Postdoctoral Fellowship Awards 2013
Alink, Dr Arjen
Medical Research Council, Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit, Cambridge
Psychology / Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuropsychology
The brain, a prediction machine?
The idea that the brain is fundamentally a prediction machine has emerged in recent years as one of the most promising unifying principles of brain theory. In the domain of perception, predictive coding theory proposes that our brain serves one central purpose: predicting as accurately as possible what is going to happen next. To this end, the brain is thought to continuously monitor the mismatch between what it expects to happen and what is actually happening, while adjusting its expectations accordingly. This research programme will resolve empirically if prediction generation and optimization indeed informs brain representations at multiple stages of processing. To this end, this research will test the two main assumptions of the predictive coding theory using of state-of-the-art pattern analysis methods: 1) Early sensory brain areas receive input specifying expected sensory events. 2) Signals propagating from early sensory to higher brain areas mainly contain information about unpredictable sensory information. This allows us to verify if the brain is intrinsically predictive.
Altintas Moser, Dr Evrim
Department of Sociology, University of Oxford
Sociology / Sociology of other, e.g. work, media etc
The importance of the everyday: Young people’s use of time and its impacts on their life trajectory
Does how young people use their daily time influence their futures? This research examines the extent to which the daily activities and social interactions of young people affect adult outcomes such as employment and family formation. It will extend the BCS70 materials by including a hardly-used diary study of respondents in 1986. This will allow tracing of the mechanisms through which young people’s time use patterns lead to short- and long-term future outcomes while controlling for prior observed conditions including early childhood circumstances and measured cognitive abilities. The research then locates the young people’s daily activity patterns in a broader comparative and historical context, using cross-national and repeated cross-sectional time diary data from Britain and 13 other countries in conjunction with relevant policy implementations of the period. Crucially, the study will provide insight on how and why time use matters for both the individual and society.
Anderson, Dr Christina
Faculty of History, University of Oxford
History / Early Modern History
The Age of Flemish Enterprise (1450-1650): The Southern Netherlandish Merchant Diaspora and Early Modern Globalisation
The first collective study of Flemish merchant colonies dispersed across the globe between 1450 and 1650, this ambitious, interdisciplinary project will demonstrate the fundamental, yet neglected, importance of Antwerp and the southern Netherlanders to early modern globalisation. It will do this through a series of interwoven case studies of individual Flemish merchants in selected trading posts, based on extensive archival research utilising previously overlooked archives. These important merchants were remarkable innovators, but their significance has been overshadowed by the fall of Antwerp in 1585 to the Spanish and the rise of the Dutch commercial empire. However, as the resultant monograph will show, Antwerp’s capitulation was actually its moment of greatness. As Flemish merchants left in large numbers, they gave an essential impulse to international commerce; not just in the United Provinces, but throughout Europe and the world. This project, therefore, will provide a vital challenge to some of our most basic assumptions about trade and travel in the early modern period.
Bonfiglio, Dr Emilio
The Oriental Institute, University of Oxford
Classics and Ancient History / Language, literature, history, culture, art and archaeology of the Byzantine world
The Corpus Chrysostomicum: New Criteria for a Classification of the Pseudo-Chrysostomica
The writings attributed to John Chrysostom represent the largest corpus of literary Greek texts, a gold mine of information on 4/5th-c. political, religious, and social events. The corpus is usually divided into three categories of texts: authentic, spurious, and dubious. While the genuine works receive much attention, the pseudo-Chrysostomica are mostly overlooked because of the authorship issue. As demonstrated in Dr Bonfiglio’s D.Phil. thesis, many criteria used for discerning Chrysostomian spuria are based on faulty assumptions and methodological errors. Dr Bonfiglio's project aims to establish a new method of discerning the nature of the pseudo-Chrysostomica, by addressing the problem of identification and classification of such texts. The goal is to create tools for isolating groups of texts according to their author, milieu, audience, etc. The results of this study will modify the inner distribution the whole Chrysostomian corpus and make possible new ways of navigating it.
Cade-Stewart, Dr Michael
Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
English Language and Literature / Historical studies of language and literature - English Language and Literature
Poetic Rhythm from Wordsworth to Auden
This project uses innovative digital tools to reassess received notions of the developments in poetic rhythm from William Wordsworth to W. H. Auden (1800-1970). It contends that a method based on quantitative empirical principles will produce a more reliable account of literary history because it considers poets who fall outside the canon, but were not beneath the consideration of their contemporaries. In so doing it will provide more meaningful answers to questions about developments in rhythm and poetic influence, such as: why is Shelley's poetry credited for musicality? Is his poetry really the primary influence on Yeats's rhythmical practice, as currently assumed? Should we see Edith Sitwell as the rhythmical progenitor of the Auden generation? And how do half-rhymes and alliteration feature in the story? In bringing both new methods and new material into consideration the project has the potential to re-write the literary history of poetic rhythm, and of poetic influence, altogether.
Chechlacz, Dr Magdalena
Department of Experimental Psychology, University of Oxford
Psychology / Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuropsychology
Individual differences in human visuospatial attention: From structure to function and clinical consequences
Visuospatial attention is essential for daily life and many behaviours are disrupted when it is impaired (e.g., distraction in ADHD or failure to eat from one side of the plate in patients with neglect). It is widely assumed that there is asymmetrical organization of visuospatial attention in the brain, with the right hemisphere being dominant. However, problems can also occur following left hemisphere damage, and for some disorders there is equal prevalence and severity of symptoms after left and right hemisphere damage. How does this occur? The project will evaluate this by a novel analysis of individual differences in hemispheric lateralization within the neural networks controlling visuospatial attention. The consequences of these differences in brain structure will then be evaluated using transcranial magnetic stimulation to locally disrupt brain function as participants attend to different forms of visuospatial information. The work will provide important insights into the relations between brain structure and function and help to understand variation in visuospatial disorders.
Deane-Cox, Dr Sharon
School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures, University of Edinburgh
Modern Languages / Translation Studies
Individual and Cultural Memory in Translation: Mediating French post-WWII accounts of deportation and occupation
This project will explore and evaluate the role of translation in the mediation of both individual and cultural memory. It will undertake a comparative study between French accounts of deportation and occupation and their English translations, while remaining sensitive to the problems of representing trauma. Analytical focus will be placed on understanding how translation recasts lived experiences and ideologies, as originally encoded in personal testimonies which recount life in the Nazi camps, and in museum audioguides which circulate cultural discourses of occupation. The research will further consider the epistemological and ethical implications of memory translation. The findings will supplement and broaden a small but emerging body of work within Translation Studies on translating the Holocaust, while the intersections drawn between cultural memory, translation and audio-guides are without precedent. Overall, the proposed project will offer new empirical and theoretical insights into the complex dynamics of memory in translation.
De Cruz, Dr Helen
Faculty of Philosophy and Somerville College, University of Oxford
Philosophy / Philosophy of religion
Taking what others believe seriously: Implications of social epistemology for the rationality of religious beliefs
Is it reasonable to hold religious beliefs? To assess this question, most philosophers have focused on individual reasoning and experience. However, recent work in social epistemology (the branch of philosophy that studies the social dimension of knowledge acquisition) prompts us to reassess this individualistic view. As religious beliefs are acquired mainly socially, questions about their reasonableness should take into account what others believe, and how this relates to our own beliefs. This project will make a novel contribution to the question of the rationality of religious beliefs by investigating their social nature. It will apply insights and methods from social epistemology to assess the reasonableness of religious beliefs, focusing on three subprojects: the prevalence of theistic belief across times and cultures, the importance of deference to testimony by experts in the acquisition of religious beliefs, and the significance of religious disagreements. In this way, the project aims to shed new light on debates in religious epistemology that have traditionally ignored its social dimension.
de Preux, Dr Laure
Health Management Group, Imperial Business School, Imperial College London
Economics / Economics and Quantitative Analysis
Evaluation of the effects of weather variation on health and the healthcare sector in the UK
There is a scientific consensus that the weather is becoming more variable, which directly affects individuals' health. Epidemiologists have focused on the correlations between high temperature and mortality, and little is known of a larger range of weather events (e.g. wind, precipitation, pressure) and their effects on morbidity. Furthermore, previous risk assessments have omitted costs evaluation of the effects, despite being indispensable for resources planning. The proposed research will fill those gaps by creating a unique dataset of weather and health outcomes in the UK. Using advanced econometric techniques, it will develop a reference model for the analysis of the causal effects of weather on morbidity and mortality, and extend the analysis to different sub-groups based on socio-economic factors to identify the populations at risk. Finally, the project will estimate the monetary costs of these effects. This research will make important contributions to the on-going research in health and climate change, and provide much needed evidence for the development of mitigation policies.
Fielding, Dr Ian
Faculty of Classics, University of Oxford
Classics and Ancient History / Latin language and literature
Campania Christiana: Spiritual Community and Regional Identity in Late Antiquity
This study will reveal the extent to which the identity of the Campania region in west central Italy was transformed by political, cultural and religious developments in the fourth and fifth centuries AD. During the period of Roman antiquity, Campania was viewed as a centre, not only for artistic and intellectual pursuits, but also for the pursuit of luxury and excess. The proposed project will show how that image was affected by the decline of the region’s material resources and by changing attitudes to wealth among the social elite. Presenting literary texts in relation to archaeological evidence from the region, this research will emphasise the important role played by Latin authors such as Paulinus of Nola in redefining Campania as a place of Christian pilgrimage and ascetic withdrawal. The ultimate aim is to produce a dynamic account of the intellectual life of late antique Campania that will stimulate more interdisciplinary enquiry into the topic of location and local identities in this formative period in the development of European culture.
Frederiksen, Dr Tomas
The Institute of Development Policy and Management, University of Manchester
Geography / Developmental Geography
Mining and Corporate Social Responsibility: Linking Global Drivers and Local Impacts
This research will examine the global governance and development impacts of the extractive sector in Africa; specifically, relationships between emerging international governance regimes, mining companies and new multi-faceted community development corporate social responsibility (CSR) programmes in Zambia. Over the three years of the fellowship, this research will develop a multi-scalar analysis that links international governance (emerging international standards and norms) and changing mining company practice with the development impacts of extractive industry in Zambia. By linking these three elements together in a single study, this research will trace the effects of global pressures and dynamics in local communities in Africa. This case study offers insights into wider processes of global governance, the role of the private sector in development, the effects of new complex modes of governance in developing countries and the role of extraction in broader development.
Hajek, Dr Andrea
School of Modern Languages and Cultures, University of Glasgow
History / Women's history
Exploring the legacy of feminism in Northern Italy: motherhood, family life, sexuality and employment (1967-2012)
In the 1970s, the Italian women's movement was one of the largest in Europe. It managed to change social structures, human relations, and female subjectivities. Yet, over the past two decades, many of the feminists' achievements have been challenged or undone, in particular during Silvio Berlusconi’s governments in the mid-1990s and 2000s. This raises important questions about the legacy of feminism and the workings of (inter)generational memory. Through interviews with feminists, their daughters and younger generations of Italian women in general, the project will shed light on transformations in perceptions of motherhood, sexuality, family life, and employment. By interviewing women of different generations the project will trace the developments in women’s social conditions in Northern Italy - where women’s groups were most active and influential - from the late 1960s to the present day, and identify changing values in families and individuals. The project thus provides a timely investigation into the legacy of Italian feminism and the dynamics of collective and generational memory.
Hamid, Dr Sadek
Department of Theology, Philosophy & Religious Studies, Liverpool Hope University
Religious Studies / Islam
Ambivalent Jihad: The Contested Discourses of Anwar al-Awlaki
The idea of jihad connotes a complex set of meanings and has a long history within the religious imaginary of Muslims. Usually translated into English as "Holy War", but actually literally meaning, "striving", the concept is contested both by Muslims and non-Muslims. It can be defined as "Warfare with spiritual significance", which is how it was used by classical Muslim jurists and practised by Muslims during the pre-modern period. However, in the contemporary West, it is most often associated with the violence of terrorist groups like Al-Qaeda. The Yemeni American Muslim Anwar al Awlaki (1971–2011) was until recently a well liked speaker in Western Muslim communities. He was noted for his lectures and educational materials on the life of the Prophet and his companions and was considered a leading moderate Muslim and critic of al-Qaeda. However, in the late 1990s he was investigated by the US intelligence and security services and later pursued by the American government in the 2000s for alleged connections with terror networks for being an ideological inspiration to a number of convicted terrorists in the UK, US and elsewhere. The aim of this research is to explore how the concept of jihad is understood today among Western Muslims using Awlaki as a case study and its implications for the justification of political violence among some British Muslims.
Haralambakis, Dr Maria
Department of Religions and Theology, School of Arts, Languages and Cultures, University of Manchester
Religious Studies / Judaism
Moses Gaster (1856-1939): Eclectic Collector
Moses Gaster was Haham (roughly the equivalent of chief rabbi of the British Sephardic community, 1887-1918), and a widely published polymath. His areas of expertise included folklore, apocrypha and pseudepigrapha, magic and mysticism, Samaritanism, and Romanian philology. He showed a keen interest in what can be described as “marginal literature”. The title “eclectic collector” refers to Gaster as a collector of objects (mainly books and manuscripts), and to an important aspect of his scholarship. Some of the texts he published he found in collections of literature, such as the medieval Slavonic Paleia. Many of his books, such as Chrestomatie Română (1891), Chronicles of Jerahmeel (1899), Romanian Bird and Beast Stories (1915) and Exempla of the Rabbis (1924) are collections of stories which he gathered from different sources. The project has a dual purpose: to evaluate Gaster’s identity as a collector (based on a careful examination of his collection of books, manuscripts and other items such as amulets), and to assess his scholarship, particularly by examining his work related to collections of narratives. The project contributes to the history of scholarship in Gaster’s fields and to the study of the role of collecting in establishing identity.
Hillman, Dr Jennifer
School of History and Centre for the History of Emotions, Queen Mary, University of London
History / Early Modern History
Faithful Communication: Spiritual Directors and their Elite Penitents in Early Modern France, c. 1550 – 1750
Spiritual direction became increasingly important after the Council of Trent (1545–63), since penance was to become central to Catholic devotional life. In France, shifting spiritual currents affected the dynamics of confessor-penitent relationships across the period, but directors of conscience continued to shape the piety of the European social and political elite in different ways until their decline in the mid-eighteenth century. The letter was usually the medium through which confessors communicated with their lay directees. Yet most historical research on early modern spiritual direction has been based on confessors' manuals and spiritual biographies and has thus neglected to locate these ties within their broader contexts. As the first in-depth study of the letters exchanged between confessors and penitents across France, this project seeks to recover more about the emotional intimacies of this complex spiritual bond.
Hodgson, Dr Tom
Department of Music, King's College London
Music / Ethnomusicology
Mirpuris, Islam and Music in Britain
For Mirpuri Muslims in Britain, music and music making has become a crucial means of negotiating social, political and economic celebration and struggle. Yet dominant academic and popular characterisations of Muslims are often negatively framed by discourses of segregation, parochialism and religious orthodoxy. Such stereotypes not only leave little room for music, but are destructively misleading. 'Mirpuris, Islam and Music in Britain' grapples with the implications of these stereotypes, exploring the complex ways in which Mirpuris use music to understand their experience of living in diaspora. The ethnographically based project interrogates how socio-economic remittances from the diaspora are transforming social hierarchies in Pakistan, and, conversely, how these transnational flows shape cultural change in the UK. Recognising this, the project builds a broader picture of Mirpuri diasporic identity and music making that challenges current epistemologies surrounding Muslims in Britain, offering significant and fresh perspectives to the fields of ethnomusicology and Pakistan studies.
Hoeckelmann, Dr Michael
Department of History. King's College London
Oriental and African Studies / Chinese language and literature
Li Deyu (787–850) and the Record of Failure and Grief
This project provides the first full translation and study of a collection of essays, called the “Record of Failure and Grief” (“Qiongchou zhi”), from the Chinese Tang Dynasty (618-907). Demoted chancellor Li Deyu (787-850) wrote the Record shortly before his death to fend off accusations of factionalism. Li concealed the deeds of his enemies in disquisitions on historiography and literature, Confucian ethics, alchemy, divination, Buddhism, etc., thus providing a unique insight into medieval Chinese philosophy and religion. The Record has its roots in a tradition of hiding frustrated political ambitions in intertextual allusions. The same tradition imposed rigid formal conventions on essays and limited the expressiveness of the genre, which led to its revolution in the 11th and 12th century. Through the Record, Li further entered into dialogue with his precursors and contemporaries, who had written essays on similar topics and among whom he ranks as one of the most prolific.
Hutchinson, Dr Aisha
Faculty of Health and Social Sciences, University of Bedfordshire
Sociology / Social Work
Examining the protective environment for young mothers and their children in Islamic contexts: Risks, vulnerability and protective factors
Childbearing under 16 years is associated with a range of health and social risks to both mother and child, yet little is known about the nature of childbearing or rearing in this population. Religion is an important factor which influences social practices, and socio-cultural factors are critical determinants of care seeking and service utilisation during childbearing and rearing. While there is a growing policy concern regarding high levels of early childbearing in some Muslim majority contexts, related Islamic knowledge, teachings and processes are not well integrated into these strategies. Using a range of methods (both quantitative and qualitative) this study will examine the role of Islamic thought and teachings in ‘protecting’ young mothers and their children, and investigate the interface between Islamic teachings and local health and social policies. A culturally relevant framework of risk and protective factors impacting early childbearing and rearing which is informed by Islamic thought and community processes will then be tested using survey data.
Iandolo, Dr Alessandro
Department of International History, London School of Economics and Political Science
History / Political History
Imperial Legacies: Central Asia and the Caucasus as Models of Modernisation in Soviet Policy towards the Third World
This project seeks to analyse and explain the USSR's approach to economic development. It will focus on the Soviet experience of modernisation in Central Asia and the Caucasus, and especially on how this experience led to the creation of a 'socialist model of development' for the Third World. The lessons that the Soviet leadership drew from Central Asia and the Caucasus were re-elaborated to define a series of policies designed to achieve economic development and foster modernisation in Africa and Asia in the aftermath of decolonisation. The basic principles of this 'socialist model of development' were closed markets, state-led investment in industry and infrastructure, and import substitution. The model bears several resemblances to the contemporary 'developmental state' model, which led to significant successes in East Asia. It is in this light that the proposed research aims to assess the Soviet approach to development and modernisation.
Karatsareas, Dr Petros
Bristol Centre of Linguistics, Faculty of Arts, Creative Industries and Education, University of the West of England
Linguistics / Sociolinguistics
The development of heritage grammars in present-day London: the case of Cypriot Greek
London is often described as a linguistic melting pot where, according to the 2011 census, over 100 languages are spoken by the capital’s ethnic communities. Recent work has illustrated the effects of contact between English and the most prominent heritage languages, documenting the development of novel dialectal features in the majority language within the city's walls. The present project shifts the focus away from English towards the emergence of innovation and change in London’s ‘other’ languages: How do new forms of heritage languages develop in multicultural metropolises such as London? What is the linguistic and demographic profile of innovators? What implications do innovations in heritage languages have for the study of language change and its relation to language acquisition and language contact? The project addresses these questions concentrating on the reduction of grammatical gender distinctions and nominal inflection in the heritage variety of Cypriot Greek spoken in the Boroughs of Barnet and Enfield, which have the highest concentration of Cypriot Greek speakers in the capital. The aim is to help chart the linguistic landscape of London by increasing our understanding of the patterns that define non-English language variation.
Kelly, Dr Christine
School of Law, University of Glasgow
Law / Criminal Law and Justice, Criminology
Criminalisation of Children in Scotland 1910-1971
The proposed programme of research takes as its starting point Dr Kelly’s recently completed doctoral thesis which explores the criminalisation of children in Scotland in the period 1840-1910. The research to be conducted in the course of the Fellowship will continue the account presented in the thesis into the twentieth century. This will complete the story more fully, tracking in depth the course of juvenile justice history in pre-Kilbrandon Scotland by providing a detailed analysis of developments in the inter war years and beyond in the light of the original historical research on the nineteenth century already undertaken in the thesis. This further research is vital in order to examine the twentieth century dimension coherently and comprehensively, giving a broader vision of the origins of the unique approach to juvenile justice in Scotland.
Kinsey, Dr Cadence
Department of History of Art, University College London
History of Art / History of art and design
Art After the Internet: Technology and the contemporary subject
Currently, there is a significant network of artists and organizations in Europe and North America working in a mode described as internet ‘aware’, or ‘post-internet’, art. Although these artists have been exhibited at major international institutions there is no critical literature in this field and no monograph that draws together their shared concerns. Art After the Internet will therefore bring together these practices for the first time in order to ask what is the impact of Web 2.0 technology on recent art practice? Given that this technology is synonymous with ‘user-generated content’ – such as social media, wikis, blogs and tag clouds – related secondary research questions will ask how artists are using new technology as a platform for exploring the relationship between the self and the self-image, and what new models of artistic production and spectatorship are emerging in digital culture?
Kubal, Dr Agnieszka
Centre for Socio-Legal Studies, University of Oxford
Sociology / Sociology of other, e.g. work, media etc
Helots no more? Protection of Human Rights and Access to Justice for Migrants in Russia.
Migration to Russia over the past twenty years is a fascinating but a little told story. Russia, after the US, is the second largest destination for migrants globally. Migrants, primarily from post-Soviet countries, arrive however in a legal environment that is notorious for the mistreatment of human and socio-economic rights of Russian citizens and non-citizens alike. This project grapples with the question: how do migrants access the justice and stand for their rights in Russia? At a broader level it advances new theoretical perspectives on migrant socio-legal integration and access to justice. The project will use the case of Russia to offer new approaches to studying socio-legal dimensions of labour migrations globally, beyond the European/ American experiences, drawing upon ideas from law and society and migration studies. Employing multi-disciplinary perspectives it will cast more light on the interplay between migration governance and migrants as agents responding to the new socio-legal environment.
Marsden, Dr Thomas
School of Slavonic and East European Studies, University College London
History / Modern History
Old Believers and the end of the Old Regime in Russia: The Dilemma of Religious Toleration, 1825-1917
Old Belief was the largest movement of religious dissent in Russia. It claimed to represent true Orthodoxy having split from the Church after liturgical reforms in the 1660s. Despite fierce persecution, Old Belief claimed vast swathes of the population and, with increasing toleration, the movement grew. The extent of its growth only became known in the second quarter of the nineteenth century. Faced with the prospect of national division, Old Belief became one of the most pressing problems for the Imperial regime in its final century. Unable to eradicate the Old Believers by a return to full religious persecution, but unable to reconcile itself to their existence, the government vacillated between repression and permissiveness leaving the problem unresolved at the time of its collapse in 1917. It had succeeded only in alienating a large proportion of the population whose religious conservatism made them natural allies. The changing policies towards the Old Believers from 1825 to 1917 reveal Russia’s political development. Their failure illuminates the failure of the tsarist regime.
Martin, Dr Toby
Institute of Archaeology, University of Oxford
Archaeology / Medieval, post-medieval and industrial archaeology
Origins of a European Community: Creating Identity and Networks with Dress in Post-Roman Europe
The 5th and 6th centuries AD saw the collapse of the Roman Empire and the origins of many of the European nations we know today. During this period, particular women, from an area that stretched from the North Sea and the Baltic all the way to the Black Sea, began to dress with large, elaborately decorated brooches. This phenomenon, at its peak, lasted little more than a century, but because many of these women were buried wearing this jewellery, thousands of brooches survive and provide one of the richest sources of information for the period. Archaeologists have studied these brooches since the 19th century, but up until recently their investigation has been limited to the technical aspects of classification, chronology and the outmoded concerns of culture-history. This project examines the social context of these items for the first time in comprehensive international perspective. The key questions are about who wore these brooches, why they became so popular, how they were used to demonstrate power at a local level, and how they demonstrate the rise of a trans-European elite community.
Mathur, Dr Nayanika
Division of Social Anthropology, Department of Archaeology and Anthropology, University of Cambridge
Anthropology / Social & Cultural Anthropology, other branches
Uniquely Identified: biometric IDs, urban migrants, and the contemporary Indian state
This study will scrutinize a utopian project of making 1.3 billion people perfectly identifiable to the Indian state. Its focus is the Unique Identification or UID project, which is currently ascribing citizens with a numerical ID that is directly connected to their biometric details. On the basis of 12 months of ethnographic field work in India the project will trace and document the process whereby UIDs are administered by the state as well as utilised by poor migrants living in an urban slum near Delhi. The central concern is empirically to examine the link between identification and governance. The questions this study poses are: do biometric technologies, in fact, lead to more accurate identification; do better identificatory systems translate into better governance; how precisely does the Indian state implement this ambitious new project and, finally, what can an ethnography of the UID project tell us about the re-imagination and reconfiguration of statecraft in contemporary India?
McCluskey, Dr Michael
Department of English Language and Literature, University College London
Communications and Media Studies / Film and Media Studies
Amateur Film and Advocacy Networks in Interwar Britain (1919-1939)
The interwar period saw the spread of suburbs, slum clearance, industrial decline, and agricultural depression in Britain, as well as political unrest abroad and the twilight of Empire. It also saw a sharp increase in amateur film production. To date, however, no study has linked the two and looked into amateur films of the period alongside these shifts. These films have not received much critical attention, yet they are remarkable records, in complex ways, of the impact of social and economic forces and the emergence of film as a means of questioning, processing, and responding to contemporary conditions. Drawing on amateur footage maintained by regional media archives and private collections, the project expands our understanding of both social and media history. The research identifies the technologies that transfigured British geographies and the advocacy networks that emerged amid radical changes.
McManus, Dr Kevin
Centre for Language Learning Research, Department of Education, University of York
Linguistics / Language Acquisition
The role of explicit information in remapping meaning in a second language: An experimental intervention study
Second language acquisition (SLA) research has repeatedly shown that second language (L2) learners encounter persistent problems when the first language (L1) and the L2 mark the same meaning differently (Collins 2004; McManus 2011; Nishi & Shirai 2007; Sugaya & Shirai 2007). In order to address this learning problem, research suggests that the provision of explicit information is required to force learners to process L1-L2 differences (Ammar et al. 2010; Spada et al. 2005). This study will document and compare the impact of different types of explicit instruction on the L2 acquisition of meaning. Two types of explicit information are provided by drawing specific attention to: (1) form-meaning differences between the L1 and the L2 and (2) the specific meanings conveyed by L2 forms (without L1-L2 contrasts). The project will contribute to theoretical understandings on the provision of explicit information in MFL classrooms, and consequently will inform language learning pedagogy and education practices in the UK and internationally.
Morsink, Dr Karlijn
Department of Economics, University of Oxford
Economics / Applied Economics
Loss aversion or trusting behaviour: Explaining microinsurance demand
Despite high levels of uninsured risk, demand for formal insurance by low-income households in developing countries is low and recent empirical evidence finds a negative correlation between risk aversion and insurance demand. One potential explanation may be that low-income households perceive the payment of an insurance premium as a loss and that aversion to losses may explain why more risk averse households take less insurance. An alternative explanation is that households in developing countries perceive insurance itself to be a risky investment because they pay a premium while not knowing if the insurer will pay the claim should the insured shock occur. Both alternatives may imply that the decision-making model for indemnity insurance does not adequately reflect the insurance decision by rational low-income households in developing countries. To test these alternatives, data will be collected through laboratory and framed-field experiments. In the field experiments actual demand for an existing agricultural insurance by Ethiopian smallholder farmers will be investigated. The combination of methods is necessary to test the theoretical propositions about the relationships between risk aversion and insurance demand as well as to estimate the actual levels of parameters in the population.
Murray, Dr Kylie
Faculty of English, University of Oxford
English Language and Literature / Scottish Literature in English and Scots
Boethius' 'Consolation of Philosophy' in Scotland, c.1120-c.1570
Boethius' 'Consolation' was seminal in pan-European medieval literature, philosophy, and the history of ideas. Yet, despite lively responses to Boethian material from Scottish kings, poets, chroniclers, and teachers, and a unique Scottish 'Consolation' commentary newly identified by Dr Murray, Boethius' Scottish reception remains overlooked. The project examines who read Boethius, when and how, before pinpointing Scotland's literary responses to Boethius in Scots and Latin. The project identifies a sophisticated Scottish engagement with Boethius from c.1120-1570 and argues for a Scottish tradition informed by, yet distinct from, English and Continental Boethianism. The interdisciplinary methodology will allow the project to focus on Older Scots, classical reception, and cultural and book-history in equal measure. By interrogating Scotland's distinctive literary and political identities against the backdrop of broader European intellectual history, the project will enrich our understanding of Scottish nationhood and Scotland's place in Europe at a time when these are particularly live issues.
Patterson, Dr Jonathan
Faculty of Medieval and Modern Languages, University of Oxford
Modern Languages / Historical studies of language and literature - Modern Languages
Villainy in French Renaissance Culture
From serfdom to international terrorism, villainy has preoccupied Western culture. This project will examine representations of villainy, primarily in French Renaissance prose fiction. It will significantly advance current understanding of moral and social categories of villainy in early modern French thought. In sixteenth-century France, we discover an unprecedented questioning of villainy (vilenie) as non-noble status and base behaviour. Villains (vilains) were not inevitably low-born with consequent low morals; rustics, bourgeois and even the nobility might prove villainous. The moral and social parameters of villainy were shifting; this made the villain an uncertain yet engrossing figure to many, from little-known moralists to celebrated satirists such as Rabelais. Thus far scholars have underestimated this fascination. This project will expose its impact across sixteenth-century France. Integrating insights from English Renaissance and Neo-Latin texts, it shall offer a creative, interdisciplinary perspective on changing social and moral identities in early modern Europe.
Raj-Reichert, Dr Gale
School of Environment and Development, University of Manchester
Geography / Economic Geography
Understanding power relations to improve labour governance in the global production network of the computer industry
The global computer industry faces challenges with assuring proper labour conditions and standards in outsourced and subcontracted factories in developing countries. Campaigns by nongovernmental organisations and trade unions to improve labour governance in the computer industry normally target brand firms and not suppliers. However, efforts by brand firms to improve labour conditions in the computer industry have not resulted in real and lasting improvements. This research will examine what the growing importance of a small group of suppliers to brand firms, called contract manufacturers, means for governance of labour conditions in the computer industry. Contract manufacturers are important to consider because they employ thousands of workers, have factories mainly in developing countries, and have hundreds of their own suppliers in developing countries. The research will also examine what the changing relationships between brand firms and contract manufacturers mean for nongovernmental organisation and trade union campaigns at the global and local scales.
Rashbrook, Dr Oliver
Department of Philosophy, University of Oxford
Philosophy / Philosophy of mind
The Unity of Consciousness and the Metaphysics of Experience
Our streams of consciousness consist of a huge variety of experiences – perceptual experiences, thoughts, feelings, and bodily sensations. While we can distinguish these different experiences, it is also apparent that something must be responsible for unifying them together into streams in the first place. Attempts to understand this unity have played a crucial role in the work of prominent authors such as Descartes and Kant, and are still ongoing, because only once we have an adequate theory of the unity of consciousness will we have a complete grasp of the nature of our inner lives. Thus far, attempts to account for the unity of consciousness have met with little success, due to a damaging tendency amongst philosophers not to take seriously questions about the ontology of mind. This project’s novel proposal is that we can only grasp the nature of this unity if we address hitherto unaddressed ontological questions about the nature of the items being unified: experiences. For instance: are experiences unfolding processes or events, or do they behave more like static states or objects? We can only grasp the nature of mental unity once we know more about what is getting unified.
Reyes Galindo, Dr Luis Ignacio
School of Social Sciences, Cardiff University
Sociology / Sociology of Science and Technology
The social boundaries of scientific knowledge: a case study of 'green' Open Access
The arXiv preprint server is an Internet portal which today functions as one of the most successful tools for disseminating physics and mathematics knowledge. The proposed project will carry out a sociological analysis of arXiv administrator and user’s practices to understand the dynamics behind arXiv’s growth as an innovative knowledge dissemination tool and probe the reasons why this medium has proliferated in these subject areas. arXiv is channel of communication alternative to traditional journals, different in two significant ways: it is an 'Open Access' publication platform (accessible to any user free of charge), and it is not peer-reviewed. The UK government has recently announced that from 2014 onwards all publicly funded research will have to be published as OA. Studying arXiv as a successful case OA could shed important lessons on how to better carry out this change in scientific public policy and to help determine if arXiv's 'communal review' model is applicable to other knowledge domains.
Schouwstra, Dr Marieke
School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences, University of Edinburgh
Linguistics / Language Evolution
Simulating Conventionalisation in the Lab: from cognitive biases to language structure
How did human language develop complex structure? This project aims to answer this question by combining two elements that may have been crucial in the emergence of language: cognitive biases in individuals and communicative pressures that play a role when people interact with each other and learn language. Previous work has shown that when people communicate in the absence of linguistic conventions (‘improvised communication’), the structure of their utterances is flexible, and determined by fine grained properties of the meaning to be conveyed. Real languages, by contrast, are conventionalised and exhibit less of this type of variability. This project will investigate what happens to the flexible structure of improvised communication when linguistic conventions start to play a role, by studying improvised communication in a social transmission setting. Together, improvised communication and social transmission will give us the best possible picture yet of how cognitive and communicative biases come together to give us linguistic structure.
Sharapov, Dr Dmitry
Innovation and Enterpreneurship Group, Imperial College Business School, Imperial College London
Business and Management Studies / Management Studies
Innovation and competition within and between platform-based markets
Important gaps remain in our understanding of the management challenges facing firms operating in organizational ecosystems based around platforms through which distinct groups conduct transactions. First, prior research has focused on platform leader strategies, with less attention having been devoted to the challenges facing producers of complementary products complementors). Second, what little we know about complementor strategies comes from case studies, which are limited in their generalizability. Finally, extant work has examined competitive interactions either within or between ecosystems, limiting our understanding of how competition between complementors affects competition between ecosystems. The proposed research aims to build theory regarding how the interaction between platform leader and complementor strategies affects innovation and competition within and between platform-based ecosystems. The resulting hypotheses will then be tested using data on the strategies and performance of application developers and platform leaders in mobile device application markets.
Slaney, Dr Helen
Faculty of Classics, University of Oxford
Classics and Ancient History / The reception of classical antiquity and the classical tradition
Antiquity Incorporated: embodied receptions of the classical past
Perceptions of antiquity are conditioned not only by textual information but also by somatic encounters with ancient material. Collaborations between neuropsychology and the humanities have already shown the extent to which “embodied knowledge” shapes cognition. This study will apply these findings to instances of psychophysical contact with the vestiges of classical antiquity in order to analyse the contribution made to historical consciousness by physical presence, haptic impressions, and affective involvement. It focuses on the period between 1755 and 1832 when accounts of such contact become richly diverse and profoundly influential. This has the potential to illuminate not only our understanding of antiquity itself but also the processes by which such understandings have been formed.
Smith, Dr Daniel
Faculty of English, University of Oxford
English Language and Literature / Renaissance literature
John Donne's Female Patrons
This research will focus on the relationship between John Donne (1572–1631), one of early modern England’s most significant literary and religious figures, and the female patrons of his writing. Powerful women such as Lady Bedford and Lady Huntingdon played central roles in inspiring, reading, funding, and responding to Donne’s poetry, sermons, and letters, yet scholarship on their patronage is not at all commensurate with their actual influence. The project will examine the extent of their patronage, advancing critical questions about gender politics, literature, friendship, and textual circulation in the early modern period. By investigating the networks that inspired, enabled, and disseminated texts by Donne and his contemporaries, this study will reshape our understanding of patronage and literary reception in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, producing new interpretations of literature in the period and re-assessing the major effects that women had on artistic and religious cultures.
Smith, Dr Jos
Department of English, University of Exeter
English Language and Literature / Literature in Relation to Other Arts
Common Ground and a Critical Localism in the Arts: Recuperating an English Cultural Geography, 1971-2012
This project offers an exploration of the way relationships between local, regional and national forms of culture have changed in light of the conservation movement and the environmental crisis in Britain, 1971-2012. It focuses in particular on the activist, literary and visual art movements that were connected with the arts and environmental charity Common Ground between1983-2012. Through archival research, readings of literary and artistic work, and through explorations of arts projects on a national scale, it will follow the way that a British cultural geography approaching the devolutions of the late 1990s has been broken down and reimagined. Engaging with theories of nationalism, archipelagic criticism and environmental criticism, it will ask whether a sense of English national culture ‘after Britain’ might be rehabilitated from the ground up through a sustained and progressive critical localism informed by the environmental movement.
Stockfelt, Dr Shawanda
Centre for Multilevel Modelling, University of Bristol
Education / Further, Higher Education
The interrelation between educational aspiration, educational and labour market outcomes for Black Caribbean males in the UK
The research will investigate the impact of educational aspirations developed in adolescence on educational/labour market outcomes for Black Caribbean (BC) young men in England. Children of BC heritage in the UK, particularly boys, are at risk of underachieving at key stages of the national curriculum, and are more likely to be unemployed or in jobs without training than their White British counterparts. A crucial area where there has been limited research is the impact of educational aspirations on educational/labour market outcomes. The research will utilise the Longitudinal Study of Young People in England (LSYPE) dataset to investigate the educational aspirations of BC young men from adolescence to early adulthood. It will explore factors that shape aspirations and outcomes and the nature of the relationship between educational aspirations, educational/labour market outcomes for this group. The research will develop models of aspirations/outcomes for BC young men that will be used as the basis for a range of outputs targeted at policy makers, BC community groups and practitioners.
Strycharczuk, Dr Patrycja
School of Health Sciences, Division of Speech and Hearing Sciences, Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh
Linguistics / Phonetics and Phonology
Contrasts and categories in articulation and perception
It is surprisingly hard to unambiguously enumerate the vowels and consonants of a language. There is a clear contrast between 'pin' and 'bin', but some people may respond variably and gradiently for a pair like 'crewed' and 'crude', in speech production, perception, and intuition. This seems to be due to the former word’s final suffix. This project will investigate different linguistic levels, focusing on such 'fuzzy' contrasts. A series of experiments will manipulate phonetic, phonological and morphological factors. It will then explore the consequences for models of language processing and lexical storage from a firm empirical base. The overarching theoretical question is how and when different levels of contrast involve abstract categories, in production and in perception. The project will provide unique new data on fuzzy contrast found in many languages, while illuminating on-going sound changes in dialects of British English.
Tamminen, Dr Jakke
Department of Psychology, Royal Holloway, University of London
Psychology / Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuropsychology
Transforming specific memories into general knowledge during sleep
One of the most impressive features of human learning concerns our ability to extract general knowledge from individual memories. In language for example we are able to understand novel words like “untweetable” because we have acquired generalised knowledge of how the affixes “un-“ and “-able” affect the meanings of words like “tweet”. Dr Tamminen has recently shown that generalisation in word learning requires memory consolidation, a process which is thought to involve new memories being replayed during sleep. However, the precise mechanisms that underpin the effects of sleep and consolidation on generalisation remain unknown, presenting a serious gap in our understanding of how we learn. Using word learning as a tool to tap into these principles of memory, the project aims to discover the neural processes that support generalisation before and after consolidation, and to uncover the specific roles that sleep and neural reactivation play in generalisation. This programme is at the cutting edge of research into memory and consolidation and has far reaching implications for educational practice.
Tarlazzi, Dr Caterina
Faculty of Philosophy, University of Cambridge
Philosophy / History of philosophy
Logic in the early 12th century: a manuscript-based approach
The earlier part of the 12th century was a period of intense study of logic in the schools of Northern France. Evidence of the richness of early 12th-century logical teaching is a group of manuscripts (now spread all around Europe), containing a range of logical commentaries, treatises and fragments from these decades. So far, however, these manuscripts have been transcribed, published and studied only very partially, as scholars have tended to focus on attributing sections to main authors, such as Peter Abelard, often with disputed results. The aim of this project is to attempt a new approach to early 12th-century logic by studying the ten main logical manuscripts that date from this period. Combining both manuscript studies and the history of logic into analysing this mostly unpublished material, the project aims at: (a) a codicological description of each manuscript, (b) a detailed analysis of their whole logical content, including a list of all debated points; (c) identifying and analysing the main disputed points, solutions and arguments to which they bear witness.
Thornton, Dr Amara
Institute of Archaeology, University College London
Archaeology / Heritage Management, Museum Studies & Public Arch
Popular Publishing and the Construction of a British Archaeological Identity in the 19th and 20th centuries
For much of archaeology’s history, popular publishing has shaped the public’s conception of the discipline. This project investigates the role of the publisher archaeologist relationship in cementing the archaeological identity – archaeologists as caretakers, interpreters and recorders of the material remains of the past – in the public imagination. Featuring a detailed analysis of publishers and archaeologists archives, this project poses that popular publishing (and specifically publishers themselves) made a vital contribution to the emergence of professional archaeology, enabling archaeologists to exploit this medium to forge an essential connection to the public who funded their research.
Toropova, Dr Anna
Department of Slavonic Studies, University of Cambridge
Modern Languages / Russian, Slavonic and East European languages and literatures
The Emotions of Developed Socialism: Film, Television and Affective Engagement
The endurance of the Soviet experiment and its demise cannot be fully appraised without investigating the structures of feeling engendered by late socialism. Studies of the rise of pessimism and disenchantment in the Soviet Union in the 1960s and 1970s have favoured unofficial and dissident forms of cultural expression. A better understanding of the role of affects and emotions in renegotiating the contours of ‘Sovietness’ during this period necessitates an enquiry into the emotional situation shaped by its dominant forms of mass culture: film and television. This map of the Brezhnev era’s emotional landscape aims to transcend the existing tendency to read cynicism and irony as manifestations of affective withdrawal and place officially promoted emotional engagement into binary opposition with 'private' intellectual detachment. Deploying psychoanalytic theories of the co-entanglement of the affective and the discursive, this project aims to further understanding of the ways in which emotional ties take hold as well as unravel.
Tuffnell, Dr Stephen
History Faculty, University of Oxford
History / History of a specific country
The American Invasion of the British World, 1865-1914
American expatriates spearheaded US cultural and commercial expansion in the late nineteenth century. This migration followed the infrastructure of the British Empire. Communities of expatriate Americans were manifestations of the symbiosis of British imperialism and US expansion. At present this story represents a major lacuna in historical scholarship. This study traces the complex network of global relationships sustained by American expatriates within the British Empire, recapturing the entanglement of American economic expansion in British imperial practice. Focusing on the business and missionary communities of Americans within British colonies, a series of case studies located in British colonies around the globe (including South Africa, Australia, and the Sudan), will emphasise the commercial, social, and cultural interconnections between US and British imperialism. Synthesising the historiographies of British and American imperialism from a global perspective, this study explores the process of cultural and economic integration that underpinned Anglo-American relations and globalisation in the late nineteenth century.
Visnjevac, Dr Stefan
Department of Humanities, University of Roehampton
History / Medieval History - History
Educating and Entertaining in Fifteenth-Century Friuli: The Life and Preaching of Leonardo Mattei (1399-1469)
Recent years have seen an explosion of interdisciplinary interest in medieval sermon studies, especially for early Renaissance Italy, where mendicant preaching peaked in popularity and significance to public life. The enormous variety in the content of these sermons has been explored rewardingly from the standpoint of equally diverse interests – from social and devotional practices, theology, and politics and economics, to the roles of women, drama and performance, and the evolution of language. Yet, the range of sermons employed by scholars of this period is actually astonishingly limited, overwhelmingly dominated by studies of a few Observant Franciscans in Tuscany. Points of wider comparison are vital but greatly lacking, as is the use of sermons to investigate cultural dynamics elsewhere. This project addresses this long-standing imbalance by bringing to light the prolific, but unexamined, Dominican Conventual preacher Leonardo Mattei da Udine (1399-1469). It will make available a much-needed new set of edited sermons and comparative data, and, analysing Mattei’s activity in his native Friuli, it will throw fresh perspective on this least-studied region of late medieval Italy.
Waterlow, Dr Jonathan
Faculty of History, University of Oxford
History / Modern History
Soviet Nuremberg: Forging the Postwar World beyond the Iron Curtain, 1945-53
The war crimes trials of the defeated Nazi regime are a foundation stone of the modern Western order; they didactically interpreted the meaning of that conflict and thereby helped to shape the initial trajectory of international politics thereafter. Despite their importance, however, it is startling how little we know about those trials held under Soviet authority, or their meaning and consequences for Eastern Europe. Contrary to longstanding views, the Soviet trials were not simply crude exercises in Marxist-Leninist propaganda, as recent studies have begun to reveal; moreover, the Soviet trial narrative was no less foundational for the world east of the Iron Curtain. This project will examine the content and construction of that narrative and its reception by (and effects upon the perceptions of) the populations of the two principal spheres in which it was propagated: the USSR and the Soviet Occupied Zone of Germany. At the international level, studying these first steps into peace is also of fundamental importance to a balanced understanding of the first chapter of the Cold War.
Wilson, Dr Nicola
Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Science, Department of English Literature, University of Reading
English Language and Literature / History of the Book (English)
The Book Society: The influence of Britain's first mail-order book club on authors, publishers and readers, 1929-60
By the mid-1930s the Book Society had over 10,000 members buying a new book each month with the aid of a ‘distinguished’ selection committee. Established in 1929 by the novelists Arnold Bennett and Hugh Walpole with the dual goals of encouraging new authors and developing a greater habit of book-buying, it was modeled on the influential American Book-of-the-Month Club. Book Society Choices meant mass sales and great publicity, ensuring the bestselling success of novels as diverse as 'South Riding' (1936), 'Rebecca' (1938), and 'A Kind of Loving' (1960). Private correspondence between authors and publishers reveals how authors were hurried, production schedules altered, and material and textual changes made to the production of books to meet the demands of the Book Society and its readers. This project examines the profound and shaping influence of the Book Society on authors, publishers and readers in the mid-twentieth century, on perceptions of the stratified marketplace for fiction, the construction of popular taste, the marketing of bestsellers and the economics of literary publishing.
Winterbottom, Dr Anna
Centre for World Environmental History, University of Sussex
History / History of Medicine
Medicine in the Indian Ocean World, 1500-1800
The history of medicine in the Indian Ocean during the early modern period (c. 1500-1800) provides a new perspective on the cultural history of a region now often described as the 'cradle of globalisation'. The research bears on current debates over the role of 'traditional' medicines in the modern world and may yield data useful for ethnobotanical and climate research. The project will aim to complete a monograph, combining overviews of the trade in medical goods in the period with 'biographies' of specific medical substances and practices as they move though time and space. It will examine how their uses, preparations, applications and religious and environmental associations were retained or altered as they entered different cultural contexts. The project will use archives and form research partnerships in Sri Lanka, India, East Africa, Iran, Canada, Europe, and the UK, as well as supplying data and taking an active role in the development of two large-scale collaborative projects based at Sussex and McGill. It will aim to produce content for a virtual exhibition on Sri Lankan medical objects.