Newton International Fellowship Awards 2014

Funded by

Funding source: Newton Fund, under the responsibility of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).

The Newton Fund was launched in 2014 and originally consisted of £75 million each year for five years. In the 2015 UK Spending Review, it was agreed to extend and expand the Fund. The Newton Fund was extended from 2019 to 2021 and expanded by doubling the £75 million investment to £150 million by 2021, leading to a £735 million UK investment to 2021, with partner countries providing matched resources within the Fund. These awards are funded by the Newton Fund, which is part of the UK's Official Development Assistance (ODA) commitment.

Dr Marina Puglisi  -  Brazilian

Reducing the risk of language and literacy disorders in pre-schoolers from disadvantaged backgrounds.

NF141010            University of Oxford                              £96,600.00

The main aim of this project is to develop and evaluate the effectiveness of a preschool language intervention program on the language and early literacy outcomes of Brazilian children from disadvantaged backgrounds. Extensive work has shown that children living in underprivileged environments develop poorer language and cognitive skills than children who have the chance to explore enriching environments. Early intervention in contexts of low socioeconomic status is necessary to help change this scenario and reduce the risk of language and literacy disorders in this population. The presented study builds on a preschool program from the UK (Nuffield Language4Reading) that has been proven to be effective in promoting oral language and early literacy skills in English-speaking children with language weaknesses. The program will run for 30 weeks across the two last preschool years (G4 and G5) and will mainly focus on vocabulary, narrative, listening and phonological skills. 

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

Dr Emmanuelle Honore  -  French

Painting the body: Prehistoric cognition of Self and the Other in North African rock art

NF141079            University of Cambridge                        £99,000.00

With an exceptionally high proportion of images of the human body and the social life, North African rock art offers a unique corpus for studying body conception and depiction in Prehistory. Through basic concepts of phenomenal sociology considering self-consciousness as a social phenomenon, my project combines cognitive archaeology and social anthropology for studying how prehistoric painters have represented Self and the Other. For answering this question, I propose to study the specific features used for painting the body, making of each an identity carrier. Inter-group and intra-group differentiation, combination of features and differentiation levels will be specifically investigated. A multi-input analysis grid will help to determine if typification patterns are correlated with economic, chronological, regional or cultural frames. Finally, this project aims at a better understanding of the role played by images in the development of early taken for granted in prehistoric minds.

Dr Giorgia Vocino  -  Italian

The Art of Speech. The episcopal promotion of the trivium in early medieval Italy

NF141025            University of Cambridge                        £81,688.00

In the ancient world, the access to that level of society where decisions were made was not granted to anyone: mastering your speech was the quintessential skill necessary to be listened to, to engage the audience and lead it to accept your argument. Even the balance between holders of power and eloquent speakers could be shifted thanks to the careful use of the art of speech. Learning how to deliver an effective speech was thus a crucial stage in the education of public officers. From late antiquity onwards, the duties and responsibilities of bishops required them to use eloquence and this is mirrored by their interest in the disciplines aimed at the formation of skilled orators. The Art of Speech project will study the episcopal promotion of the so-called trivium by focusing on a region (early medieval northern Italy) that successfully maintained the classical tradition of eloquence. In order to do so it will follow an innovative methodology working both on texts and manuscripts.

Dr Michael Bochnak  -  Canadian

Mapping the depth of crosslinguistic variation in verbal meaning: A case study from Washo

NF140189            University of Manchester                         £58565.33

This project investigates the ways in which languages may differ in how they encode certain aspects of meaning in linguistic elements. Specifically, I investigate how speakers use language to communicate about events in the world and how they are temporally construed through the linguistic categories of aspect and tense. Key contrasts include whether an event is viewed as bounded or extended in time, or whether an event takes place in the past, present, or future, as well as how far into the past or future, relative to the time of utterance. I use data from Washo, an understudied and endangered Native American language, and compare it to more familiar languages like English with respect to temporal reference. The results of this project will inform not only theories on the interpretation of aspect and tense in natural languages, but also theories on the range and limits of cross-linguistic variation.

Dr Irving Goh  -  Singaporean

Pre-Positional Existence, or Perhaps Only a Preposition Can Save Us

NF140584            University of Cambridge                        £83,000.00

This project inquires into the use of the preposition ‘to’ [à] when contemporary French thinkers reflect on how we exist in the world. For Jean-Luc Nancy, existing with others is about ‘being-to’ [être-à]. For Luce Irigaray, interpersonal relations, especially love between beings, is best expressed by the more archaic construction I love to you [j’aime à toi]. Through close readings of French thinkers including Nancy, Irigaray, Derrida, and Badiou, this project argues that the preposition to unhinges the question of existence from fixed, insular terms such as Being or the Subject, which give certain existents illusions of a supposed rationalizing power, if not a privileged position and absolute point of view in the world. This preposition, therefore, potentially furthers the endeavour of affirming others and differences in the world by reopening each existent to a coexistence with others where every difference is commonly shared and respected rather than subordinated to some others.

Dr Jonathan Duquette  -  Canadian

The Rise of Sivadvaita Vedanta in Early Modern India: A Study of Appaya Diksita’s atnatrayapariksa

NF140402            University of Oxford                              £83,475.00

This project concentrates on the rise in early modern India of Sivadvaita Vedanta, a school of philosophical theology that gained fame through the commentarial work of the great 16th-century Sanskrit intellectual Appaya Diksita (1520-1592). The project is intended to be the first in-depth study of the history of this school on the basis of Appaya’s pivotal yet nearly ignored literary contributions. The starting point for this research is the translation and systematic investigation of Appaya’s Ratnatrayapariksa (“Investigation of the Threefold Jewel”), a Sivadvaita work unique for its theological syncretism and remarkable influence on early modern Indian intellectual life. The aims of this project are: 1) to assess the impact of Appaya’s Sivadvaita work on the larger Sanskrit intellectual world of early modern India; 2) to shed new light on the decisive role played by Appaya in the major socio-religious and cultural transformations that occurred in South India during that period. 

Dr Valentina Sclafani  -  Italian

A comparative analysis of early mother-infant interactions between human and non-human primates

NF140894            University of Reading                            £85,382.36

A key question in developmental psychology concerns the mechanisms whereby early social experience influences infant development. Accumulating evidence shows that the experience of affective matching within human mother-infant relationships is crucial for infant social and cognitive growth. Similar to humans, rhesus macaque mothers and infants engage in complex face-to-face interactions, suggesting that, in monkeys too, these early experiences may be crucial for supporting infant socio-emotional functioning. The goal of the current proposal is to describe and compare, in humans and monkeys (Macaca mulatta), the development of early face-to-face interactions and their influence on infant socio-emotional development, by using the same procedures of data collection and analysis. An evolutionary approach to studying early mother-infant relationships has the potential to yield a deeper understanding of the significance of parenting behaviour for child development. 

Dr Lily Jampol  -  American

White Lies in the Workplace: Consequences for Women & Practical Interventions

NF141049            London Business School                       £94,003.57

While considerable progress toward gender equality has been made in the workplace over the past few decades, inequalities remain and are partially maintained through subtle differences in behaviour toward women and men. One such difference is in the way that women are communicated to by managers: Jampol and Zayas (2014) found that women are told more white lies about their performance than their male counterparts. The proposed project aims to (i) explore the possible consequences of inaccurate feedback on subsequent employee performance and manager attitudes toward employees and (ii) test possible workplace interventions for both individuals and institutions in order to mitigate this bias. The overall aim of this project is to begin to understand the consequences of this feedback bias and develop ways to eradicate this particular contributor to the ‘glass ceiling’ for women in the workplace. 

Dr Stefano Costalli  -  Italian

Political Change through Contentious Action. An Actor-based Approach

NF140886            University of Essex                               £84,895.73

This project will examine the role of political actors in conflicts aimed at achieving fundamental political changes through violent and non-violent strategies, from civil war to massive peaceful mobilization. The project pursues a highly disaggregated analysis of conflicts and it builds on my previous research on civil wars, using new quantitative data and qualitative evidence about the Italian civil war (1943-1945). It aims at transforming my current research on the Italian conflict in a book with a comparative part. About one third of the book will be dedicated to a comparative analysis of the recent Tunisian upheaval and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, to evaluate how the mechanisms ‘travel’ through time and space. In Tunisia a massive non-violent mobilization led to a regime change, while in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict we see a fluctuation between violent and non-violent strategies of non-state actors against a foreign occupation with varying success. 

Dr Matti Erasaari  -  Finnish

Eating money, eating time: the value of time in Fiji

NF140926            University of Manchester                       £95,149.80

"Eating money, eating time": time as a medium of value the research looks into ideas of value through an analysis of time in Fiji. Indigenous Fijian ideology links time with both economic worth and moral value, notions familiar to most western audiences. But the Fijian discourse valuates time in a way that radically departs from the familiar North European emphases. In a Fijian village community, leisure and relaxing receive extremely positive connotations, just as the ‘method’ of Fijian Methodist Church emphasises the Sunday Sabbath and rest instead of a strict time discipline. But whilst the citizens in Fiji’s remote villages are often even forced to find ‘constructive’ interpretations for their abundant leisure, the majority of Fijians now live in the urban centres, in Fiji and abroad; employed or looking for work. The key focus of my study is on the practical mismatch between a traditional ideal of abundant leisure and the emphasis on time discipline in urban employment. 

Dr Antti Lampinen  -  Finnish

Reception of barbarographic literary stereotypes in Christian Late Antiquity (400-700)

NF140158            University of St Andrews                        £83,747,39

My research will form the first comprehensive study of the reception of Greco-Roman literary stereotypes about barbarians within Christian Late Antiquity. The crucial strength of the project will be its strong grounding in thorough knowledge of the earlier classical literature, the subject of my PhD research. The proposed project has the potential to fundamentally change the way the relevant written sources are evaluated. I will examine a wide but representative selection of Greek and Latin sources from c. 400 to 700 CE. The University of St. Andrews forms a uniquely suited, world-class base for this type of study, which requires close links between classical and medievalist scholarship. Several academics and projects in the host organization have excellent synergies for my research. Wider interaction in the UK would form an elemental part of my fellowship. I will publish my results via three peer-reviewed articles in international academic journals. 

Dr Kristine Richter  -  American

Molecular Ancient Fish Remains Identification

NF140516            University of York                                 £49,709.50

With fish resources under increasing pressure, effective management policies require accurate diachronic records and baseline ecologies. Archaeology remains the best way to uncover this information. Unfortunately, fish bones in archaeological sequences are difficult to identify (typically <5%). The applicant developed a quick identification system for economically significant marine fish using proteomics (ZooMS). However, the diversity and low yield of fish collagen provide analytical challenges stalling further progress. This project will establish ZooMS for freshwater fish by creating a database of collagen sequences. Then we will use ZooMS to explore population changes across a long sequence, which has the best archaeological evidence of eutrophication leading to a loss of diversity; and from test digs, which have evidence of introduction of foreign species. The results will enhance our understanding of a key facet of our diet and also be of tangible value to fisheries management. 

Dr Julia Christensen  -  Danish

A new framework to understand human emotion perception using expertise

NF140935            City University                                      £82,724.50

Emotion perception theories are incomplete: they do not consider the influence of prior knowledge and expertise on our emotional responses. This project aims to fill this gap by systematically examining how expertise modulates our emotional responsiveness. We develop a new experimental framework combining behavioural, psychophysiological and neural methods to study emotional responses in 3 groups of participants who are known to differ in emotional expertise: members from the general public who have normative expertise, artists who are experts in the artistic expression of emotions and individuals with autism whose emotion processing expertise is compromised. By examining emotional responses in these 3 groups to stimuli with which they are more or less familiar (e.g. facial expressions vs ballet dance movements), the work will develop an integrative emotion processing model explaining how prior experience modulates emotional responses at the level of the brain, cognition, and behaviour.

Dr Heidi Matthews  -  Canadian

International Criminal Law & the Cold War: Historical Narrative & the Construction of a Legal Field

NF141051            School of Oriental and African Studies   

From Sierra Leone to the former Yugoslavia and beyond, international criminal courts and tribunals have proliferated in recent decades, culminating in the establishment of the permanent International Criminal Court. The imperative to ‘end impunity’ for mass atrocities has become an integral part of post-Cold War global governance. And yet, to date, no scholarly work has theorized how contemporary international institutions, along with the idea of the Cold War as a juridical object, have been produced and legitimated in relation to one another. Standard international legal history narratives about the development of international criminal law cast the Cold War as having interrupted the steady humanization of war that began at Nuremberg. This project seeks to disrupt this approach by offering a revisionist history of international criminal law. This work will provide new tools with which to critically evaluate the practices and politics of present-day international criminal institutions.

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