Newsletter - December, 2019

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Warm greetings from your Political Science Department at CEU. Please let me update you about the recent developments at our unit.

Classes of this special term has finished as the commuting of our faculty to Vienna has come to an end and our students will be moving back to Budapest by January, which means that you can still find us in our hometown until the end of this academic year. I hope that the Department managed to overcome the cross-border obstacles caused by the bi-campus location since we made a number of courses accessible online and organized numerous event livestreams from Budapest to Vienna and vica versa.   

Many of the faculty members have published the results of their research in various platforms. In his latest co-authored paper “Set-theoretic Multimethod Research: The Role of Test Corridors and Conjunctions for Case Selection”, Carsten Schneider presents how to combine QCA with process tracing. Levente Littvay’s co-authored article “Populist Attitudes and Political Engagement: Ugly, Bad, and Sometimes Good?” scrutinizes if populism is to be a potential corrective to democracy until it engages dissatisfied and disenfranchised citizens. Anil Duman’s publication “Subjective social class and individual preferences for redistribution: Cross-country empirical analysis” examines the link between subjective social class and redistributive demands by jointly considering the individual and national factors. Gabor Toka has launched a new project, Vox Populi, analyzing election and polling data mainly in Hungary, furthermore, assessment of polls in Romania and Slovakia is also available.

Besides the remarkable research results of our prolific faculty, I would also like to introduce you an outstanding initiative produced by a group of former CEU students, including our alumna Lucie Janotova, who created the documentary Szabad Egyetem / Free University about how CEU students stood up for the university and academic freedom. The film has had several screenings in Budapest and also Brussels, and I hope that you, too, will have the chance to re-live the students’ ardent combat for academic freedom by watching this documentary. (We’ll try to update you about further screenings on our social media channels.)

Finally, on behalf of CEU and the entire Department, I thank you for your support and invite you join us in spreading the word about our BA, MA and PhD programs by sharing our social media posts on FacebookTwitterLinkedIn and Instagram, adding a short personal message; or directing interested applicants to our student ambassadors for first-hand experience; or forwarding them the call and brochure attached to this newsletter. The application deadline for our BA, MA or PhD programs is 30 January, 2020 and your contribution to maintaining and increasing our reputation and academic excellence is of great significance.

Thank you in advance for contributing to our effort!

With warmest regards,

Zoltan Miklosi
Associate Professor of Political Science
Head of Department

As a tradition, I would like you to ‘meet’ again one of your faculty members – this time Judit Sandor sends you her personal message.

Dear Alumni, Dear Friends,

 I am very proud that I have been teaching international graduate students at CEU for more than a quarter century. Because of my multidisciplinary field of research in bioethics and human rights that combines elements of law, political science, gender policy, and ethics, I have taught classes at different academic departments. But my home at the university was always the Department of Political Science. Since the Hungarian Parliament adopted the so-called Lex CEU in the Spring of 2017, teachers and students have struggled together to keep our beautiful campus and long-established name and reputation in Budapest. When at the end of 2018 we did not receive the Hungarian government’s long awaited signature to the agreement that would guarantee our continuing operation in Hungary, we were forced to work on developing a new, permanent home in Vienna. The opening ceremony of the Vienna campus took place in November 2019. In this process we all encountered very difficult decisions, personally and professionally, as well. But during these turbulent years I received lots of support and inspiration from my students and it helped me to go on and to work even under the most tiring circumstances. Teaching is always a dynamic and interactive process: its quality and success is based on preparation and grounded knowledge, but also on engagement and the motivating interaction with students.

In this past September an interesting multidisciplinary workshop was held with the title ‘Populism, Technology, and the Law’. The event brought together CEU faculty, international scholars, and representatives of NGOs and it was organized by the Center for Ethics and Law in Biomedicine in collaboration with the Comparative Populism project. Participants sought to explore the technological challenges to the rule of law, and to analyze the contribution of new digital technologies like artificial intelligence and machine learning to the increasing manifestation of populism around the world. The first session was devoted to assessing the stakes involved in the dangerous liaison between populism and new technologies. Paul Nemitz, Principal Advisor in the Directorate-General for Justice and Consumers of the European Commission centered his keynote speech around the idea of approaching the topic from the perspective of a power analysis. The workshop was also the starting event of my course on ‘Human Rights and Emerging Technologies’ that I teach for MA students. In October we received another good news. The ERC Synergy Grant application of a four-member research team was successful, and we won the maximum grant amount in the Synergy Grant Program. The LEVIATHAN (Taming the European Leviathan: The Legacy of Post-War Medicine and the Common Good) project is a collaboration of four distinguished scholars: Volker Hess (Charité Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Germany), Anelia Kassabova (Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, Bulgaria), Ulf Schmidt (University of Kent, United Kingdom), and myself from CEU. The team will collaborate with historians, bioethicists, lawyers, political scientists, sociologists, and anthropologists to explore the similarities in the values attached to health, biomedicine, and health care across Europe and the common roots of the ethical principles behind health legislation in the European countries, East and West.

It made me happy that I could offer some good news to CEU under this very difficult condition of living and working between two campuses. I have contributed to many important initiatives and institutions in my life, from drafting groundbreaking laws to acting as chief of the bioethics section at UNESCO, but I am especially proud of participating in the development of this unique university and serving its original mission. I have had the chance to visit many different academic and research institutions all over the world, but I have never seen such a truly international place as CEU. The students have come from over 100 different countries, the faculty is also international, and the curricula are also unique in offering a wide diversity of perspectives. It is very challenging sometimes as, for instance, in my legal studies courses I cannot narrow down our focus to the Hungarian, the European or the American legal cases. Teaching graduate students with this diverse and broad background is a constant challenge and it stimulates permanent learning.

Thank you for your ongoing support. 

Judit Sándor

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