Mid-Career Fellowship awards 2020
Project Title: Nan Shepherd's Correspondence, 1920-80
Applicant: Dr Kerri Andrews
Organisation: Edge Hill University, Senior Lecturer in English Literature, Department of English, History and Creative Writing
This project will publish for the first time the surviving correspondence of Nan Shepherd (1893-1981), one of the most important Scottish writers of the last century who achieved critical and popular acclaim as a novelist, poet, and nature-writer. She is now the face of the RBS £5 note and her writing is widely celebrated. The letters she sent and received during her life detail some of the most significant moments in her career, including the 1930s, when Shepherd corresponded with writers such as Neil Gunn, Helen Cruickshank, Agnes Mure Mackenzie and Jessie Kesson. The letters, however, also document Shepherd's later and equally important roles as editor, reviewer, and teacher, roles in which she exercised significant cultural influence. This project will make available all 250 surviving letters in a scholarly but readily accessible edition, alongside an imaginative programme of public talks, walks and performances that explore Shepherd's considerable cultural legacy.
Project Title: Computational Counterinsurgency: Digital Labour and Logistical Imperialism in the Vietnam War
Applicant: Dr Oliver Belcher
Organisation: Durham University, Assistant Professor, International Relations & Politics, School of Government and International Affairs
This project critically explores digital technologies developed by IBM and the US military to target social factors of rebellion in the Vietnam War. The Vietnam War was an important turning point because it marked the first time computer technologies were integrated into nearly every facet of the US military apparatus. In the research monograph, *Computational Counterinsurgency*, supported over the course of the Fellowship, I examine the ‘first generation’ of digital labour in southeast Asia (Saigon, Manila, Bangkok) that operated the vast data infrastructure in Vietnam. This work interrogates how the rich texture of Vietnamese village life was turned into a compuational data source for purposes of population control. I challenge conventional histories of computing with unique accounts in the politics of data, such as the student anti-war movements against IBM in the 1960s-70s. Fundamentally, this project discloses how traces of imperial violence continue to persist in our contemporary digital lives.
Project Title: Petr Masherau: From Partisan to Party Leader in Soviet Belarus
Applicant: Dr Natalya Chernyshova
Organisation: University of Winchester, Senior Lecturer in Modern History, Department of History
The Mid-Career Fellowship will enable me to write a biography of Petr Masherau, the charismatic leader of Soviet Belarus from 1965 to 1980. Masherau presided over a period of unprecedented prosperity and stability in the republic, and his sudden death in a car crash in 1980 brought forth an outpouring of national grief as well as rumours of Moscow’s involvement. His memory proved remarkably enduring. My project offers the first scholarly biography of Masherau and, through his life and leadership, the first detailed exploration of late-socialist Belarus, an important borderland republic of the Soviet Union. Focusing on this under-researched ethnic periphery, my study illuminates how it responded to Moscow’s twin projects of building socialism and maintaining an empire. My book will contribute a completely new case study to the scholarship on colonialism, national identity, ethnic minorities, and modernity that would enhance our understanding of a strategically important region today.
Project Title: Thinking for Ourselves: Freedom in Believing and Social Norms for Belief
Applicant: Professor Matthew Chrisman
Organisation: University of Edinburgh, Professor of Ethics and Epistemology, School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences
The polarisation of public opinion is making discussion of contentious issues increasingly resistant to evidence-based debate. This project aims to improve understanding of how our beliefs are formed and contribute to wider agreement of standards for constructive contribution to public debate. I will complete a book articulating and motivating a novel philosophical theory of freedom of belief and norms for belief. In contrast to metaphysical theories of free belief and individualistic theories of norms for belief, my theory is based in political conceptions of free citizenry and focussed on social norms for promoting common knowledge and mutual understanding through democratic deliberation. I believe these two ideas can be joined in a way that not only grounds an attractive philosophical theory but also informs and motivates important civic outreach efforts, which are part of my ongoing work with the Young Academy of Scotland to create a charter for responsible public debate.
Project Title: Navigating the legal landscape on ‘modern slavery’: a socio-legal investigation into the role of lawyers who represent victims of trafficking
Applicant: Dr Samantha Currie
Organisation: University of Liverpool, Senior Lecturer in Law, School of Law and Social Justice
This socio-legal project will focus on the role and impact of lawyers who represent victims of trafficking (VoTs). It will provide a unique perspective on the role that lawyers play in navigating legal frameworks on behalf of their clients in order to seek formal recognition as a VoT or a right to remain in the UK. The focus on the lawyer-client relationship in this context will provide a lens through which to understand the significance of legal representation within the nexus of the immigration-VoT identification systems, but also to the relationship that VoTs, and their lawyers, have with the UK’s legal and decision-making frameworks linked to modern slavery. It will make an accessible and original contribution to public knowledge by highlighting how the current system has impacted on the approach lawyers take when attempting to obtain access to justice for their clients.
Project Title: Book Empires: British Publishing in Africa, 1900-1965
Applicant: Dr Caroline Davis
Organisation: Oxford Brookes University, Senior Lecturer in Publishing, School of Arts
The book trade was a hidden but crucial aspect of the British colonial enterprise in Africa. My monograph will open a new field of research by uncovering previously unexplored archival records that reveal the alliances between British publishers and the colonial governments, and demonstrate their role in supporting British imperial interests. It also sheds light on British publishers' collaboration with South African governments in the establishment of a racially-segregated book culture, especially in the institution of Bantu education during the apartheid period. This is the first study to map the networks of British colonial publishing in Africa and to address in depth the cultural, political and commercial significance of this transnational book trade. The impact of the monograph and accompanying digital resources will be enhanced by public engagement activities - a virtual network, symposium, seminar series and literary festival panel - that assess the implications of this historical legacy.
Project Title: The good connections. A network analysis of organised crime, patronage, and local elites.
Applicant: Dr Giuseppe De Feo
Organisation: University of Leicester, Associate Professor of Economics, School of Business, Economics Division
The ability of criminal organisations to establish the right connections is at the heart of their power, allowing them to infiltrate formal institutions, survive prosecution and make profits.
This project will study the interaction between criminal organisations and the wider society by analysing the connections between mafia members and the social, political and economic elites in Sicily using a novel dataset recovered from the 1960s.
Our aims are:
This project will provide a new approach to the analysis of the complex relationship between criminal organisations and the wider society, and a valuable deeper understanding of why criminal organizations become endemic and difficult to eradicate.
Project Title: Neil MacCormick: A Scottish Jurisprudence
Applicant: Professor Maksymilian Del Mar
Organisation: Queen Mary University of London, Professor of Legal Theory, Department of Law
The proposed research will culminate in the first monograph on the thought and political life of one of the twentieth century's most renowned jurists: Professor Sir Neil MacCormick (1941-2009). The monograph will fill two principal gaps in the literature on MacCormick: first, it will locate MacCormick’s theoretical contribution within a distinct tradition of Scottish jurisprudence, which combined strands of analytical, realist, naturalist and socio-historical theories of law; and second, it will illustrate and analyse the relationship between MacCormick’s theoretical work and his political life, including detailing the extent of MacCormick’s contribution to politics in Scotland and Europe. In filling these gaps in the literature, the monograph will provide a sympathetically critical account of a jurist who offered, both in his theoretical and in his political interventions, an alternative political imaginary, eg of Europe as a post-sovereign commonwealth.
Project Title: Gambling and gaming: to what extent are digital ‘loot boxes’ associated with problematic behaviours and poor mental health?
Applicant: Dr Peter Etchells
Organisation: Bath Spa University, Reader in Psychology and Science Communication, School of Science
As video games have become more ubiquitous, recently concerns have developed around the ways that some games implement monetisation mechanisms that may act as a gateway for problematic habits to develop. Loot boxes are one mechanism in particular which have come under recent scrutiny in the UK and abroad, as there is emerging evidence that there are correlations between player purchase behaviour and potential gambling issues. To date though, we don’t have a clear understanding of the precise impact that such game mechanisms have on wellbeing. The aim of this project is twofold. First, a study will explore the relationships between the types of games that individuals play, to what extent they spend money in-game, and the impact this has on their wellbeing. Second, a targeted plan of public engagement activities will be developed to communicate the project findings, and couch these within wider public discussions about video game effects.
Project Title: The Printing and Publishing of James Shirley’s plays, 1629-1659.
Applicant: Dr Teresa Grant
Organisation: University of Warwick, Associate Professor in Renaissance Theatre, English and Comparative Literary Studies
This research project will conduct a visual survey, bibliographical description and stop-press collation (using transparency overlays) of all 113 exemplars of Shirley available in Cambridge University collections, a concentration of material which offers rich opportunities to compare multiple copies of the same edition side-by-side to determine information about their material construction. This is an important case study in the development of play-text print culture since James Shirley’s early printed works, owing to their extensive survival, can inform our bibliographical understanding in ways that the study of Jonson or Shakespeare simply cannot. The sheer number of his publications across a long sweep of time, the large numbers of surviving copies, Shirley himself steering texts through the press (even while overseas), and evidence of batch publication offer an extraordinary range of data from which to gather new information about the wider culture of publishing early modern drama.
Project Title: Just and Unjust Riots: A Normative Analysis of Militant Protest
Applicant: Dr Jonathan Havercroft
Organisation: University of Southampton, Associate Professor of International Political Thought, Politics and International Relations
Despite excellent work in political theory on the normativity of violence and a vast literature on the causes and consequences of riots, there is very little scholarship that asks when and under what conditions might rioting be justified? My project addresses this gap by analyzing recent high-profile riots in Europe and North America to explore this issue from three angles. 1) What is a riot? How can we distinguish riots from other forms of collective political action such as demonstrations, civil disobedience, and rebellion? 2) How does public discourse around rioting shape public perception of the justifiability of the riot? 3) Can a riot be justified? If yes, then how? The project will generate three scholarly articles, a book monograph proposal, three policy roundtables with policy makers and leaders of civil society groups, three policy briefs, and a module in the University of Southampton Research Roadshow.
Project Title: Precarity and Cultural Form in Contemporary China
Applicant: Dr Margaret Hillenbrand
Organisation: University of Oxford, Associate Professor of Modern Chinese Literature and Culture, China Centre, Faculty of Oriental Studies
“Precarity and Cultural Form in Contemporary China” will be the first scholarly book to investigate precarious life and labour in China, and it views this experience through the prism of the vibrant, often iconoclastic cultural forms which chronic uncertainty is now generating. Its five case studies demonstrate that precarity does not unify, but divide: apprehension over where security, rights, and protection begin and end is fomenting social strife in a nation which has discarded class struggle as its central political banner. Culture is a core space in which this suppressed conflict is surfacing, via a range of emergent forms in which different class interests confront one another. Exploring waste art, suicidal protest movements, poetry from the factory floor, livestreaming apps, and ethically dubious performance art, the book places Chinese experience at the heart of our global understanding of what entrenched precarity does to human lives.
Project Title: Historiography and Historical Consciousness in the Fifteenth-century Ottoman Empire
Applicant: Dr Dimitri Kastritsis
Organisation: University of St Andrews, Lecturer in History, School of History
The rise of the Ottoman Empire took place in the ‘long’ fifteenth century and was a major event in world history. It produced the most important Muslim polity of the early modern era, a state with territory in Asia, Europe and Africa which became the West’s longest-lived Muslim neighbour and foreign ‘Other’. Early modern accounts of the Ottoman Empire and its institutions are extremely widespread, surviving in languages as diverse as Turkish, Persian, Arabic, Greek, Latin and Catalan. However, the fifteenth-century Ottoman historical literature on which they are based has never before been studied as a coherent whole, transcending boundaries between languages and genres. I will compare key texts, including facsimiles of unpublished Turkish and Persian manuscripts, to complete a monograph on the development of early Ottoman historiography. This will shed light on the largely neglected history of the empire’s political and intellectual culture in the fifteenth century.
Project Title: Structural Injustice and Workers' Rights
Applicant: Professor Virginia Mantouvalou
Organisation: UCL, Professor of Human Rights and Labour Law, Faculty of Laws
An increasing number of jobs are precarious, making workers vulnerable to various forms of ill-treatment and exploitation. The UK Government's main approach has been to criminalise the actions of unscrupulous employers who seek to exploit precarious workers. This approach, however, has been ineffective, partly because it ignores the broader socio-economic structures that place workers in conditions of vulnerability. This project develops an alternative solution, seeking to identify structures that force and trap workers in conditions of exploitation. It focuses specifically on what I call ‘state-mediated structural injustice', where legislative schemes that promote otherwise legitimate aims create inadvertent vulnerabilities that force and trap workers in conditions of exploitation. I use examples such as restrictive visa regimes, welfare conditionality programmes, and zero-hour contracts to illustrate the unjust structures. I finally assess whether these legal structures are compatible with human rights law and make proposals for legal reform.
Project Title: Implicit and Explicit Language Attitudes and Accent Discrimination in England: Mapping language attitude change
Applicant: Dr Robert Michael McKenzie
Organisation: Northumbria University, Senior Lecturer in Sociolinguistics, Department of Humanities
People form judgements about others from the way they speak. Thus, language-based biases have profound social consequences for speakers of negatively-evaluated accents, including restricting educational and employment opportunities. However, linguists have traditionally investigated individuals' explicit (conscious) language attitudes, ignoring more deeply-embedded, and enduring, implicit (unconscious) attitudes towards language variation.
This study employs implicit and self-report instruments, adapted from social psychology, to measure 300 English nationals’ implicit and explicit attitudes towards Northern English and Southern English speech. Analysis will uncover any differences between participants’ implicit and explicit language attitudes, evidence of which will indicate the direction of any language attitude change in progress, and identify social groups who may be leading attitude change. The findings will thus determine the current status, and ascertain any changing levels of linguistic discrimination, regarding Northern and Southern English speech in England and help raise public awareness of the prevalence, and negative effects, of language-based prejudice.
Project Title: Intelligence Sharing in Multinational Military Operations: An Analytical Framework
Applicant: Professor Marko Milanovic
Organisation: University of Nottingham, Professor of Public International Law, School of Law
This research project will analyse the international legal aspects of intelligence sharing in multinational military operations. There have been numerous reported instances of such intelligence sharing assisting potentially wrongful conduct, at times on a systematic scale. For example, the United States has provided direct intelligence targeting support for the Saudi airstrikes in Yemen, and numerous states have assisted various actors in the Syrian civil war, including through the provision of intelligence, while being aware of the risk that this intelligence could be misused by its recipients to commit violations of international law. By clarifying the applicable legal framework, the project will assist government lawyers in their efforts to avoid violations of international law and ensure better operational outcomes. The project will also assist civil society activists in their efforts to subject the activities of armed forces to more rigorous scrutiny in various complicity scenarios.
Project Title: Rethinking Political Competition
Applicant: Dr Alfred Moore
Organisation: University of York, Lecturer in Political Theory, Politics
Competition is central to modern democratic politics. Yet the concept of political competition typically merges two contrasting visions of politics: that of politics as a game, and politics as war by other means. The tension between these two views of politics is masked by the common tendency to contrast ‘competitive’ models of democracy, associated with party competition and electoral politics, with ‘cooperative’ or ‘consensualist’ models of democracy, associated with public deliberation. This project sets out to reframe competition within democratic theory, showing the hidden tensions within the ways it is currently used in ‘competitive’ accounts of democracy, and the normative potentials of competition within deliberative theories of democracy. This innovative conceptual analysis of political competition will then be applied to the case of online public deliberation in the networked public sphere, where the line between democratically productive competition and democratically destructive conflict is becoming increasingly hard to draw.
Project Title: Greece Above and Below Ground on the Eve of Revolution: Travel and Archaeology through the papers of Thomas Burgon (1787-1858)
Applicant: Dr Alexia Petsalis-Diomidis
Organisation: University of St Andrews, Lecturer in Classics, School of Classics
Thomas Burgon (1787-1858) travelled, excavated and collected antiquities in Greece. Following bankruptcy he sold his important collection to the British Museum. My monograph will analyse and publish for the first time Burgon’s travel journal (until now considered lost), his excavation log and a selection of his beautiful and innovative archaeological drawings, currently scattered in various archives. These rich and little known sources will open the door to (1) data about the contents and layout of c.50 Classical Athenian graves and knowledge of C19th excavation practices (2) a deeper understanding of the relationship between travel writing and contemporary images, and (3) a reassessment of the Grand Tour and antiquities collecting by giving voice to hitherto marginalised local communities. My public engagement strategy includes an exhibition in the Ashmolean Museum, an open-access digital archive of Burgon’s drawings and collection, and a conference and public lecture at the British School at Athens.
Project Title: Vanished: Episodes in the History of Extinction from the Mastodon to Extinction Rebellion
Applicant: Dr Sadiah Qureshi
Organisation: University of Birmingham, Senior Lecturer in Modern History, Department of History
Vanished is the first history of extinction that explores biological, human and cultural extinction together. During the fellowship, I will draw together transcontinental archival research using an array of sources from government records to activist writing, to reveal why animals, plants, fossils, ancient humans, modern Indigenous peoples, languages and cultures have all been characterized as extinct. This will challenge current histories of extinction that usually divorce discussions of human and cultural extinction from broader discussions of biological species loss. As Extinction Rebellion activists demand action to stem climate change and species loss, this project directly contributes to the debate over whether humans are now living through the sixth mass extinction of species and how we should respond. It will also be delivered leading up to the 60th anniversary of the first published Red Lists of endangered species by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) in 2021.
Project Title: Irregular Migration, Legal Indeterminacy, and the Ethics of Destination in the Post-Soviet Space
Applicant: Dr Madeleine Reeves
Organisation: University of Manchester, Senior Lecturer in Social Anthropology, Social Anthropology, School of Social Sciences
Irregular migration has become a topic of considerable public debate, yet comparatively little is known about the ways that the anticipation and experience of legal uncertainty become entangled with family aspirations, negotiations of risk, and expectations of return. This project, drawing on long-term ethnographic research in Kyrgyzstan and Russia, offers the first extensive examination of migrants’ reasoning about the ethical and economic demands of irregularity (Russian: 'nelegal'nost'). Through an ethnography of migrants’ practices of everyday legal navigation between places of departure and destination, the project provides a ground-up perspective on the contemporary Russian migration regime and the administrative loopholes that derive from disjunctures between provincial and federal regulation. In so doing, it develops a broader argument about risk, uncertainty and the ethics of destination in contemporary migration regimes. The project will result in a 10-episode, public-oriented podcast series on ‘moralities of migration' and a research monograph for an academic press.
Project Title: From Unilateral to Collective Action: Collaborating for Worker Safety in Global Supply Chains
Applicant: Professor Juliane Reinecke
Organisation: King's College London, Professor of International Management & Sustainability, King's Business School
A globalised economy raises the challenge of securing labour rights across borders. Disasters such as the 2013 Rana Plaza factory collapse confront companies with their failure to unilaterally safeguard workers through auditing their supply chains, and point to the need for collaboration and collective action.
To understand the move from unilateral to collective action, I examined how a global, co-regulatory institution emerged in response to Rana Plaza: the Bangladesh Accord for Fire and Building Safety (“Accord”). This research is the first to provide rigorous empirical evidence for the mechanisms that have enabled collective action among >200 industry competitors and labour unions to address the seemingly intractable problem of worker safety. The Fellowship will enable me to a) complete this research, b) prepare high-quality research outputs, and c) organize engagement events for industry decision-makers as well as the wider public without which the research findings may go unnoticed.
Project Title: Using the development of self to understand and ameliorate the perceived loss of self in Dementia
Applicant: Dr Josephine Ross
Organisation: University of Dundee, Senior Lecturer, Psychology, School of Social Sciences
Around 1 in 3 people born this year will suffer from dementia in their lifetime. People with dementia may appear to forget ‘who they are’, illustrating the close link between self and memory. However, having a body entails some sense of self. From birth, humans are capable of intentionally moving their bodies to meet goals (e.g. moving fingers to mouth, smiling at a caregiver). This experience of ‘agency’ provides the foundation to connect with other people, and for higher level self-awareness, such as self-recognition and autobiographical memory. The proposed research builds on established knowledge about the development of self and memory to measure whether our experience of self in dementia declines in the reverse order of development, moving from higher to lower level self-awareness. If this were the case, interventions aimed at supporting agency could maintain connections between people in late stage dementia, when the person may otherwise feel lost.
Project Title: Embodied Doctrine: Finding a Universal Language for the Divine in the Fourth Century CE.
Applicant: Dr Isabella Sandwell
Organisation: University of Bristol, Senior Lecturer in Ancient History, Classics and Ancient History (Humanities)
In recent decades the cognitive science of religion has developed models for explaining why some religious ideas are more 'contagious' and so more widespread in human populations than others. My project is new in its use of these approaches to explore why the creed formulated at the council of Nicaea in CE 325 was established as orthodox in CE 381 and so why Nicaean Christianity went on to be of worldwide significance. Using the case study of Gregory of Nyssa's Against Eunomius, it will explore how supporters of Nicaea used the analogies of 'father,' 'son' and 'begetting' to present the Trinity in ways that made it a better fit with human minds and so more successful, because more easily understood and communicated by people from different educational and faith backgrounds. It will also explore the implications of this research for interfaith dialogue and the Church in the modern context.
Project Title: Feminism is trending: digital feminist activism, labour and subjectivity
Applicant: Dr Christina Scharff
Organisation: King's College London, Reader in Gender, Media and Culture, Culture, Media and Creative Industries
The Western world is witnessing a resurgence of feminist activism, which increasingly takes place in digital spaces. This project investigates activists’ experiences of conducting feminism ‘online’ by adopting a new perspective that explores the kinds of selves that digital feminists are encouraged to perform. The study is informed by existing research on women working in the digital economy. This body of work has shown that social media platforms tend to reward empowered, entrepreneurial and self-branding personas, thus calling forth so-called ‘neoliberal’ modes of selfhood. By focusing on the kinds of selves that are cultivated
when engaging in digital feminism, this study explores the extent to which this activism is aligned with and/or subverts neoliberal modes of selfhood. The study’s findings will be communicated to academic and non-academic audiences and disseminated through three journal articles, two conference presentations, two public events and a detailed media strategy.
Project Title: Mercantile Humanism: Knowledge-Making in Early Modern Britain
Applicant: Dr Angus Vine
Organisation: University of Stirling, Lecturer in Early Modern Literature, Division of Literature and Languages, Faculty of Arts and Humanities
Merchants were essential to the literary economy of 16th- and 17th-century Britain as producers, patrons, consumers and collectors. Yet today their literary and cultural agency is almost entirely unknown. Drawing on print and manuscript culture, as well as extensive and unexplored archival sources, this project recovers that agency and reinstates the merchantry to its central place in the history of early modern knowledge-making. While its approach is historicist, the research engages with issues of education (academic specialization, practical knowledge, vocational learning, humanism) that continue to resonate today. Working with teachers and theatre directors, and culminating in both a monograph and a series of articles
and events for a wider audience, the project will in this way offer both a ground-breaking account of knowledge production in the early modern world, and a timely and original contribution to public debates about the value of the humanities and human learning.
Project Title: A new framework to study and quantify the effect of economic policies
Applicant: Professor Francesco Zanetti
Organisation: University of Oxford, Associate Professor, Department of Economics
Governments and central banks around the world use fiscal and monetary policies to stabilize the economy and foster growth. Expansionary fiscal and monetary policies are considered primary tools to stimulate output in recessions, while contractionary policies are used to prevent overheating of the economy and avert the rise in inflation that is detrimental to growth. Recent studies challenge this common perception, and show that the effect of economic policies changes over the business cycle. Despite the large and contrasting evidence, there is no theory to explain the changes in the effect and interactions of fiscal and monetary policies, which are essential for the effectiveness of economic policy.
This project will develop a new framework to study and empirically quantify the change and interactions in the effect of economic policies. Our theory and empirical findings will improve the understanding on the effect of important economic policies and provide guidance to policymakers.