Muslim b. al-Ḥajjāj of Nishapur (d. 261 H/875 CE): The Critical Saint
Pavel Pavlovitch (2021 - 2022)
Muslim b. al-Ḥajjāj of Nishapur (d. 261 H/875 CE) is famous for his al-Musnad al-ṣaḥīḥ (The Sound collection). The Ṣaḥīḥ is a compilation of traditions (ḥadīth) going back to the Prophet Muḥammad (d. 11 H/632 CE) that Sunni Muslims regard as the third most authoritative source of legal norms after the Qurʾān and Muḥammad b. Ismāʿīl al-Bukhārī’s (194–256 H/810–70 CE) ḥadīth collection al-Jāmiʿ al-ṣaḥīḥ. Muslim ranks among the founders of the science of ḥadīth criticism. Despite his renown, Muslim’s life and works came only sporadically to the attention of Western ḥadīth scholarship while arabophone studies have been restricted by the apologetic perception of Muslim. The present project studies Muslim’s life, works, theology, and method in ḥadīth criticism based on a wide range of biographical sources and ḥadīth collections. These sources are studied by a variety of text-critical approaches, including the method of ‘compilation criticism’. For the first time Muslim’s theological views are studied in a systematic manner, which offers a glimpse in the development of the early Sunni theology. Four works by Muslim that were considered lost will be reconstructed from hitherto neglected later sources. A detailed study of the transmission of Muslim’s Ṣaḥīḥ is part of the project, which is expected to result in the publication of a peer-reviewed article and a monograph about Muslim in English.
Ancient Magic in the Age of the Enlightenment: Medieval book amulets as textbooks and popular reading among the Bulgarians in the 18th–19th centuries
Angel Nikolov (2021 - 2022)
The project focuses on the late transformations, marginalization and disappearance of an older medieval tradition characteristic of the culture of Orthodox Bulgarians, Serbs and Vlachs: the copying and carrying as apotropaia of small–format manuscript miscellanies (‘book amulets’) containing Slavic translations of various apocrypha, prayers, as well as calendar, divination, prognostic, medicinal and other works, each perceived as a textual amulet. In the 18th and 19th centuries, these ‘magical’ texts were frequently used to teach children, but the practice was gradually discontinued with the development of a modern school system based on printed textbooks and dominated by secular teachers dedicated to modernizing Bulgarian society along pro–European, rational and pragmatic lines. However, interest in this type of literature declined slowly due to the strong belief in its special protective powers, as evidenced by the numerous printed editions of some of the most popular textual amulets in the form of small pamphlets of the second half of the 19th century. Thus, the project aims to explore, by means of a case study, how the modernization of society sealed the fate of some traditional worldviews and beliefs whose roots could be traced back to the cultural traditions of the ancient Middle East and the Greco–Roman Mediterranean.
The Pandemic and Society’s Response: The Plague in the Western Alps, c. 1348-1355
This research project proposes a holistic approach to the study of the 1348 plague in the Western Alps. Capitalising on the exceptionally detailed data of the accounts of the territorial-administrative units of late-medieval Savoy, the project focuses on the societal and institutional response to the demographic and economic impact of the Black Death. The project seeks to bring together in an inclusive analytical framework the range of responses to the pandemic, from the scapegoating of Savoy’s Jewish community to the reforms in local governance ushered in by the spectre of the impending fiscal disaster; post-plague internal migration and other initiatives for economic recovery will also be analysed. To understand the response to the plague in Savoy, special attention will be paid to the dialogue between local communities, the territorial officers, and the central government.
Stratagems and the Byzantine Culture of War: Theory, Practice, Report, Reception and Cross-Cultural Exchanges with the Muslim world (c. 800-1204)
Georgios Chatzelis (2021 - 2022)
The project studies stratagems and the Byzantine culture of war c. 800-1204. It focuses on Byzantine attitudes towards stratagems and examines cross-cultural exchanges between the Byzantines and the Muslims by exploring case studies of intertextual relationships and similarities/differences in the conduct of war when similar stratagems occur in Byzantine and Arab literature. To achieve its goal, the project will centre around the following objectives: a) exploration of Byzantine attitudes towards stratagems, b) exploration of intertextual relationships and similarities/differences in the conduct of war when similar stratagems occur in Byzantine and Arab literature. Objective A will mainly be realised through a study of sources written by both non-military (e.g. orations, religious texts, mirrors for princes, historiography) and military men (e.g. correspondence, military manuals). For Objective B, the occurrence of similar stratagems will be explored on two levels: 1) veracity/literary purpose in their respective cultural contexts, 2) military. For the first, research will consider critical evaluations of war writing in Byzantine and Arab historiography, mimesis, literarily topoi, theories of character in the Middle Ages as well as rhetorical narrativist philosophical theory. For the second, the examination will explore military factors which impacted the employment of similar stratagems (e.g. leadership, martial virtues, geomorphology).
Transvestite saints in Jerusalem: Embodiment, Materiality, and Cult Places of Pelagia the Penitent, Mary of Egypt, and Susanna of Eleutheropolis
Mariana Bodnaruk (2021 - 2022)
The research project focuses on the materialization of fictional hagiographic figures in late antiquity (3rd-7th centuries AD) that found embodiment in the sacred topography of Jerusalem and the Holy Land. It is especially interested in female holy figures, who are literary characters in their origin, such as Pelagia the Penitent, Mary of Egypt, and Susanna of Eleutheropolis. This project is twofold. It will first explore the construction of gender fluidity and ambivalence in the Lives in order to understand the registers of late ancient gender, gendered performances, as well as the gendering of virtue, spiritual progress, and asceticism, as integral to the construction of early Christian identity (objective 1). It will review, metacritically, the feminist theoretical apparatus that hagiography critics bring to bear on the vitae. The second part of the project looks at the embodiment of the saints and materialization of their cult places as reflected in sacred architecture of the Holy Land (objective 2). It concentrates on the connection between late antique hagiography and establishment of the saints’ holy places of Palestine as well as superposition of sacred spaces and holy sites. In late antiquity, these three women entered the liturgical calendar of the Byzantine Church and received places of worship in Jerusalem, visited by Western and Eastern pilgrims from the early Middle Ages onwards. It is this localized production of these ideological narratives and associated cultic sites that is to be specified historically.
Ensuring the Effectiveness of EU Law through Decentralized Enforcement: The role of enforcement networks and the challenge of institutional diversity
The project looks into the challenge of decentralised enforcement in core areas of the Internal Market, like competition law, consumer law and IP law. One way of ensuring coherence of decentralised enforcement has been through different types of enforcement networks. However, while the concept of ‘network’ presumes equivalence of interconnected units, in the regulatory areas at the centre of this project, there is considerable diversity in institutional design and governance approach among the EU Member States. Through a combination of theories and methodologies the project explores the impact of institutional diversity on the effectiveness of network governance and in turn, the implications of network governance for national institutional autonomy.
Phenomenological Perspectives on Existential Spatiality
Phenomenology has historically accorded a privilege to temporality. In contrast, by scrutinizing the constitutive role of existential spatiality for human existence, this project defends the equiprimordiality between temporality and spatiality. I will present an outline of a “transcendental geology” of lived space, grounded on some leading phenomenological discourses – phenomenology of affectivity and corporeity, existential psychiatry and Daseinsanalysis, as well as hermeneutic phenomenology. If Heidegger’s project in Being and Time (1927) reveals the normative and axiological character of lived space, the particular problems of bodily nature [Leiblichkeit] and embodiment are left undiscussed in his early hermeneutic phenomenology. On the other side, Richir’s and Maldiney’s phenomenological projects outline an expanded scope of existential spatiality, proceeding from the questions regarding the origin of lived space and the consequences of deviated spatialization in abnormal psychic states of human life. Thus, the aim of the following research is to perform a methodological synchronization of the above-mentioned discourses in the form of architectonics of the existential spatiality, revealing the dimensionality of lived space as pre-condition for the original openness of the human existence to the world and to the other.
Diversity and European Courts: Implications for Judicial legitimacy and the Rule of Law
Nina Peršak (2021 - 2022)
The project focuses on understanding diversity (and wider topics of inclusion, representation, participation and equality) in the context of judicial legitimacy and rule of law in Europe. It aims to inspect and document the ways in which diversity considerations have been acknowledged as relevant for, or even incorporated in, the functioning and legitimacy of European courts, and to examine relevant factors, benefits, downsides, justifications, limits and effects of diversity in relation to judicial legitimacy and the rule of law. It will build upon the literature on equality, procedural legitimacy and rule of law, as well as my existing research on judicial legitimacy and the rule-of-law challenges in the EU. The overall approach is interdisciplinary, drawing on a variety of sources (such as legal, philosophical, socio-legal and (social) psychological texts as well as existing judiciary-related actions and policy initiatives). In addition to the descriptive and normative engagement with the topic, we shall also reflect on the policy implications of research results – with a view on increasing judicial legitimacy in Europe.
Between Nostalgia and Negation: Understanding the Social Change in Socialist Bulgaria
Martin Ivanov (2021 - 2022)
Three decades after the fall of the Berlin Wall Bulgarians are still on the crossroad between nostalgia and negation, seemingly unable to construct an overall picture of their socialist past. Importantly, we still lack a thorough study on the characteristics of social change that was accomplished by the socialist regime. Understanding the dynamics, the magnitude, and the thoroughness of the social change, which transformed Bulgarian society in the half-century after the World War II would be the prime task of this research project. Due to various reasons it would restrain from the conventional approach and instead would go along the new current in the academic literature, which applies alternative measures of standard of living like (1) real wages, (2) infant mortality, (3) life expectancy at birth, (4) daily calories intake, and (5) anthropometric data (height and weight) of children and adolescents. Given the near-complete infancy of Bulgarian research on the subject it would be naïve to pretend that it could master a full understanding of the social change. Rather, this proposal is a first stage of a larger and continuous research which has to be confined to a less ambitious scouting exercise for mapping the data scene and initial analysis of the preliminary findings.
Civil Society as a Limit? Discourse on Civil Society in Poland after 1989
Anna Radiukiewicz (2021 - 2021)
The main aim of the project is the analysis of the development and changes of the idea of civil society during the transformation period. I want to rethink its evolution in a particular historical context and its repercussions. Specifically, I concentrate on the question about the effectiveness of the idea of civil society as the mobilizing frame, with particular emphasis on the discursively constructed boundaries between what is civic and non-civic. I am interested in how the discourse of civil society has “distributed” and relegated civic activity, how the discrepancies between the idea and reality were determined, where their causes were perceived. During the analysis I will concentrate on special features of this discourse – its binary mode (Czyżewski,2008) and pedagogical overtone (Starego, 2008) observed in Poland. In the research I will use the discursive analyse approach. Hence, the newspapers’ articles concerning civic (dis)activity, social organizations and movements will create my data corpus. It will be constructed in a way which allows observation of the discourse evolution, as well as an examination of the reminiscence of the civil society idea shape in contemporary applications. Additionally, in order to broaden the conclusions of the empirical findings, I will place them in the context of the observations and conclusions from other post-socialistic societies, asking the question about the universality of the idea of civil society and its undemocratic potential.