Selected projects 2022

In the latest Constructive Advanced Thinking (CAT) call 12 applications were submitted, out of which the following four innovative, young ideas have been selected:

1. Controversial tools: researching modelling practices in water governance

Rossella Alba (Humboldt University of Berlin, Germany), Rozemarijn ter Horst (Wageningen University, Netherlands), Jonatan Godinez Madrigal (IHE Delft, Netherlands), and Bich Tran (IHE Delft, Netherlands)

Hosting IAS: Mak'it, SCAS, Paris, NIAS

The development and use of quantitative models in water research and practice is both dominant and growing, importantly driven by recent technological developments. Although often presented as objective and neutral, models are controversial tools. They provide insights to predict future conditions of water systems, and opportunities to foster an integrated approach to tackle water-related challenges while addressing complexities related to managing fugitive resources such as water. Yet, models and modelling are specific ways of knowing water based on measurements and quantification. Foremost, models are profoundly shaped by the numerous, sometimes arbitrary, choices of the actors involved in the modelling process and by the context in which they are developed.

With this project we seek to jointly research modelling as it is used to manage and govern water. The project strengthens the collaboration between an interdisciplinary and international group of early career researchers studying water modelling in various contexts and from different perspectives, methodologies and approaches. We are developing a reflexive approach to modelling that is helpful to make the ethical implications involved in modelling practices explicit, and invites modellers, funders, and users to act upon these. With this project we seek to explore the challenges and opportunities to implement this novel approach through regular workshops, peer to peer learning and engagement with experts. Our efforts will culminate in a special issue published in a peer-reviewed journal, a series of blogs, and a final public event.

2. Unraveling the interactions between culture and language: Does grammatical gender foster gender inequality and vice versa?

Marc Allassonnière-Tang (CNRS, National Museum of Natural History, France), Neige Rochant (Sorbonne Nouvelle University, France), Olena Shcherbakova (Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, Germany), Pei-Ci Li (University of Lorraine, France), Chundra Cathcart (University of Zurich, Switzerland)

Hosting IAS: Paris, IIAS, MIAS, HIAS, Zukunftskolleg, NIAS

The human cognitive system interacts with the cultural environment. Within this interaction, the interplay between grammatical gender and sociocultural gender represents a societal challenge. The presence of grammatical gender (such as masculine and feminine) in language has an effect on how men and women are perceived by humans. Most studies compared languages with sex-based gender (such as masculine/feminine in Spanish) with languages that do not have a grammatical gender system (e.g., in English and Mandarin). However, other nominal classification systems such as noun classes (e.g., in Swahili) or classifiers (e.g., in Japanese) also categorize nouns of the lexicon into categories based on features such as animacy or shape. Furthermore, most languages considered in existing studies are Indo-European. Nevertheless, sex-based grammatical gender system are not restricted to this language family. For example, grammatical gender systems are also found in languages such as Mian (Ok family, Papua-New-Guinea).

We expand the data pool for testing the effect of nominal classification systems on gender parity. Information on grammatical gender is extracted from the data already gathered during the respective research of the project members. The data of sociocultural gender will be extracted from D-PLACE. The preliminary database will then be developed during consultation at the targeted institutions. In terms of method, two main types of analyses are considered: At the synchronic level, we use generalized linear mixed effect models that control for phylogenetic and geographic non-independence of societies and conditional inference trees to capture the multilevel interaction between the variables. At the diachronic level, Bayesian phylogenetic methods and confirmatory path analysis are used to establish the robustness of correlated evolution and the underlying causal relationships between the variables. Additional methods for testing the interaction between grammatical gender and sociocultural gender will be developed by consulting experts at the visited institutions.

3. Metamorphoses of Law(s)? A critical exploration of planetary boundaries and their meaning for the law relating to the environment

Marion Lemoine-Schonne (CNRS, France), Anne Dienelt (University of Hamburg, Germany), Vincent Gengnagel (Europa-Universität Flensburg, Germany), Camila Perruso (Paul-Valéry Montpellier 3 University, France), Henrik Thorén (Lund University, Sweden)

Hosting IAS: Paris, IIAS, Mak'it, TURIN, NIAS, CEU

Climate change is spiraling out of control, it is cascading ecological collapse and poses a serious threat to today’s societies. The consequences of climate change necessitate a transition to sustainability. One influential way of thinking about what sustainability means in more practical terms is the planetary boundaries framework. In the age of the Anthropocene, Earth system scientists identified a number of “planetary boundaries” in 2009. The concept refers to nine inter-acting biophysical thresholds, considered true boundaries that must not be crossed to avoid abrupt, non-linear, potentially catastrophic, and largely unpredictable changes in the environment and on the planet. However, seven planetary boundaries have already been transgressed. The scientists proposed a shift away from the essentially sectoral analyses of limits to growth aimed at minimizing negative externalities, toward the estimation of a “safe operating space” for human development. But how can this concept of planetary boundaries be operationalised in social sciences and law?

To explore the potential of the concept in social sciences and law, the team aims to highlight three key areas: Biodiversity & Climate Interactions, Health & the Environment, and Technologies & Science. For each issue, three critical reading grids of the law(s) relating to the environment, meaning different fields of international and national law that protect the environment, human rights law, economic law, etc., are applied, articulating the items: identification of actors, participation process and emergence of solutions. The proposed interdisciplinary project (law and social sciences) is motivated by a sense of urgency to react across all disciplines.

4. A Transformation Framework for Artist Residencies, based on Internal Critiques, Alternative Histories, and Emerging Practices

Kathryn S. Roberts (University of Groningen), Bojana Panevska (TransArtists), Pau Catà (Universitat Oberta de Catalunya), Patricia Healy McMeans (Minneapolis College of Art and Design)

Hosting IAS: MIAS (twice), Mak'it, HIAS

Artist Residencies are an increasingly essential infrastructure for creative production across the globe, supporting time and space for experimental or exploratory work, facilitating development of international networks and intercultural exchange, and, given the financial precarity most artists experience, serving as temporary sources of income, or at least accommodation. While the field has been researched intensively by practitioners in arts and policy circles, especially in Europe (where funding for culture is most robust), it has garnered little attention from disciplines such as history, sociology, or cultural studies. Our project begins to fill this gap by bringing together experts in the history and political economy of cultural institutions with stakeholders and early-career scholars undertaking practice-based PhD research on artist residencies. Methodologically, the project enacts a dialogue between more traditional forms of scholarly inquiry – emphasizing systemic and comparative analysis – and the experimental methods that have developed among scholar- practitioners.

The project asks how artist residencies can respond to today’s challenges around labor, ecology, and social and global justice, while maintaining their central mission of supporting art and artists. The project has three parts. Through a meta-analysis of the robust internal critiques of residencies produced by individuals and groups in the past decade, followed by interviews with relevant authors and practitioners, we assess how residencies conceive of contemporary challenges, and how they have responded. In phase two, we explore the historical development of artist residencies, using data from our partner organization TransArtists. Acknowledging problems of definition (What is an artist residency?), this phase also explores counterhistories of travel and retreat that might help shape the residencies of the future. Phase three concretizes this future through an analysis of alternative and emergent residency practices, based on auto-ethnographies and artistic research.