Big Brother isn't just watching us through the eyes of a camera anymore. As technology has advanced, so have surveillance methods. Some are so cleverly disguised that they induce people to voluntarily provide personal information. Not only are our physical selves monitored, our shopping habits, our criminal records, and even our health information are often surreptitiously recorded.
Some scholars learn a language in order to read ancient texts in their original languages. But just reading about alternative religious movements was not enough for CEU postdoc researcher Eszter Spat.
“I was getting a bit fed up studying religions known only from ancient manuscripts, because a lot of it was guesswork,” she said. Also intensely interested in anthropology, Spat decided to go to northern Iraq, learn Kurdish, and embed herself with a large religious minority called the Yezidis.
Syria, Lebanon, and Jordan are a vital part of the Mediterranean hotspot for biodiversity, which combined hosts 22,500 unique plant species – more than four times that of the rest of Europe. They also fall in the major flyway of millions of migratory birds. But much of the region’s plant and animal life is under threat, making the effective management of protected areas an urgent issue, according to Brandon Anthony, associate professor in the Department of Environmental Sciences and Policy, and PhD student Diane Matar.
European countries strive toward equality, protecting citizens against discrimination by race, gender, age, disability, religion and sexual orientation. But what about Roma women? Disabled migrants? Elderly Muslims? People who belong to more than one disadvantaged group have a different experience, requiring special attention, according to Andrea Krizsan, research fellow at CEU’s Center for Policy Studies.
CEU Professor of medieval studies Jozsef Laszlovszky and his students have been hanging out in the 12th century. They haven't gone back in time, just up the Danube to the site of a medieval monastic estate in Pomaz that housed a glass-production center. Part of the site was poorly excavated in the 1930s and skeptics weren't sure that it was once a bustling manufacturing hub but Laszlovszky, who is also an archeologist, and his team have been studying the very real evidence.
Smart phones may be new, but we use them to communicate in ways that reflect evolutionary patterns, according to research by Janos Kertesz, who recently joined the Center for Network Science as a professor and researcher.
“We use high-tech gadgets, thinking they’re so far from our instincts, but they’re not,” says Kertesz. “Our evolutionary heritage still influences our behavior.”
In most democratic societies, traditional media are meant to keep political powers in check but what happens when a newspaper or television channel adopts the rhetoric of a party or ideology? CEU political scientist Gabor Toka and his colleague Prof. Marina Popescu of the University of Essex analyzed data from Popescu’s online survey about standards of reporting in leading national media in Europe. To see how media bias impact citizens, they complemented their source on the former with data from the 2009 European Election Study.
The fall of the Soviet Union over 20 years ago ushered in new political and economic ideologies and institutions to its former states, places where “many scholars doubted that the seeds of capitalist democracy would ever take root,” said CEU Professor of International Relations and European Studies Bela Greskovits.
Through an international project funded by the European Research Council, CEU History Professor Victor Karady and his colleagues traced the educational patterns of the emerging middle classes in the Carpathian Basin along with two Baltic countries (Latvia and Estonia) from the mid-19th to the mid-20th centuries. Karady and his team identified over 1 million students and graduates in extensive historical-sociological surveys and the results will be published in a series of research reports in conjunction with Pasts Inc., CEU's Center for Historical Studies.
More economists than people might expect focus on measuring such things as equality and quality of life, which are traceable to factors including education and skill level, says Associate Professor Gabor Kezdi. Kezdi, who teaches in CEU’s economics department, and his colleague Gabor Kertesi from the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, are two such economists. In a joint project, they investigated the test-score gap between Roma and non-Roma eighth graders in Hungary and found that it is substantial both in both reading ability and mathematic reasoning.