Newton International Fellowship Awards 2010

Funded by

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

Dr Aglae Pizzone  -  Italian

When Homer Met Phantasia: Epic Poetry and Entertainment Literature in Byzantium

NF100184            University of Durham     £101,750.00

This project investigates the Byzantine concept of phantasia by looking at the reception of Homeric poetry and the development of entertainment literature between the 10th and the 14th century. The rise of fictional literature transformed the way in which Homer was read. Conversely, Homeric epic influenced the development of a Byzantine literature of entertainment. This project argues that the reception of Homer and the development of entertainment literature led to new conceptions of fiction, and of authorship. Respect for ancient authority was crucial to Byzantine notions of authorship, as was the avoidance of innovation, often characterised as sinful. Thus Homer was thought to have imitated the works of a mysterious Egyptian lady Phantasia who had first written about the Trojan War and the return of Odysseus. Behind this story of Phantasia, however, the Byzantine reader could conceptualise the poet's own ability to create a fictional reality.

Dr Santitham Prom-on  -  Thai

Modelling speech prosody based on communicative function and articulatory dynamics

NF090488            University College London            £98,514.01

Prosody is an important aspect of speech that contributes to expressiveness and intelligibility of the speech. Quantitative modeling of speech prosody is a key in the advancement of speech science and technology. Based on a previous successful research collaboration, the proposed research will be a major systematic effort to develop an “articulatory-functional” quantitative model of speech prosody and integrate into it meaningful communicative functions. The project has three overall objectives: 1) to further develop the qTA model, 2) to conduct a comprehensive test of the developed model and investigate the form of communicative functions in two major languages (English and Mandarin), and 3) to develop a general-purpose prosody research tool based on the developed model. The outcome of this research will facilitate the research and development of speech science and technology, and enhance the applicability of practical systems that make use of prosodic models.

Dr Igor Gutierrez-Zugasti  -  Spanish

Climatic change and coastal settlement in Northern Spain during the Pleistocene-Holocene transition

NF100413            University of York             £105,937.36

The research project aims to determine the climate changes that have occurred over a period of 30,000 years in the Prehistory of Northern Spain, through the analysis of the oxygen stable isotopes contained in modern and archaeological limpet specimens. The same analyses can also be used to determine the date of death of the limpets, which is equally the date when the limpets were gathered, and in this way information will be obtained about the exploitation pattern of these resources and the changes they underwent over time. Various debates have appeared in the regional literature about these two aspects, and the project will attempt to resolve: 1) whether settlements patterns underwent changes in time, and 2) if the subsistence strategies followed by human groups changed, what role the climate and its variations played in those changes.

Dr Marek Jankowiak  -  Polish

The Oriental Trade between the Muslim lands and Northern Europe in the 9th and 10th Centuries

NF100188            University of Oxford       £104,056.03

The outcome of my research project will be the first monographic study of the network of commercial exchanges that linked the Arab and Byzantine worlds with Northern Europe in the 9th and 10th centuries. I will show that this trade system triggered deep social and economic changes in the Slavic lands which led to the sudden emergence of states. Given the lack of written sources, the precise mechanisms of this major development in European history remain unknown. They can, however, be elucidated thanks to the reinterpretation of the archaeological evidence, based on progress in dendrochronology, and of the hoards of Muslim coins, found in huge numbers in Scandinavia, Russia and Poland. This in turn requires an excellent numismatic background and knowledge of economic systems that produced the coins. The NIF will allow me to acquire this rare knowledge and thus to contribute to elucidating what is still one of the most obscure areas in Medieval Studies: the shaping of Central Europe.

Dr Anna Pegoretti  -  Italian

Franciscan Florentine Culture in the Age of Dante

NF100256            University of Leeds          £80,633.72

The project aims to re-evaluate a central dimension in the religious thought of Dante Alighieri: his response to the Franciscan movement, one of the most powerful forces shaping medieval Christianity. In particular, it will do so by focusing on a crucial environment for the poet's intellectual growth, the Florentine Franciscan convent of Santa Croce during the second half of the thirteenth century. The research will deal with a large amount of manuscripts and documents, and will be enriched by a significant body of recent scholarship which has largely remained unconnected with studies into Dante. A further step will consist in studying the development of some topics, mental schemes and symbols typically Franciscans whose influence on Dante has been never analysed thoroughly. Because of its interdisciplinary character, the research aims to reach significant improvements in Dante studies as well as in medieval studies on a crucial environment of the late Middle Ages.

Dr Yan Yun  -  Chinese

Household Wealth of the Elite Families in Qing China: Life and Material Culture

NF100003            University of Oxford       £102,293.36

This study fastens its attention upon the household wealth of the elite families in Qing China. Although Qing dynasty is generally regarded as a better studied and understood period of Chinese history and the important role of the elites in late traditional China has been paid high attention to in Chinese history studies, existing knowledge on their wealth is still far from adequate. Moreover, household wealth is a mirror, through which the image of material life and hence the culture behind, as well as the social economic changes at that time can be reflected. This research aims, by employing precious records on household properties from Qing official archives, to provide a general account of household wealth of the elite families in Qing China and explore the life and material culture behind.

Dr Khadija Carroll  -  Australian

Visual and Verbal Taxonomy from Object Collections from the British Colonies

NF090668            University of Cambridge                                £107,750.00

This investigation of visual and verbal taxonomy from object collections from the British colonies reveals how indigenous environmental knowledge and indigenous cultural classifications frequently found expression in the field records of natural historians and the artists they employed in the nineteenth century. These ideas remain present in a number of UK archives of their drawings, but were generally excluded, as the information was incorporated into metropolitan systems. This project is dedicated to the retrieval and interpretation of knowledge of this kind, from ethnographic and natural historical collections gathered in southeastern Australia. By reviewing visual, artifactual, and archival sources historical anthropology and ethnozoology is for the first time brought to bear on the conceptual question of classification. Over two years I would research and write a book, run seminars, and launch a database that I would be maintained and expanded during the alumni program.

Dr Ghulam Nadri  -  Indian

The Political Economy of the Indigo Industry and Trade in South Asia, 1500-1900

NF100610            London School of Economics & Political Science  £103,516.40

This research project aims to study the history of indigo as a source of natural dye in South Asia from the sixteenth to the end of the nineteenth century. It examines the aspects of indigo production and trade and evaluates the role that this played in the region’s pre-colonial and colonial economy. This study analyses the ups and downs in indigo production and trade during this long period and shows how this commodity and the fortunes of those involved in the industry and trade in South Asia were tied with the demand in Europe and with its production elsewhere. The technique and technology of production, organisation of labour and the involvement of merchants and capital in indigo processing in pre-colonial period are examined and compared with those of the colonial period. This study draws heavily on primary archival sources including the records of the European East India Companies preserved in the British Library and the national archives in The Netherlands and India.

Dr Ronald Jennings  -  American

Global Subjects: Legal Anthropology in the Age of Cosmopolitan Law

NF100488            London School of Economics & Political Science  £107,750.00

The proposed project would involve the applicant – an anthropologist and former international human rights lawyer – extending the scope of his previous interdisciplinary dissertation research (sited at the Yugoslavia Tribunal) on the question of whether the globalization of the modern conceptualization of law is compatible with the maintenance of cultural or legal diversity to the impending first trials of the International Criminal Court (esp. the first defendant, the Congolese warlord Thomas Lubanga). It would also offer the opportunity to publish work based on this previous research while it is still most timely, as well as providing the applicant and sponsor the opportunity to create a program (to include a lecture series and a major conference) scheduled to correspond with the first trials at the ICC. A second element would create an agenda to use the ICC to raise the importance of anthropological perspectives for the global era and the possibilities for a global legal anthropology.

Dr Bruno Perreau  -  French

What’s a Family? Social Work and Gay Adoption in France and in the United-Kingdom

NF100835            University of Cambridge                                £107,750.00

Although it is the site of many interventions by the state, the family is usually considered to be a private space. Most social workers who deal with adoption implicitly subscribe to this worldview, insofar as they derive some authority from this distinction. I offer a comparative study of local authorities and voluntary adoption agencies in France and in the United-Kingdom. To what extent does the distinction between public and private spheres frame their decisions? I will ask this through an analysis of gender norms. In particular, I will study the administrative treatment of gay applicants. Though gay and lesbian rights are not equivalent in France and in the United-Kingdom, my hypothesis is that, in both countries, the heterosexual parental couple is being promoted as a model. I will examine the vocabulary most typically used by the social workers (as well as the literature they read), which makes it possible to analyze gender norms as a genuine instrument of public policy.

Dr Paul Ugor  -  Nigerian

Reconstructing Identities in Precarious Times: Youth and the Politics of Culture in Nigeria

NF090619            University of Birmingham             £107,750.00

In recent years, the entire African continent has witnessed a sudden explosion of youth in both the public and domestic realms. Whether it be the violent activities of militant youth in the Niger Delta in Nigeria or the criminal acts of piracy by Somali youth, there is a certain sense that the African youth are now a lost generation. But it will be a serious error of judgement, some scholars argue, to deny African youth intentionality of action and agency, as has so often happened in Africanists discourses (Abbink 2005). While difficult political, economic and social conditions persists across the entire continent, Africa’s youth are finding new and ingenious ways of making sense of their own lives, those of their families, and communities at large. These new cultural processes amongst marginalized youth in three different cities in Nigeria are the primary concern of my postdoctoral research.

Dr Junshan Zhou  -  Chinese

Comparison of the Elderly Community Care System in China and the United Kingdom

NF090389            University of Sheffield   £79,574.56

It is well known that community care has been well developed in Britain for decades and stories of the success as well as the failure have many implications for understanding the further development of community care not only to the UK. Since the 1970s, community care has become a fashionable word in social care in countries, because of the rapid unprecedented population ageing, and patterns of community care for elderly people in different countries are diverse. But differences in the role of community care between Western and Eastern ideology, between transitional economy and market system have been neglected. This study intends to examine the role of community care in a comparative approach, which aims to find the success and failure, advantages and disadvantages of community care programs, and how to improve community care in the UK and China. The methods designed for this study incorporate both quantitative analysis and in-depth interview.

Dr Joshua Plotnik  -  American

A proximate understanding of cooperative behaviour in corvids and elephants

NF100139            University of Cambridge                                £107,135.00

Although much is known about the evolution of cooperation in animals, very little is known about the underlying psychological processes, especially outside the primate order. What does one cooperator, for instance, know about the need for and actions of its partner? Here, we propose to conduct a comparative study of cooperation in two groups of animals generally thought to possess complex cognitive abilities: elephants (at field sites in Thailand) and corvids (in the lab at Cambridge). Using a paradigm of token exchange in which individuals learn to exchange small objects for food with either experimenters or conspecific partners in various cooperative contexts, we aim to investigate the animals’ understanding of the need for partners and the mechanisms driving cooperative tendencies. This research will provide important insights into the psychological trajectories of two species of socially complex animals, whose evolutionary and neuroanatomical trajectories are markedly different.

Dr Claudio Chiarolla  -  Italian

Intellectual Property Strategies for Low Carbon Technology Research, Development and Diffusion

NF100647            School of Oriental and African Studies    £66,000.00

This project will analyse the impact of intellectual property (IP) rights, in particular patent protection, on existing and proposed mechanisms for the development and transfer of low-carbon energy technologies, including: the Global Environmental Facility, the Clean Development Mechanisms, the Copenhagen Green Climate Fund and the Technology Mechanism foreseen in the Copenhagen Accord. The objective of the study is to identify elements of an improved climate technology framework for the post-2012 climate change regime both within and beyond the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. This project aims to provide a comprehensive analysis and recommendations on how to improve the delivery of appropriate incentives for low carbon innovations to the energy sector and capture their value through relevant IP strategies by comparing energy-technology innovation activities in the private and public sectors with a focus on IP, innovation and technology transfer policies and practices.

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