Newton International Fellowship Awards 2008

Funded by

Funding Source: Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Core and Core +.

Dr Saskia Roselaar  -  Dutch

Conquest and integration in the Roman Republic

NF080309            University of Manchester             £88,290.76

The subject of the integration of minorities and subordinate groups into a dominant society is a topic of much interest in contemporary society. This was no different in the Roman Republic (c. 500 - 27 BC). In this period the Romans gradually conquered the Italian peninsula, which had important consequences for the original population of the conquered territories. It is often assumed that the Romans completely dominated the landscape from the moment of conquest. The indigenous population is thought to have been exterminated or expelled from their lands; those who were allowed to remain were deprived of political independence and quickly adopted the language, culture and religion of the dominant Romans. However, the Roman world Empire in the first centuries AD (27 BC – c. 300 AD) was a multi-ethnic society, which united countless different peoples, each with their own linguistic and cultural characteristics, under the aegis of the Romans. The roots of this inclusivity are likely to be found in the Roman conquest of Italy in the republican period; recently, therefore, the traditional view of Roman dominance in Italy has been called into question. Some have argued that the physical elimination and expulsion of defeated groups was uncommon, and that Italy under Roman rule was a very diverse landscape, in which indigenous groups retained a large measure of political and cultural independence (Mouritsen 1998). However, many questions remain with respect to the political, economic and cultural integration of the Italian peoples into the Roman state. In the proposed project I will study the integration of Italian peoples into the Roman state, in particular their political incorporation. I will investigate the various ways in which the Romans could incorporate indigenous groups into the political framework of the Roman state and the level of autonomy enjoyed by these groups. By looking at the rights the Romans were prepared to give the Italians, it will be possible to shed light on the concept of political identity in the Roman Republic as it was envisaged by Romans and Italians.

Dr Shin-Sook Kim  -  South Korean

Negation, Scope, and Negative Polarity Items in Korean

NF081293            School of Oriental and African Studies    £95,773.72

In the monograph I will present a comprehensive overview of the expressions of negation, and then discuss their syntax and interpretation with respect to other quantifiers, especially those which give rise to intervention effects, as well as interactions with focus, modification by 'almost', and deontic and epistemic interpretations of modal constructions. There is currently no work of this kind on Korean syntax and semantics. My goal are to provide a resource for future theoretical research which involves Korean negation, and also to further develop my own ideas about the intervention effects. There are very few, if any, theoretically-informed presentations of Korean syntax and semantics; theoretical linguists who do not know the language typically find that there are many mysteries, or they have misconceptions about the language. In fact, my work to date has suggested that, in the area of negation, Korean is much more different from German and English than scholars working on those languages had assumed, based on limited evidence.

Dr Andrey Shcherbenok  -  Russian

Soviet Past as the Traumatic Object of Contemporary Russian Culture

NF081326            University of Sheffield   £99,872.94

The project will analyze contemporary Russian relationship with the Soviet past by carefully considering the fact that this past is not yet passé. As Evgeny Dobrenko argues in his "Utopias of Return" (Russica Romana. Vol. XI. 2004: 33-44), Russian culture is suspended between the past traumatic experience, which it has not yet worked through, and the still unborn myth of the new nation. This dependence on the unaccounted past is by no means unique for Russian history: Soviet civilization itself, as Dr. Shcherbenok maintains in his current research project "Trauma and Ideology in the Soviet Cinema of 1929 - 1945," was predicated on the traumatic experiences of the past. What is different, however, is that Soviet ideology found effective ways to appropriate past traumas – the ability it gradually lost after Stalin's death. In contemporary Russia, the Soviet past remains largely unappropriated, despite the fact that it plays the role of a structural center of Russian historical self-perception.

Dr Samu Niskanen  -  Finnish

A critical edition of St Anselm's letters

NF080445            University of Oxford       £96,829.30

St Anselm (d. 1109) is the most interesting theologian and philosopher of his time and the subject of huge current interest. For example, his ontological argument for the existence of God and his view on redemption, which western Christendom has adopted as its dogma, have remained standard subjects of academic discussion ever since his own times. In many respects, Anselm’s career summarizes the key intellectual, religious and political developments of high medieval Europe. Anselm was an Italian who led a reformist monastic community in Normandy before his translation to become archbishop of Canterbury in England, where he was a dynamic representative of the new papal claims for the freedom of the Church from the control of lay rulers. His networks extended from England to Italy and from France to Germany, and his correspondents included ecclesiastical and secular rulers of the highest ranks, as well as monks and laymen of whom we know only their names. His chief opponents were the Anglo-Norman kings William II and Henry I, and his archive has preserved royal letters from their disputes. Anselm’s letter collection, comprising more than 400 letters, encapsulates the man. The letters are an important witness to his mind in a historical context, illuminating his monastic teaching, intellectual development and his position in the disputes between king and pope. The aim of the project is to publish a new critical edition of Saint Anselm’s letters. An ideal vehicle for publication would be Oxford Medieval Texts.

Dr Vivien Prigent  -  French

Estimation of the gold coin output of the Byzantine Sicilian mint from the 7th to the 9th century.

NF080910            University of Oxford       £87,182.02

In the early Middle Ages the West experienced a crisis of its monetary economy. The magnitude and the chronology of this phenomenon raises numerous problems, since we are unable to establish reliable statistics for coin production. In Italy, the problem assumes a peculiar aspect. The peninsula was divided into three distinct zones. The Byzantine dominions, which shared with the rest of the Empire a strong monetary economy. The regions recently emancipated from Byzantium, like Rome, heirs to this monetary tradition, but unable to uphold it. The Lombard territories, where the strength of the monetary economy is the most difficult to assess. The overall situation was the sum of interactions between these zones. Measuring the exact degree of homogeneity of their respective economies might allow us to better understand the intensity of daily contacts between regions of Roman and Germanic traditions, a key to assessing the process of reciprocal acculturation. This would be a first step towards a wider set of generalisations about the changing role of monetisation in the early medieval economy; Italy is, as a boundary area, perhaps the most important vantage-point for this.

Dr Chiara Franceschini  -  Italian

On the edges: the unchristened dead and their fate in the Western tradition

NF081017            School of Advanced Study            £67,544.51

This study proposes to investigate how late medieval and early modern christian people have understood such crucial questions about salvation, how they talked about them and reacted to them, and how this concern could have affected relations between intellectual development, religious authority and common beliefs and influenced notions about the fate of the dead (until the decline of hell studied by D. P. Walker). Continuing the interdisciplinary approach of my PhD thesis, I will be looking at archival documents (private and institutional, e.g. inquisitorial ones), normative sources, theological and religious texts, literary works, as well as material evidence (e.g. burials) and works of art. I will utilize tools and techniques provided by the relevant disciplines (history of religion and theology, history of images and texts, social history, historical anthropology), crossing their boundaries to obtain an insight as close as possible to the specific contexts and problems examined.

Dr Martina Viarengo  -  Italian

“School Size and Students’ Performance: an International Perspective”

NF080961            London School of Economics and Political Science             £97,151.76

The aim of the project is to understand what is the size of secondary school that maximizes students’ performance. Moreover, the objective is to understand whether different subgroups would perform better in specific academic environments. In order to do this, the aim is to carry out an international comparison, develop theoretical models and draw policy implications. Methods-plans for carrying out the work The research will be developed in four papers suitable for publication along four main lines: 1) Impact of school size on students’ performance The question addressed in this paper will be: does school size make a measurable difference in the quality of education and student achievement? The focus of this study will be an international comparison, approximately forty countries will be studied. International datasets will be used: PISA2000, PISA2003, PISA2006, TIMSS1995, TIMSS1999, TIMSS2003 and TIMSS2007. The methodology used will include both parametric and non-parametric analysis. 2) Impact of school size on students’ performance by focusing on specific subgroups of the population The focus of the analysis here will be on understanding what are the conditions that maximize schooling performance of specific groups such as at-risk students, students of various ethnic groups and disadvantaged socio-economic background. Again, the perspective will be international and the datasets used will be the same as above. Parametric and non-parametric techniques involving specifications of distribution dynamics will be used. 3) Mechanisms through which school size affects students’ performance The perspective of this paper will remain international as before and the same datasets will be used but the focus of the analysis will be on specific aspects related to students and teachers who appear to be the main agents involved in the schooling process. First, the relationship between school size and dropout as well as absence will be investigated. After, students’ attitudes towards school and the perception they have of the schooling environment will be examined by using the students’ questionnaire available in each of the international surveys. On the other hand, the teachers’ questionnaire will be used to understand what is the relationship between school size and teachers’ engagement. That is, factors like teacher perceptions of their over the class, over school policies and normative cohesion will be investigated. Different methodological approaches will be used to examine these issues. 4) Impact of school size on students’ performance in different types of secondary schools The aim of this study is to develop an understanding on whether the optimal school size varies according to the type of institution. The focus will be on the UK and the US only due to data availability

Dr Chiara Letizia  -  Italian

Religious Change in Nepal

NF080329            University of Oxford       £97,371.62

The research should contribute to a deeper understanding of religious change at a time of thorough political change. At a time when most attention is being given to constitution writing and political conflict, it will be very valuable to document religious change at the local level. The Tarai districts where the ethnographic research will concentrate are among the least-studied parts of Nepal and are now experiencing acute cultural and political conflict. Thus, in addition to contributing to debates about religion and politics and to the ethnographic record, this research should also have useful implications for policy-makers in the Nepalese capital as well.

Dr Katrien Pype  -  Belgian

Presidential Propaganda on Kinshasa's Television Screens. An Exploration into Politics and Media in DRCongo (2009-2010).

NF080432            University of Birmingham             £99,630.00

The proposed research explores the role of media in the construction of political leadership in Kinshasa, Congo’s capital city. Since the country’s first democratic elections in 2006, the national government and civil society are facing the daunting task of installing a democratic regime. An examination of the president’s media politics is of utmost importance to understand whether Congo is really heading toward a democratic future or not. The project will study President Kabila’s experiments of persuasion in state run media and the leader’s private channel. Special attention will be paid to the president’s self-representation and that of the country's previous leaders, which will occupy an important role in local media events in 2010, when Congo’s 50th anniversary of independence will be celebrated. The project, located at the intersection of political anthropology and the study of African popular culture, combines the two main theoretical interests that direct teaching and research at the Centre of West African Studies (CWAS). As other sub-Saharan African countries like Burundi, Liberia, Nigeria, Kenya and Zimbabwe are also faced with the challenge of constructing democratic regimes, the research will offer valuable data for comparative investigation.

Dr Dariusz Gafijczuk  -  Canadian

The Ruins of Mitteleuropa: An Investigation into the Cultural Blueprints of the Centre

NF080473            University of Lancaster  £99,717.03

The proposed course of research will look at the Central European context from the perspective of its recent cultural history (around 1900 until the present). The attempt will be made to derive a paradigm of identity construction that can be effectively applied to help assess the current state of the European project of integration. The idea, methodologically speaking, behind such a focus then and now, is to ‘learn something about a moment of history by thinking about a sample of its music’ (Kramer, 2005) and artistic culture in general. Music has been especially underestimated and under-researched as a source of historical knowledge that can alter out understanding of larger social forces. I have already shown the effectiveness of approaching cultural history and its overarching logic through the analysis of musical innovations at the turn of the 20th century in my doctoral dissertation. Now I propose to extend this reasoning further.

Dr Xiaobo Zhai  -  Chinese

Greatest Happiness, Democracy and Tyranny of Majority:The Normative and Institutional Structure of Jeremy Bentham’s Constitutional Theory

NF080114            University College London            £100,080.00

To write three papers on the following three topics: a detailed analysis and criticism of Marx’s parody of Bentham, and hence to provide a faithful account of Bentham’s theory of utility; to formulate Bentham’s response to J.S.Mill’s criticism concerning the tyranny of the majority, and thereby provide a coherent interpretation of Bentham’s constitutional theory; to make a comparative study of Bentham’s and Dicey’s constitutional theories, through which I will reveal the complex intellectual relationship between these two thinkers in the field of constitutional theory. To translate P. Schofield’s Utility and Democracy: The Political Thought of Jeremy Bentham and a collection of Bentham’s most important constitutional writings into Chinese and publish them.

Dr Jie Sui  -  Chinese

Cultural Contributions to the Neural Mechanisms of Self-Face Perception

NF080131            University of Birmingham             £100,080.00

The primary objective of the project will be to determine the effects of cultural influence on neural mechanisms of self perception. This will be done by using converging, inter-disciplinary evidence from ERP, fMRI and neuropsychological studies under conditions where judgements are made to images of participants’ own faces and to faces of familiar others. Based on prior studies (Sui et al., 2007; Sui et al., submitted), it is predicted that medial frontal cortex will be modulated by the effects culture, and different activation levels will be found there in Western and Eastern (Chinese) participants in the self vs. other face contrast. Moreover, in Western participants, this self bias will occur even when the faces are unattended, while lesions to this region will eliminate the self advantage.

Dr Vicki Sentas  -  Australian

Securing Nations: Policing Terrorist Organization Offences in the United Kingdom and Australia

NF080128            King's College London    £106,983.86

This project explores how the policing of diaspora communities associated with organizations designated 'terrorist' criminalizes connections with countries of origin, creating new ‘suspect communities’. ‘Terrorist organization’ laws in both the United Kingdom and Australia are a major part of domestic counter terrorism efforts post 9/11. Designation as a terrorist organization criminalizes political, emotional and financial support for non state actors in armed conflicts regardless of whether those conflicts are governed by the law of armed conflict and international humanitarian law. Criminalization does not require that connection threaten domestic security. In both nations the policing of terrorist organization offences relate primarily to civil armed conflicts which do not pose a direct threat to domestic security.

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