This collaboration aims at setting up a joint research course for advanced MA and doctoral students of our two universities. The course addresses the process of globalisation through the prism of international immigration. In a nation-based state characterised both politically and ideologically by immigration such as Israel, understanding migration and associated social, cultural, and economic struggles is of particular importance. By contrast, Western European countries have needed to adapt to a multiple waves of migration due to ageing populations, a need for labour, post-colonial connections, and generous asylum policies since the end of the Second World War, despite the fact that their constitutions and cultures are not entrenched in immigration. The waves of migration have brought with them increased diversity amongst minorities in Western Europe and have contributed to a qualitative shift known as the third demographic transition. Western European countries and Israel are currently undergoing this transition. As such, this research and teaching project addresses the effects of the third demographic transition on society, and in doing so discusses the types of policies associated with migration and minorities in an age of globalisation, including particular attention to the role of international cooperation and international organizations. In addition, this collaborative project is an excellent catalyst for cooperation between the Hebrew University and Geneva’s researchers. Today, meaningful research projects in the field of globalisation and migration are based on cooperation between various researchers from a plurality of institutions. Such international cooperation is requested and frequently required by research funding bodies, particularly in light of Israel’s accession to the grants programme of the EU. Furthermore, in particular with globalisation and migration, it is not possible to carry out meaningful research at the local or national level alone. To that end, the subject of research is connected to developments internationally, and it is fit that researchers in Israel and Geneva should adjust their research perspective to the global level. The joint project would run over the academic year 2017/18. Elyakim Kislev and Sandra Lavenex will teach in parallel a course for Master's and PhD students in their respective programmes in which the following joint sessions will be integrated: 1. During December students from University of Geneva will come to Jerusalem for the Annual Graduate Conference in Political Science, International Relations and Public Policy at the Hebrew University: https://gradcon.huji.ac.il/ 2. In the Annual Graduate Conference, half a day of a joint workshop will be devoted to the students registered on the courses in participating universities. The workshops will be delivered by professors from both institutions. This will be an opportunity for initial introductions and the attribution of research topics to the participating students. 3. In the following months the students will work at their home universities on the research topics and prepare research papers. 4. In the summer of 2018, the students from both institutions will meet for a week-long workshop in Geneva that will be taught by research staff from both institutions, as well as guest researchers. This workshop will include visits to pertinent international organizations and NGOs in Geneva. These visits will be merged with the programme of the Summer School on Global and Regional Migration Governance at Unige. 5. Students will present their research results in the workshop. 6. Participation in all aspects of the course (workshops in the Annual Graduate Conference, course lectures, summer workshop) will be mandatory and together will form a research course worth four (for HUJI students) or six (for Geneva students) academic credits.
Circadian oscillation of biological processes has been described in light-sensitive organisms from bacteria to human beings, reflecting the existence of underlying intrinsic clocks. Our recent work suggests that α- and β-cellular clocks are oscillating with distinct phases in vivo and in vitro. These cellular oscillators impact critically on the temporal profiles of insulin and glucagon secretion, and on the transcriptional patterns of key functional genes in the islet cells. Parallel analysis of the molecular properties of α- and β-cell oscillators was conducted by establishing a mouse model expressing three reporters: one diagnostic for α-cells, one specific for β-cells, and third monitoring circadian gene expression. Rodent β-cells have a significant potential for regeneration, suggesting that regenerative therapy for diabetes is feasible. A model for studying β-cell regeneration following 70-80% ablation, proposed and characterized by the Dor’s lab, in combination with the triple reporter mouse strain developed by the Dibner’s lab, represents a unique and powerful tool for characterizing circadian oscillator upon hyperglycemic conditions, and during β-cell regeneration. Crossing these mice to genetic clock-deficient mouse strain will allow unraveling the impact of functional circadian clock on the regenerative capacity of β-cells. In vivo studies in genetic rodent models will be translated to the human model, employing human islet isolated from type 2 diabetic donors, synchronized in vitro. Molecular and functional analysis of the islet cellular clockwork upon type 2 diabetes conditions and during β-cell regeneration will be of high scientific importance and clinical relevance.
Stromatolites represent the oldest forms of life and are commonly defined as laminated organo-sedimentary structures built by the trapping, binding and/or precipitation of minerals via microbial processes. Dead-Sea stromatolites have attracted considerable attention and recently have been used to constrain the late Quaternary lake level curve. This closed-basin contains living and fossil stromatolites at a wide range of water salinity, temperature, oxidation state, and lighting. The basin thus offers a unique opportunity to understand the environmental factors controlling their formation as well as to develop a better chronology for the last glaciation, respectively. We propose to study recent microbial mats (stromatolites) around the Dead-Sea and identify relationships between the environment and observable characteristics that might be recorded in rocks. Based on stromatolites we have mapped around the Dead-Sea, we will combine a geomorphological and geomicrobiological approach to: - Better resolve lake level changes by quantifying the variation of water volumes in the Dead-Sea from the Late Pleistocene to the Holocene - Determine the natural environmental conditions where modern stromatolite types are growing around the Dead-Sea. - Carry out experimental investigations in the laboratory under controlled conditions, from a nanometric- to a mm-scale. By dating these microbialites we will provide a more robust chronology of lake level changes as well as their tempo and magnitude. This is critical for developing predictive patterns of the present day Dead-Sea level changes that are of major societal interest. This is also crucial for unraveling conditions at the "agricultural revolution" incurring around the lake during its last recess.
Scholars of the Mesopotamian literature of the Old Babylonian period (roughly 2000-1500 BCE) usually deal with one of three literatures written in cuneiform script that are distinguished linguistically: (1) Myths, epics, wisdom literature, hymns and prayers written in the main register of Sumerian (Emegir) and known mainly from the scribal schools; (2) Lament-prayers in the Emesal register of Sumerian; and (3) myths, epics, wisdom literature, hymns, prayers, and incantations, written in the Akkadian languages. On the one side, usually each of these literatures is dealt with independently, and the connections between these genres are only very rarely investigated. On the other side, on the rare cases that such connections are treated, the limits are often completely removed by reconstructing a common tradition for the Sumerian and Akkadian bodies of literature. Both approaches reflect extreme positions, but neither of them seems convincing. The main goal of the present proposal is to converge the extreme positions and to gently start crossing the borders between the three literatures without treating them on the other hand as belonging to one large corpus. The two applicants have each worked independently on these corpora, and together they will try to identify the literary “agents” that allowed the flowing of motifs and themes, between the three main bodies of literature of this period.
The purpose of this research project is to examine the interface of cybersecurity breaches and legal liability under private law, according to two perspectives:
1- The first perspective is to conduct a legal analysis on how current private law doctrines (both particular and general torts-based liability) respond to cybersecurity breaches. In addition to a critical-comparative examination of current law, the research will examine whether there is a need for a legal reform, in private law, that will craft explicit norms for cybersecurity breaches. In addition to general torts liability aspects, particular legal branches to be examined include (as an inconclusive list): privacy law; consumer law; software and computer law; insurance law, trade secrets and intellectual property liability regimes.
2- The second perspective of the research will attempt to examine and shape legal policy proposals based on field analysis of particular industries in areas that are either related to cybersecurity or that raise cybersecurity concerns: software companies; cybersecurity companies; "the internet of things" companies; autonomous cars and more and will be made in light of the legal analysis realized above.
Elucidating the neural mechanisms that subserve conscious awareness is a fundamental goal of neuroscience. There is abundant evidence that conscious perception is gated by the ability to direct attention to behaviorally relevant stimuli in the environment, through top-down modulation of sensory pathways by attention control networks. Attention can be directed by internal goals (endogenous) or salient external cues (exogenous). There is also evidence that attention can be guided by emotional significance of stimuli even when these are goal-irrelevant (1), suggesting that emotional information can be detected prior to conscious awareness (2). The exact neural pathways and timing of these emotional effects remain unresolved, as well as their relationship to other attention mechanisms (3). Non-invasive electrophysiological methods with EEG and MEG provide powerful tools to dissect the specific types and stages of processing that controls how attention is directed to sensory stimuli (2) and can now be applied to ecological free-viewing conditions (4-7) rather than unnatural experimental paradigms as used in many studies (3). Here we will exploit the latter approach by combining expertise from both labs on emotion perception (1, 2, 3) and combined EEG-eyetracking methodology (4,5). We will record fixation-related brain potentials (FRPs) while participants freely explore visual scenes and direct their gaze at stimuli with different properties: either goal-relevant (target objects to be searched/counted), emotionally significant but task-irrelevant (e.g. faces, animals), or physically salient and irrelevant (based on sensory feature analysis of pictures (8). FRPs will allow us to identify and compare neural signatures for different conditions of attentional capture.
The scope of this joint proposal is the application of multiscale modeling for the systematic study of photoreceptor proteins and their mutants. Photoreceptor proteins are the key molecules for response to and sensing of light in many organisms. They mediate a variety of functions in nature such as visual perception, regulation of circadian rhythm, phototaxis and light-oriented growth of plants. However, due to the large size of these proteins their computational studies are challenging. The unfavorable scaling of quantum chemical methods renders any explicit treatment of the environment unfeasible. Multi-scale methods -i.e. based on interfacing treatment at different levels of theory for different parts of the system- were hence developed as solutions to this problem. Frozen Density Embedding Theory (FDET) [1,2] uses the electron density of the environment (ρB) to describe its effect on a system of interest. While maintaining a quantum-level description of the whole system, FDET allows for the use of any method for generating ρB, including experimental densities and time-averaged densities from Molecular Dynamics (MD) simulations. Furthermore, FDET could be interfaced with quantum mechanics/molecular mechanics (QM/MM) resulting in a QMA/QMemb/MM approach for an even better trade-off between accuracy and computational cost. MD simulations provide a comprehensive insight into the time evolution of light induced processes.[4,5,6] Such reactions often have non-adiabatic effects that enable efficient transfer of electronic excitation energy to nuclear kinetic energy and vice versa, often causing irreversible transfer of potential energy to heat, or form a unique mechanism for reactions which are forbidden in the adiabatic framework. With our collaboration we aim to explore the possibilities of combining FDET with nonadiabatic molecular dynamics and QM/MM simulations to study photoreceptor proteins.
One of the major problems that societies are facing is intergroup conflicts. To ease tensions, scholars study conflict mechanisms as well as develop evidence-based interventions. Among them, scholars from the Swiss Center for Affective Sciences (CISA) and from the Psychology of Intergroup Conflict and Reconciliation (PICR) dedicated their research to better understand the role of emotions in conflicts and to test emotion-based interventions in order to promote conflict resolution. In this line, researchers from the CISA and PICR have started to collaborate in 2017 and create a research project aiming to test compassion training effects in interpersonal and intergroup conflicts in Switzerland and in Israel. In addition, they want to compare compassion training effects with those of a well-known emotion-based intervention in the field of conflict interventions, the reappraisal training. First steps of this research have been to test in Switzerland compassion training and reappraisal effects on conflicts at the interpersonal level. After promising preliminary results, a study in Israel is planned to investigate compassion training in a real-life intergroup setting: the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The main goal is to observe compassion training effects on the attitudes and behaviors of Israelis towards the outgroup, in this case, Palestinian population. To this purpose we plan several short-term research stays to carry out successfully the study creating a vivid exchange between experts of the University of Geneva and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. We truly believe that testing compassion training in a real-life intergroup setting will provide useful and evidence-based guidelines for peacebuilders.
Synaptic connectivity plays an important role in determining brain function. Such structure-function relations in the brain are typically studied by observation and analysis of existing connectivity patterns. However, in order to gain a more causative understanding of how brain structure corresponds to brain function, it is necessary to manipulate connectivity, to insert, delete or reroute specific synaptic connections in vivo and to then examine the impact on function and behavior. Many methods exist for modifying synaptic communication. However, these tend to target overall neuronal input or output rather than specific connections between pre- and postsynaptic neurons. A new synthetic approach consisting of manipulating specific synaptic connections in vivo could boost our capacity to unravel the functional significance of synaptic connectivity. It could also offer potential new strategies for brain repair and pave the way towards applications of artificial life. The Jabaudon (UNIGE) and Rabinowitch (HUJI) labs are independently engaged in efforts to artificially rewire brain circuits in vivo in different systems (vertebrate vs. invertebrate) using distinct approaches. Our goal is to join forces in order to advance our ability to edit synaptic connectivity. As a first step, we wish to organize an intensive joint research workshop in Jerusalem that will enable our teams to learn in detail about each other's work, to consult with external experts and to forge the foundations for a long-term collaboration that would substantially augment our grasp of structure and function in the brain.
Attentional control is the ability to streamline information processing by selecting and amplifying task-relevant information while ignoring irrelevant information in order to conduct goal-directed behaviors. Recently, it has been proposed as a key mechanism in enhancing plasticity and learning, since it enables participants to learn to selectively use the attended features through feedback connections from higher-level areas to sensory areas. The goal of the current collaborative project is to collect preliminary data to further test the hypothesis that enhancing attentional control facilitates learning in a population of depressed individuals, by studying changes in neural mechanisms during learning.
This new project leverage a recently-funded collaboration (the EU-supported DiSCoVeR project) aiming at enhancing attentional control in individuals with depression using a novel intervention that combines non-invasive brain stimulation over the prefrontal cortex and video game play. We now have a rare collaborative opportunity that will allow us to begin to elucidate the underlying mechanisms of the plastic changes induced by this novel intervention, using brain imaging paradigms developed in the Bavelier and Hummel labs. Critically, these paradigms are to be implemented in Nahum’s lab (HUJI) as patients from the DiSCoVeR project will be enrolled at her site but not at the UNIGE site. Results from this pilot project will be used to support a larger EU grant submission which aims at understanding the neural mechanisms of plasticity enhancement via attentional control modification, in both healthy individuals and clinically depressed ones.
The Armenians and their contribution to late medieval Middle Eastern History (ca. 1000-1500 CE)” is a multi-disciplinary project that considers the wider historical and cultural context. Certainly, anyone with a deep interest in Middle Eastern, Caucasian and Mediterranean history in this period should consider the role of the Armenians. The 11th century saw the large-scale migration of Armenians to southwest Anatolia, into an area called Cilicia, with the eventual establishment of an Armenian state. As in the Armenian homeland to the north, Armenian Cilicia dealt with the influx of Seljuq-led Turcomans. Crusaders entering the country, and then moving south, towards the end of the 11th century created more challenges. Through the 12th century modi vivendi were worked out with these groups, but the coming of the Mongols in the 1230s necessitated a strategic change. Both Armenian polities enthusiastically joined the Mongol imperial project. In the long-run, however, the Mongols were unable to provide protection to Cilicia, and after 1260 the Mamluks of Syria and Egypt overran the country, eliminating Armenian independence there in 1375.
The Armenians were key players in the politics of the time, and should be taken into account to properly understand regional developments, while the wider context must be considered to fully appreciate internal Armenian cultural, social and political changes. There has been interesting and important research on these topics, but there is still much to do. We thus call for two workshops.
1- “The Armenians face new challenges: Seljuqs and Crusaders (1000-1240)” 2- “The Armenians and new world orders: Mongols and Mamluks (1240-1500)”
This project aims to investigate the embodied potential of children's participation in shaping their local and global
environment, also concerning climate changes, and to get a better understanding of its relation to children's wellbeing.
The rationale is based on the children's right for participation in all matters affecting their lives. The
opportunity to participate relates and contributes to the children's well-being in person and as a group in the
present and in the future. However, children and youth are consistently excluded and unrepresented in decisionmaking
processes, mostly in the public arena. Studies show that the children's physical environment plays a
crucial role in their well-being, uniquely addressing their safety affected by the biological and physical threats. The
United Nations' Agenda 21 declared that "the specific interests of children need to be taken fully into account in
the participatory process on environment and development”. Programs for children's representation in the
authorities' planning process have succeeded in improving child-related indicators of health, education, protection,
etc., but their contribution is insufficient. Moreover, being at a critical developmental stage, children are more
vulnerable healthily, psychologically and socially, and face greater risks by climate changes. We argue that children
should be broadly involved in the subject, allowing their voices to be heard and realizing their potential when
dealing with it locally and globally. For that cause, we propose a program of intensive research seminars with the
goals of studying the field and formulating a broad international study project.
The brain is constantly learning, acquiring new knowledge extracted from experiences and senses, but little is known of how different brain areas containing billions of neurons and an even higher number of synapses interact during this process. An area central to learning is the cerebral cortex. It receives sensory information from the thalamus, which was long considered a passive relay station. However, recent evidence suggests that higher-order thalamic nuclei actively interact with multiple cortical areas at a time, thereby forming thalamocortical loops that are thought to be crucial for learning. Thus, it is essential to understand how information from individual thalamic nuclei is distributed over various cortical areas, and how this alters during learning. In the proposed collaboration, we will bridge the study of brain-wide mesoscale neuronal activity with microscale synaptic plasticity. At both HUJI and UNIGE, we will train mice on a sensory discrimination task and continuously image neuronal activity as they learn. At HUJI, we will apply a mesoscale approach, using wide-field imaging and fiber photometry to simultaneously image neuronal populations in both the higher-order thalamus and many cortical areas (Fig. 1 left). This will enable us to study the interactions between those regions and identify cortical areas of interest. At UNIGE, we will implement a microscale approach, zooming in on areas of interest and image axonal terminals originating from the thalamus to study synaptic plasticity (Fig. 1 right). This combined approach is made possible through this unique HUJI-UNIGE collaboration, and will help unraveling the mechanisms of learning.
With 65 million people worldwide suffering of epilepsy and the inadequacy of current pharmacological approaches,
the need to advance our understanding of the molecular aetiology of this disease is clear, as is the urgency to
develop novel medical treatments. Several hundred genes linked to epilepsy have been identified. The
collaborating labs at UNIGE and HUJI work on two of them: GNAO1 and WWOX. GNAO1 encodes G?o – the
major neuronal ?-subunit of heterotrimeric G proteins. De novo mutations in GNAO1 were described in a subset of
paediatric epileptic patients, suffering in addition to epilepsy from motor dysfunction and developmental delay.
Although occurring in amino acids conserved from humans to Drosophila, these mutations and their functional
consequences have not been analysed at the biochemical or neuronal levels, preventing development of
therapeutic interventions. WWOX encodes a protein containing two N-terminal WW domains and C-terminal
catalytic domain homologous to short chain dehydrogenase/reductase family proteins. High sequence conservation
of WWOX orthologues from insects to humans suggest its significant role in physiology and homeostasis. Indeed,
data obtained from human patients and animal models demonstrate that WWOX deregulation results in severe
pathological consequences, including neuropathy and epilepsy. The collaborating laboratories will establish models
of encephalopathy / epilepsy caused by mutations in GNAO1 and WWOX. The goal will be to identify molecular
mechanisms underlying the aetiology of disease in order to ultimately advance towards drug discovery programs. A
unifying theme behind our research on GNAO1 and WWOX in epilepsy is their potential to affect the Wnt signalling
In the next few years, millions of autonomous vehicles (AV) will be on the road with various levels of vehicle autonomy. This project is concerned with AVs equipped with higher automation levels still requiring or allowing the human to override the vehicle (3rd and 4th level of automation (L3 and L4), but not 5th level) . For the near future, this level of automation is predicted to be the most prevalent and therefore requires more focus.
The project aims to look into the liability regime linked to the Driver-Vehicle Interfaces (DVIs) design of (autonomous vehicle) AV and requirements for DVIs technical standards. AVs are not simple vehicles. They run on the road thanks to advanced technologies that are embodied inside, as radar and LiDAR technologies, GPS, sensors, digital and video cameras. AVs also use Internet of things (IoT) devices which allow them the interconnection with other connected objects within the network. When an accident occurs, many actors of the AV building process might be held jointly liable. This project is concerned with one of these actors: the DVIs design.
Human and vehicles communicate and exchange messages and information through DVIs. The DVIs convert the machine inner thinking into an external representation for a human.
In L3 AVs the human and algorithmic driver essentially share the control over the vehicle – with authority over the vehicle changing over time and in different situations. In this model of operation it is of the upper most importance that DVIs use comprehensible language, signals or representations, in order for human drivers to understand them properly. This is especially the case in emergency situations, where the vehicle guides human driver to take a specific action. In this context, the design shall enable the human driver to understand quickly and unambiguously the notifications sent from the system, and if necessary adapt to the specific drivers' condition (whether psychological or medical) or state of mind.
Leveraging an interdisciplinary team of computer scientists and law experts this project investigates the following research questions:
How to design standardised DVIs adapting to the current situation of the driver?
Photoinduced electron transfer (PET) and energy transfer (ET) are key processes in biological systems. For example, in photosynthesis PET plays a crucial role. This process is also important in artificial systems such as organic solar cells. Electron/Energy Donor-bridge-acceptor systems are excellent benchmarks for the study of PET and ET. In biological systems, these processes often take place in helically chiral media. It has been assumed that the helicity plays a crucial role in such processes, but the effect of helicity on PET and ET processes has not been investigated so far. Recently, the Gidron group introduced a family of π-conjugated molecules with tunable helicity – tethered twistacenes. We found that fundamental electronic and optical properties are directly affected by the degree of helicity. Having also introduced extendable units on the tunable twistacenes, we are now ready to explore the effect of bridge helicity on ET and PET processes. The Vauthey group has been applying various ultrafast spectroscopic techniques for more than a decade to obtain a deeper understanding of PET and ET processes.
In this collaborative project, we intend to study the effect of helicity on PET and ET processes, using π-conjugated twistacenes as bridges with different degrees of twisting, and porphyrins as donor and acceptor units. The Gidron group will perform DFT calculations to select the ideal donor and acceptor units, and synthesize the selected candidates. The Vauthey group will then investigate how the helicity of the bridge affects the dynamics of the PET and ET processes using a combination of complementary spectroscopic techniques on timescales ranging from a few tens of femtosecond to hundreds of microseconds. In the case of PET, these measurements will allow to understand the effect of helicity on both the charge separation (CS) process and the ensuing charge recombination (CR). For most practical applications, CS has to be as fast as possible, whereas CR must be slow. Controlling helicity might allow fine tuning of these two processes.
The two groups involved have a common interest in studying RNA modifications. However, their research focus within this area are different. While the Pillai group at UNIGE studies chemical modifications of messenger RNAs (mRNAs) in the mouse germline, the Nachmani group at HUJI studies ribosomal RNA modifications in the mouse hematopoietic system.
The proposed collaborative project will investigate the biology of a mouse RNA methyltransferase METTL17. Unpublished data from the Pillai lab initially characterized this enzyme as being essential for mouse embryonic development. Immuno-gold labelling experiments showed that the protein has a presence in both the cytosol and within the mitochondrial matrix. Complex purifications of METTL17 revealed that it is associated with components of the small subunit of the mitochondrial ribosome, and this led to the idea of a collaboration, as rRNA modifications is the topic of interest in the Nachmani lab. The Pillai lab will investigate its role on cytosolic mRNAs, while the Nachmani group will examine how the enzyme functions within the mitochondria. The Pillai group will develop a human cell line expressing the tagged version of the enzyme for better complex purifications, which should allow its use for in vitro enzymatic assays. The Nachmani lab will use this cell line to investigate the METTL17 complex and associated rRNA and ribosomal proteins. Mapping the rRNA modifications using methods available in the lab will be another contribution from HUJI. The Pillai group will attempt to produce recombinant versions of the enzyme and its partner proteins for biochemistry in vitro. iCLIP experiments will also be conducted to identify RNA targets in both cytosolic and mitochondrial compartments.
Overall, this collaborative project should result in a more comprehensive picture of gene regulation by METTL17. It will pool complementary expertise present in both labs, and exchange of personnel on short-term visits should facilitate training/exchange of protocols. Finally, this collaboration will serve as a foundation for a future larger project looking at rRNA modifying enzymes more broadly in germline gene regulation. The hope is to prepare such a joint project proposal for funding by national or international agencies (HFSP etc).
In this project, we address the gaps in knowledge regarding collective victimhood and online harassment behavior by proposing a mechanism in which collective victimhood mentality leads to hostility towards women by endorsing conspiracy beliefs about women.
Such research is timely, as we have seen a troubling rise in reports of harassment and intimidation directed at female politicians in recent years (Krook, 2018), particularly in online spaces. For example, Twitter users directed more abusive tweets toward female politicians than male politicians, with messages challenging women’s right to be elected representatives (Southern & Harmer, 2021). This alarming rate of online harassment may prevent women from entering politics and or may facilitate them to leave the office earlier than planned.
Moreover, while women have increasingly taken up political leadership roles, politics remains a domain structured by hegemonic masculinity (Löffler et al., 2022). As such, when women enter these traditionally male-dominated arenas, men can feel that their group is being harmed intentionally, and they can perceive this harm to be undeserved, unjust, and immoral, and they might feel that they cannot prevent this harm. Namely, they may take up a collective victimhood mentality (Bar-Tal, 2009).
Collective victimhood is usually discussed in connection to historical traumas or violent conflicts (Bar-Tal et al., 2009). However, in this project, we take a different temporal focus by concentrating on current societal changes and perceptions of victimization that have recently begun (i.e., dominant or high-status group members feel threatened by advancements of lower-status group members entering and being successful in “their” domains). We suggest here the novel research idea that collective victimhood may explain hostility towards successful women on a different dimension than sexism and political attitudes.
While some previous research indicates that collective victimhood mentality is associated with negative attitudes towards outgroup members (Noor et al., 2017), we still know very little about the mechanism behind it and whether it also affects behavior and not only attitudes. This project aims to answer these two questions by looking at behavioral measures and by trying to find the mechanism underlying the relationship between collective victimhood and hostility towards female leaders.
Recent research has suggested that shared feelings of victimization may comprise a framework for an individual’s conspiratorial perceptions (see Armaly & Enders, 2021) and that the belief in conspiracy theories can motivate and endorse non-normative actions (Imhoff et al., 2021; Vegetti & Littvay, 2022). As such, in our model, we propose that collective victimhood leads to hostility towards women by endorsing conspiracy beliefs about women. We predict that:
H1. Men scoring high (vs. low) on male victimhood display more hostility towards female (vs. male) political leaders.
H2a. Men scoring high (vs. low) on male victimhood adopt more conspiracy beliefs about women.
H2b. And, in turn, display more hostility against female political leaders.
Place naming reflects ethnic, national and territorial identities and politics. It also serves as a marketing tool, aiming to promote images that enhance local development, while digital mapping and georeferenced big data provide opportunities for the private sector and activist organizations in place (re)naming through the promotion of names appearing in electronic maps and databases.
Place (re)naming, their motivations, controversies and consequences attract growing interest in different academic disciplines. Relevant questions are: does place (re)naming reflect local preferences or top-down decisions? What narrative does the toponomascape convey internally and externally? What knowledge and memories are valued or minimized? Do place (re)naming initiatives opt at the unique and historically-geographically distinguished or at generic branding? Does place (re)naming represent inclusion or exclusion of indigenous populations, minority and historically subaltern groups? What is its relevance for peace and sustainable development objectives?
Our study brings together two cases – Israel and Switzerland – that provide complementary insights into contemporary issues in place (re)naming. Israel is a politically centralized but socially diverse, characterized by contested spaces, intensely influenced by the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and substantial local action to promote development. Switzerland represents decentralized federalism, linguistic diversity and cross-border territorial dynamics in a less conflictual context. We will assess the impact of current sociopolitical transformations on place-naming trajectories and the impact of place-naming, at the background of a broader international comparative perspective to be further elaborated in an EU-COST proposal.
In Israel, post-1948 transformations included naming of hundreds of new Jewish localities, and replacing Arabic names by Hebrew ones. Greater consideration of local views, acknowledging social diversity, has apparently been evident since the 1990s. Increasingly, renaming has been justified by branding and marketing in a neoliberal context, turning from unique historical-geographical names to generic ones.
In Switzerland, multilingual signage is managed by the cantons, with reference to the European Charter for Regional and Minority Languages. At the local level, rural micro-toponymy records dialects and is valued in the context of the dual process of addressing the countryside and of heritage, particularly in cultural and leisure signage. Ongoing municipal restructuring is an opportunity to promote new names that combine internal geopolitics and territorial marketing. Cities also engage in naming new eco-districts and street names in an inclusive and decolonial perspective.
The proposed pilot study will mainly focus on the illustrative cases of greater Geneva and Jerusalem, looking at city, neighborhood and street (re)naming and signage. It will also include a preliminary examination of municipal (re)naming initiatives in both countries, explicit and implicit considerations of disputed identities, inclusiveness and rebranding; and whether expectations have been fulfilled.
Methodology will include an examination of primary documents and interviews with officials and ordinary citizens. The pilot study be summed up in a paper on the Israeli and Swiss cases. It will also provide insights for the broader proposed project that includes a broad cross-national perspective and additional related subtopics, such as the digital turn in cartography and the heritagization and commodification of urban narratives.