Research Group

Efraim Sicher

Efraim Sicher

FELLOW
Ben-Gurion University of the Negev

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Prof. Efraim Sicher is an Israeli literary scholar. He obtained his PhD at Oxford University and now teaches at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. Among other subjects, his specializations include modern Jewish culture and Holocaust literature. He is the author of numerous books and articles, including several works on the Russian Jewish writer Isaac Babel. He edited the Penguin Classics edition of Babel's short story collection Red Cavalry.

 

Read more about Prof. Sicher here. 

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Cosmopolitan Spaces in an Urban Context: A Case Study of Odessa, 1880-1925

Odessa

[RG # 163] Cosmopolitan Spaces in an Urban Context: A Case Study of Odessa, 1880-1925

March 1, 2020 – July 30, 2020

Organizers:

Mirja Lecke (Ruhr University--Bochum)
Efraim Sicher (Ben-Gurion University of the Negev) 

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The research group offers a new interdisciplinary perspective on cosmopolitanism and urban spaces in Odessa. The group will explore the interstices and crossovers as well as demarcations between Jewish, Russian, and Ukrainian culture in the period 1880-1925, using Odessa as a case study. We will employ the notion of cosmopolitanism as a critical tool for understanding the concrete spatial processes of cultural production and identity negotiation in an urban context. Odessa was mythologized as unique, but may also be a model case for studying other cities with large ethnic minorities in early twentieth-century Eastern Europe.

 

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Variety and Variability: Mapping the Cultural and Social Diversity of the Southern Levant in the Hellenistic Period

Maresha Athena Rhyton1

[RG # 162] Variety and Variability: Mapping the Cultural and Social Diversity of the Southern Levant in the Hellenistic Period

March 1, 2020 – July 30, 2020

Organizers:

Adi Erlich (University of Haifa)
Uzi Leibner (The Hebrew University of Jerusalem)

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The establishment of the Hellenistic kingdoms at the beginning of the third century BCE ushered in a new era in the Southern Levant. Although political and cultural ties across the Mediterranean are evident much earlier, the growing dominance of the Greek language and culture in the region is remarkable. Syria Coele and Phoenicia were inhabited by a mixed composition of peoples—Jews, Samaritans, and various pagan groups—each interacting with each other and with the local and foreign Hellenistic regimes.

Scholars often describe the interaction of the region with the Hellenistic culture as polarised, debating the degree to which it became integrated in the Hellenistic koine instead of viewing it as an integral part of it. The study of the Hellenistic Levant has generally been applied to one part of the region only or to the area as a whole without offering a comparative analysis of the different groups therein.

We therefore will create an integrative study of the different parts of the region and peoples by mapping the cross-cultural encounters of the local traditions and the koine in each as well as among these groups. We plan to examine these parameters comprehensively, from the archaeological, historical, epigraphic, numismatic and artistic perspectives, and by using the vast amount of new data found in recent years as well as taking a fresh look at the historical sources. The growing corpus of evidence will allow us to gain new insights into the peoples living in this important region in a crucial and formative era.

 

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Lorenzo Zucca

Lorenzo Zucca

FELLOW
King’s College London

 

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Lorenzo Zucca is Professor in Law & Philosophy. Lorenzo's special interests span from human rights law and philosophy to constitutional theory, with a focus on the relation between Church and State. 

He's now working on a project entitled 'The Uncertainty of Will,' which explores Shakespeare's vision on the connection between power and knowledge and examines its psychological and philosophical insights on human cognition and human institutions. 

He is the author of Constitutional Dilemmas- Conflicts of Fundamental Legal Rights in Europe and the USA (OUP, 2007) and numerous articles on human rights law and theory. His second monograph is entitled A Secular Europe: Law and Religion in the European Constitutional Landscape (OUP 2012). This is a study of one of the most pressing problems in Europe and includes issues such as the protection of religious freedom, the limits of religious toleration, and a wider debate on European identity.

 

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Constitutional Transplantations

cons

[RG # 161] Constitutional Transplantations

November 1, 2019 – January 31, 2020

Organizer:

Anat Scolnicov (University of Winchester, UK)

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This project will examine transplantation of constitutions and constitutional ideas from one country to another. Such transplantations have occurred both voluntarily (such as in Eastern Europe post-communism) and by imposition (such as in Japan after World War Two). This phenomenon raises both theoretical and practical questions. These include the role played by the existing culture and history of the country in receipt of constitutional provisions and ideas, and the extent to which external as opposed to internal constitution-making can lead to successful constitutional reform, particularly in the areas of democratisation  and human rights protection.

A basic question looms: Is the endeavour of constitutional transplantation a worthy, or even a worthwhile, one?  The replication of the constitutional text does not and cannot result in a replication of the constitution itself. The resulting constitution is a product of history, culture and religion as much as it is a product of the text.

Further questions emerge: When do constitutional transplantations succeed in producing the anticipated outcomes, and what are the conditions for that? Is it to the role of judges to affect constitutional transplantations? How can judges in their decisions justify borrowing from other constitutional systems? Do some constitutional systems provide a better template for transplantation than others? Can constitutional transplantation lead to democratisation and better protection of human rights?

Discussion of certain conceptual questions relating to this transplantation is currently missing in the literature. Such discussion has not just theoretical importance, but has important lessons for countries currently undergoing constitutional transition and reform (such as Nepal and Myanmar).

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