Space and Human Rights
Senior researchers: Prof. David Newman, Prof. Neve Gordon, Dr. Haim Yacobi
The Space and Human Rights research cluster explores both aspects of the relation between space and human rights: how the planning and organization of space promote or violate human rights, and how human rights establish and shape the space.
At the core of the group’s work is the claim that a reciprocal relation holds between the creation of space, on the one hand, and the violation or promotion of human rights as well as the undermining or empowering of communities on the other. By its nature, the research cluster is interdisciplinary, drawing together researchers and graduate students from such fields as political philosophy, international relations, geography, urban planning, sociology, anthropology and architecture. The studies conducted as part of the work of this research cluster are grounded both in theoretical bodies of knowledge such as post-colonial and post-structuralist theories, legal geography, constructivism, and institutional sociology, and in empirical studies carried out in cities, neighborhoods and non-urban settlements in Israel and abroad.
The Study of Memory, Identity and Commemoration
Senior researchers: Prof. Renée Poznanski, Dr. Becky Kook, Dr. Gal Ariely
This research cluster focuses on the study of collective identities and their commemoration in space, politics, and culture.
Identity and memory have become key concepts in both local and global politics in recent decades. The phenomenon of collective identity lies at the heart of important political controversies regarding such issues as minority rights, the place of religion in the public sphere, and the profound dilemmas that arise in the state’s interactions with different groups of immigrants. One of the fascinating avenues of identity research concerns the ways in which identity is reflected in collective memory. The study of memory and of the commemoration of the past in shared memory allows for an alternative reading of the political self-perception of societies and states, and highlights the centrality of the boundaries that define our political communities and affiliations. This field of study invites an integration of research from within a wide range of disciplines, including psychology, geography, politics, and law.
Africa Studies
Senior researcher: Dr. Lynn Schler
The Africa Studies research cluster is based on an interdisciplinary approach to the study of past and present African societies and cultures. Its goal is to provide students with innovative knowledge and tools for understanding historical, political-social, and economic processes related to Africa, as well as the skills required to carry out high-level research in these areas.
This research cluster regards the study of Africa as research that contributes significantly to the shaping of most of the academic disciplines in the humanities: this research not only adds to our empirical knowledge of the world but also redefines notions of universality in nearly all the academic disciplines and enhances our awareness of the ways in which knowledge in all of its forms is produced and organized.
The Africa Center at BGU provides support for fieldwork and research in Africa by students who participate in the Africa Studies research cluster.
The Study of European Politics and Society
Senior researcher: Dr. Sharon Pardo, Jean Monnet Chair in European Studies
The influence of Europe and the EU on global affairs is rising steadily. The processes of democratization, expansion and integration, the economic processes and the ongoing development of a common foreign and security policy – all these afford Europe and the EU a status in global diplomacy and affairs that matches their political and commercial power. The European Union now counts some 500 million citizens from 27 member countries, making it the world’s third-largest population bloc and its largest commerce entity. The research cluster for the Study of European Politics and Society explores the political, social, economic, cultural, legal, and other aspects of the European integration project, including an in-depth study of the European regime and its relations with Israel and other non-EU countries and placing particular emphasis on the transformation of this political bloc from a community into a union.
Contemporary Political Theory
Senior researchers: Prof. Dani Filc, Prof. Neve Gordon, Dr. Michal Givoni
Based on the insights of post-Marxist political theory, continental philosophy, and post-structuralism, this research cluster seeks to submit to a critical examination a series of basic concepts related to politics and the political in the present era. Its aim is to encourage original studies that combine political thought and political praxis: studies that analyze political institutions, actions, norms and innovations using the toolkit of contemporary political theory in its many varied forms, but which also seek through these analyses to contribute to a more nuanced theoretical understanding of political phenomena. The studies conducted as part of this research cluster place particular emphasis on the historical conditions of possibility and the changing configurations of governmental power as well as of political action.
Citizenship and Democracy
Senior researchers: Dr. Gal Ariely, Dr. Jennifer Oser
The research cluster on citizenship and democracy investigates different aspects of citizenship, and different dimensions of democracy that are expressed by citizens in a variety of countries, including in Israel. The research that is conducted in this cluster focuses on the individual, including the different ways that citizens understand citizenship and democracy, as well as the actions they take to advance citizenship and democracy. These studies examine different aspects of political and civic behavior, including democratic norms and values, political implications of national identity, and attitudes toward different societal groups. Most of these studies incorporate a variety of data and information, including the analysis of cross-national public opinion studies and advanced data analysis techniques.
For recent studies see publications for Dr. Gal Ariely and for Dr. Jennifer Oser
International Relashionship and the Middle East
Senior researchers: Prof. Neve Gordon, Dr. Mansour Nasasra

The research cluster "International Relationship and the Middle East” examines different political phenomena in the Arab world. We deal with issues such as colonial history in the Middle East, empires, minorities and conflicts surrounding border areas. In addition, the cluster examines the "Arab Spring" and issues regarding democratization, political Islam and recent developments in the Persian Gulf. Another set of researches that takes place is an inter-disciplinary research of the Negev Arabs and Beduin tribes in the Middle East, and of Israeli-Arab and Israeli-Palestinian conflict.