Mid-Career Fellowship awards 2019
Project Title: A Reverse Robin Hood? Analysing the effects of world trade law on the transnational distribution of economic value.
Applicant: Professor Donatella Alessandrini
Organisation: University of Kent, Professor of Law, Kent Law School
The manufacture of products with inputs sourced from around the world dates back centuries. However, the pace, range and intensity of interactions in so-called ‘Global Value Chains’ (GVCs) is changing rapidly, with significant consequences for the people and companies involved. The law of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) has played a vital, yet hitherto unexplored, role in this process. This project aims to provide the first sustained legal analysis of the WTO’s contribution to the proliferation of GVCs and to the unequal distribution of the economic value along the chains. Drawing on socio-legal studies, world system theories and feminist economics, it explores how trade law brings GVCs into being, helping to create and distribute economic rewards transnationally. The project aims to generate important new insights on the relationship between multilateral trade law, development and value chain trade, contributing fresh perspectives to current debates about the future of multilateral trade negotiations.
Project Title: Menstrual Messaging: Revealing the Socioecological Determinants of Women’s Health with Digital Technology
Applicant: Dr Alexandra Alvergne
Organisation: University of Oxford, Associate Professor in Biocultural Anthropology, School of Anthropology and Museum Ethnography
Premenstrual changes in mood are usually reduced to and dismissed as women’s ‘raging hormones’. But what if a negative premenstrual experience is not a hormonal disorder but rather a message from the body about the socio-ecological causes of ill-health? Building on an established partnership with a technology company providing a period-tracker app with 10 million users, I will run a series of experiments to evaluate how the menstrual experience is shaped by social ecology, from the presence of pathogenic microorganisms to negative societal discourse about menstrual cycling. Open access publishing, the production of online content and media outreach will disseminate the findings widely. But the messaging will also be reciprocal: input from the public will be incorporated into the research from the outset through online consultations of the app’s users. And their views will then shape how best to implement the findings in menstrual tracking to improve health and well-being.
Project Title: Britain and its overseas citizens: from decolonisation to Brexit
Applicant: Dr Michaela Benson
Organisation: Goldsmiths, University of London, Reader in Sociology, Department of Sociology
From the Windrush scandal to Brexit, who counts as British is a question of timely concern. Increasingly, Britishness is conceptualised as an identity and citizenship allied to an ‘island nation’, geographically bound by its borders. And yet, Britain’s overseas citizens—its emigrants settled outside Britain and citizens of its former colonies and overseas territories—are conspicuously absent from such understandings. What happens if these overseas citizens take centre stage within understandings of Britishness? Britain and its overseas citizens traces and maps Britain’s relationship to its overseas citizens from its formal decolonisation to its withdrawal from the European Union, questioning how their inclusion and exclusion shape contemporary understandings of who is British. Through an argument centred on the dispersed contemporary geographies of Britishness made visible by its overseas citizens the classification and conceptualisation of overseas citizens, it challenges understandings of British identity and belonging as indigenous to the British Isles.
Project Title: A Qualitative Exploration of The Problems with Orphanage Tourism in Nepal
Applicant: Dr Esther Bott
Organisation: University of Nottingham, Lecturer in Sociology, School of Sociology and Social Policy
In the past decade, Nepal has become a popular destination for 'orphanage tourism', where Western volunteers pay up to £800 per week to spend time with children (who may or may not be parentless) in one of the many hundreds of privately run orphanages in the Kathmandu Valley. Although the motives of volunteer tourists are being discussed in critical tourism literature, empirical knowledge about orphanage tourism is still scant: the experiences, accounts and voices of the 'orphans' themselves are missing from literature, in part because of methodological and ethical barriers to accessing such a potentially vulnerable and/or closed group. Building on pilot fieldwork carried out by the PI in Kathmandu in April 2017, this project will use participatory action research to explore and expose the voices of adult former 'orphans' in Kathmandu. The research will also contribute to debates on child trafficking and child labour in this, and broader, contexts.
Project Title: Bayesianism and Self-Doubt
Applicant: Dr Darren Bradley
Organisation: University of Leeds, Lecturer, Philosophy, Religion and History of Science
A popular approach to epistemology, Bayesianism, has had success modelling how agents should update in response to new information. But the agents it models are idealised in a number of ways: for example, agents must never forget, never doubt their reasoning, and be certain of logical and mathematical facts. And there are familiar situations in which these assumptions fail, and in which Bayesianism therefore cannot be applied. I propose a general theory which extends Bayesian epistemology and provides analyses of all these phenomena. The first part reconceptualises the Bayesian update rule so it can apply to a wider range of cases. The second part involves stepping back from the Bayesian model to think about it as one model among many, thus opening up general questions about rationality, normativity and nature of idealization.
Project Title: The Origins of Legal Secularisation
Applicant: Dr H. Zeynep Bulutgil
Organisation: University College London, Lecturer, Political Science
This book project studies the conditions under which secular legal systems develop. The project approaches legal secularisation in two steps: first, it focuses on the historical emergence of political groups with a secular agenda; second, it examines the conditions under which these groups succeed or fail. On emergence, the argument highlights the role of international wars and diffusion of ideas from neighbouring countries. On success, the project argues that divisions within secular groups and literacy in the general population are the main factors in play. Empirically, the project adopts a mixed methods approach that uses statistical analysis of original data and comparative historical analysis of countries in Europe (France and Spain) and the Middle East (Turkey, Iran, and Morocco). By studying an aspect of political modernisation that is often neglected, this project contributes to our understanding of modern political institutions and the relationship between religion and politics.
Project Title: Decolonising geography? Disciplinary histories and the legacies of empire in Africa and the UK
Applicant: Dr Ruth Craggs
Organisation: King's College London, Senior Lecturer in Human Geography, Geography
Whilst there are growing calls for the decolonisation of the social sciences and the university, geography, and its histories, remain predominantly Eurocentric. This project brings together oral history and archival evidence to explore the evolution of geography in selected nations in sub-Saharan Africa after 1945. It will demonstrate how the discipline was profoundly shaped by empire, decolonisation and independence, and highlight the contemporary legacies of these processes for universities and the discipline in Africa and the UK. At a time when the UK and its higher education institutions re-evaluate their relationships with African students, institutions and wider economies, this project will offer lessons from the past for constructing ethical and intellectually valuable international partnerships and pursuing equality in the academy. The fellowship will result in a monograph, article, and briefings for subject associations (regarding diversity and discrimination in geography), and governments, universities and funding bodies (about scholarships and international partnerships).
Project Title: Narratives of Old Age: Women’s Late Life Writing 1800-1850
Applicant: Dr Amy Culley
Organisation: University of Lincoln, Senior Lecturer in English, School of English and Journalism
This project recovers narratives of late life in journals, correspondence, and auto/biographies by early nineteenth-century women. These sources provide rare insights into women’s ageing in a period in which gender and old age is currently under-researched and which has important legacies for contemporary conceptions of late life. Key themes include the ageing body, religious and political affiliation, home and travel, reading and writing, care, illness, and bereavement, money and debts. Personal narratives challenge the idea of the reclusive older woman through portrayals of friendship, family, intra- and intergenerational sociability, and participation in public life. In addition, examining women’s practices as biographers, their use of late life writing to shape their posthumous reputations, and the role of nineteenth-century editors and biographers in the presentation of their late lives, provides new frameworks for the analysis of life writing and reveals past attitudes to women and ageing inherited by the present.
Project Title: Architecture and Vertigo: States of Suspension in the Contemporary City
Applicant: Dr Davide Deriu
Organisation: University of Westminster, Reader in Architecture, School of Architecture and Cities
The project explores the relationship between architecture and vertigo within contemporary cities. Whilst the concept of vertigo has long been associated with the experience of modernity, over the past two decades it has played a new role in the production of urban space. This shift manifests especially in three areas that constitute the research foci: spatial practices, design interventions, visual representations. By weaving these strands together, the research unpacks the states of suspension that increasingly pervade the built environments of cities worldwide. The aims are: (a) To investigate how perceptions and representations of vertical space have changed since the turn of the 21st century; (b) To examine the rise of an ‘architecture of vertigo’ and critically assess its implications within a historical-cultural perspective; (c) To promote cross-disciplinary debate about the emotional landscapes of cities while also encouraging public awareness. The planned outputs are a monograph, exhibition, and online resource.
Project Title: Tito's Last Soldiers: 14th Military Police Battalion and the end of Yugoslavia, 1990-91
Applicant: Professor Dejan Djokic
Organisation: Goldsmiths, University of London, Professor of History, History
This project proposes a novel approach to history-writing, by combining methods of collective biography, autobiography, oral, social and micro history. Specifically, it traces Yugoslavia’s break-up through experiences of army conscripts, members of the last Yugoslav generation, stationed in Slovenia at the time the war broke out in 1991. Analysis draws on interviews with former soldiers, representative of Yugoslavia’s complex ethnic/social make-up, their private papers, and my own documents and recollections as one of the army conscripts in Slovenia. The protagonists’ pre-army lives and their post-1991 fates provide wider context of late- and post-socialist Yugoslavia. Spatial/symbolic (army barracks) and ideological (Marshal Tito) aspects inform the analysis and contribute to the originality of my approach. The study intervenes in discussions about identity, (generational) memory, ethnic-conflict/co-existence, and addresses European in/stability, a key national challenge. Main outputs –a monograph and a theatre play– and public talks will ensure wide reach, within and beyond academia.
Project Title: Alcohol and remembering rape: An examination of victim memory retrieval processes during police interviews
Applicant: Dr Heather Flowe
Organisation: University of Birmingham, Senior Lecturer in Forensic Psychology, School of Psychology
This fellowship will use interview data to study memory retrieval processes when rape victims make statements to the police. It will test whether statements are less specific when memory strength is weakened, such as when the victim was alcohol-intoxicated during the rape. This work will be relevant to legal/social policy makers in the UK and the US as well as academics studying memory in applied contexts, such as the legal system.
Flowe has collaborated with legal practitioners in the UK and the US for more than 15 years studying factors that affect how accurately rape is remembered and the proposal builds on this work, examining the role of retrieval processes during police interviews. Results will be disseminated by academic papers, a conference presentation, research briefs to stakeholders/media, an application to participate in the ESRC Festival of Social Sciences and workshops to legal practitioners.
Project Title: The Invention of Civilisation: Early Highland-lowland Encounters and the Politics of Alterity
Applicant: Dr Claudia Glatz
Organisation: University of Glasgow, Senior Lecturer in Archaeology, Archaeology, School of Humanities
This project investigates the invention of civilisation and its opposites in the past and today. It does so through a three-pronged approach to highland-lowland relationships: the contrast between 'highland' and 'lowland' in many past cultural contexts provided the mythico-geographical space for the creation of sameness and alterity critical for political formation. The project focuses on Mesopotamia’s relationship with the Zagros and Taurus mountains (c. 3500-500 BCE) and draws on a series of comparable encounters in early Anatolia, China and the Andes. It combines textual, archaeological and iconographic evidence to (1) synthesise resulting narratives of difference and investigate the cultural practices through which they were transmitted and internalised; (2) trace their influence on today’s discourses on civilisation, nationalism and empire especially in and of the Middle East; and(3) examine empirically, transcending binary frames of reference, a selection of historical highland-lowland encounters, their degrees of cultural connectivity and modes of identity demarcation.
Project Title: Stock Connect: A New Model of Financial Market Integration
Applicant: Dr Flora Xiao Huang
Organisation: University of Essex, Senior Lecturer in Law, Law
Unlike the traditional market segmentation model, a new mechanism – stock connect, namely an exchange tie- up, to integrate an emerging market into a developed market will be investigated in this project. Following the mainland China-Hong Kong stock connect, a new London-Shanghai link to be launched in Spring 2019, has drawn wider attention for giving mutual market access to the two exchanges for the first time. This study will be the first comprehensive project to consider the profound implications of stock connect to the global financial markets and the barriers to its implementation. It will take the London-Shanghai stock connect as a case study to evaluate to what extent this scheme promotes financial market integration as regards investor protection and cross-border regulatory enforcement. It suggests that stock connect could be a bridge to integrate not only their financial markets but also financial regulations, albeit legal, operational and policy uncertainties.
Project Title: Weekly fluctuations in decision making and behaviour
Applicant: Dr Rob Jenkins
Organisation: University of York, Reader in Psychology, Department of Psychology
Response to risk shapes decision making in every area of human life, from personal health to global politics. We recently discovered that willingness to take risk changes systematically through the week: risk tolerance decreases from Monday to Thursday and rebounds on Friday. This effect is strong enough to influence behaviour, and society-wide standardisation to the weekly cycle conserves the effect at the population level. The striking consequence is that the outcomes of individual and group decisions (e.g. political referendums) can depend on the day of the week on which the decisions are taken. This is a potentially transformative observation. If it holds generally, the implications extend to all areas in which decisions are made. The purpose of the proposed research is to map the range of conditions over which the weekly risk cycle holds, and to understand what drives it.
Project Title: Exploring Supporter-Activism in Identity Politics-centred Social Movements: A cultural relational sociology analysis of the European LGBTI+ football fans' network
Applicant: Dr Peter Millward
Organisation: Liverpool John Moores University, Reader in Sociology, School of Humanities and Social Sciences
This research explores activists' participation in identity politics-centred social movements, using the case example of the trans-European LGBTI+ football supporters' network and critically adopting a cultural relational sociological theoretical framework (see Cleland et. al 2018; Crossley 2010). The project addresses important gaps in new social movement research by focussing upon supporter-activists' biographies and meanings they ascribe to actions. Qualitative data will be gleaned from two sources: first, 30 in-depth interviews with supporter-activists who are either my pre-established contacts or snowball sampled from the network and second, fieldwork participant observations at events held by the group. Three journal articles and a sole- authored monograph will emerge from my research while my engagement and communication plan involves the production of far-reaching media reports (for BBC World Service and The Guardian), a Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU) public lecture and a toolkit on best practice on establishing fan campaigns for Football Supporters Europe.
Project Title: E.H. Carr: Realist Ethics Between Hegel and Marx
Applicant: Dr Sean Molloy
Organisation: University of Kent, Reader in International Relations, School of Politics and International Relations
E.H. Carr, the author of the International Relations (IR) theory classic, 'The Twenty Years’ Crisis,' remains one of the most significant and controversial theorists of International Relations. This project challenges the still widespread assumption that Carr’s work is an amoral theory of power politics by investigating his sophisticated approach to the relationship between political necessity and moral obligation. The project critically investigates Carr’s work and examines the extent to which Carr’s ethical project is informed by his engagement with six major philosophers and theorists of ethics: Machiavelli, Spinoza, Hegel, Marx, James and Niebuhr. Rethinking Carr’s legacy to IR theory opens up new avenues of inquiry into the origins of the discipline, the continued relevance of Carr’s critique of the foundations of liberal _and_ Realist ethics, and the potential benefits offered to ethics in IR by studying his unique (and largely misunderstood) dialectic of Utopianism and Realism.
Project Title: Grammar and the everyday: Exploring the social meaning of syntax
Applicant: Dr Emma Moore
Organisation: University of Sheffield, Reader in Sociolinguistics, School of English
Research on grammatical variation, and policy documentation on grammar teaching, encourages us to think that we use alternatives like Standard English ‘It was really good’ and nonstandard English ‘It were really good’ simply to reflect how formal or informal a situation is. This has resulted in the problematic assumption that children will become proficient users of Standard English if only they are exposed to Standard English and recognise the relative formality of a situation. Using ethnographic data of children’s interactions, this project provides the data urgently required to challenge this assumption. It offers the first comprehensive account of the rich social and pragmatic functions of grammatical variation in everyday conversation, revealing the range of attitudes and stances (such as compassion and excitement) communicated by nonstandard English. In doing so, the project will raise awareness of, and address, the potential social and educational disadvantage experienced by those who use nonstandard English.
Project Title: Holocaust Legacies in Polish Visual Culture: Film and Memory After Jedwabne
Applicant: Dr Matilda Mroz
Organisation: University of Sussex, Senior Lecturer in Film Studies, School of Media, Film and Music
This project examines how Polish visual culture is responding to recent radical changes in Holocaust history and memory. Historical research since 2000 has revealed previously unknown instances of mass murder propagated by Poles against their Jewish neighbours during WWII, which has profoundly disturbed the foundations of Holocaust remembrance in Poland. Particularly in the absence of photographic images of rural killings, the visual memory of incidents such as the 1941 Jedwabne pogrom is being shaped by fiction and documentary films. This research will produce the first systematic account of how moving images, housed across a range of screening sites from the cinema to the museum, have formulated new ethical questions around Polish-Jewish relations and become vehicles for mourning Jewish losses. The project advances scholarship on Holocaust and atrocity imagery, and will enhance public understanding of how recent filmic treatments of Polish-Jewish histories have reconfigured aspects of global Holocaust memory.
Project Title: Data Work: Collaboration, Sense Making and the Possible Futures for Work
Applicant: Professor Gina Neff
Organisation: University of Oxford, Senior Research Fellow and Associate Professor, Oxford Internet Institute and Department of Sociology
I propose to complete a book manuscript on the future of work based on over a decade of qualitative research on data-driven transformation in the construction industry. Contrary to received wisdom, my research shows that when faced with new categories of data in their jobs, front-line ‘data workers innovated to incorporate new data into the existing social structures of their workplaces. The data, funded by US NSF, includes 350 interviews and 8 years of participant-observation in 3 teams work who designed and built a hospital, a major research laboratory, and a 40-storey high-rise building. I have co-authored 28 journal and conference publications based on this research to date. For this project, I will complete a book manuscript in the sociology of technology that focuses the experience of digital transformation for workers in construction and the lessons that their experience holds for others in the era of AI and big data.
Project Title: Oscar Wilde: A Radical Life
Applicant: Dr Deaglan O'Donghaile
Organisation: Liverpool John Moores University, Senior Lecturer in English Literature, English
Oscar Wilde’s political identity informed his literary writings, which were motivated by his revolutionary outlook as much as they were driven by his famed “passion for sensations”. Addressing his radical engagements with anarchism, socialism and anticolonial thought, this project will provide a new interpretation of Wilde’s life by emphasising the importance of progressive politics to his writings. It will historicise his key works by situating them against the framework of his very pronounced – but to date critically under-recognised - ideological commitment to radical political causes. Drawing on research at the UCLA Clark Library’s archive, “Oscar Wilde and His Circle”, the project’s findings will be disseminated via the completion of a monograph, entitled “Oscar Wilde: A Radical Life”, along with planning and delivering a major international conference at UCLA, and through a series of public seminars, lectures and community-based workshops that will be held in Los Angeles, Liverpool and Derry.
Project Title: Market Transformation in Banking through Regulatory Change: Open Banking and PSD2
Applicant: Professor Pinar Ozcan
Organisation: University of Warwick, Professor of Strategic Management, Warwick Business School
This study explores how incumbents and new players adopt open banking and a platform business model in the UK and Europe. For the last 3 years, UK and European banking industries have experienced a major change due to new regulation. Open Banking Initiative (UK) and Payment Services Directive 2 (EU), both announced in 2015 and in effect since January 2018, require banks to open up the account data of their customers to other parties as per customer request, allowing payment services to be carried out by third party providers. These new regulations disrupt the industry and encourage existing and new players to switch to a platform business model. This study is therefore very timely to trace the changes in Europe and the UK in real- time and compare firms' efforts to adapt to the new competitive environment as well as to examine the role of the national context.
Project Title: Holocaust Memory and Immigration Integration in Europe
Applicant: Dr Esra Ozyurek
Organisation: London School of Economics and Political Science, Associate Professor, Chair for Contemporary Turkish Studies, European Institute
As the first ever major study to analyse and propose ways of improving Holocaust education and anti-Semitism prevention programmes directed towards Muslims, this project reconsiders the core of contemporary debates concerning European identity by looking at the crucial but oft overlooked connections between Holocaust memory and the integration of Muslim-background immigrants in Germany. As a result of extensive ethnographic research, this project demonstrates that recent debates about the responsibility of Muslim- background immigrants in shouldering Holocaust memory culture have the potential to draw them towards post-Holocaust European values such as tolerance, democracy, and empathy or drive them away by reproaching and inculpating them for not having gone through the same stages of democratisation that Germans have gone through since losing World War II. The project’s book, articles, educational white paper, and website present guidance on the challenges and opportunities that exist in creating inclusive and effective Muslim-minority Holocaust education programmes.
Project Title: Arabic Language and Literature in Early Modern Southeast Asia
Applicant: Professor Andrew Peacock
Organisation: University of St Andrews, Professor of Middle Eastern and Islamic History, School of History
Indonesia, the country with the largest Muslim population in the world, was home to an indigenous tradition of Arabic literature that remains almost entirely unknown both to specialists in Southeast Asia and in Arabic. This project will shed new light on a neglected chapter of Arabic literature and Southeast Asian intellectual history by examining the role of Arabic in seventeenth and eighteenth century Indonesia. I will focus on the major sultanate of Banten in northwest Java, a centre of Arabic literary production as well as the consumption of Arabic texts from the Middle East, for which evidence is particularly strong owing to the preservation almost entirely intact of the court library, as well as important examples of Arabic diplomatic correspondence. The Arabic texts read and produced in pre-colonial Indonesia can help us understand the genesis of Islamic culture in a critical period, laying the foundations for contemporary Islamic thought there.
Project Title: Terence Heautontimorumenos: Introduction, Edition and Commentary
Applicant: Dr Giuseppe Pezzini
Organisation: University of St Andrews, Lecturer in Latin, School of Classics
I will undertake the final, crucial stage of a long-standing project on the Self-Tormentor (Heautontimorumenos) of Terence, contracted to CUP. Terence’s work was widely read until recently, and has a remarkable position in Roman cultural history, as a bold and influential attempt at the creation of a competitive literature in Latin.
The play offers many challenges, ranging from its complex textual tradition to its intricate plot. It contains one of the most superb character portrayals in ancient literature, Chremes, and some wonderfully comic dialogue, raising perennially relevant questions, such as those about relations between fathers and sons and communication in a biased society. In the discussion of literary and dramatic issues raised by this neglected play, the text will be central: I offer a new edition, based on an examination of the manuscripts, a substantial introduction, and a comprehensive and integrated commentary, ranging from language to Roman identity issues.
Project Title: History for the community: monk-historians and communal heritage
Applicant: Dr Benjamin Pohl
Organisation: University of Bristol, Senior Lecturer in Medieval History, Department of History (Historical Studies)
Recent years have witnessed a renewed interest, both public and scholarly, in the history and communal heritage of Benedictine monasticism in Britain and abroad. This is evidenced by frequent media coverage, ‘open-days’ and monastic retreats for the wider public, new study programs and funded initiatives such as the new Centre for Monastic Heritage between the University of Bristol and Downside Abbey. My project aims to capitalise on this momentum by proposing an innovative, engagement-led approach for studying the production and promotion of historical writing and thought in monastic communities from the Middle Ages to the present day. Working closely with the current monks of Downside Abbey, I will produce a research monograph (OUP) and conduct a series of public engagement activities (public lectures, workshops, open-access publications, exhibition) that examine and showcase Benedictine monasteries as key ‘centres of history’ within which historical knowledge has been collected, codified and communicated for generations.
Project Title: The Too-Big-To-Fail Problem and the Blockchain Solution
Applicant: Professor Michael Schillig
Organisation: King's College London, Professor of Law, Law
The project seeks to explore whether blockchain technology – the platform that supports cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin – may contribute to solving the 'too-big-to-fail' problem. This is the problem that large financial institutions will almost inevitably be bailed out with public money when they fail. Such bailouts may have catastrophic consequences for public finances; the resulting austerity measures and the cutting back of public services are likely to disproportionately affect the most vulnerable members of society. Law cannot prevent future bailouts: out of political self-interest, public authorities and policymakers are likely to by-pass the new anti-bailout legal frameworks. However, as a distributed ledger system, the blockchain is decentralized and cannot be controlled by any policy maker or regulatory authority. Its smart contract capabilities may contribute to solving the politically and socially intractable problems of implementation and application of resolution frameworks, whilst challenging traditional notions of contract, property and financial supervision.
Project Title: An Early Modern Musical Physiology: Bodies, Sounds, Affects
Applicant: Dr Bettina Varwig
Organisation: University of Cambridge, University Lecturer, Faculty of Music
This project pursues a somatic archaeology of early modern music making, focusing on Western Europe ca. 1550-1750. Taking in a range of musical practices from Lutheran hymn singing to early eighteenth-century keyboard virtuosity, it explores where and how music operated within and upon human bodies as constituted in contemporary scientific, philosophical, religious and artistic discourse. It elucidates how these musical practices shaped certain foundational early modern conceptions of human physiology and psychology; and it brings these ideas into dialogue with relevant current debates in affect theory, performance studies and embodied cognition research. By focusing on the material interaction of sound with the intelligent, purposive body as conceived in much early modern thought, the project mounts a newly configured challenge – through music – to a disembodied model of Western rationality.
Project Title: The Public Philosopher: Jürgen Habermas on Postwar European Politics
Applicant: Dr Peter Verovsek
Organisation: University of Sheffield, Lecturer in Politics/International Relations, Department of Politics
Jürgen Habermas is one of the most globally important contemporary social and political theorists. Despite his broad influence, his writings are often criticized for their ‘abstraction’ (Galston, 2010) and ignorance of ‘real politics’ (Geuss, 2008 & 1981). However, this accusation overlooks the fact that more than half of his work consists of public commentary on German and European politics from speeches, newspaper articles, and other forms of public engagement. By emphasising his understudied 'short political writings' (Kleine politische Schriften), my project reevaluates the relationship between Habermas’s journalism and his theoretical oeuvre, leading to a new understanding of his work. I argue that in seeking to bring his philosophy to bear on politics Habermas manifests the ideal of the engaged, public philosopher, who seeks to translate his theoretical insights for the public sphere. Insodoing, he bridges the usual divide between the role of the philosopher and that of the citizen.
Project Title: Can We Identify Future-Proof Science?
Applicant: Dr Peter Vickers
Organisation: Durham University, Associate Professor and Reader, Philosophy
Is science getting at the truth? Sceptics claim that, given all the ‘scientific revolutions’ in the history of science, we should expect further major changes in scientific thinking in the future. They ask: given the history of science, wouldn’t it be naïve to think that current scientific theories reveal ‘the truth’, and will never be discarded in favour of other theories? After all, previous scientists thought so, and they were wrong. Through a combination of historical investigation and philosophical analysis, my work over the past seven years has defended science against such (potentially dangerous) scepticism, arguing that we should be confident that, by and large, contemporary science does reveal the truth (or at least something very close). My journal articles and blog posts on this topic have laid the foundation for a book which would be written over the course of the Fellowship, entitled *Can We Identify Future-Proof Science?*.
Project Title: Harold Laski and His Chinese Disciples: Using Biographical Methods to Study the Evolution of Rights in Republican China (1911-1949)
Applicant: Dr Ting Xu
Organisation: University of Sheffield, Senior Lecturer in Law, School of Law
Harold Laski was one of the most important public intellectuals in the English speaking world. His profound influence in China, however, has been under-researched for decades. This project examines Laski’s long- neglected but very significant impact on China. It focuses on Laski’s influence on the evolution of rights, one of the key concepts that has emerged in China’s search for modernity and democracy. It uses biographical methods, drawing on published biographies of the Chinese intellectuals who were highly influenced by Laski, as well as official records and personal letters. Analysis of individuals and their networks is located in the cultural, political and social context in which those people lived. Through public engagement, this project will also stimulate interest in, and engagement with, the study of Laski and the British Left’s influence on China and provide new sources and methods for studying the legal history of China-Britain relations and its contemporary implications.