Postdoctoral Fellowship Awards 2014

Auger, Dr Peter                                                                                                     pf140022

Queen Mary University of London

British Milieux for French Poetry, 1572-1625

Early modern English and Scottish poets, translators, printers, scholars, diplomats, educators, language learners and other readers encountered poetry from France in a wide variety of cultural environments. These milieux had distinct identities that affected how French poetry circulated in print and manuscript, and conditioned how readers appreciated and imitated those texts. Dr Auger’s project builds on recent research in Anglo-French literary relations by recovering the diverse circumstances in which British readers discovered French verse during the reigns of Henri III of Navarre (later Henri IV of France) and James VI and I. It assesses the range, character and importance of cross-channel poetic exchanges in this period in order to deepen our understanding of how local and transnational contexts invigorated anglophone literature at this crucial stage in its development.

Autzen, Dr Bengt                                                                                                  pf140108

University of Bristol

Unifying Statistics: A Philosophical Analysis

This project will investigate the philosophical foundations of statistics. A central issue in the literature on the foundations of statistics is the debate between Bayesian and frequentist statisticians. While this debate has been dominated by strongly opposing views, recently there have been attempts to unify Bayesian and frequentist approaches. The project will provide the first comprehensive philosophical study of unification approaches in statistics. The project is structured in two parts. In a first step, Dr Autzen will address whether attempts to unify statistical methodology rest on solid philosophical foundations. More specifically, the project will propose a principled argument for combining Bayesian and frequentist statistical techniques. In a second step, the research will also explore the implications of these developments in statistics for the philosophy of science.

Bahmad, Dr Jamal                                                                                                pf140098

University of Leeds

Beyond the Arab Spring: Youth, Social Change and the Politics of Realism in Contemporary Maghrebi Cinema

This interdisciplinary project is a comparative study of social change and the politics of realism in the contemporary cinemas of Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia, where the so-called ‘Arab Spring’ was sparked by the self-immolation of Mohamed Bouazizi in December 2010. Unlike the monolithic narratives propagated by the mass media since 2011, this research project will provide a unique perspective on the deep origins of and reactions to the region’s ongoing turmoil. Filmmakers across the Maghreb have drawn realistic but understudied portraits of their societies over the last few decades. The project will begin by situating Maghrebi cinema’s predominant realism within the historical, social and cultural transformations of the three countries since independence (1956/1962). The project will then look at Maghrebi cinema not only over a long time period, but also with a comparative focus on social change and realist aesthetics which takes into account both the similarities and differences between the Maghreb countries in terms of socio-economic dynamics and the political economy of film production.

Barua, Dr Maan                                                                                                    pf140038

University of Leeds

Political Animals: rethinking Indian modernity

Animals tell a fascinating story of Indian modernity: they populate imaginations of the nation state, religious and political movements, and urban life. Yet, postcolonial studies of Indian modernity neglect human-animal relations. This project grapples with the question: how do people’s relations with animals have bearings on Indian modernity? Conceptually, the project advances unique theoretical perspectives on 1) postcolonial studies of modernity and 2) nature-society relations in geography. It envisages a transformative breakthrough by bridging the above scholarships, currently isolated from one another. The project will use three case studies of human-monkey relations to investigate the subject empirically: 1) postcolonial primatology and nation-building, 2) symbolism of monkeys in religious/political movements, 3) people-monkey interactions and urban governance. Monkeys are omnipresent and deified in India, justifying their selection as candidates for investigation.  The project outputs will cast new light on animals in postcolonial theory and enrich efforts to specify Indian modernity.

Bird, Dr Emma                                                                                                      pf140061

University of Warwick

Bombay Poetry: Publishing and the Postcolonial City

Bombay Poetry: Publishing and the Postcolonial City explores the landscape of English-language poetry written and published in post-independence Bombay. Extensive critical attention has been paid to the city’s portrayal in novels and films, and to Bombay’s more recent political and economic transformations. However, the city’s innovative poets and the context in which they wrote and produced their work, remain relatively unknown. This project situates Bombay’s poets within a comparative and materialist discussion about the cultural life of this city, investigating the relationship between this poetry and the changing intellectual and political conditions since 1947. Drawing on extensive original archival material and guided by materialist principles, it constitutes the first detailed study of Bombay’s postcolonial poetry scene. It offers original readings of key individuals’ work; it investigates the creative communities and networks that were forged in these decades; and it contributes a significantly refreshed, historicized account of the literary life of this city.

Cattan, Dr Sarah                                                                                                   pf140104

Institute for Fiscal Studies

Child development and household behaviour in developed and developing countries

This research aims to understand the determinants of parents’ investments in children’s development and the impact of these investments on the evolution of children’s abilities from birth to adolescence, with an emphasis on the early years. Dr Cattan will exploit two unique datasets, one in the UK and one in Colombia, which follow children from a very early stage of their lives and contain exceptionally detailed measures of their development and parental investments. Thanks to these data, the project will consider, in an integrated framework, the formation of both cognitive and socio-emotional abilities among children, as well as parental choices of investments in the home environment, and in the quantity and quality of formal childcare. Drawing on this evidence, Dr Cattan will analyse the effect of early childhood education and care policies, focusing on the most relevant type of policy for each context (policies related to the provision of centre-based childcare in the UK and of home-based investments in Colombia), in order to draw more general lessons for developed and developing country settings.

Cummine, Dr Angela                                                                                           pf140097

University of Oxford

Who Owns the State? A Contemporary Theory of Public Ownership

This project investigates the ownership status of the state. It asks who owns the state and thus, its property - government, citizen or taxpayer - from a legal and moral perspective. The past decade saw a resurgence of the ‘owner state’. The financial crisis required extensive government intervention across OECD economies, resulting in an unplanned build up of public assets and record public liabilities. At the same time, many governments capitalized on windfalls from the commodity boom or excess trade surpluses, storing impressive levels of wealth in newly established sovereign investment funds. The accumulation of these financial assets and liabilities pose tough choices for governments regarding the distribution of their benefits and burdens. Given the classical political theory demand that citizens must be situated equally vis-a-vis the state, this project seeks to determine the rightful owner of contemporary state property. It does so by revising classic state theory to develop a new ownership framework for public property and uses that to generate policy recommendations regarding the most desirable use of sovereign financial assets.

Davey, Dr Eleanor                                                                                                pf140068

University of Manchester

Relief and the people: humanitarianism and the struggle for national liberation

This project seeks to understand how the politics of national liberation has influenced ideas about humanitarianism and human rights and the enduring norms that shape practice today. Examining the interactions of British and French non-governmental organisations with liberation movements in Africa from 1956 to 1991, it asks what they shared on the level of politics, goals and attitudes and how they influenced each other. The project will have two components. First, it will consider how international norms – for instance in laws of war and human rights – were affected by the ideology and presence of national liberation movements in key forums. Second, it will look at humanitarian operations in selected wars of national liberation: in Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique, in Western Sahara, and in the Ethiopian Civil War. The aim is to shed light on the impact of these exchanges upon the evolution of humanitarianism over four decades and the result will be an original account of the relationship between anti-colonial movements and humanitarian action during the Cold War.

Duncan, Dr Dennis                                                                                              pf140004

University of Oxford

The Index and its Discontents: A History of the English Book Index

This project charts the history of the book index from the late middle-ages to the age of the Kindle. It also examines the anxiety which has accompanied the index from its earliest days – that it poses a threat to ‘deep reading’, bringing about a degraded form of learning, a claim which can be found as far back as the sixteenth-century and which is alive and well in Nicholas Carr’s ‘Is Google Making us Stupid?’ (2008). Tracing the development of the index, its critics and its variety and distribution across different genres (why, for example, are novels rarely indexed?), the project shows how the index has shaped the ways that we read as well as coming to represent the distinction between factual and fictional modes of writing. As indexing becomes the paradigm for the processing of ‘big data’ and digital archiving brings about a quantitative leap in the accessibility of materials and a consequent qualitative change in the questions scholars ask of them, the project provides a timely historical context for the way that the index affects conceptions of knowledge and scholarly practice.

Duncombe, Dr Matthew                                                                                      pf140053

University of Durham

Ancient Perspectives on the Logic and Metaphysics of Relations

Is the truth of a judgement relative to the one who makes the judgement, as Protagoras argued? Is there a fundamental difference between absolute terms, such as “human”, and relative terms, such as “larger” and “smaller”, as Aristotle maintained? These questions, which have challenged both ancient and contemporary philosophers, invoke relativity. But relativity depends on relations: between a judgement and a judger; between a larger thing and a smaller thing. So a more basic question arises: what is a relation? Recent philosophers have investigated relations, but historians of ancient philosophy have not shared this interest. There has been no focused, synoptic study of how relations were at the heart of certain ancient philosophical ideas. This lack hinders our understanding of the many ancient theories which rely on relativity and inhibits comparison of ancient and contemporary notions of relations. This project investigates how debates about relations affected ancient philosophy and what those debates can teach us about relations.

Fairfax-Cholmeley, Dr Alex                                                                                 pf140074

University of Exeter

Victims and the French Revolutionary Terror, c.1793-1799

This project will use the actions of victims and the developing idea of victimhood as a new analytical framework for the study of a crucial period of the French Revolution: the transition from the surveillance, repression and violence of the Terror to a post-Terror regime struggling with this legacy right through to Napoleon’s coup in 1799. Due to their personal experiences during the Terror, the hundreds of thousands of surviving victims had an important part to play in the culture and politics of this transition period. This research will examine how victims exploited this position – both for personal advancement and in order to perpetrate their own cycle of violence against their enemies – and also how such activity impacted on France’s transitional revolutionary regime. The influence of victims was enhanced by ready access to the printing press, which in turn helped victims’ narratives develop into the first histories of the Terror. The project will contribute to the historiography of revolutionary France, as well as to broader study of transitional justice and the impact of political violence within developing democracies.

Fawcett, Dr Jonathan pf140001

Medical Research Council Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit

The adaptable brain: How adversity breeds resilience through cortical plasticity

In the months following a major psychological trauma, people often exhibit an increase in the cortical thickness of frontal brain regions thought to contribute to the control of thoughts and actions. Interestingly, those individuals showing the greatest increase in cortical thickness also show the greatest reduction in traumatic symptoms such as nightmares or flashbacks years later. As yet, it remains unknown what cognitive processes drive these neural adaptations. One critical factor may be the persistent suppression of traumatic thoughts or memories. Dr Fawcett proposes that, like exercising a muscle, the brain regions responsible for suppressing traumatic memories expand in response to repeated suppression attempts. By this account, whereas controlling our thoughts can be challenging, it may trigger neural adaptations that facilitate recovery. Using a combination of behavioural, neuroimaging and genetic techniques, the project proposes to explain why these neural adaptations occur and why they are more prominent in certain individuals than others.

Fiddyment, Dr Sarah                                                                                            pf140072

University of York

‘The Medium is the Message’: Understanding Manuscript Production through Molecular Codicology

Parchment is the medium of medieval Europe. Beyond the message it carries in the text, the animal skin itself provides historic insight into economic, technical and ideological factors influencing manuscript production and early printing. Until now animal species identification of parchment has only been possible by morphological analysis of follicle patterns which is often inconclusive, leading to speculation and unresolved debate. Dr Fiddyment has developed an innovative non-invasive method for parchment analysis, through mass spectrometry of minute quantities of collagen, that provides both confident species identifications as well as invaluable data on parchment “quality” and methods of production. The proposed research will use this technique to address outstanding debates in codicology, including a geographic comparison of pocket bible production, the evolving manufacturing techniques of early printed books, and the changes in parchment quality due to the increasing availability of paper as a competitive medium.

Flynn, Dr Alex                                                                                                      pf140118

University of Durham

State of the art relations: Contemporary art worlds and cultural politics in Brazil

This study will investigate the participatory and open-ended potential of relational art in Brazil, a country in which cultural politics is central to building towards the 2014 World Cup and the Rio 2016 Olympics. Dubbed the first ‘ism’ of the 21st century, relational art envisages audiences as communities, emphasising how meaning is made collectively through intersubjective encounters around artworks. Centred on 12 months of ethnographic fieldwork in private galleries, state museums, and with artists addressing perceived state violence and injustice, the project will trace how relational art intersects with aesthetic, political and financial dimensions of value. Contextualised by socio-economic change and street protest, this study aims to investigate: how artists mobilise relational art regarding ethnicity and subversions of ‘primitive art’; how state museums partly funded by private collectors negotiate the projection of a Brazilian ‘national identity’; and what an ethnography of an art world can tell us about the emancipatory potential of cultural politics more widely.

Frei, Dr Gabriela                                                                                                   pf140073

University of Oxford

War, Law, and the Emergence of an International Economic Order, 1914-1939

Violations of international law during the First World War raised serious concerns as to the role and function of international law in politics and as a safeguard of peace. Jurists, in their writings during wartime, increasingly turned towards the role of the economy in politics, and the importance of the regulation of international trade, finances and investment. For them, economic reconstruction was a prerequisite for a peaceful world community after the war. This project will examine how the understanding of a legal international order changed as a result of the First World War, and how a new international economic order emerged during the interwar period, challenging the traditional understanding of sovereignty. It will focus on the theory and practice of international law, looking through the prism of the League of Nations, the ILO, the International Chamber of Commerce, and other public and private bodies. The aim of the project is to evaluate the importance of the First World War for the understanding of today’s legal instruments in international law.

Gerlach, Dr Joe                                                                                                     pf140034

University of Oxford

Excavating the political; mining and micropolitics in Ecuador

With Ecuador on the precipice of unprecedented ecological and economic transformation, this research is an examination of the state's constitutional experiment with a non-human politics. Given Ecuador's official appeal to the rights of nature, the project will explore the manner in which the troublesome notion of 'nature' is conjured, mapped, contested and put to political use. With a specific focus on gold mining, the project will also spotlight the affective push of materials to catalyze turbulent political events and sensibilities; space-times that challenge a rush to apply a contrived narrative of 'post-neoliberalism' to the current situation in Ecuador.

Gibson, Dr Hannah Cameron                                                                              pf140037

School of Oriental and African Studies

Pathways of change at the northern Bantu borderlands

Languages change over time. There is general agreement that these changes can result from external factors (i.e. contact with other languages) or internal processes (as content words develop into grammatical markers, for example). However, there is no consensus on what constrains these processes, nor on the interaction between these two drivers of change. The proposed study examines pathways of grammatical change in four Bantu languages spoken at the northern Bantu borderlands of Kenya and Tanzania where languages from the Bantu, Cushitic and Nilotic families meet. The Bantu languages Rangi, Mbugwe, Gusii and Kuria all exhibit unusual grammatical features which have been attributed to these languages being in sustained contact with non-Bantu languages spoken in the linguistic area. This project provides an account of these features with a view to understanding the factors that influence – and constrain – pathways of change. The examination of micro-variation within this subset of related languages provides a novel empirical background against which to assess the universal phenomenon of language change

Grigera, Dr Juan                                                                                                    pf140042

University College London

Bringing the global market back in. Industrialising and exporting commodities: Argentina and Brazil (1950-2010)

This project proposes an in-depth comparative study of the long-term economic performance of Brazil and Argentina after 1950. The breakdown of import substitution in the 1970s and the demise of Washington Consensus policies in the 2000s show changing strategies of internal development and of integration into the world market and thus pose an interesting case for synchronic and diachronic comparison. The project will show that an insufficient understanding of the dynamics of the world market has overstated national state autonomy and will attempt to overcome these shortcomings by looking in the long run at the evolution of their policies and their corresponding market shares (of the countries as a whole and of specific sectors). In brief, this research concerns both the comparative assessment of the economic dynamics of two key countries of Latin America and the theoretical modes in which they have been approached.

Guthrie, Dr Kate Mabel                                                                                        pf140047

University of Southampton

Democratizing Art: Music, Leisure and Education in Interwar Britain

This study will investigate initiatives to broaden access to elite musical culture in interwar Britain. It will focus on a number of organizations and networks through which music was disseminated, including Morley College, where Gustav Holst developed a programme of music education for working adults; the BBC with its educational broadcasts; and Robert Mayer's pioneering children's concerts. Through this, the project aims to address three particular concerns. First, it will explore the relationship between new technologies and an emerging middlebrow culture, born from the problematic intersection of art and popular music. Second, it will investigate how intellectuals and social-minded entrepreneurs sought to influence the public's consumption of culture. And third, it will consider how attempts to increase access to elite culture intersected with anxieties about the ‘Americanization' of Britain. By focusing on subjects currently on the periphery of scholarly interests, Dr Guthrie aims to deepen our understanding of interwar Britain's shifting and often contradictory cultural and intellectual values.

Hunter, Dr Alistair                                                                                               pf140103

University of Edinburgh

Burying our Differences? Negotiating faith and space in contexts of death and diversity

A key question for academics and policymakers is to understand the implications of ethnic diversity for social cohesion in different local areas. In contemporary Britain this question is framed primarily in relation to younger minority populations, especially young Muslims. By contrast, little attention has been paid to issues affecting Muslim populations later in life, in particular around death. Yet death is a critical, if unexplored, juncture in the settlement of 1st generation migrants (and their children), with clear implications for cohesion: both between Muslims and non-Muslims (e.g. planning disputes over new Islamic cemeteries) and within Muslim communities (e.g. conflicting views on observance of funeral rites). This project will generate novel insights about living (and dying) with difference, by analysing conflicts and negotiations over Islamic burial space and practices in four parts of the UK with different histories of Muslim settlement. Project findings on integration and cohesion will be of relevance both to academics and to policymakers in multi-ethnic urban areas.

Kilroy, Dr Peter pf140070

King's College London, Menzies Centre for Australian Studies

Screening the Torres Strait: Remediation and Documentary Film (1989-)

This project will explore the proliferation of documentary films by or about Australia’s ‘other’ Indigenous minority, Torres Strait Islanders, after the Australian bicentenary of 1988. It will focus on these films’ politically charged re-use or ‘remediation’ of archive film and media within the wider context of Indigenous cultural politics and national refashioning. Aimed at readers across Australian cultural studies, Australian Indigenous studies and postcolonial film and media theory, it will trace the relationship between the rhetorical style of these films and their broader cultural, political and legal contexts, and between their use of archive film and media and the incorporation of both within new media. More broadly, it aims to challenge the relative neglect of Torres Strait film within Australian film studies; to raise the profile of Torres Strait culture within Australian Indigenous studies; and to forge a rapprochement between postcolonial studies and media theory. Research outcomes will include the first monograph-length study of Torres Strait film and an associated screening/seminar series and website.

Korkiakangas, Dr Terhi                                                                                       pf140002

Institute of Education

Multimodal communication: The case of the operating theatre.

In the operating theatre, communication failures are the leading cause of inadvertent patient harm, while effective communication is key to patient safety. The operating theatre is characterised by a range of complex professional demands that shape communication in important ways. For instance, facemasks help maintain sterility, but also obscure facial expression. Much prior research on communication in the operating theatre has explored self-reported behavior through interviews. In this fellowship, video recordings of operations (68 h) will be used as an alternative resource for investigating communication. Video allows for in-depth examination of speech, as well as gaze, gesture and other modes of communication. The aims of the study are (1) to improve understanding of multimodal communication in the operating theatre and beyond; (2) to develop, test and refine interventions designed to improve communication in the operating theatre. The project has theoretical and methodological implications for the emerging field of multimodality, and significant implications for patient safety. 

Lancaster, Dr Philip George                                                                                pf140027

University of Exeter

The unpublished poetry and music of Ivor Gurney (1890-1937)

Ivor Gurney, poet and composer, produced a vast amount of work, the majority of which continues to languish in the archive, unpublished and unperformed. Dr. Lancaster’s recent work on Gurney has brought significant musical works to performance and recording by the BBC orchestras and others, and has led directly to a BBC4 television programme (broadcast in March 2014) and a Composer of the Week series for Radio 3 (June-July 2014). However, two-thirds of Gurney’s poetic output has never been printed, a proportion amounting to some 1,000 poems. In this project Dr. Lancaster will edit a three volume scholarly edition of Gurney’s complete literary works – poems and essays – for Oxford University Press’s Oxford English Texts series. He will also complete, orchestrate and bring to performance Gurney’s most important musical response to the First World War, a cantata, ‘Anthem of Earth’, and write a monograph on Gurney’s music and poetry. 

Miao, Dr Michelle                                                                                                   pf140014

University of Nottingham

Moving towards Long-term Incarceration? Examining the Collateral Consequences of China's Recent Death Penalty Reform

While the recent capital punishment reform in China has led to a decline in executions, it has also contributed to the toughening of long-term imprisonment in law and in practice. Emerging signs include harsher release and parole conditions, as well as a growing prison population serving long-term custodial sentences. This research compares these developments in China with current trends in US states that have already abolished the death penalty or  are moving  in that direction. The core research question is: will further progress towards abolition in China lead to the emergence of an American-style carceral state? This project bridges the gap between studies of anti-death penalty movements and long-term imprisonment by exposing the collateral consequences of global anti-death penalty campaigns at its critical frontiers. The findings will enhance understanding of the changing penal landscape in China and offer lessons for other jurisdictions which may face similar challenges in their progress towards abolition.

Mur, Dr Marieke                                                                                                  pf140117

MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit

Conscious content broadcasting: challenging accounts of functional specialisation in the brain

What distinguishes conscious from unconscious information in the brain? Neuroscience has only recently begun to develop theoretical models that link the subjective experience of conscious events to particular brain states. One prominent theory, the global neuronal workspace model, proposes that we become perceptually aware of information once it is made globally available to multiple brain systems. However, the globalist model contrasts with localist models, which propose that perceptual awareness depends on activation within functionally specialised brain regions. The proposed research will test these competing accounts of awareness experimentally by manipulating the detectability of sensory events, and measuring individuals’ brain activity and phenomenal experience of these events. Critically, this research will employ state-of-the-art pattern-information analysis techniques, which are highly sensitive to perceptual content represented by brain activity patterns. We expect this work to yield fundamental contributions to understanding the neural correlates of consciousness.

Omissi, Dr Adrastos                                                                                             pf140036

University of Oxford

Damnatio Memoriae: Memory Sanctions and Political Punishment in the late Roman World, 306-455

“Let that time be reckoned as if it never was.” So decreed the imperial brothers Arcadius and Honorius on 21st April 395, condemning the reign of their defeated imperial rival, Eugenius, whom their father had deposed. Their proclamation expressed a clear intent to bury Eugenius and all who had served him in silence, erasing them from history. In the Roman period, enemies of the state were regularly subjected to “damnatio memoriae” (literally “damnation of memory”). Statues were cast down, names erased from inscriptions, interdictions of silence created against naming certain people or recalling certain things. Yet the imposition of these sanctions against memory have never been studied by modern historians. In an age as fraught with political turmoil as the late Roman one, what use are our historical sources if we do not understand the processes of censorship or political repression that were imposed upon them? This project seeks to explore “damnatio memoriae” and the role it has had in shaping history.

Reynolds, Dr Daniel                                                                                             pf140109

University of Birmingham

Forging the Christian Holy Land c.300-c.1099 AD

This project systematically dismantles, re-evaluates and reconstructs the processes which created a Christian Holy Land in the Levant between AD300 and AD1099. The study will offer the first long-term view of these processes and the first systematic study bridging the familiar worlds of the Late Antique and Crusader Holy Land. Through close integration and analysis of the archaeological, epigraphic and textual dossier, the project challenges the mainstream interpretation of how the Holy Land was formed and developed. The research offers an alternative reading that emphasises the primacy of localised involvement in the development of the Holy Land and situates patterns of Christian cult expansion within the wider socio-economic framework of the Mediterranean in Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages. In contrast to the reliance on hagiography in past studies, Dr Reynolds will analyse these processes from an archaeological perspective, which will allow redefininition of the relationship between material and textual data.

Saif, Dr Liana                                                                                                        pf140115

University of Oxford

On the Margins of Legitimacy: Magic in Medieval Islam

This study presents a typology of magical practices in medieval Islam, their cosmological frameworks, and the epistemological shifts that transformed them. It provides a comprehensive analysis of magic from the 8th century to the 13th by looking at its place in relation to the active paradigms of legitimacy; namely natural philosophy and religion. It first examines the “naturalistic” underpinnings of magic from the eighth century to the eleventh . Then it will move to the 12th and the 13th centuries to examine the continuities and discontinuities with the earlier magical traditions. It considers the relationship between what has now become subversive magical practices and religious ritual, and the intermingling of devotional elements that resulted from the foundations magic borrowed from religion generally and Sufism specifically, thus bringing occult thought into a direct clash with orthodoxy.

Salmi, Dr Charlotta                                                                                                          pf140056

University of Birmingham

Violent Textualities: The Politics and Poetics of World Graphic Literature

Graphic literature has seen a rise in regions facing drastic socio-political change, such as North Africa, South and West Asia, and yet it has remained relatively undertheorized as a world literary form. Violent Textualities will speak to this lack by considering how the form is being deployed in such regions to engage with the postcolonial legacy of different forms of neo-imperialist, state and sectarian violence. It seeks to understand why graphic textuality – the formal and stylistic subversion of language and image, representation and reading practice – is gaining popularity as a medium for representing contemporary violence, and what is its regional valence and variance. To do so, it will trace the unique relationship of graphic literature to more easily circulated arts of witnessing and protest (cartoons and slogans) and explore its relationship to the visual and vernacular. The project thus aims to address the question of how we can figure graphic textuality as a form of violence that disrupts traditional representational modes in non-metropolitan non-prose texts of violence.

Sanchis-Guarner, Dr Rosa                                                                                  pdf140005 

Imperial College London

Assessing the Impact of Road Investment on Traffic and the Environment in Great Britain

Roads dominate transportation in Great Britain. Even if the primary aim of road infrastructure investments is to relieve traffic congestion, there is no robust evidence on the efficiency of these policies. Similarly, there are no long-run causal studies on how traffic levels affect the natural environment. The goal of this research is to provide a comprehensive analysis on how traffic and the environment are affected by road improvements. The “fundamental law of road congestion” states that, after an increase in capacity, road congestion reverts to its previous level as drivers respond by travelling more. Recent research in the US and Japan has found robust evidence in support of this law. This project will test if this is also the case in Great Britain. Dr  Sanchis-Guarner will study how traffic flows react over time and space after interventions take place and how congestion changes affect emissions. In contrast with existing studies, this research will estimate causal effects using detailed datasets and applying advanced econometric methods. It will provide novel evidence and guide the design of future policies to tackle congestion and pollution.

Sarkar, Dr Bihani                                                                                                  pf140043

University of Oxford

The worship of Sakti in medieval Indian royal ideology and practice

The cult of a supreme theos Śakti was a distinctive feature of royal religion in India between c. 500 and 1300 CE. This pioneering research will assess its impact on court culture and heroic ideology during that time, resulting in a monograph. It will study the localizations, ritual expressions and belief systems of this deity consolidating the authority of the king. A kaleidoscopic goddess, Śakti, whose public identity was associated with the passionate, dual-natured warrior goddess Caṇḍikā, was regarded as the source of a warrior’s power. This belief began in non-Brahmanical practice before being incorporated into Brahmanism, Śaivism and other religious traditions such as Jainism and Tantric Buddhism. The monograph will be the first in the field to systematically trace the historical development of her cult in this way, covering diverse regions and sources from poetry, legend, epigraphy and ritual literature, many unstudied, to assert that she was the most important symbol of pan-Indic kingship.

Scerri, Dr Eleanor                                                                                                 pf140029

University of Oxford

What effect did the demographic structure of early modern humans have on their first dispersals out of Africa?

Homo sapiens’ dispersal out of Africa marks a fundamental shift in human history, resulting in global colonisation and profound cultural diversity. However, interpretations of archaeological, fossil and genetic data regarding these early dispersals largely depend on correctly inferring the degree of subdivision of parent populations in Africa, over which there is no consensus. Recent research indicates that the Middle Palaeolithic of Saharo-Arabia is vital to resolving this debate. Dr Scerri’s doctoral research demonstrated the presence of strongly subdivided Homo sapiens populations in North Africa between 130-70 thousand years ago. Critically, stone tools typical of these North African groups have now been found across the Arabian Peninsula, providing a crucial link between these subdivided populations and dispersal out of Africa. Building on this unique data, this project will assess the extent, time-depth and effects of subdivided population structure on dispersal into Eurasia. The results will provide significant new data on the character, timing and number of dispersals out of Africa.

Schacter, Dr Rafael pf140051

University College London

Image Wars in the Philippines

This project will explore the impact of, and resistance toward, political and religious change in the contemporary Philippines. Focusing upon two annual episodes of image destruction in the country – the first, the yearly burning of a presidential effigy by the artistic cooperative Ugat Lahi (taking place in Manila during the State of Union Address); the second, the annual Pakbung Hudas or ‘blasting’ of Judas by members of the Pampanga Arts Guild (occurring in Angeles City every Easter Sunday) – these charged incidents will be used as fulcrums from which to explore the fraught relationship between secular and religious commitments in the contemporary Philippines. Examining the production, consumption, and twofold destruction of these incendiary artefacts, the proposed project will thus act as an ethnography of a gesture, an anthropology of effacement which will contribute to research in material and visual culture, art history, the anthropology of religion, political anthropology, as well as Philippine studies as a whole.

Sheehy-Skeffington, Dr Jennifer                                                                        pf140041

Brunel University

Having little, having less: Toward a psychology of low socioeconomic status.

What is it like to be poor in a world of affluence? Why don’t the poor do more to improve their social condition? Integrating insights from social and evolutionary psychology with observations from economics, sociology, and public health, this project develops the first comprehensive account of the psychology of low socioeconomic status. This study proposes that we can understand many decisions and behaviours observed in low income populations as stemming from cognitive and regulatory responses to cues concerning the power and resource distribution of the local environment. Foremost among the conditions cued are resource scarcity – having too little – and low relative social status – having less than others. The project will use novel experimental methods to investigate the mechanisms through which resource scarcity and low social status might lead to present-biased decisions in anyone put into such situations. Studied this way, behaviours that are often detrimental to one’s well-being in modern society can be understood as adaptive in the environments in which our social cognitive architecture evolved.

Simmons, Dr Ben                                                                                                 pf140066

University of Bristol

Examining situated and emerging sociability in children with profound and multiple learning disabilities

(PMLD) across educational contexts

This study will address the dearth in research about how different learning environments (special and mainstream, from nursery to post-16) afford alternative opportunities for children with PMLD to engage in social interaction. The study will explore how such interactions support emerging sociability, understood in terms of agency (intentional action), intersubjectivity (awareness of the subjectivity of others), and symbolic communication (deliberate exchange of information). A richly interpretivist participatory methodology will be employed to explore how social engagement impacts on development. The research will broaden understandings of the mechanisms through which learning and development occur for children with PMLD, demonstrate how non-traditional methodology leads to new insights into the lived experiences of children with PMLD, and challenge notions in the PMLD literature that some children are too cognitively impaired to engage with mainstream settings.

Sinha, Dr Rajeshwari Mishka                                                                             pf140080

University of Cambridge

Ordering the Orient: a history of the publication of Eastern texts in Europe and America, and the production of a cultural economy of Orientalism, 1850-1939

This project argues for a new interpretation of the transmission and transformation of 'Eastern' ideas in the 'West' from 1850 to 1939, through an economic and cultural analysis of the European and American publishing and marketing of texts sourced from the East, and translated from Oriental languages. It investigates the cultural economy of Orientalism through studying the publishing of Oriental texts in the West as an economic and cultural enterprise, an intellectual activity and a historical process. This process led to the formation of an 'Oriental canon' that continues to shape perceptions of the East. The research will focus on the production and marketing of Oriental texts by selected publishers in London, Oxford, Cambridge, New York, Boston, Berlin, Leipzig and Heidelberg - all centres of Oriental scholarship and the book-trade. The project will make an original contribution to histories of publishing and the book, literary history, cultural histories of Orientalism and colonialism, and histories of Western ideas of the East in this period.

Stoll-Knecht, Dr Anna                                                                                          pf140095

University of Oxford

Mahler Interpreting Wagner

This project will offer new insight on three critical issues. First, in showing how Mahler’s performative interpretation of Wagner as a conductor informs his reading of Wagner as a composer, Dr Stoll-Knecht propose to reconsider the relationship between performance and composition. Based on a close analysis of primary and secondary sources (sketches, compositional and conducting scores, concert reviews), the project interrogates the confrontation between these two ways of interpreting Wagner and explores the idea that Mahler’s “authoritative” interpretations as a conductor freed him to express in his own music the true nature of his ambivalence towards Wagner. Second, an exploration of the contradictions embodied in this double-sided reading will shed light on Mahler’s view of his cultural and religious heritage, an issue that needs to be freshly readdressed. Finally, teasing out the complexity of Mahler’s response to Wagner can encourage us to rethink the question of artistic influence, much debated in the context of nineteenth- and twentieth-century music.

Storm, Dr Ingrid                                                                                                   pf140010

University of Manchester

Faith in the face of uncertainty: The relationship between religion and economic insecurity

One of the largest unanswered questions in the sociology of religion is why and how religion declines in some places, while it is persistent and even increasing in others. Both types of change cause concern, about declining moral communities and heightened ethno-religious tensions respectively. It has been argued that economic development is the primary cause of secularisation, and that material insecurity increases demand for religion. Previous research has focused on either how national economic security causes religious decline through welfare and education, or on how religion alleviates individual experiences of financial insecurity through group identity and authority. Only by examining both processes together can we understand the different patterns of religious change in different places. This original and interdisciplinary research project combines cross-national and longitudinal surveys with experiments in order to examine the interdependence of religion and economic security; a relationship which could be central to understanding the very existence of religion.

Summerlin, Dr Danica                                                                                         pf140065

University College London

The relationship between the 'old' and 'new' laws in the twelfth century

Gratian’s Decretum remains one of the pivotal collections of medieval law, surviving in hundreds of manuscripts and arguably representative of a new era in ecclesiastical, or canon, law. Disseminated across Europe from ca. 1140, its transmission and adoption over the course of the twelfth century were nevertheless driven by local concerns and interests. This project uses manuscript research to examine how Christendom reacted to the appearance of the Decretum. In particular, it focusses on how contemporary lawyers viewed extracts from older canonical texts compared to the papal letters that constituted the so-called ‘new law’ of the decretal, in order to better understand the widely attested impetus for ecclesiastical legal change in the later-twelfth century. By comparing the use of ‘old’ and ‘new’ texts after the appearance of the Decretum, it will provide a synthesis of the complex nature of later-twelfth century ecclesiastical law at a time before many modern ideas of legislation and centralised authority were established, and when canon law and its interpretation remained fluid.

Thomas, Dr Liz                                                                                                     pf140114

Queen's University Belfast

Sailortown, Belfast, Northern Ireland. A historical-archaeological study of a dockland town, 1800-1975.

What are the effects of an immutable, powerful external force, such as the sea acting on opposing factions intermixed in an urban context as seen through the lens of historical archaeology? By the mid-19th century a thriving community of those working in the industries had settled in Sailortown, the west Docklands area of Belfast Harbour, a world maritime and industrial capital. Until the first half of the 20th century Sailortown was ‘mixed’; Protestant and Roman Catholic, rich and poor. From 1920, intense sectarian conflict commenced. Sailortown’s legacy is dominated by real and imagined memories of a mixed community united in poverty. This study offers insights into wider processes on global incidents where human interactions with the sea and industrial landscape lead to the formation of a distinct community, and develops a novel framework for analyzing the process of construction and reformulation of identity within conflict zones.

Thomas, Dr Greg                                                                                                  pf140064

University of Edinburgh

Judgements and Sentences: Politics in the Life and Art of Ian Hamilton Finlay

The ever-increasing critical and popular acclaim of the Scottish poet and artist Ian Hamilton Finlay belies a history of acrimonious relationships with cultural establishments. Finlay's "battles" indicate the obdurate political commitments underlining his art and public life, yet these commitments have not been subject to equitable, in-depth study: partly because his work's beautiful, classically-inflected outward forms have sapped attention from his challenging expressions of the social contexts in which such forms must exist; partly because the volatility of Finlay's themes – Nazi iconography, the Reign of Terror – has deterred clear-sighted critical engagement. Countering this deficit in our understanding of one of Scotland and Britain's most important late-twentieth-century artists and writers, this programme of research will focus on political commitment in Finlay's work and life, anchored in an unprecedented emphasis on his public conduct – his actions, demonstrations, communiqués, denunciations – as a key aspect of his creative output. Planned outcomes, besides a monograph, journal articles and conference, include a public seminar series and exhibition. This project will contribute to narratives of modern literary, artistic and cultural identity both in Scotland and UK-wide.

Trzaskowski, Dr Maciej                                                                                       pf140018

Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London

Controlling for genes makes clearer environment. An investigation into family- neighbourhood- and school-wide environment.

Environmental measures used widely in the behavioural sciences show nearly as much genetic influence as behavioural measures, a critical finding for interpreting associations between environmental factors and children’s development. This research depends on the twin method that compares monozygotic and dizygotic twins, but key aspects of children’s environments such as socioeconomic status (SES) cannot be investigated in twin studies because they are the same for children growing up together in the same family. Using a newly developed quantitative method based on DNA this study will, for the first time, investigate the nature of “global”, developmentally important environments. This is the only way to decouple nurture from nature and gain insights to more intricate workings of such environments.

Twitchin, Dr Mischa                                                                                             pf140063

Queen Mary University of London

Does one need to die to be dead?

How do ethnographic museums stage the visibility of their artefacts as an encounter, both affective and cognitive, for visitors? How is the fascination of the displayed objects, evoking a cultural archaism, contained as, indeed, a display? In their own theatre of knowledge, removed from their practical sense as relics or cult objects (appealing to worshippers or devotees), how do these pre-modern actors hold the attention of modern day visitors in a theoretical sense? Working with concepts of mimesis and empathy (relating art history, philosophy, and anthropology), this interdisciplinary enquiry will explore the affective appeal of such artefacts – especially masks – in their displacement in time and space. How does a relation between the living and the dead, invoked by these objects and yet consigned by modernity to superstition, survive in this very displacement? How do these objects allow for modes of existence of the dead to be remembered, despite the forms of extinction to which modernity appears dedicated?

Williams, Dr Kelsey Jackson                                                                                pf140009

University of St Andrews

Writing Scotland: Antiquarianism, Confessionalism, and National Identity in Early Modern Europe

In the century after James VI’s 1603 accession to the English throne, Scotland saw a golden age of historical scholarship as Scottish scholars brought a new urgency to the study of their national heritage. A surprisingly neglected aspect of this tradition, however, has been antiquarianism, the study of artefacts, manuscripts, ruins, and other fragments of the past. This project will study antiquarianism in Scotland during the long seventeenth century, restoring it to its larger European contexts, investigating the impact of confessional loyalties upon its scholarship, and recovering the complex narrative behind its singlehanded invention of a Scottish literary canon which remains with us today. It will fare far beyond Scotland to the universities of the Low Countries, the monasteries of France, and the archaeological sites of Tuscany, and, in doing so, will not only dramatically reassess how we understand antiquarianism, but will also intervene in key debates about the nature of scholarship, literature, and religion in the early modern world.

Yilmaz, Dr Harun                                                                                                  pf140077

Queen Mary University of London

The Depiction and Usage of the Recent Soviet Past in Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan (1991-2013)

This research project will be the first investigation into how and why the Soviet past has been rehabilitated and incorporated into national histories in Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan (1991-2013). Both countries have attracted international attention due to their natural resources, geopolitical importance, and regional conflicts. Instead of rejecting their Soviet past as colonial and repressive, the regimes in both countries have whitewashed the Soviet era, editing out unsuitable episodes, and rehabilitating many of the leading figures. The proposed project will examine the domestic and international political agendas behind these policies, and how the rewriting of the Soviet past has had, and continues to have, an impact on the post-Soviet generation. Governments in both countries employ historical narratives and national identities as a tool for political manipulation. This research aims to understand better the ideologies and political agendas of ruling elites in these countries, and to contribute to the scholarship on the Caucasus and Central Asia.

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