Five NWO Open Competition grants for UU Humanities scholars

Illustratie van een boom ©

Five research projects involving UU Humanities scholars have been awarded a grant by the Dutch Research Council (NWO) in the Open Competition SGW programme. With this competition, the NWO Division for Social Sciences and Humanities wants to offer researchers the opportunity to carry out research on a subject of their own choice, without any thematic preconditions.

‘Provinzentjudung’, local persecution of Jews in the Netherlands

Dr. Geraldien von Frijtag Drabbe Künzel
Dr. Geraldien von Frijtag

Over a third of the approximately 104,000 Jews deported from the Netherlands came from towns and villages outside the Randstad conurbation. Although more and more local studies are being published, there is little systematic insight into the impact of local (f)actors on the persecution of the Jews.

This study is in line with the international trend to view the persecution of the Jews not only as a centrally led, but also as a locally embedded process. At the same time, this study of the ‘Provinzentjudung’ in the Netherlands transcends the local perspective through its comparative approach and attention to inter-communal relationships and their influence on the persecution and relief of Jews.

A solution for dealing with linguistic diversity

Prof. dr. Rick de Graaff
Prof. Rick de Graaff

Since the employee participation bodies of Dutch institutions usually use Dutch as the language of administration, the language barrier can be a barrier to participation for internationals.

Receptive multilingualism can be a solution for dealing with linguistic diversity. Thanks to receptive multilingualism internationals do not need to master Dutch in terms of productivity (speaking and writing), but they can develop their receptive skills (reading and listening) and use their productive skills in English.

This research aims to investigate to what extent a receptive approach can be used to learn a language and communicate effectively in a multilingual manner. This will contribute to a more inclusive international environment.

Is virtual reality really the ultimate empathy machine?

Prof. dr. Sandra Ponzanesi. Foto: Ed van Rijswijk
Prof. Sandra Ponzanesi

Virtual reality (VR) is considered the ultimate ‘empathy machine’, allowing one to transcend the boundaries of one’s own body and take in the perspective of another. For this reason, VR is increasingly being used in humanitarian campaigns to bridge the distance between ‘observer’ and ‘sufferer’, with the aim of acquiring donations and strengthening social commitment.

This project analyses the power and desirability of VR for humanitarian aid by combining media analysis, empirical research and a postcolonial approach, with the aim of developing alternative collaborative and participatory approaches.

Sustainability considerations and the modernisation of the Netherlands

Prof. Johan Schot

Within the EU, the Netherlands shifts most of its sustainability goals to the least developed countries. The enormous import of raw materials and goods has major economic, social and ecological consequences in these areas.

This trade-off has historical origins. Since the 19th century, scientific knowledge, colonial developments and industrial modernisation have contributed to the development of transnational production chains. These linked the Netherlands to the rest of the world.

This historical research analyses these trade-offs and broad welfare consequences in the field of vegetable oils and metals. With this, it provides action perspectives for contemporary initiatives in the field of protein and energy transitions.

The crucial role of young people in the transition to a more sustainable diet

Eggo Müller
Prof. Eggo Müller

Young people play a crucial role in the change towards a more sustainable diet. The FLY project (Food-related Lifestyles in Youth) studies how young people - especially from lower socio-economic groups - think about more sustainable food, what drives and hinders them in eating more sustainably, and what they need in the transition to a more sustainable diet.

At secondary schools, researchers will talk to young people and follow (changes in) their eating patterns and factors that influence them. Together, the researchers develop and test interventions that can support the transition to a more sustainable diet, with an emphasis on the role of group processes.