[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
Adi Erlich (University of Haifa)
Uzi Leibner (The Hebrew University of Jerusalem)
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.
[RG # 161] Constitutional Transplantations
November 1, 2019 – January 31, 2020
Anat Scolnicov (University of Winchester, UK)
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).
October 22, 2019 – January 21, 2020
Ruth Kanner (Tel Aviv University),
Freddie Rokem (Tel Aviv University)
Research assistant: Adi Havin
Franz Kafka’s writings will serve as the point of departure for this collaborative investigation. The theoretical framework is based on Walter Benjamin’s observation in his 1934 landmark essay on the tenth anniversary of Kafka’s death, where he maintains that Kafka’s entire oeuvre “constitutes a code of gestures” for which the theatre, Benjamin emphatically added, is the given place of investigation. Benjamin also provides the basic methodological tools for this investigation by expanding the concept of the caesura, which originally refers to a break or pause in a verse, to include the comprehensive poetic, dramatic and performative principles based on the ‘Interruption’ (die Unterbrechung).
According to Benjamin, the Interruption is one of the constitutive features of Bertolt Brecht’s epic theatre, creating gestures on which the principles of estrangement (verfremdung) are based. The RG will open up a new field of study to explore innovative forms of collaborative research by devising and examining a broad range of interruptive interactions and interferences both within and between such gestural codes as well as in the flow of thought and action themselves. These interruptive codes are the intermediate expressions of space/time Benjamin termed the ‘standstill’ (the pause or the break) through which it is possible to perceive, enact and even bring forth a radical change in the order of things.