BA/Leverhulme Senior Research Fellowship Awards 2003

Funded by

Dr G W Bernard
Reader in History, Department of History, University of Southampton
Vitality and Vulnerability in the Late Medieval Church

Long seen as riddled with abuses and thus an easy and inevitable target of critics, the late medieval English church has recently - and often movingly - been presented as still cherished by an overwhelming majority of laypeople. The difficulty with that approach, however, is that it makes the subsequent Reformation inexplicable. How could so popular a church be overturned, even allowing for the threats and pressures that rulers could impose? The fashionable emphasis on the vitality of the late medieval church, while in many ways convincing, can nonetheless distort. Dr Bernard instead aims to see the late medieval church from a fresh perspective, one that balances an emphasis on its vitality (shown here especially through a study of churchbuilding) with - crucially - an exploration of its vulnerability to criticism. An enriched understanding of the late medieval church, valuable in itself, also has profound implications for our understanding of the religious and political history of Tudor England, and the subsequent very distinctive and persisting character of the church of England.

Dr Paul Binski
Reader in the History of Medieval Art, Department of the History of Art, University of Cambridge, and Fellow of Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge
A Cultural History of English Gothic Art and Architecture (1170-1350)

The aim of this project is to establish a new account of the development of English art and architecture between the martyrdom of Thomas Becket at Canterbury in 1170, and the early 14th century, using a wide variety of sources and a multi-media approach. This account will try to integrate medieval visual culture into a framework of religious, social and political debate. No general book on this field has appeared since the 1950s; this study is not intended merely to fill a gap, but to indicate ways in which the field more generally might be developed. The study takes four main themes: edification (the development of ideas about architectural allegory and the purpose of architecture); sanctification (in effect the canonization not merely of special classes of people, notably churchmen, but also ideas and values specific certain communities); regulation (the control by the Church and public power of the production, content and consumption of art) and finally expression (the extent to which 'Gothic' art embodies new principles of affect and conduct). The hypothesis to be tested is that what we call Gothic art represents in part an attempt by the Church to harness new technologies of building and communication in the service of its reformist and pastoral objectives, and to harmonize religion and ethics in a total view of the Christian habitus. Inevitably, a price also had to be paid by this widespread accommodation to social and cultural realities, and how this was managed by the Church forms an important and continuous thread of argumentation.

Professor E J Lowe
Professor of Philosophy, Department of Philosophy, University of Durham
The Four-Category Ontology: A metaphysical foundation for natural science

The award will assist Professor Lowe to complete this book, in which he will expound, defend and apply a system of ontology which recognises four fundamental categories of entities: substantial particulars, non-substantial particulars, substantial universals, and non-substantial universals. Non-substantial universals include properties and relations, conceived as universals. Non-substantial particulars include property- and relation-instances, otherwise known as non-relational and relational tropes. Substantial particulars include propertied individuals, the paradigm examples of which are persisting, concrete objects. Substantial universals are otherwise known as substantial kinds and include as paradigm examples natural kinds of persisting objects. The explanatory power of this system will be demonstrated through its many applications in analytical metaphysics and the philosophy of science - for example, in the analysis of causation, in the theory of dispositions, and in the characterisation of natural necessity and natural law.

The four-category ontology has a lengthy pedigree, many commentators attributing it to Aristotle on the basis of certain passages in the Categories. At various times during the history of western philosophy, it has been revived or rediscovered, but it has never found universal favour, perhaps on account of its apparent lack of parsimony. In pursuit of ontological economy, metaphysicians have generally preferred to recognise fewer than four fundamental ontological categories. However, Occam’s razor stipulates only that we should not multiply entities beyond necessity, and it will be argued in the course of the book that the four-category ontology has an explanatory power which in unrivalled by more parsimonious systems and that this counts decisively in its favour.

Dr Helen J Nicholson
Senior Lecturer in History, School of History and Archaeology, Cardiff University
The Trial of the Templars in the British Isles

The aim of this project is to re-edit in full, translate and analyse the proceedings of the trial of the Templars in the British Isles, 1307 to 1312; and to identify, edit, translate and analyse other surviving documents relating to the trial in the British Isles. These documents together contain a wealth of information about national and international mobility of lay religious, religious beliefs among the lay population of the British Isles and the operation and economic state of the estates of an international religious order in the British Isles in the early fourteenth century. While this material is already known to historians, it is not easily accessible. Editions of texts are widely scattered, and many do not comply with modern scholarly conventions. Previous scholarly studies have concentrated on limited aspects of the material, and much work has been done by local historians who lacked knowledge of the wider European context necessary for full analysis. This project will make these extensive resources readily available to scholars and, by providing a translation, more accessible to the wider research community. In addition, by comparing these sources and analysing the data that they contain in the light of the international political and religious context of the trial, the project will advance historical knowledge of the trial and of its related fields.

Dr Joan-Pau Rubiés
Lecturer in International History, London School of Economics, University of London
Citizens of the World: Travel Writing and the Origins of the Enlightenment, 1550-1750

A concern with human diversity built on images of various customs, religions and political systems has long been recognised as an integral part of the culture of the Enlightenment and its cosmopolitan ideals, but why this became so is less clear. In particular, the origins of the concern in the travel writing and historiography of the late Renaissance have not been properly analysed. In part, this has been a consequence of the superficiality and lack of systematicity with which the primary narratives of cultural encounter of this period have often been read, and in part also a result of a certain lack of attention to the ways in which those sources made an impact in the intellectual culture of the seventeenth century. What I shall seek to do here is to bring a novel understanding of the Renaissance roots of European ethnology to bear on the question of the origin of some of the key concerns of the Enlightenment.

The book will first discuss how attitudes towards travel and travel writing gained a central role in the education horizons of the Renaissance; it will then consider the close interaction of humanistic culture and the observation of non-European societies in the generation of a new kind of ethnography; a third group of chapters will analyse the contribution of this ethnography to a number of historical-anthropological debates, touching on definitions of human nature, political and cultural diversity, the history of religion, and the history of civilisation.

Professor Nicholas D B Saul
Professor of German, Humanities Graduate Centre (Arts), University of Liverpool
Gypsies and Orientalism in German Literature from Realism to Modernism

Professor Vera Tolz
Professor of Contemporary History, School of English, Sociology, Politics and Contemporary History, Salford University
Oriental Studies and Russian National Identity

The first systematic study of Russian Orientalism, the project will examine the applicability to Russia of Edward Said’s conclusions on the role of Oriental studies in shaping European identity. The project will examine the views of key Russian Oriental scholars on the impact of the empire’s eastern borderlands on Russian national identity. It will focus on the period between the 1870s and the 1920s which saw the growth of Oriental studies in Russian academia, vigorous government initiatives to facilitate integration within the empire and passionate intellectual debates on Russian nation-building. Four areas of Russian scholarship will be analysed - on the Caucasus, Central Asian, eastern Siberia, and the Turkic peoples of the middle Volga region. The main output of the Fellowship will be a book, consisting of two parts. The first will focus on the participation of Oriental scholars in the contemporary intellectual debates over Russian identity and the second will assess their contribution to government policies towards the empire’s ethnic minorities.

Sign up to our email newsletters