BA/Leverhulme Senior Research Fellowship Awards 2005

Funded by

Bertram, Christopher
Reader in Social and Political Philosophy Bristol (H12; S5)

Global Justice, Sufficiency and Democratic Citizenship

Recent discussion of global distributive justice has often centred around debates between 'cosmopolitans' and 'nationalists' on the feasibility of desirability of extending principles such as John Rawls's well-known difference principle beyond the boundaries of the nation state. Christopher Bertram's proposed research aims to change the terms of this argument by exploring and clarifying a 'sufficiency' approach to the problem of global justice, drawing on approaches such as Amartya Sen's focus on 'capability'. He anticipates that the capability to function as a citizen of a democratic polity will play the crucial role in defining a sufficiency threshold.

Blakemore, Professor Diane
Professor of Linguistics, Salford (H4)

Parentheticals: Form and Interpretation

This project explores the relation between syntactic form and pragmatic interpretation through the analysis of parentheticals. It aims to establish whether there is a theoretically and empirically justified distinction between 'grammatical' parenthetical phenomena (e.g. appositive relative clauses, nominal appositions, peripheral adverbial clauses) and discourse parenthesis, and in particular whether Haegeman's Radical Orphanage analysis can be maintained for all parenthetical phenomena. It also aims to identify the ways in which parentheticals contribute to interpretation by modifying their hosts, and asks whether this contribution should be articulated within the grammar in all cases, and how the stylistic effects achieved through the disruption of syntactic structure are achieved. This project focuses on parentheticals in English, although data from other languages will be used where appropriate. Arguments will be based on the analysis of actual examples (e.g. from the International Corpus of (British) Spoken English) together with the analysis of constructed examples. This research provides the basis for a further project on the relationship between the interpretation of parentheticals and their prosodic properties.

Cowan, Professor Jane K.
Professor of Social Anthropology Sussex (S3)

Making Minorities as International Process: Claims and Petitions for Macedonia

The project addresses a critical moment in the history of rights and of the organisation of difference within states, when the 'international' as a sphere was expanding, becoming institutionalised and displacing states and empires as a new locus for regulatory and socially transformative projects. It traces the gradual and contentious realisation/'making real' of certain concepts - race, kin, nationality, majority, minority - treating them (following Brubaker) as 'categories of practice', within the post-WWI world order, in the region of the Southern Balkans.  Whereas such processes have been analysed primarily in the context of nation-building within individual nation-states, Professor Cowan examines them from the vantage point of the new international organisation, the League of Nations, in the 1920's, at a moment when new relations between states, state subjects and 'the international' were being forged.

Her case study is the work of, and activities based in, the Minorities Section of the League Secretariat. It focuses on the 'supervision' of treaties of minority protection with respect to Macedonia, territorially divided between three states and the site of unresolved political and national claims, continued violence, population movement and refugee displacement. The project conceives Minorities Section activities, and particularly the innovative minority petition procedure, as involving an unprecedented global encounter between four categories of actors: international bureaucrats, state diplomats, minorities or those speaking on their behalf and an array of concerned world citizens. Examining that encounter will contribute to: a)  a richer understanding of the historical emergence of the 'international' as a new form of governmentality; b) a revised history of international claims-making around rights and recognition and its imbrication with issues and discourses of state sovereignty and international responsibility; c) insights on the consolidation of race, nation, majority and minority as categories of international practice; and d) debates on anthropology and history. The project also explores continuities and disjunctures with international intervention and supervision related to minorities and human rights, as well as issues of sovereignty, in the post-1989 Balkans.

Dawson, Professor Norma
Professor of Law Queen's Belfast (S1)

Heirlooms: Law, Dynasty and Personal Property

Heirlooms are legally privileged objects that defy fundamental principles of personal property law.  As a term of art in English law, 'heirloom' originally meant a landowner's best bed, table, and agricultural implement, which would automatically descend on death to his heir, while his other movable property would pass to his next of kin.  From the late seventeenth century onwards, however, the Court of Chancery responded to the forces of economic and social change - widespread dynastic settlement of land, the increasing number of valuable movables in circulation and the growing interest in collecting items of aesthetic interest - by nurturing the efforts of conveyancers to create an entirely new doctrine of heirlooms.  Valuable non-functional items of movable property, often of considerable cultural significance - paintings, jewellery, statuary, plate, books - could now be annexed to land and pass with it from one generation to the next, provided that a judicially approved formula was used in settlements and resettlements.  The transformation of the legal concept of 'heirlooms' from objects in daily domestic or agricultural use to aesthetic objects to be appreciated and preserved in a historic context, beyond the power of sale out of the family, was a revolutionary legal development and arguably one of the earliest stages in the evolution of what is now known as cultural property law.  By making movables behave like land in circumstances not dictated by basic economic need as in the early medieval period, the courts acknowledged the social and cultural significance of the objects in question, gave effect to one of the norms of modern cultural property law - the preservation of objects and contexts - and in the process became important actors in the development of cultural life.   A counter-revolution in the law of heirlooms was precipitated by the Settled Land Act 1882, section 37 of which permitted tenants for life of landed estates to apply to the court for an order authorising the sale of heirlooms out of the family, 'a new and startling idea' in the words of one judge.  Heirlooms sales could reduce the burden of debt on estates preventing the sale of the land itself, but the courts decided at an early stage that its power to approve a sale under section 37 was not a matter of form:  a case for sale had to be established with due regard to the wishes of other members of the family.  Once again, the court became an actor in the cultural life of society, now exerting a significant influence over the market for cultural goods. 

Thus, at two distinct stages in our legal history, the period of development of heirlooms clauses in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, and the exercise of the statutory power of sale of heirlooms in the last two decades of the nineteenth century and the first few decades of the twentieth century, the law of heirlooms has played a vital but largely unexplored role in cultural life.  The purpose of this project is to undertake the first systematic study of the law of heirlooms from the seventeenth century to the present day, opening up a subject of relevance to a number of wider debates surrounding the strict settlement, family relationships, and the development of the art market.

Leman, Dr Patrick J.
Lecturer in Psychology Royal Holloway (S6)

Gender, Learning and the Social Dynamics of Children's Conversations

Gender differences in children's conversational styles have been observed for some time. Even from preschool, boys tend to adopt more assertive styles of interaction whilst girls usually engage in more collaborative exchanges. Although gender has an influence on conversation from a young age, and its influence can be observed in behaviour and achievement throughout the lifespan, very little empirical work has sought to establish how gender impacts upon children's collaborative learning and decision-making. The significance and the contribution of this research is not only to explore how communication between children varies according to a child's gender and that of his or her conversation partner, but also to examine how this variation connects with the communication and construction of knowledge between children. The research involves two large experimental studies that will be complemented by the ongoing development of coding scheme for the analysis of children's conversations. A first experiment will examine the conversations of children at two different ages, 6-7 years and 10-11 years, to identify the effects of gender on the social dynamics of interaction. The first study will employ a task developed in previous research to assess children's appreciation of their own and others' perspectives. A second, large experiment will explore whether gender effects in conversations have an influence on longer-term developments in moral reasoning. The scheme for coding of children's conversations will focus on the ways in which children structure arguments, and how different structures can relate to processes of influence and cognitive change.

Rosenthal, Professor Michael
Professor of the History of Art, Warwick (H11; H10)

The Art of Colonial Australia

The colonisation of Australia by the British was documented both in literary records, and in countless drawings and watercolours.  These were in the main produced by the colonisers, but, as early as early as 1793 the Spanish Government had sent out an expeditionary fleet under the command of Alejandro Malaspina, and his artists, Juan Ravanet and Fernando Brambila were the first of various other Europeans to contribute their own views of the colony.  This extensive picture-making has hardly been used as a source when it comes to writing the history of the early colony.  Yet, through the pictorial material we are able to witness in some detail what language can only imperfectly describe; from various stages of settlement, to repeated attempts to come to terms with Australian flora and fauna; from encounters with Aborigines to exploration.  For instance, it is possible to follow the gradual development and enlargement of Sydney in very great deal.  Moreover, because most of this work was not done with any aesthetic intention, when a watercolour or drawing does present itself as a work of art, this is of itself extremely revealing of contemporary attitudes towards the true nature of the colony.  There is a body of landscapes, from around 1805 onwards, which presents it in terms of a terrestrial paradise, and this, in turn, can be interestingly matched against the type of convict letter that denies that transportation to New South Wales is any form of punishment when compared with the actualities of life in Britain.  As the actual history of the development of the colony is exceedingly complex, so too are the glosses on it provided by the abundant picture-making.  And, by the second decade of the nineteenth century, the architecture that Governor Macquarie had the transported architect Francis Greenway design and build in Sydney was in itself one of the more contentious features of what some viewed as a generally contentious Governorship.  To investigate this building programme is to reveal a great deal about this issue.  I am alone in having worked extensively through the Australian material, and, because my expertise is in British cultural and art history of the period am able to analyse it in terms that allow it to throw, in its own turn, an extremely interesting light back on the mother country.  Because I am looking at a significant period - from Cook's landfall in 1770 through to 1840, and because there is so much to work on, I envisage writing two volumes, the first covering the period up to 1820, and the end of Macquarie's Governorship; the second the subsequent years, during which there was significant exploration and expansion within the colony, with the founding of Melbourne, Perth, and, eventually, Adelaide.

Swanson, Professor Robert
Professor of Medieval Ecclesiastical History Birmingham (H8; H2)

Indulgences in Late Medieval England

This Research Fellowship will provide the time needed to complete a major monograph on indulgences and their integration in the socio-economic, religious and spiritual life of pre-Reformation England (c.1300-1540). Particular aspects investigated include

  • the place of indulgences in the charitable and spiritual structures of late medieval England, through their role in devotional practices, encouragement of pilgrimages, and stimulation of donations to individuals and institutions
  • the nature, scale, and rationale of the demand for indulgences and related spiritual privileges (including comparisons with other similar aspects of late medieval devotion, notably shrines and saints' cults)
  • the mechanisms and personnel of the distribution process
  • the debated status of indulgences in late medieval England (including the literary challenges on the activities of pardoners, and academic debates on the validity of indulgences in the penitential system in the fifteenth century)
  • the collapse of the indulgence business during the Henrician Reformation

In addition, the volume will assess the economic significance of indulgences, and illustrate their role in England's broader social, economic, and cultural history during the period, including their involvement in the emergence of a print culture after 1480. The book will radically challenge received opinion on late medieval indulgences, to argue that, despite the opportunities for fraud, their overall contribution was positive, and that they were widely appreciated. It will add to the recent flow of work demonstrating the vitality of pre-Reformation catholicism, and offer a further perspective on what John Bossy has identified as the 'social miracle' of late medieval religion.

BA/Thank-Offering to Britain Senior Research Fellowship

Professor of Economic History Oxford (S2)

Invention and Technology in the British Industrial Revolution

The prosperity of the developed countries is based on high productivity technology. The British industrial revolution marks a decisive step forward in inventing and applying such technology. The reasons for that breakthrough remain elusive, however. Was it due to liberal political institutions, the fruits of empire, the scientific revolution? This project addresses that question and focusses on the role of economic incentives in inducing and sustaining invention. Global comparisons show that British wages were remarkably high at the exchange rate and high relative to the prices of consumer goods, capital inputs, and energy. These patterns were due to success in the global economy, which created tight labour markets and led to the exploitation of Britain's coal resources. In turn, the wage and price patterns generated a demand for technology that substituted capital and energy for labour. The high standard of living also made possible the skill acquisition and savings that responded to the challenge. Finally, the wage and price structure led to an institutional innovation—R&D—that transformed invention and permanently raised the rate of economic growth. The Scientific Revolution made only a limited contribution to the new technology, whose origins were primarily economic. The aim of this project is to develop these ideas, so that we may understand the origins of mass prosperity.

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