Projects

It’s the Education, Stupid! Martin Luther’s unfinished business

At the beginning of the 21th century mankind is confronted with a number of global challenges. Energy crisis, climate change, ecosystem degradation, pockets of extreme poverty and food insecurity collide with a world population that still grows at record numbers. If one would try to find a single instrument to address these challenges one would … [Read more]

The malaise of the human condition: Social diagnostics, human evolution and theological discourse on the contingency of “sin”

Social diagnostics gained some currency in the South African context through the Diagnostic Report (2011) produced by the National Planning Commission. It requires multi-disciplinary colla­boration to diagnose the root causes of the triple problem of poverty, unemployment and inequality. The malaise of the human condition is of course an age-old inquiry – addressed in literature, … [Read more]

The Impact of the Global Recession on Party Policy Preferences

The project continues and wants to bring to an end a project that has been started at STIAS in March 2013. The research question states: Have party policy preferences changed under the impact of the global recession that started in 2007/08? Two hypotheses are tested are prominent in the literature on globalization. They are modified … [Read more]

Education, Skills and Inequality in the Labour Market

The race between education and technology is a key factor in determining earnings inequality. The aim of this project, which consists of several parts, is to contribute to our understanding on how the formation of skills generates inequality in the labour market. In a first project, previously unused micro data from the 1930 Swedish Census … [Read more]

Deconstructing Shadows: Human behaviour through the prism of evolution

This project involves an in-depth analysis of human behaviour from an evolutionary perspective, as a basis for integrating our modern understanding of behavioural psychology with its neurobiological basis. From my studies to date, I believe that this perspective may provide a sounder and more intuitive basis for better understanding the complex subject of human thought … [Read more]

High-Resolution Laboratory X-Ray Bio-Imaging

This project concerns methods to obtain higher spatial resolution and improved contrast when imaging thick biological samples – a classical and generic bio-imaging problem. The methods are enabled by our recent progress in x-ray science, especially unique high-brightness laboratory x-ray sources, x-ray optics, and computational algorithms. Phase-contrast x-ray angiography with <10 micrometer resolution and the … [Read more]

Hypervalent Iodine Compounds as Green Reagents in Organic Synthesis

The need for environmentally benign methodology to perform reactions in organic chemistry is continuously increasing, in order to minimize health and climate effects caused by the chemical industry. The use of heavy metal-mediated reactions is troublesome, but alternative methodology is often lacking. This STIAS project will focus on the investigation of hypervalent iodine-mediated reactions in … [Read more]

Constitution Building in Africa: Separation of Powers and Constitutionalism in Africa – Comparative Perspectives

The focus of the study for this year, under the broad theme of constitution-building in Africa will be the issue of separation of powers. The excessive concentration of powers is arguably one of the greatest impediments to the promotion of constitutionalism, good governance, democracy and the rule of law in Africa. This is manifested in … [Read more]

Animal, Mineral or Vegetable?

During my time at STIAS I will collaborate with Stellenbosch faculty in both the humanities and the sciences to examine ancient Egyptian mummies, particularly those belonging to animals. In addition to this, I will work on Egyptian rock art, identifying the different motifs (animal, mineral or vegetable) that appear therein, and to contextualise them within … [Read more]

Social-ecological systems and biosphere stewardship

Humanity interacts with the dynamics of the biosphere in new ways. We have expanded from a small world on a large planet to a large human world on a small planet. Environmental issues have become issues about prosperous development of human societies, recognizing that humans are part of and fundamentally dependent on the capacity of … [Read more]