Funded Projects 2016

Four projects were selected for funding through the profile partnership between Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin and Princeton University

(1/2016) Gender, Sexuality, Race, Class, and Religion in Political Transitions in Europe and the USA

HU PI: Ulrike Auga (Professor, Faculty of Theology)
Princeton PI: Regina Kunzel (Professor, Department of History)


(2/2016) Princeton-Humboldt Initiative "Constitutions Under Stress: Comparative Perspectives"

HU PI: Silvia von Steinsdorff (Professor, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Department of Social Sciences)
Princeton PI: Jan-Werner Mueller (Professor, Department of Politics)
Abstract: Ever since the global boom of democratic constitution-making and reform in the 1990s, a broad legal and political debate has developed around the rising importance of constitutional law as a means to protect fundamental rights and promote democracy. In recent years, however, the flip side of this “new constitutionalism” has become visible: If the political context changes in an unfavorable (i.e. illiberal) way, constitutions can in fact be used as tools to strengthen authoritarianism. Besides, constitutions may come under stress where different levels of constitutional politics (national, sub- and supra-national) overlap and sometimes contradict each other. This project addresses questions arising in the analysis of constitutional politics from different disciplinary, methodological and geographical angles. Thus, CONSTRESS is a genuinely interdisciplinary endeavor that brings together political scientists, sociologists and lawyers. The main arena for exchange are jointly taught seminars and international research workshops, open to MA- and PhD-students from different disciplines (political science, sociology, and public law) at Princeton University and Humboldt-Universität.


(3/2016) Princeton-Humboldt Cooperation and Collective Cognition Network (CoCCoN)

HU PI: Dirk Brockmann (Professor, Faculty of Life Sciences, Department of Biology)
Princeton PI: Simon A. Levin (Professor, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology)
Abstract: Our interdisciplinary network provides a unique collaborative environment for research and exchange on the emergence of cooperation and collective cognition in human and animal systems. It includes scientists from such different fields as biology, physics, psychology, social sciences, economics, and engineering, with both empirical and theoretical backgrounds. Our aim is to focus on two main questions: (1) the impact of variable environments on evolution and persistence of cooperation, and (2) fundamental dynamics governing the spreading of behavior, so-called “behavioral contagion”, and its role in collective cognition. Specific attention will be paid to possible applications of the research towards promoting sustainability in coupled socio-economic-environmental systems and understanding collective risk perception in human and animal groups. A core part of the network activity will be (1) two interdisciplinary workshops, and (2) a research-based CoCCoN-Q-Course for senior undergraduates and young graduate students (Master & 1st year PhD level), which will give students the opportunity to gather early experience in international collaboration, while working on self-determined projects. A special methodological focus of the network will be novel visualization methods for presentation and analysis of complex network data.


(4/2016) Ancient Knowledge: Text, Media, Performance

HU PI: Markus Asper (Professor, Faculty of Arts and Humanities II, Department of Classical Philology)
Princeton PI: Joshua Billings (Assistant Professor, Department of Classics)
Abstract: Our project investigates ancient knowledge as it is manifested within and beyond the classical world. We see this as a fruitful field for comparative, synchronic, and diachronic approaches. In asking particularly about the ways in which ancient knowledge becomes explicit, legible, and an object of transmission (thus the subtitle “text, media, performance”), we aim to create a dialogue between investigations of the content of knowledge and its social functions, with a particular emphasis on issues of transmission and questions of authority. The project thus situates itself at the intersection of classical philology, philosophy, the history and sociology of science and medicine, and intellectual and cultural history. We are confident that this project will not only enrich the research of the faculty and graduates involved in the collaboration, but will also provide a model for interaction across these different disciplines and subfields.



Claudia Schmidt-Memmler

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