilization” in the formation of international law in the early New Age in 17 – 18 century. In his lecture “The law of civilized nations“ he asks how the gradual formation of the Europeans’ vision of their civilization as something special and high standing affected their understanding of international standards of communication. How did international law, which initially was construed as universal on the basis of natural law, change to be a narrow “law of civilized nations”?