There are two compelling intellectual reasons for this project. First, histories of Eastern Europe/Russia – Middle East relations (EERMER) are a relative lacuna in the scholarship on both regions; most extant work is centered on Russia/USSR, and/or the Cold War, and/or state actors; and few scholars od various subfields are in conversation. Second, EERMER from the late 19th to the late 20th centuries is a wonderful laboratory to explore broad conceptual issues – for instance about periodization and space – in the field of modern (societal) transnational and (state) international history.
Questions include: how did relations (not) change in the slow transition from imperial to post-imperial and Cold War periods; how did the fact that Eastern Europe, Russia, and the Middle East are in some ways ‘neighbors’ affect the nature of their transnational relations; could they be defined as a double periphery; are there new ways of studying their contact and overlap zone(s), etc. (For more detail, and for possible themes in the 2 workshops that form the core of this project proposal. There are also three compelling organizational reasons, related to PU's and UNIGE's desire to internationalize, for this project.
This project will benefit the two universities: (a) in extending PU-UNIGE collaborations to the humanities (b) in helping to build and link up extant knowledge among faculty members at both universities, and (c) in serving graduate students interested in the project’s theme: by having them attend workshop both at their own university and across the Atlantic. The project has a well-planned structure and four outputs: two 1-day workshops, one at each university, in early and late 2017; following the two workshops, two 1-day seminars for graduate students; a special journal issue; and a grant application to a much larger grant, by the Swiss National Science Foundation, surrounding the theme of this project.
We are proposing to join the work of InZone at the University of Geneva (which offers training and learning opportunities for students and scholars working emergency zones) and the Global History Lab (which offers an online course to tens of thousands of students worldwide and at Princeton) to extend Princeton's online course to refugees in Azraq refugee camp and in Amman, Jordan, and in Kakuma refugee camp in Kenya (year 1) and to undergraduates from the University of Geneva (year 2). The overall goals are to deepen the immersion of the world into a single course and to study the possibilities, challenges and limits of global collaborative learning. This initiative has two dimensions, one is to conduct research on the humanitarian potential of online collaboration, and the second is to pilot what we hope will become the first cross-listed undergraduate course between Princeton and Geneva. The first is to explore a humanitarian program within the course. To that end, we are creating three offshore sites for the Lab. One in a United Nations High Commission for Refugee camp in Kenya, called Kakuma, home to Sudanese and Somali refugees and two in Jordan for Syrians (Asraq refugee camp, home to 25,000 Syrian refugees, and Amman). We are partnering with the UNHCR for all three locations, and the Norwegian Refugee Council for the Jordan locations.
The present grant will sustain research and data collection piggy backed on this experiment. We propose to do this over two years, 2017-18 and 2018-19. The second is to explore the prospects of bringing Princeton and Geneva undergraduates into joint teams within the course. This will roll out in the Fall of 2017 through the creation of a cross-listed, accredited, course for students at both universities, using digital technologies to foster their learning through cross-border collaboration. In turn, the Princeton and Geneva students will be expected to participate in exchanges with the refugee learners in the three sites, thus widening the radius of exchanges and communications about our global past -- which has a long record of forced migration. This project is, in sum, a significant step in the evolution of online education and a new experiment in conjugating Geneva and Princeton's hopes for internationalizing their universities. It teams up universities; it teams up its students (graduate students who will conduct the research together, as well as undergraduates who will collaborate on assignments within the course); it teams up with international organisations and NGOs to create humanities learning opportunities in fragile settings.
We received a seed-grant in 2014 from the Geneva/Princeton collaborative research grant, which allowed us to have a fruitful collaboration, using avatars created by Prof. Alexander Todorov and colleagues at Princeton, and to use them in a face evaluation task with the clinical population of the Geneva Early Childhood Stress Project (GECS-Pro), Dr. Daniel Schechter, principal investigator. The GECS-Pro involved mothers with and without posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) related to interpersonal violence (IPV). In this pilot study, 5 mothers from the GECS-Pro, evaluated 350 avatars varying on the threat and dominance dimensions. We then compared mothers’ responses during these tasks to existing variables previously collected during the GECS-Pro. We obtained promising results showing a general under-estimation of dominance and threat among the avatars by mothers with IPV-PTSD as compared to controls. We also found a significant relationship between the evaluation of the two dimensions, and the scores reported by the mothers at the Clinician Administered PTSD Scale (CAPS), mainly on the hyperarousal scale (p-value between .010 and .042), but also at the CAPS total score (p-value between .002 and .031). Following from these promising preliminary results and rewarding collaboration, we are pleased to present this request for your consideration. A further year of funding would allow us to conduct the same research on more participants, and to pilot the application of electroencephalography (EEG), in order to characterize better specific electrical patterns of activation on the dimensions of threat and dominance, in mothers with PTSD related to their exposure to interpersonal violence, and compare them to controls mothers. This second pilot phase is in collaboration with doctoral candidate Virginie Pointet who specializes in the application of high density EEG and who joined the GECS-Pro team since our last pilot application. We hope that this additional pilot phase will lead to further funding and publication.
The physical processes underlying the evolution of galaxies, which shape the diversity of present-day galaxies, has yet to be understood. One of the most important unresolved questions is, what role do central supermassive black holes (SMBH) play in galaxy evolution? The link between the SMBH and the host galaxy properties is now well documented, showing a tight correlation between the mass of an extinct SMBH and the properties of its host galaxy, whose star formation is quenched. Does all the activity (star formation and SMBH) cease when the galaxy uses up its cold gas, or are energetic outflows from the SMBH responsible for re-heating the gas, and thus shutting off the star formation? Observations of the SMBH and its host galaxy during the active phase, using a combination of optical imaging and spectroscopy and X-ray imaging can address these questions, to determine the physical state of the galaxy during this quenching phase. This proposal aims at starting a collaboration between experts from Princeton and UNIGE focused on the scientific analysis of data recently obtained as part of two ambitious projects supported by both universities: ESA's XMM-Newton "XXL" observing program, using the most powerful X-ray satellite, and the Princeton/Japan-led "HSC" wide-field survey at the 8.2-meters Subaru telescope. Both projects started a few years ago and will continue for another 3 (XXL) and 4 (HSC) years. This project aims at building a long-standing collaboration between the two groups from UNIGE and Princeton. In 2020, the ESA-led Euclid mission will launch, giving yet more powerful data to be analyzed to address these questions. The primary goal of this proposal is to allow PhD students from both universities to visit UNIGE or Princeton, and attend the XXL and HSC collaboration meetings. This project involves 1 student from each institution.