BA/Leverhulme Senior Research Fellowship Awards 2016

Funded by

Cook, Dr Joanna SF150054

Lecturer in Medical Anthropology, UCL, Department of Anthropology

Anthropology / Social & Cultural Anthropology, other branches

Mindful UK: Well-being, governance and the politicisation of the mind

Awarded: £49,822

In the UK, well-being is a political concern. In 2014 an All-Party Parliamentarian Group (APPG) was established, committed to investigating the ways in which public policy on mindfulness-based practices might enhance individual and societal well-being. Mindfulness meditation, an awareness practice originating from Buddhism, is being interpreted as a positive intervention for societal problems as wide ranging as depressive relapse, criminal recidivism, children’s academic performance and worker burn out. Given the breadth of these challenges, it is striking that their solution is presented as unitary. Dr Cook has completed in-depth ethnography of Parliamentary Hearings on mindfulness, participant observation with the APPG secretariat group, interviews with members and analysis of the final policy document, Mindful Nation UK. Dr Cook will write an anthropological monograph and two peer reviewed journal articles during the fellowship. This will be the first anthropological account of political interest in mindfulness and its implications for the changing nature of governance in the UK.

Crinson, Professor Mark SF150122

Professor of Art History, University of Manchester, Art History & Visual Studies (School of Arts, Languages and Cultures)

History of Art / History of architecture

Shock City: Image and Architecture in Industrial Manchester

Awarded: £43,446

Industrial Manchester was recognized from the early 19th century, and has long been understood since, as the ‘shock city’ of the industrial revolution. It was the exemplary city for the experience of industrial modernity as this was felt in the rapid emergence of new social formations, technologies, and new political configurations. Also often noted is how the new industrial middle class reacted to the chaos of the still medieval governance of the city by forging new institutions and forms of architecture. Although social and economic history has developed sophisticated analyses of this situation, art history has not produced sustained studies of the form and appearance of the city as a product of, and response to, these changes. Shock City proposes this can only be done by an integrated study of images, architecture and urbanism, structured around a set of themes and taken from a period from the 1820s to the 1920s. Essentially this is the study of the urban imaginary (ways of dreaming, ways of justifying, ways of creating distinction) of the ascendant industrial middle classes.

Ni Mhaonaigh, Professor Maire SF150165

Professor of Celtic and Medieval Studies, University of Cambridge, Anglo-Saxon, Norse, and Celtic

Medieval Studies / Medieval History - Medieval Studies

Viking Stereotypes and Medieval Irish Narrative: Cogadh Gáedhel re Gallaibh (The Irish-Viking Conflict), Text and Context

Awarded: £47,776

Medieval image-making and Viking stereotypes lie at the heart of this research. It will focus on the most influential narrative for our perception of Vikings in Ireland, 'Cogadh Gáedhel re Gallaibh (‘The Irish-Viking Conflict’), a twelfth-century pseudohistorical narrative designed to serve the political ambitions of a powerful dynasty, Uí Briain (O'Briens). A writer of considerable literary skill who drew creatively on a wide range of sources, as well as his own vivid imagination, its creator skilfully remoulded the historical reality of earlier Viking activity for his own specific ends. By producing the first modern edition with critical commentary of the narrative, Professor Ni Mhaonaigh will elucidate the cultural context of its author and audience. Reading the text in its contemporary milieu will facilitate an assessment of the accuracy or otherwise of information contained therein, and enable the text to be appreciated as the sophisticated literary exercise in image-making it is.

Stevenson, Professor Jane SF150156

Regius Professor of Humanity, University of Aberdeen, Divinity History and Philosophy

History / Intellectual history - History

British Authors Published Abroad

Awarded: £42,039

Because it’s not easy to find out about books published abroad before 1700, early modern scholarship tends to be dominated by Early English Books Online, which is based on publications in Britain, and in English. A straightforward way into Continental publications has the potential to change the shape of early modern studies: these books reveal British participation in great enterprises of politics, scholarship and science, and they also reveal Britain's dissidents, since many of these writers were oppositional and living in continental exile; thus willy-nilly forging links with continental cultures. A third reason they matter is that foreign perceptions of the British nations was to a very great extent formed by foreign imprints, since practically nobody outside these islands read English. Professor Stevenson will undertake the initial searches which will let her find these titles: there are certainly at least 8,500 of them before 1640, and there is at the moment no way of guessing whether there is the same number, three times as many, or more, published between 1640 and 1700.

Todd, Professor Stephen SF150072

Professor of Ancient History, University of Manchester, School of Arts, Languages and Cultures (department of Classics & Ancient History)

Classics and Ancient History / History of Greece and the Greek World

Commentary on Lysias speeches 12-23

Awarded: £43,446

Lysias has always been among the most widely read of classical Athenian orators. The standard edition (Carey, 2007) contains 35 extant mainly lawcourt speeches, plus 144 fragmentary ones; they cover a range of topics which make him a leading source for most aspects of Athenian history in the first quarter of the fourth century BC, itself an important period of political transition from which few comparable texts survive. The project is the second volume of a multi-vol. OUP commentary, which will be the first-ever scholarly commentary on the complete Lysianic corpus, and for many speeches the first since 1900.

Westermann, Professor Gert SF150163

Professor of Psychology, Lancaster University, Department of Psychology

Psychology / Developmental and Educational Psychology

Information selection in infants’ curiosity-based learning

Awarded: £42,754

Infants are curious learners: they actively explore their world, engaging with different objects for variable amounts of time and thereby creating learning situations for themselves that are adapted to their current knowledge state. However, how infants structure their environment in this way is unknown. This is because most research on infant cognitive development relies on closely controlled experimental settings in which infants are presented with predetermined sequences of stimuli for fixed amounts of time. The proposed work will study how infants freely explore sets of stimuli in a way that combines experimental control with curiosity-based learning. In two studies 6-10-month-old infants will be presented with sets of stimuli simultaneously that have varying similarity relationships with each other. The way in which infants scan these displays will be analysed using eye tracking. This research will reveal whether infants’ curiosity-based information seeking is systematic, and whether it is affected by similarity to previous experienced information and to emerging language.

White, Professor Sarah Caroline SF150070

Professor of International Development and Wellbeing, University of Bath, Department of Social and Policy Sciences

Sociology / Social Policy and Administration

Relational Wellbeing: Restoring the subject to subjective wellbeing

Awarded: £46,515

What wellbeing means, whose wellbeing counts and how wellbeing can be promoted are matters of urgent public concern. Despite the emphasis on happiness or subjective wellbeing, however, statistics dominate wellbeing scholarship and policy and people as subjects are strikingly absent. This study will develop an emergent concept, relational wellbeing, into an intellectually rigorous, substantively interesting and practically useful approach which restores the subject to subjective wellbeing. This views wellbeing as collective, not just individual; material and social, not just psychological; and deriving from interaction between personal, societal and environmental processes. Cross-disciplinary engagement with critical literature will demonstrate strong theoretical and empirical grounds for approaching wellbeing as a relational construct. New analysis from a recent study in India and Zambia will present in-depth investigation of wellbeing in social practice. Ongoing reflexive dialogue with organisations in the UK and internationally will ensure practical utility and maximise impact.

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