The International Conference on Interdisciplinary Social Sciences will feature plenary sessions by some of the world’s leading thinkers and innovators in the field, as well as numerous parallel presentations by researchers and practitioners.

Thomas Bley Alexandros-Andreas Kyrtsis
Kyrkos Doxiadis Massimo Leone
Mary Kalantzis Maria Pournari
Dimitrios Karydas Joleen Steyn-Kotze
Gerassimos Kouzelis

Garden Conversations

Plenary Speakers will make formal 30-minute presentations. They will also participate in 60-minute Garden Conversations - unstructured sessions that allow delegates a chance to meet the speakers and talk with them informally about the issues arising from their presentation.

Please return to this page for regular updates.

The Speakers

Thomas Bley
Thomas Bley is Professor at the University of Otago, New Zealand, and founder of the International Design Network & Institute (iDNI). He has been President of Zebra Design in New York, General Manager of Frogdesign in California, and was a member of Memphis, the most influential design group of the 1980s in Milan, Italy.Parallel to his professional career, Thomas Bley has held academic positions at Parsons School of Design in New York, Arizona State University, Glasgow School of Art, University of the Arts in Philadelphia, California College of the Arts in San Francisco and, most notably, was co-founder and Dean of the new School of Design at the University of Applied Sciences in Cologne. This new school is the first truly interdisciplinary and student-centered program in design education, providing expertise not only in design, but in conjunction with science, the humanities and business.

Reflecting the international and cross-cultural importance of design, Thomas Bley founded the Master of European Design program, where students are able to take advantage of the diversity of programs at seven leading European universities in Helsinki, Stockholm, Glasgow, Cologne, Stuttgart, Paris and Milan.

Kyrkos Doxiadis
Kyrkos Doxiadis was born in Athens in 1955. In 1986 he received a Ph.D. degree from the Department of Politics and Sociology at Birkbeck College, University of London. He is Associate Professor of Social Theory with special reference to Communication and Director of the Section of Social Theory and Sociology at the Department of Political Science and Public Administration of the University of Athens.

Mary Kalantzis
Dr Mary Kalantzis is Dean of the College of Education and Professor of Education, Department of Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Illinois Urbana Campaign, USA. She also is an Adjunct Professor at RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia, attached to the Globalism Institute and Research Director of the Knowledge Design Forum. She was the Executive Dean of the Faculty of Education, Language and Community Services at RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia from 1997-2003, the President of the Australian Council of Deans of Education from 2000-2004 and an inaugural member of the Australian National Institute for Quality Teaching and School Leadership 2004–2005. She has also been a Commissioner of the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission, Chair of the Queensland Ethnic Affairs Ministerial Advisory Committee and a member of the Australia Council’s Community Cultural Development Board. Her academic research and writing, crosses a number of disciplines, including history, linguistics, education and sociology; and examines themes as varied as Australian immigration, leadership and workplace change, professional learning, pedagogy and literacy learning. With Bill Cope, she is co-author of a number of books, including: ‘The Powers of Literacy’, Falmer Press, London, 1993, ‘Productive Diversity’, Pluto Press, Sydney, 1997; ‘A Place in the Sun: Re-Creating the Australian Way of Life’, Harper Collins, Sydney, 2000; ‘Multiliteracies: Literacy Learning and the Design of Social Futures’, Routledge, London, 2000; and ‘Learning by Design’, Victorian Schools Innovation Commission, Melbourne, 2005.

Dimitrios Karydas
Dimitrios Karydas studied physics, philosophy and mathematics at Columbia University and completed a Ph.D. in Mathematical Physics at Oxford. Has taught in the US, Greece and Germany and is currently concluding research in Philosophy at the Free University and the Institute for Critical Theory in Berlin. Publishing in the areas of classical German philosophy and twentieth century critical theory, apart from a number of papers and articles, he has edited a volume on ‘Theory and Theatricality’, a collection of papers on Ludwig Feuerbach, co-edited another on ‘Adorno and Hegel’ and is currently completing a book on ‘Time and Meta-History’.

Gerassimos Kouzelis
Gerassimos Kouzelis is Professor of Philosophy of Science and Sociology of Knowledge, and director of the Laboratory for the Study of Greek-German Relations at the Department of Political Science and Public Administration of the University of Athens. He has studied sociology and philosophy at the the Philipps University of Marburg and the Goethe University of Frankfurt (Ph.D. degree in 1986). Research areas: Critical theory, epistemology and methodology of the social sciences, ideology, scientific argumentation, adult education, minorities, philosophical and social aspects of information technologies. Main publications: Das symbolische Mehrprodukt. Entwurf einer Rekonstruktion der Autoritätsthematik der Kritischen Theorie, Frankfurt a.M. 1985; From the World of Experience to the World of Science. On the Social Reproduction of Knowledge, Athens 1992 (in greek); (ed.) Philosophy of Science. A Reader, Athens 1993 (in greek); (ed.) Discipline and Knowledge, Athens 1994 (in greek); Die Propädeutik am Beispiel der Lehrerausbildung. Eine Dokumentation, Frankfurt a.M. 1996; (ed.) Philosophy of Social Sciences. A Reader, Athens 1996 (in greek); (et al.) Critical Theory today, Athens 2000 (in greek); (ed.) Reading and Writing. On the Use of Language in Science, Athens 2001 (in greek); (ed.) In-use Knowledge, Athens 2004 (in greek); (ed.) Knowledge in the New Technologies, Frankfurt 2005; Against phenomena. Epistemology and Teaching Social Sciences, Athens 2005 (in greek); (ed.) Light-Image-Knowledge, Athens 2006 (in greek); A Friendly Society or a Users’ Society? Knowledge, Subjectivity and Culture in the World of New Technologies, Athens 2006 (in greek).

Alexandros-Andreas Kyrtsis
Alexandros-Andreas Kyrtsis is a Professor of Sociology, Department of Political Science and Public Administration, University of Athens. His main fields of research are sociology of technology with special reference to social and organisational informatics, economic sociology and social studies of finance, social history of ideas, and social theory of urban and geographical space. He has held teaching appointments at the University of Zurich; the University of Crete, where he was also adviser to the President, responsible for the organisation of the School of the Social Sciences; and at the Universities of Thessaly and the Panteion University of Social and Political Sciences. He was visiting scholar at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT - Program in Science Technology and Society), the London School of Economics and Political Science, at the University of Edinburgh and at the Institute of Advanced Studies on Science, Technology & Society in Graz. He has been commissioned consultancy projects for the Greek General Secretariat for Research and Technology, the European Commission, as well as for the banking and the information technology sector (Alpha Bank Greece, Hellenic Bankers Association, Unisystems Ltd). Book publications: (2008), National Bank of Greece. Technology and Organisation 1950-2000, Athens: Publications of the Historical Archive of the National Bank of Greece (pp. 369, in Greek). (2006): Constantinos A. Doxiadis: Texts, Design Drawings, Settlements, Athens: Ikaros (pp. 501). (2002), Technological Design and the Social Organisation of the Digital Enterprise. Athens: Metaixmio Publications (pp. 477, in Greek). (1999), Sociological Theory of Development. Athens: Nisos Publications (Editor and Introduction, In Greek). (1996), Sociological Thought and Ideologies of Modernisation in Inter-War Greece. Athens: Nisos Publication (pp. 280, in Greek). (1983), Regionales System und Globalgesellschaftlicher Wandel. Diessenhofen: Rüegger (pp. 220). He is currently preparing an edited volume for Palgrave-Macmillan entitled “Financial Markets and Organizational Technologies: System architectures, practices and risks in the era of deregulation”.

Massimo Leone
Massimo Leone is Research Professor of Semiotics and Cultural Semiotics at the Department of Philosophy, University of Torino, Italy. He graduated in Communication Studies from the University of Siena, and holds a DEA in History and Semiotics of Texts and Documents from Paris VII, an MPhil in Word and Image Studies from Trinity College Dublin, a PhD in Religious Studies from the Sorbonne, a PhD in Art History from the University of Fribourg (CH). He was visiting scholar at the CNRS in Paris, at the CSIC in Madrid and Fulbright Visiting Professor at the Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley (USA). In 2009-2010, he will be Endeavour Research Visiting Scholar at the School of English, Performance, and Communication Studies at Monash University, Melbourne (AU). His work focuses on the role of religion in contemporary cultures. Massimo Leone has authored two books and more than 100 papers in semiotics and religious studies. He has lectured in Africa, Asia, Europe and USA.

Maria Pournari
Maria Pournari is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at the Department of Primary Education, University of Ioannina. She has Ph.D. from Dept. of Philosophy (1994), B.A. from Dept. of Mathematics (1984) and B.A. from Dept. Of Philosophy (1988), of the University of Ioannina. Field of Expertise: Epistemology, Metaphysics, Philosophy of Science, Cognitive science, Modern Philosophy, Epistemology of Education. Main Publications: David Hume: Critique of Causation as an Attempt towards a “True Metaphysics”, Ph. D. Thesis, University of Ioannina, 1994. (in Greek), David Hume, A Treatise of Human Nature, Of The Understanding, Introduction-Translation (in Greek), Patakis Publication, Athens 2005. Knowledge in the New Technologies, Peter Lang, Frankfurt 2005, and a number of papers and articles on epistemology.

Joleen Steyn-Kotze
Joleen Steyn-Kotze is a lecturer of Political Science at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University. She completed her tertiary education at the University of Port Elizabeth (now NMMU) and obtained a B.A. (2000) and M.Phil South African Politics and Political Economy (2002). She is presently registered for her D.Litt et Phil at the University of South Africa. The focus of her doctoral research is meta-theoretical analysis and appraisals of democracy theory. Her areas of specialty include African democracy and culture, the relationship between ideology, culture and democracy, international relations theory (specifically debates pertaining to democratic concepts such as liberty and equality), civic virtue and cultural generation of a civic virtue and which type of civic virtue, democracy theory and consolidatoni of democracy, tolerance and poiitics, and South African political development. Ms. Steyn-Kotze has been involved in tertiary education since 2002 at both an undergraduate level as well as post-graduate level. She was appointed as the undergraduate programme leader in Political Science in 2007. Teaching responsibilities include African politics, political theory, international relations, South African politics, and political economy. She was invited to present various papers for the Independent Electoral Commission – Eastern Cape on tolerance and the role of political parties as well as the state of the South African democracy as part of the NMMU community outreach initiative. Also, as part of academic engagement, Ms. Steyn-Kotze has been involved in strategic thinking sessions and conferences with the Department of Foreign Affairs. She had done various analysis for newspapers as well as television news. Ms. Steyn-Kotze has a wide range of conference papers as well as publications in peer-reviewed journals. Recent articles include: Service delivery and voter behaviour: A comparative overview of the 2004 General Elections and the 2006 Government Elections in Politeia Vol. 25(3) and Civic culture and the Botswana Democracy: Lessons from the Botswana Democratic Party in Acta Academica Vol. 40(4). She is involved extensively in programme development at a post-graduate level as well as facilitating research excellence in the discipline of Political Science. Ms. Steyn-Kotze is the winner of the International Award for Excellence in the area of interdisciplinary social sciences, awarded by The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences.