‘Studying at HSE Was a Chance for Me to Get to Know Some Supportive Seniors, Knowledgeable Professors, and Wonderful Friends’
On August 4, 2023, a pre-defence of the thesis on ‘Refugee-Host Community Conflict over Assimilation, Integration, and State Legitimacy: The Case of Rohingyas in Bangladesh’ by Md. Reza Habib will be held at HSE University. The preliminary defence will take place at a joint meeting of the HSE School of Sociology and the International Laboratory for Social Integration Research. Md. Reza Habib shared his experience of studying and preparing his PhD with the HSE News Service.
Md. Reza Habib, from Bangladesh, is currently a PhD research student in sociology at the Doctoral School of Sociology at HSE University in Moscow. He earned his bachelor's, master's, and M.Phil. degrees in anthropology from the University of Dhaka in Bangladesh. He also completed a second master's programme in Population and Development in 2019 at HSE University.
Md. Reza Habib, PhD student in sociology at the Doctoral School of Sociology
My three years at this university were focused on research, which improved my knowledge, abilities, and skills. It was a wonderful chance for me to get to know some supportive seniors, knowledgeable professors, and wonderful friends.
For the duration of my academic year, I resided in Moscow. Sincerely, I adore Moscow, especially the excellent and reasonably priced metro. Living expenses weren't very high. The university has equipped the dorms with a variety of amenities for the students. Additionally, the city's many historical sites, parks, museums, and cultural events always attracted me, and I spent a lot of time there.
During my PhD programme, I studied a number of significant subjects that improved my theoretical knowledge and skills and perfectly assisted my research activities
These subjects included comparative and historical sociology, bibliographies, and pedagogy.
For my PhD, I was awarded a Russian government quota scholarship. I also found that the department of Sociology is research-oriented and my research interests perfectly correspond to its research portfolio. In this department, I also met a number of well-known professors and experienced researchers.
The topic of my current research is "Refugee-Host Community Conflict over Assimilation, Integration, and State Legitimacy: The Case of Rohingyas in Bangladesh". I will be defending my PhD thesis through publication. As required by the university, I have been able to publish several articles in various reputed journals.
I meet my scientific adviser, Dr Arnab Roy Chowdhury, both virtually and in person to discuss my work progress, as well as receive advice on my work and how to navigate research and publish articles in journals. I am planning to publish more research in reputable journals by engaging myself in the academic world.
Arnab Roy Chowdhury, Assistant Professor at the School of Sociology, Academic Supervisor
Md. Reza Habib has been a very special student for me for multiple reasons. He comes from a modest, mofussil [rural] family background in Bangladesh and has worked very hard to come up to this level. In the past four years, since 2019, he has drastically transformed himself in all possible ways to become a scholar. He improved his academic capabilities, engaged deeply with his PhD topic on Rohingya refugee and host-community conflict issues in Bangladesh, and completed his highly immersive fieldwork. The supervision over the last four years was organised both online and offline. We regularly meet at least once a month to discuss various scholarly issues and papers informally over coffee. These informal discussions on empirical and conceptual issues shaped his academic persona and transformed him slowly but steadily.
We decided to have a PhD with publications (rather than a thesis), which was indeed a challenging “project” to undertake, as he was required to publish at least three papers in Scopus-featured journals
Initially, we had to work very hard, and it took more than a year for the first paper to get accepted and published. Eventually, Reza was able to publish six papers, one of which is in a Scopus Q1 journal and the rest mostly in Scopus Q3 and Q2 journals. Only two of them are co-authored and the rest single-authored, which surpassed my expectations.
Despite difficulties and restrictions due to COVID-19, he attended an international conference in Vietnam in 2021 and formed collaborations with renowned scholars such as Professor John Hutnyk, who is very well-known for his path-breaking work in cultural studies and has published widely. Despite restricted mobility during the pandemic, under my tutelage over the last four years, Reza has also formed collaborations with scholars from James Cook University (Singapore branch) and the University of Sharjah, UAE. I strongly believe that international collaborations are crucial for knowledge production and academic mobility, which would eventually shape his ideas and scholarship in the long run. He did all of these along with his part-time job, which was indeed a difficult task and required the ability to multitask.
After he successfully defends his PhD in the next 4–5 months, he will be the first PhD produced under my supervision. That would not only make me extremely proud of his achievement, but also more confident about my capabilities. I wish him every success in life.
Sociology today distinguishes more developmental stages of growing up than just childhood, adolescence, and early adulthood, as commemorated in Leo Tolstoy’s trilogy Childhood, Boyhood, Youth. For the past two decades, sociologists have been exploring the concept of emerging adulthood, a transitional stage that occurs between adolescence and early adulthood. Researchers at the HSE Institute of Education have discovered that in Russia, one out of every two young respondents, with females more frequently than males, falls within the emerging adult category. The study findings have been published in Emerging Adulthood.
Seungmin Jin, from South Korea, is researching the field of Explainable AI and planning to defend his PhD on ‘A Visual Analytics System for Explaining and Improving Attention-Based Traffic Forecasting Models’ at HSE University this year. In September, he passed the pre-defence procedure at the HSE Faculty of Computer Science School of Data Analysis and Artificial Intelligence. In his interview for the HSE News Service, he talks about his academic path and plans for the future.
News avoidance is a global phenomenon that affects millions of people around the world. Despite their conscious refusal to consume media content, many argue that the most important news still finds them. Researchers at the HSE Laboratory for Studies in Economic Sociology have studied how people perceive the ‘news-finds-me’ effect. The results of the study were published in the Bulletin of Moscow University.
Researchers from HSE University have analysed why people feel happier when they help others. It turns out that joy is caused by different reasons, depending on who we help — relatives or strangers. In both cases, happiness brings moral satisfaction from doing a good deed, but helping loved ones is also associated with satisfying the need for belonging and acceptance, while helping strangers provides a sense of autonomy. The results of the research were published in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships.
Although there is a larger percentage of drinkers among high-status professionals and executives compared to low-status workers, the former consume less alcohol. This is one of the findings of a study carried out by researchers of the HSE Faculty of Economic Sciences and published in Voprosy Statistiki.
Wenrui Zhang, from China, is a recent graduate of theMaster’s in Economics and Economic Policy at the HSE UniversityFaculty of Economic Sciences. Having successfully defended his master’s thesis on the impact of COVID-19 on the incomes of vulnerable groups, Wenrui has set his sights on publishing his research and enrolling in adoctoral programme at the university. The HSE News Service interviewed Wenrui about his achievements so far and his goals for the future, and also spoke to Prof.Elena Kotyrlo, his academic supervisor.
Why do international students at HSE University decide to pursue a career in academia? What fields in economics are relevant to PhD students? Richard Asiamah from Ghana and Alesya Bukreeva from Uzbekistan are current master’s students at the Faculty of Economic Sciences, but have already received scholarships from the faculty to continue their studies as doctoral students at the university. Below, they share their experiences, while Denis Melnik, Academic Director of the Doctoral School of Economics, suggests some tips for the application process.
Economists and sociologists who study alcohol consumption patterns often link them to people's living conditions and human capital such as education, work experience, and knowledge. Researchers of the HSE Laboratory for Labour Market Studies and the HSE Laboratory for Studies in Economic Sociology have found that non-cognitive skills developed in childhood and adolescence can have a major effect on the likelihood of alcohol abuse later in life and can diminish the role of education in this respect. The paper has been published in the Journal of Comparative Economics.
Using a multidimensional approach, sociologists from HSE University have identified some vulnerable categories of the population that have rarely been the focus of research on poverty. According to their calculations, pensioners and people with disabilities also fall into the ‘poor’ category. The study was published in the Russian Journal of Economics.
An international team including HSE researchers has conducted the largest ever cross-cultural study of appearance-enhancing behaviours. They have found that people worldwide spend an average of four hours a day on enhancing their beauty. Caring for one's appearance does not depend on gender, and older people worry as much about looking their best as the young do. The strongest predictor of attractiveness-enhancing behaviours appears to be social media usage. The study findings have been published in Evolution and Human Behaviour.