BA/Leverhulme Senior Research Fellowship Awards 2021

Funded by


Whose morality?

Dr Fiona Bloomer

University of Ulster, Senior Lecturer, Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences

Awarded: £45,361.00

Funding Source: Leverhulme Senior Research Fellowships

Previous scholarship has considered resonances between the religious right and conservative forces and their attempt to assert a monopoly on morality. My own research identifies abortion as exemplifying this monopolisation in morally conservative societies. As a counter to this international liberal faith-based organisations have positioned restricted access to abortion as immoral, yet much remains unknown about how these organisations resist the pervasiveness of the discourse of the religious right. This proposed study will examine the discourse generated by members of liberal faith-based organisations, talking about abortion, in a morally conservative society. It will consider whether their counter hegemonic re-positioning of abortion challenges current forms of moral authority and contributes to reclaiming the morality argument. The BA/Leverhulme Trust Senior Research Fellowship allows this project to generate scholarly outputs, community benefits and inform policy-making through evidenced-based research.


Literary Resurgence: Centre, Periphery, and Gender in the Poetry of Early Qajar Iran

Professor Dominic Brookshaw

University of Oxford, Associate Professor of Persian Literature, Faculty of Oriental Studies

Awarded: £48,187.00

Funding Source: Leverhulme Senior Research Fellowships

I will produce the first monograph in any European language on the poetry of early nineteenth-century Iran. I will examine the neoclassical Bazgasht-i adabi (“literary return”) movement that shaped the production and appreciation of poetry in Qajar Iran, and investigate Iranian conceptualizations of Persian literary history before Orientalist interference. The Bazgasht-i adabi’s impact on Iranian literary taste lasted well into the twentieth century and birthed a chauvinistic view of the Persian poetic past. My book will correct the gendered imbalance in the academic writing thus far published on this period of Iran's literary history. For the first time in any scholarly study, the poetry of women, provincial litterateurs, and members of ethno-linguistic and heterodox religious communities will be read alongside that produced by elite men to unpack the centre-periphery dynamics at play in Iran's last indigenous literary movement. For these reasons, a serious examination of Qajar poetry is long overdue.


Modernism in Ruins: Tristan Murail’s Winter Fragments

Professor Jonathan Cross

University of Oxford, Professor of Musicology, Music

Awarded: £57,521.32

Funding Source: Leverhulme Senior Research Fellowships

This monograph is, at one and the same time, an exploration of millennial preoccupations with technology (as both creative and destructive force), late-modern culture and the environment, and a detailed, critical analysis of a singular and striking musical work for chamber ensemble and electronics – Winter Fragments (2000) by French composer Tristan Murail (b.1947). A close reading of the work in context – genesis, structure, reception – as an exemplar of the influential spectral music movement composed by one of its founding figures, will open a window onto current cultural concerns interrogated via interdisciplinary debates in late style, nostalgia, ecocriticism and (ecological) ruin.


Reconceptualising international trade law: In search of a bounded, socially embedded and re-connected regime

Professor James Harrison

University of Warwick, Profeesor of Law, School of Law

Awarded: £56,745.58

Funding Source: Leverhulme Senior Research Fellowships

This project explores problems associated with a ‘sprawling’ international trade law regime which lacks a coherent underlying rationale. The central aim of the project is to develop a new paradigm underlying trade policy that is more socially, developmentally and environmentally responsible, and more sensitive to the practical realities of how international trade is conducted. It utilises case studies of four international trade agreements and the concepts of boundedness, embeddedness and connectedness to explore how this paradigm shift might occur and what its consequences would be. Throughout the project, three academic/policy networks which the applicant co-founded (UPTURN, the International Economic Law Collective and the Trade and Sustainable Development Group) will be utilised to ensure that the project is informed by insights from a range of academic disciplines and policy perspectives. These networks will also ensure that the series of academic articles produced as a result of the research are widely disseminated.


British professional services, Eurasian kleptocrats and the transformation of international security in the post-Cold War era

Professor John Heathershaw

University of Exeter, Professor of International Relations, Department of Politics

Awarded: £47,444.00

Funding Source: Saki Ruth Dockrill Senior Research Fellowship in Contemporary History and International Security Studies

Saki Ruth Dockrill studied the transformation of European and especially British security under new global conditions. In this vein, the project seeks to tell a new story of the post-Cold War era: one of private “enablers” tying Britain to kleptocratic elites, particularly those of post-Soviet Eurasia, and thereby transforming the security relations between the states they represent. The project provides the first comparative and historical study of the transnational ties between British professional service providers and their Post-Soviet Eurasian clients. These elites – often new, post-Cold War billionaires and political exposed persons – may be denoted as kleptocrats in so far as they fuse political and economic power. They are transnational or global in that this personal power extends beyond Eurasia via their investments and political connections. This project studies the lawyers, bankers and other professionals who act as enablers of the laundering of their money and reputations.


Structures of power in the Frankish world: palaces, castles and towers c700-1000

Professor Simon MacLean

University of St Andrews, Professor of History, History

Awarded: £66,594.00

Funding Source: Leverhulme Senior Research Fellowships

This project examines profound shifts in the political landscape of north-west Europe between c700 and c1000, as seen through the history of elite residences and fortifications. In this period the Frankish world was transformed by the rise and disintegration of the Carolingian Empire (751-888). The shift from a Carolingian system focused on palaces, rural estates and ‘villas’ to a tenth-century world dominated by castles, towers and fortified towns takes us to the heart of early European politics, society and economy. Yet modern interpretations of early medieval fortifications are constrained by rigid and outdated scholarly paradigms. Indeed, ‘the palace’ and ‘the castle’ have completely separate historiographies, though their actual histories were thoroughly intertwined. This project brings them together via a comprehensive study of the sources for all kinds of elite residences and fortifications (castles, palaces, towers and walls) across all the Frankish territories.


Sex Trafficking: A Contemporary History

Dr Jeanne Morefield

University of Birmingham, Senior Lecturer in Political Theory, Department of Political Science and International Studies

Awarded: £61,867.00

Funding Source: Leverhulme Senior Research Fellowships

Sex trafficking is not merely a significant human rights issue; it is also, paradoxically, an issue that has resonated historically in equally powerful ways for both liberal humanitarians and far-right nationalists and conspiracy theorists. The proposed research will investigate how and why sex trafficking has provided a focal point for such different visions of national and global politics, from the League of Nations to QAnon. Through a comparative historical analysis of the interwar period and today, it looks closely at the rhetorical languages at work in anti-sex trafficking campaigns, the institutionalization of these campaigns in international organizations, and the radicalization of sex trafficking panics by reactionary, anti-globalist movements. It pays particular attention to the productive role that anti-trafficking campaigns have played in legitimizing the liberal global order and the significance for that global order when these campaigns are captured by far-right critics.


Title: Sarah Bowdich (Lee) 1791-1856: Pioneering Natural Science From Below

Professor Mary Orr

University of St Andrews, Buchanan Chair of French, School of Modern Languages (French)

Awarded: £58,124.00

Funding Source: Donald Winch Fund Senior Research Fellowship in Intellectual History

History from below has undeniable leverage and lessons. It uncovers overlooked protagonists in national innovation endeavour often contributing against considerable odds. One such figure is Sarah, Mrs T. Edward Bowdich then Mrs R. Lee (1791-1856). When women allegedly cannot participate in early nineteenth-century scientific exploration and discovery, Sarah’s multiple specialist contributions to new understanding in French and British natural sciences, and to their dissemination, have attracted no book-length study. This project therefore proposes the first major monograph to investigate Sarah’s unbroken production of discipline-changing scientific work for its transnational importance. However, the book does more than recuperate Sarah’s ground-breaking intermediations in ‘French’ and ‘British’ natural sciences. Her productivity was also achieved at great personal cost. Sarah’s larger significance is then as a case study for women in STEM(M) today: the project learns major interdisciplinary and intercultural lessons through its first exhibition of her pioneering work.


Fugitive Ground. Moses Roper's Emancipatory Radicalism, the Black Family and the British Literary Archive

Dr Fionnghuala Sweeney

Newcastle University, Reader in American and Black Atlantic Literature, School of English Literature, Language and Linguistics

Awarded: £55,796.00

Funding Source: Leverhulme Senior Research Fellowships

This project examines an unstudied but critically important aspect of transatlantic black literary culture and family: the life and writing of fugitive abolitionist, Moses Roper. In 1835, Roper fled to the UK, two years later becoming the first African-American fugitive to publish his autobiography there. Unlike many of his compatriots who returned to the US, Roper established a new life in the UK, marrying a British woman and eventually settling his family in Wales. From 1836-’61 he pioneered grass-roots anti-slavery activism, mobilizing the British press and tapping into non-conformist religious networks. This project places Roper’s work outside existing categories as a critical part of the black British and American archive. It examines the local, regional and national challenges and opportunities the UK presented as an environment for black diasporan writing. Further, it considers the importance of family as a motivation for activism, and mechanism of integration to British community.


The UK's European diplomacy: from accession to Brexit

Professor Richard Whitman

University of Kent, Professor of Politics and International Relations, School of Politics and International Relations

Awarded: £48,988.00

Funding Source: Michael Dockrill Senior Research Fellowship in British Foreign Policy

Brexit is the most significant change to the UK’s foreign policy in the last fifty years. The EU has been a core component of the UK's foreign policy since its accession to the-then European Economic Community in 1973 and the UK’s diplomacy and foreign policy have been heavily shaped by its membership. The UK Government's decision to trigger departure from the EU marked a significant change in the practices, procedures and objectives of British European foreign policy. This project analyses continuity and change in the UK's European diplomatic strategy over the last 50 years. It explores a set of recurring foreign policy dilemmas faced by the UK in order to inform the debate on Britain's current and future place in the international relations of Europe. By providing a long view of the issues, the project will help redress the lack of contextualisation in much of the current Brexit-related analysis.

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