How do our views on war affect the way we write history? The study of Ancient Greek warfare – and the strong moral judgments that have always been part of it – remains heavily influenced by the pioneering works of Prussian and Imperial German scholars, whose outlook was profoundly nationalist and militarist. The views of these scholars on Greek strategies, tactics and rules of engagement are still perpetuated in modern scholarship. New ideas have only started to gain ground in the last decade. Recent historiographical studies suggest that experts in the field are unaware of its founders’ legacy; the early scholars of Greek warfare have never been studied in their own right. The proposed research is a detailed look at the major German handbooks that appeared between 1852 and 1931 to form the foundation of the academic study of Greek warfare. It will place these works in their intellectual context by examining the life and intellectual environment of their authors. It will analyse the way these scholars’ backgrounds affected their view of history. Finally, it will trace the afterlife of their views as they were transformed from a didactic tool in the instruction of Prussian officers to an ideological weapon in the hands of American neoconservatives. This project will use the development of scholarly interpretations of ancient military methods as a reflection on changing modern attitudes to war. How do our perspectives and those of our predecessors affect our research? The professional militarism of the German scholars shaped their perception of Greek warfare as restricted and primitive; later generations, who found war more abhorrent, adapted these conclusions into an idealised image of the past, giving ideological and political power to the Germans’ harsh and unjustified conclusions.
In this Proof-of-Concept project I will show the commercial potential of ruthenium-based photoactivated chemotherapy (PACT) compounds developed in my ERC Starting Grant by demonstrating their efficacy on hypoxic cancer models. Photoactivated chemotherapy is a new class of phototherapy to treat cancer. In principle, PACT looks similar to photodynamic therapy (PDT): light irradiation of the tumour in vivo leads to local activation of the anticancer prodrug, thereby limiting the toxicity of the treatment to the diseased tissue, and thus lowering side effects for the patient. However, the mechanisms of PACT and PDT are very different: in PDT the light-absorbing prodrug requires molecular oxygen to kill the cancer cells, whereas in PACT oxygen is not involved in prodrug activation. As a consequence, PACT agents should be able to treat hypoxic tumours, which are characterized by low oxygen concentrations and high resistance to PDT and other existing therapies. In this project the efficacy of a selection of Ru-based PACT compounds will be tested in hypoxic cancer models and compared to their efficacy in normoxic conditions. In parallel I will develop, in collaboration with my network of collaborators from the clinics, business analysts, and patent attorney, a plan for (pre) clinical development of PACT compounds.
The Puranas (Primordial Texts) constitute the most voluminous and enduring genre of Sanskrit literature. These anonymous texts narrate the mythic cycles associated with the major deities of Hinduism (Visnu, Siva, Brahma, the Goddess, etc.). The Puranas have also been integral to processes of ‘place-making’ by creating maps of geography and celebrating the salvific potential of sacred sites in myths that imbue the landscape with divine agency. While many important Puranas were first recorded and circulated in the first millennium CE—a time of significant social change marked by the flourishing of regional devotional movements and innovations of temple and image-centered religious practices— the genre has remained a living tradition through the colonial period until the present day. Despite the tradition’s centrality for cultural production in South Asia, we know very little about their historical embeddedness, as the Puranic composers and transmitters—in accordance with the anonymity characteristic of the genre—disguised their own historicity behind claims of ‘primordiality’ and divinely inspired teachings. More than just a body of literature, the Puranas are a dynamic mythical discourse. PURANA makes a critical intervention in the field by tracing the composition, transmission, translation, and agency of the Puranas as a transregional and transhistorical process involving multiple actors, audiences, and geographic contexts—from Hindu scribes and Persian poets to Portuguese Jesuits and Khmer rulers. Adopting a longue durée perspective, we argue that the Puranas’ mythical discourse underlies and unites the religio-political culture of the Sanskrit Cosmopolis—establishing what we call a ‘Puranic Ecumene’: a vast part of the inhabited premodern world united by a distinctive mythical discourse, a hegemonic vision of the integration of society and cosmos, and a remarkable way of anchoring the present in the continuing ancient past.
Human behavior is commonly understood as emerging from a struggle between will and habit, i.e., between “intentional” processes driven by the current goal and “automatic” processes driven by available stimuli. This scenario suggests that it is mainly the goal-related processes that render behavior adaptive. Based on a novel theoretical framework (the Metacontrol State Model, combined with the Theory of Event Coding) that is motivated by recent behavioral and neuroscientific observations, I suggest an alternative view and argue that people can control the relative contributions of goal-driven and stimulus-driven processes to decision-making and action selection. In particular, people regulate the interaction between these processes by determining the ratio between (goal) persistence and flexi-bility, depending on task, situation, and personal experience—a process that I refer to as “metacontrol”. The project aims to identify and trace individual “metacontrol policies” (biases towards persistence or flexibility) and task- and condition-specific changes therein by means of behavioral, computational, and neuroscientific techniques, and by using virtual-reality methods. I shall study, account for, and try predicting individual differences in the choice and implementation of such policies, identify and explain the cognitive and social consequences of adopting a particular policy, and investigate whether and how people can adopt meta¬control policies from others—either intentionally or automati-cally. I shall also study whether and to what degree people use situational cues to automatize the implementation of suitable policies, and whether often-used, highly practiced policies can become chron-ified and turn into a trait-like processing style, as suggested by cultural studies.