Invertebrate motor control and inhibitory motoneurons

The miniaturisation of animal body cells is limited, and as a consequence, muscle and nerve cells are of similar diameters in large and small animals, to within an order of magnitude. Small animals thus have to control their behaviour with much fewer muscle fibres and nerve cells. Insect muscles may consist of a few tens … [Read more]

Novel approaches to stabilize atherosclerotic plaques

Cardiovascular disease has for many years been the leading cause of death in western societies and the incidence is now also rapidly increasing in many developing countries. The major clinical manifestations of cardiovascular disease are acute myocardial infarction and stroke. These acute events are caused by atherosclerosis, a chronic degenerative disease of large and medium-sized … [Read more]

The sense of beauty in the Nederlansliedjies of Cape Town’s sangkore

Nederlandsliedjies are one of the two most important repertoires of creole songs which feature in the competitions of the Sangkore (also called: Nagtroepe, Hollandse Teams or Malay Choirs); they are also the repertoire that raises the strongest emotions among listeners and singers belonging to the group that was labelled “coloured” during apartheid. Consequently competitions are … [Read more]

Understanding Non-Contractual Obligations: Unjust Enrichment and the Law of Torts in Comparative and Historical Perspective

Whereas the European and South African law of contracts is today seen as a normatively integrated part of the law of obligations that can be explained coherently on the basis of an overarching theory or a set of intellectually related principles, the rest of the law of obligations is apparently still understood as resulting from … [Read more]

Gender and Work in Early Modern Sweden: The case of lower civil servant households

It is often believed that “in the past”, women were confined to the home and supported by their husbands (the “male breadwinner model”). While this may be true for nineteenth-century bourgeois society, it is a picture that misrepresents societies further back in time. In the early modern world, all people engaged in work, paid or … [Read more]

Questions of Literature

This project will involve the further exploration of a number of issues treated briefly in the 2004 study ‘The Singularity of Literature’, a short book that examined the distinctive character of literary uses of language, emphasizing the interrelated trinity of inventiveness, singularity and alterity. The aim is to write a sequel to that book, discussing … [Read more]

Global Urbanization, Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services – Challenges and Opportunities

This project has the aim to complete and finalize a large global initiative in collaboration with the Secretariat of the Convention of Biological Diversity (SCBD). The project has a UN-mandate and will result in an output of two products:  the Cities and Biodiversity Outlook – Action and Policy and CBOI – Scientific assessments and analyses … [Read more]

The impact of a global economic crisis on political parties in competitive democracies

The research project deals with the impact of a severe global economic crisis on political parties in representative democracies. At its core it investigates the consequences of the economic crisis on (1) the parties’ policy supply as presented in their party election programmes and (2) the parties’ election results. Two hypotheses are tested. First, it … [Read more]

Money from nothing: popular economies and indebtedness in South Africa

This project explores the over-indebtedness of South African consumers, set against the longer history of exploitation of South African black people by the forces of capitalism, and interrogates how these currently manifest themselves in an allegedly ‘neoliberal’ social order.  With upward mobility much aspired-to but seldom attained, householders must spend money they have not yet … [Read more]

Food security in sub-Saharan Africa from the production, human and environmental safety standpoints

Africa, once considered the breadbasket of the world, is now highly dependent on food imports. Steady increases in African populations, high food and input prices and a shortage of food surpluses worldwide will require significant increases in production on the continent in the coming two decades. Many solutions to solve this problem are based on … [Read more]