Postdoctoral Fellowship Awards 2016

A list of the Postdoctoral Fellowship Awards made in 2016

Dr Renan Baker


University of Cambridge

History / Medieval History - History

Multi-author corpora in antiquity and the middle ages: from Xenophon's memorabilia to Carolingian miscellanies

The Corpus Aurelianum is a classic example of medieval scribes and scholars attempting to produce miscellanies not just in order to transmit ancient works, but also to create continuity and to have a dialogue with the Roman (and even the Greek) past. Much the same could be said about the medieval recensions of what we now call the 'Historia Augusta', and the usage Sedulius Scottus and others made of them. The use, and in some cases the revision, of the ancient texts made by these authors seems to show that they attempted to interact with the republican and pagan past of the Roman World (and sometimes the Greek World), and not just to create continuity with the Roman Empire (as is often thought).

Dr Martin Bayly


London School of Economics and Political Science

Politics / International Relations

Imagining New Worlds: Empire and Knowledge in the Learned Institutions of Colonial India, 1873-1955

The learned institutions of colonial society in India cultivated the knowledge that sustained imperial rule. Yet from the mid to late nineteenth century they hosted growing numbers of Indian elites who contributed to, collaborated with, and often resisted European and British forms of knowledge. Concentrating on the Asiatic Society of Bengal, the United Services Institution, and the Indian Council on World Affairs, this research will examine these institutions as sites of a global encounter between mobile elites from both regions and the forms of knowledge they propounded. Adopting an interdisciplinary approach, the research proposes that within this setting a modern international political consciousness was forged, as a product of the confluence of European and non-European knowledge, one that would outlast colonial rule and establish the foundations for the study of international affairs in India. Still in existence as prominent think tanks today, these institutes offer vital and timely evidence on the origins of International Relations as a global project of colonial modernity.

Dr Janet Bowstead


Royal Holloway, University of London

Geography / Geography and Public Policy

Women on the move: the journeyscapes of domestic violence

Over 18,000 women a year relocate to access support services in England due to domestic violence, in a process of forced internal migration. This displacement is disruptive for individuals, in both emotional and practical ways, but has remained hidden and under-researched, with the result that responses are not based on good quality evidence. This research will fill that evidence gap at a range of scales. It will analyse administrative data across England, and focus in detail on the London region. Participatory groupwork with women will explore how they begin to know a new place and to resettle themselves and their children; redeveloping a sense of home and belonging. The research will therefore bring together these individual experiences, and connect them with the local, regional and national scale. It introduces the concept of a functional scale for domestic violence journeys - “journeyscapes” - whereby women and children travel as far as they need to escape the abuse, but are not forced further than necessary due to administrative boundaries or services.

Dr James Butterworth


University of Oxford

Music / Ethnomusicology

Music and Morality in Contemporary Peru

What is the relationship between music and morality? While this question has been explored philosophically, the role that music and music-making play in ethical life has not been sufficiently interrogated empirically. This project, based on ethnographic research in Peru - with performers and audiences of diverse genres - will, first, examine how musical sounds and practices communicate, and are shaped by, moral sensibilities; and, second, investigate how music can help or hinder acts of empathy. As well as contributing to scholarship on Peruvian music and society the project will establish a wide-reaching interdisciplinary framework for studying linkages between music and morality.

Dr Maria Manuela Dal Borgo


University of Cambridge

Classics and Ancient History / Classics in comparative and interdisciplinary contexts

Economics in Archaic and Classical Greek Warfare: An evolutionary perspective

This project asks how war affected economic strategies in archaic and classical Greece. Arguably the two biggest factors in altering how money and resources were invested and allocated were warfare and political ideology. But in what circumstances and to what effects were theoretical models preferred to pragmatic responses? With the help of game theory, which is essentially a modern mathematical theory of conflict, the project will attempt to elucidate the evolution of economic strategies over a 400-year period in various city-states. By offering a critical interdisciplinary perspective in the emerging field of the economics of ancient war this project will contribute to a deeper understanding of ancient socioeconomic history.

Dr Johanna Dale


University College London

Medieval Studies / Medieval History - Medieval Studies

History, Literature, Liturgy and Identity in the European Middle Ages

This project, centred on the influential cult of St. Oswald, draws together British and continental evidence and scholarship across a range of disciplines, to probe the development of regional and European identities in the central Middle Ages. Robert Bartlett has recently emphasised that devotion to local saints became a strong expression of regional identity. The project seeks to uncover the mechanisms through which a ‘foreign’ saint became integral to local and regional identities across Europe. It will ascertain differences in regional commemoration and in elite and popular devotion, for the adoption of St. Oswald as a local patron by Tyrolean villagers cannot be explained by the same processes that made this Northumbrian saint-king the object of aristocratic, and particularly Welf, devotion. At the heart of the study lies an investigation into the dynamic relationship between historical, literary and liturgical texts. As liturgical commemoration was not confined to the page, non-textual sources are also interrogated, including visual, material and archaeological materials.

Dr Holly Davis


University of Edinburgh

Sociology / Gender and Sexuality Studies

Motivations and Incentives for Buying Sex : Contextualizing the Demand for Sex Work

Kinnell (2008) estimates that 11% of the adult male population in the UK regularly pays for sexual services. This sizable portion of the population has yet to be researched in Scotland despite recent policy debates focused on prostitution and whether or not to criminalize solicitation. This research would focus on individuals who pay for sexual services ('punters') in Scotland, gathering data regarding their attitudes, experiences, and motivations. The limited research on the 'demand' side of prostitution creates a gap in the ongoing academic and policy discourses within and beyond Scotland. The project will allow for the reconceptualisation of the frameworks, processes, and configurations of prostitution through the inclusion of data from 'punters'. The research will not only contribute to filling a gap in existing literature, but will be highly salient for policymakers, politicians, police, and the voluntary sector. The aim is to generate data that could impact forthcoming debates about, and understandings of, prostitution in Scotland and abroad.

Dr Jonathan Doney


University of Exeter

Education / Education Policy

English Religious Education: A story of Indoctrination, Instrumentalization, and Ideology.

Through a novel method of policy analysis, this study will explore the introduction and continued presence of compulsory Religious Education (RE) in the English school curriculum following the 1944 Education Act. RE is argued to have begun as the indoctrinatory promotion of Christianity, moving to the development of tolerance for the ‘religious other’ from the 1960s. Currently there is an emphasis on the development ‘British Values’ to combat religious fundamentalism and extremism, especially in the context of issues such as the development of Islamic State. Beneath these discussions there are wildly differing visions of the nature and purpose of RE, but the indoctrinatory (confessional/non-confessional) lens, through which deep seated ideological differences have hitherto been examined, fails to account for this. This study will problematize existing characterizations of the subject’s history, and explore the extent to which the story is one of Indoctrination, Instrumentalization, and Ideology.

Dr Stuart Dunmore


University of Edinburgh

Linguistics / Sociolinguistics

Linguistic practice and ideology among new speakers of Gaelic in Scotland and Nova Scotia, Canada

This project will address the role of new speakers in Gaelic revitalisation initiatives in two divergent contexts. Gaelic is a minority language, spoken by just over 1% of the total population of Scotland, with another small community of speakers in Canada. New speakers in these contexts have acquired Gaelic as an additional language outside of the home and make frequent use of it in their daily lives. Whilst attitudes to Gaelic have been examined in quantitative surveys, the relationship between bilingual individuals’ attitudinal perceptions of their languages and their actual linguistic practices remains an understudied area of sociolinguistic analysis. This deficiency is certainly true of Gaelic-English speakers’ language use in modern Scotland and Canada, and an empirical basis for conceptualising the relationship of Gaelic language use, ideologies and attitudes is currently lacking. Through a combination of mixed methods, this project will build on work that Dr Dunmore has previously conducted to investigate the nature of that relationship among new speakers in both Scotland and Nova Scotia.

Dr Mirko Farina


King's College London

Philosophy / Philosophy of mind

Culture and Cognition: A New Theory of Cultural Learning

It is often argued that cultural learning (the capacity to learn and pass on information via activities such as imitation or teaching) is the secret of humans' evolutionary success. However, there is substantial disagreement about the nature and origin of this capacity. Is our ability for cultural learning based on innate, biologically-evolved adaptations (e.g. cognitive modules)? Or do we acquire it developmentally through general purpose mechanisms (e.g. high intelligence), which enable culture to get off the ground? This project has a new and more subtle answer to this long-standing research question. It is argued that humans have special adaptations for learning in cultural ways,and that those adaptations have themselves evolved through cultural inheritance. In applying previously-developed theory of learning (neo-neuroconstructivism), the Dr Farina offers an important new understanding of how human agents learn in a cultural context (which also underpins human cultural evolution) and thus make space for an innovative explanation of one the sources of humans' evolutionary success.

Dr Georgia Floridou


University of Sheffield

Psychology / Cognitive and Perceptual Psychology

The tunes that stick forever in memory: Cognitive ageing insights revealed by earworms

Involuntary memories, which come to the mind unintended, are a vital part of conscious experience and contribute to self-identity, learning and wellbeing. Currently there is no agreement on how involuntary memories are experienced across the lifespan. This projects proposes to investigate associations between involuntary memories and ageing using a multiple methods approach and by examining Involuntary Musical Imagery (INMI or “earworms”), one of the most frequent forms of involuntary memory. Dr Floridou also propose the first study to examine involuntary memory processes in individuals who experience memory impairment as a result of early stage dementia. The proposed studies will contribute to our understanding of how involuntary memories are experienced by people in different age groups and the extent to which involuntary memory can serve as a marker of cognitive ageing. This work will have implications for the increasingly popular music-based care currently being offered to people living with dementia.

Dr Jacopo Galimberti


University of Manchester

History of Art / Cultural Studies - History of Art

Appropriating Operaismo: Artists, Architects and Designers (1963-1979).

Over the past ten years operaismo has emerged as the major Italian “export” in the humanities, informing the work of philosophers, historians, economists, sociologists and migrations experts. Operaismo is an Italian strand of Marxism which began in 1963 and provisionally ended in the late 1979 when a component of the Italian left was accused of being part of a terrorist organisation. However, the trials ultimately resulted in all the main charges being dropped. After two decades of criminalisation, the early 2000s saw an international reappraisal of the past and contemporary work of its foremost representatives. At a time when an increasing number of scholars use concepts devised by, or indebted to, this project will analyse a neglected aspect of this trend: how Italian artists, architects and designers appropriated operaismo between 1963 and 1979. The project will further contribute to this emerging field, introducing a methodological novelty that will open avenues for future research. 1960’s-1970’s operaismo will be examined as a complex cultural trend, not as a merely political doctrine.

Dr Ursula Hackett


Royal Holloway, University of London

Politics / Public Policy and Administration

Vouchers and the State

This research programme provides the first comprehensive scholarly treatment of the politics of vouchers in education, housing and health in America. Vouchers offer individuals public money to pay for private services, replacing or augmenting directly-funded social provision. These rapidly expanding programs are transforming the state by delegating responsibility for core policy functions to private actors: shifting risk, attenuating chains of accountability and energising organised interests. Dr Hackett’s aim is to investigate why policymakers adopt or reject vouchers. The project argues that adoption is determined by interest group coalitions, policy diffusion and programme framing and structure. Deploying statistical analysis alongside policymaker interviews Dr Hackett will produce a monograph and articles that engage with academics and policymakers in the US and UK. The research advances new theories of the state. It examines the role of the private sector in the provision of public benefits, considering both theoretical questions of accountability and policymaker strategies in policy delivery.

Dr Bonny Hartley


University of Greenwich

Psychology / Developmental and Educational Psychology

Masculinity norms and boys academic underachievement

Throughout their schooling, boys’ achievement lags substantially behind girls’. Research shows that boys may fall foul of ‘masculinity norms’ which construct boys as potentially competent, but boisterous and troublesome. However, the content of these norms, their causal role in boys’ underachievement, and means to counteract them have yet to be systematically explored. The proposed research is guided by theory suggesting that masculinity norms are motivated to protect male dominance. Boys who try hard but do not excel undermine male dominance. Thus, Dr Hartley proposes masculinity norms disapprove of academic effort, enthusiasm, and compliance, rather than achievement per se. She will examine whether masculinity norms have a quantifiable, and remediable, effect on boys’ achievement. Six studies of British schoolchildren will examine: the content of these norms, including whether they disapprove of effort or achievement per se (Year 1); their quantitative impact on boys’ achievement (Year 2); and the effectiveness of intervening on these norms to improve boys' achievement (Year 3).

Dr Uri Horesh


University of Essex

Linguistics / Sociolinguistics

Further sociolinguistic explorations in Palestinian Arabic: Language and identity, religion, and urbanisation

Multivariate analysis has been a crucial tool in variationist sociolinguistics since the field's inception, and new methods of such analysis have evolved throughout the years. Dr Horesh willl use these tools in this research to tease out both social and linguistic factors that contribute to language variation and change. Variation amongst speakers of various Palestinian dialects of Arabic reflects the influence of factors such as language contact (mainly Arabic/Hebrew), sectarian dialectal differences (e.g., Muslim/Christian/Druze dialects) and the effects of urbanisation on the evolution of language varieties. Urban dialects typically differ from rural ones but many of the Palestinian dialects in recently expanded towns are still uncharted territory in this regard. Religion & urbanisation will be scrutinised in this regard.

Dr Thomas Jellis


University of Oxford

Geography / Cultural Geography

Burnout: a geo-history of contemporary exhaustion

'Burnout’ is a phenomenon as familiar in academic life as it is in almost every other sector of professional employment. It is at once a conversational turn of phrase used to explain a personalized structure of feeling, and, a controversial mental health phenomenon commonly cited as troubling the modern world of work, and capitalist economy. Burnout is, then, a negative affective state that jumps scales and sectors, and which exists, apparently, at the heart of contemporary life. This project adopts a geographical approach to grapple with this capricious condition, by examining the ways in which burnout has come to be diagnosed and the entangled relations between mental health, society, and space. Such an approach goes beyond the familiar idea that such diagnoses are social constructs, to unravel the affective dimensions of such a debilitating and exhausting condition. As such, the project seeks not only to trace a history of this seemingly novel term, but to examine how and where it is experienced and takes shape, and what spaces of care for such a condition exist.

Dr Christopher Jones


University of Oxford

Oriental and African Studies / Central and South Asian languages and literature

Buddhist Perceptions of the Religious Other

This project concerns representations of the religious other, i.e. members of competing traditions and systems, in Indian Buddhist sources. The focus is Mahayana sutra literature and related commentaries composed in roughly the first half of the first millennium CE, surviving in Sanskrit and/or Tibetan or Chinese translation. The project will address vague, often overlooked expressions in this literature that refer to non-Buddhist teachers - some in texts that are virtually unstudied - and conduct the first thorough investigation into to whom precisely, in this period of Buddhist writing, such language may refer. Surveying and analyzing attitudes towards other systems and their perceived authority in the world, this project will present a clearer picture of which rival Indian traditions or ideas were known to Mahayanist authors of this period, and how these authors in turn represented them to audiences. The resulting monograph and other products of this research will improve our understanding of the religious landscape of classical India as seen through the varied attitudes of Buddhist sources.

Dr Alastair Key


University of Kent

Archaeology / Archaeology of human origins

"In the palm of your hand": A biomechanical study of stone tool design, use, and ergonomics throughout early human evolution

Stone tools were central to the survival of our early ancestors. Their production opened new ecological niches and facilitated the exploitation of environments in novel ways. Their use and production also co-evolved alongside the finely-tuned manipulative ability of the human hand, one of our defining features. To date, the design of various stone tool types has predominantly been investigated from cultural and technological perspectives, but not in terms of their use or their direct interaction with the hand (i.e.,ergonomics). Efficiency of use would, however, have been a primary concern during stone tool production, and likely a selective advantage for the tool-maker. An ergonomic study of stone tool use will provide a clearer understanding of why early humans made stone tools in the forms that they did. Using a combination of electromyography, grip analyses, and geometric morphometrics, this project will examine the functional consequences of variable Lower Palaeolithic (~3-0.3Ma) tool forms and the extent to which early tool design choices were influenced by ergonomic principles.

Dr Robert Knowles


University of Leeds

Philosophy / Philosophy of science

Mathematics: The Unlikely Engine of Scientific Discovery

This project provides a novel, multidisciplinary solution to a deep, unresolved question concerning mathematics’ applicability in science. Pure mathematics is developed independently of science, in accordance with mathematicians’ internal aesthetic and explanatory standards. Yet it can facilitate profound discoveries about physical reality e.g. by providing the right language for describing new physical phenomena, and by allowing scientists to draw on mathematical analogies the physical significance of which is unknown. Such applicability is very surprising: how can mathematicians’ internal standards track objective physical reality? Dr Knowles will seek to answer this question by developing a theoretical account of the scientific utility of mathematics that is informed by historical accounts of mathematical theory development and scientific discovery. The hypothesis: given the nature and genesis of mathematical theories, and the ratio of successful to unsuccessful appeals to mathematical analogy in science, the extent of mathematics’ success in driving scientific discovery is unsurprising.

Dr Tzu-yu Lin


University College London

Modern Languages / Translation Studies 

The Voices of Translators: Re-writing Colonial Cultural Memory in Japanophone Taiwanese Literature

This project explores the role of translators in the transmission of colonial cultural memory, embedded in Japanophone Taiwanese literature, to Taiwan’s post-war generations. It combines the fields of Translation Studies and Memory Studies, investigating how translation affects the way in which a postcolonial society, such as Taiwan, transmits or negotiates colonial cultural memory. When Japanese colonisation (1895-1945) came to an end, Chinese became - and remains - the only official language of Taiwan. Thus, the post-war generations have depended significantly on translation in reading Japanophone Taiwanese literary texts. In terms of translating a colonial “other”, translation has often been accused of its involvement with an imperialist gaze that serves the (former) colonial audience, whilst the issues of restoring a memory for those who have not experienced colonial rule has remained under-explored. By conducting and analysing interviews with translators, this project will yield new insights into how colonial cultural memory is mediated in translation.

Dr Philip Loft


University of Cambridge

History / History of a specific country

Deliberative Governance in Early Modern Britain, 1689-1760

Early eighteenth-century Britain experienced frequent elections, a clashing of interest groups, and the ‘rage of party’. This raised new questions about how to establish the authority and legitimacy of the growing central state. Dr Loft will firstly produce a monograph covering the period between 1689 and 1720 examining the largest outbreak of petitioning since the civil war of the 1640s, public participation in parliamentary committees, and the role of the House of Lords as High Court. It argues that parliamentarians, in response to contemporary fears that the people had been misled by politicians and a partisan press, encouraged the public to engage with ‘reason’ before making judgements, creating a ‘deliberative oligarchy’. He will then examine how Scottish interests (who were greatly outnumbered at Westminster by English MPs and peers) saw the state as legitimate. The maintaining of Union is often explained by Scottish access to the British Empire, but Dr Loft will consider how Scots used the law, their remaining national institutions, and the British Parliament to pursue separate policies.

Dr Bradley Marsh


University of Oxford

Religious Studies / Old Testament

The Book of Daniel-Bel-Dragon-Susanna in the Recension of Jacob of Edessa

The Syriac Orthodox bishop and polymath Jacob of Edessa - regarded by his coreligionists as an eminent biblical exegete - revised the text of the Syriac Old Testament before his death in 708 CE. Dr Marsh intends to produce the editio princeps of the only extant manuscript of his recension of Daniel, accompanied by an annotated English translation and commentary. Dr Marsh’s aim is to present Jacob’s revision within its proper historical, theological, and philological contexts. Such contextualization is vital, for Jacob lived during the tumultuous 7th cen. CE, when both Byzantine and Middle Eastern Christians were engrossed with apocalypse - the visions of Daniel included - as a means of coping with subjugation to what Jacob called “the difficult yoke of the Arabians”. Consequently, the edition will discuss historical, theological, and textual aspects of the book, as well as attempt to further describe Christian views of world history during early Islam.

Dr Narzanin Massoumi


University of Bath

Sociology / Political Sociology

Understanding the impact of counter terrorism policy on the structures of democratic space within higher education institutions

Universities play an important role in public life; they offer a cultural, social and political infrastructure for creating knowledge and innovation, exchanging ideas, and opportunities for a variety of social interactions. Yet, the government is concerned that universities offer spaces that radicalise students. Despite the policy interest in this area, there is very little existing research on the university as political space, especially for student activism. Under the Counter Terrorism and Security Act 2015 (CTS) it is now a statutory duty for Relevant Higher Education Bodies (RHEBs) to 'prevent people from being drawn into terrorism'. This policy requires university staff to monitor the ideologies and activities of students considered 'at risk of vulnerability' to violent and non-violent extremism. This Prevent Duty has practical implications for the nature of the university as space for critical thinking, knowledge innovation and cultural exchange. This research thus asks how the 'free space' of the university has been constituted or affected by counter terrorism policy.

Dr Kate Mees


University of Durham

Archaeology / Medieval, post-medieval and industrial archaeology

Funerary Landscapes and Social Change in Early Medieval Northwest Europe, c. AD 400-900

The Early Middle Ages in northwest Europe saw ethnic and political realignments that laid the foundations for the concepts of nationhood and society we recognise today. In this competitive post-imperial milieu, the recurrent negotiation of identities and territories was manifested in a renewed investment in funerary monumentality. To date, research into burial practice during this period has been essentially regional or insular in outlook. Scholarly exchange between Britain and its nearest Continental neighbours has in particular been hindered by linguistic barriers and nationally-driven agendas. This project examines for the first time how communities on either side of the English Channel and southern North Sea adapted their inherited landscape for burial, and how they harnessed the power of ancient monuments and natural topography. Through an exploration of funerary activity at range of scales, from the micro to the supra-regional, this research will provide new insights into the context of such strategies, and how they reflect social change across physical and perceived frontiers.

Dr Michiel Meeusen


King's College London

Classics and Ancient History / Ancient Greek & Roman Science & Medicine

Aristotelian Natural Problems and Imperial Culture: Science in Circulation

This project aims to open up new horizons for scholarship on a methodological level by repositioning authors and readers in the history of ancient scientific literature. By focusing on the circulation of scientific texts in the Roman Empire the project goes beyond the standard image of ancient scientific authors creating their own authority and imparting it to their readers. Dr Meesusen’s goal is to reveal a far less hierarchical communication process, where the emphasis shifts from the authorial construction of authority towards the receptive validation of scientific knowledge. The project offers a case study of the rich but largely uncharted reception of the Aristotelian Natural Problems in the Imperial Era, a seminal period in the text’s history. The work circulated in numerous social and intellectual milieus in the Mediterranean region, sparking debate among many intellectuals, both Greek & Roman. An analysis of the available evidence offers a new, kaleidoscopic perspective on the shifting intellectual value of a very influential, but largely forgotten genre of ancient scientific learning.

Dr Felix Paul Meier zu Selhausen


University of Sussex

Economics / Economic History - Economics

Conversion out of Poverty? Exploring the Origins and Long-Term Consequences of Christian Missionary Activities in Africa

In recent years, there has been intense debate over the impact of Christian missionary activities in Africa during colonial rule (c. 1880-1960) on African long-term development. While the literature claims that the benefits of mission education were substantial and persist to the present-day, there is widespread disagreement about the mechanisms and the degree to which ordinary Africans were able to benefit from these developments under colonial rule and beyond. Using hitherto unexploited individual-level data from parish churches, hospitals, and colonial archives in seven British African colonies, this project explores two key questions in a comparative analytical framework: (1) What determined African Christianization in general and what influenced the choice of mission locations in particular? (2) What was the gender-specific impact of missionary activities on African human capital, labour market participation, social mobility, and health? This project seeks to improve our understanding of the unique historical process and enduring significance of missionary expansion in Africa.

Dr Carla Mereu Keating


University of Bristol

Modern Languages / Translation Studies

Hollywood's Foreign-Language Units: The Film Translation Industry between Los Angeles and New York (1928-1945)

During the transition from silent to sound film, the US film majors developed new film translation practices to target their diverse non-English-speaking audiences worldwide. Foreign-language units were set up in Los Angeles (where the majors had their larger production studios) and New York (where they had their European offices) with the aim of making English-language films accessible to other communities of speakers. This research into archives and libraries in the US will trace the origins and developments of this film translation industry and document and contextualise historically the changes that occurred between the late 1920s and the mid-1940s. Through the analysis of archival records, trade press, film prints and scripts, the study will ultimately provide the first detailed account of the work of translators, adapters, actors and directors who were employed by the US film producers and distributors precisely for their foreign-language skills and demonstrate how crucial their activities were for guaranteeing Hollywood dominance of international markets.

Dr Cristina Moreno Almeida


King's College London

Communications and Media Studies / Film and Media Studies

The Role of New Media and Social Media in a Neo-Liberal Authoritarian Regime: The Case Study of Moroccan Urban Youth Culture

Since the 2011 popular uprisings that took place in many countries around the world, new media and social media have played an important role in social and political activism, especially in neo-liberal authoritarian regimes such as Morocco where traditional media is closely monitored by the ruling elites. In the aftermath of these uprisings, while countries such as Egypt and Tunisia have undergone significant social and political upheavals, Morocco has managed to continue presenting itself to the world as a stable country. This stability, however, conceals important social struggles experienced in this country during the past years where numerous civil society groups have denounced the lack of freedom of expression. In this context, this project examines the emergence of independent new media outlets and the popularisation of social media as sites for self-expression where dominant narratives can be challenged. Through the lenses of youth culture, this work examines the role of new and social media in an authoritarian state anxious to portray itself as 'modern', moderate and liberal.

Dr Martin O'Connell


Institute for Fiscal Studies

Economics / Applied Economics

Regulating product characteristic space in food markets

Tackling diet related health disease is a priority for many governments. A prominent policy approach in the UK is to target firms with regulations aimed at influencing product nutrients or price. The response of firms is uncertain, but is crucial to determining policy effectiveness. This research will introduce a framework to evaluate the impact of targeting firms with regulations aimed at constraining their choice of product price and characteristics. This framework will be applicable to problems in a wide array of markets. Dr O’Connell will use it to address two questions in food markets. He will study the impact of a recent policy that involved simultaneously introducing targets encouraging firms to reduce the salt in their products and an information campaign warning consumers of the dangers of excess salt consumption. The project will also consider the impact of imposing a minimum price for alcohol. In each case the research will assess the effectiveness of the policy, taking account of both consumer and firm response, and will explore whether the regulations affect the intensity of competition in the market.

Dr Natalie Ohana


University of Exeter

Law / Legal System and Legal Institutions

The Understanding, Construction and Representation of Trauma in Legal Proceedings

This project will be the first comprehensive examination of the adaptability of legal proceedings to people who experienced trauma. It will examine whether a significant gap can be located between the experience of trauma and its representation in legal proceedings, arguing that such a gap can be crucial to the ability to provide effective and responsive legal remedies to people who suffer trauma, and explore whether this gap, if located, is reducible. In reading of leading texts in trauma-studies Dr Ohana has found three foundational characteristics of trauma that stand in potential tension with the manners by which trauma is represented in legal proceedings: the adaptability of legal mediums available for the representation of trauma; the legal evaluation of harm caused by trauma; and the evaluation of the evidential weight that should be given to testimonies on trauma. This project intends to analyse these tensions through examining a case study by working directly with women in domestic violence refuges and integrating an art based research method as part of the methodology.

Dr Nil Ozlem Palabiyik


University of Manchester

History / Intellectual history - History

Learning Turkish in early modern Europe 1544-1680: the scholarly, diplomatic, religious and commercial interest in the Ottoman language

Early modern Europe witnessed a burgeoning interest in the Turkish culture and history, which gave rise to a significant oriental influence in the arts, fashion, literature and music. The popular but fragmented portrayals of the 'image of the Turk' have long been scrutinized. An unexplored area remains the study of Turkish language for scholarly, religious, diplomatic and commercial purposes. This project will explore the intriguing relationship between Europe and the Ottoman Empire through the medium of manuscripts and printed books produced or circulated in Europe between 1544 and 1680 -- Turkish language aids and reference works, including lexica, grammars and phrasebooks. Even the basic bibliography of these materials has been neglected, but this is more than an exercise in bibliography. By tracing the circumstances of their production, their circulation, provenance, previous owners, use and reception, Dr Palabiyik will seek to contribute to a better understanding of history of western knowledge of, and attitudes towards the Ottoman Empire at a formative period in the history of both regions.

Dr Laura Paterson


University of Oxford

History / Modern History

A generational study of social mobility and gender through clerical workers in Britain, 1920 - 2000.

Social mobility studies have yet to fully explore female experiences, and have focussed on social mobility through marriage and male career routes. The role of women's own employment in social mobility has not been centralised in research. Clerks were part of the emerging middle-class in twentieth-century Britain. Undertaking a range of administrative duties female employment in clerical work expanded over the century, however, historians know little about this work and the women who did it. Using quantitative and qualitative methods and an interdisciplinary approach, this research studies female clerical workers in urban centres across England and Scotland between 1920 and 2000. A central aspect of research will be a generational study of clerical workers, which will illuminate the extent of social/occupational mobility. This project considers clerical work as a significant and desirable job for women when female career options were limited but expanding, offering an explanation for why so many women entered this job, and the significance ascribed to this in terms of gender and class.

Dr Anthony Pickles


University of Cambridge

Anthropology / Social & Cultural Anthropology, other branches

Gambling across the Pacific: the fluttering tide

Europeans brought gambling to the Pacific along with novel forms of valuable and disjunctive wealth imbalances. The proposed historical and ethnographic research examines successive waves of gambling’s introduction, indigenization and mutation as responses to social transformation and economic uncertainty. Gambling very quickly became highly desirable, extremely variable and an important explanatory idiom. Esoteric local games mediated the region’s heterogeneity, and for Pacific people life became ‘like gambling’: a matter of creatively arbitrating between old and new ways. Upscaling from the award holder’s ethnography in an urban location where national currency is ubiquitous and gambling serves to cross many cultural barriers, Dr Pickles will: 1) analyse secondary source material from across the Pacific on the explosive take-up of gambling from 1800 to 1970; and 2) conduct contrastive ethnographic research in two locales where gambling sits astride distinct and resilient indigenous exchange practices. The result will be a fresh ethnographic take on historical transformation, regional diversity and economy.

Dr Camilla Pickles


University of Oxford

Law / Medical Law

Obstetric Violence and the Law

Obstetric violence is a global issue. It concerns treatment of pregnant and birthing people that violates autonomy, human rights and sexual and reproductive health. However, the law generally remains inactive. This renders vulnerability, suffering and wrongdoing unaddressed in law. This research fills this gap, it argues that abusive care constitutes obstetric violence and should be an actionable violation. It does this within the framework of relational theory. The research identifies pregnancy as a relationship between a woman and her foetus and it notes that the “pregnancy unit” also exists in a web of relationships. Within this relational context, the research contemplates how the law can be used to reframe relationships in a way that addresses obstetric violence thus providing a legal framework to ensure respect towards pregnant and birthing people and individual and state accountability. The research adopts a multidisciplinary approach and compares experiences of obstetric violence and relevant laws in South Africa, Kenya, Argentina, the UK and the USA.

Dr Eskandar Sadeghi-Boroujerdi


University of Manchester

History / Political History

The Sultan and His Subalterns: Populism and the Politics of Co-optation in Late Pahlavi Iran

In the midst of the global Cold War, the Shah launched the most ambitious experiment in royalist state-building in the developing world. Numerous works have been published on the political elite surrounding this process. Yet, no study has set out to comprehensively explore the social classes and groups that participated in these newly established state structures and programs. This proposed project will result in a historical monograph analysing the narratives and social make-up of men and women that were incorporated by the state with the aim of constructing a popular base of mass support. It will thereby elucidate the ancien régime’s efforts to forge a social compact with a broad cross-section of the population from the early 1960s through to the Iranian Revolution. It will study how a complex web of state institutions operated, relating them to their broader transnational context, and further examine how their members and participants viewed, engaged and appropriated them in the course of their daily lives, thus re-evaluating, from below, the extant historiography of the era.

Dr Hannah Scott


University of Nottingham

Modern Languages / French language and literature

French Representations of the British 'Other', 1870-1904

This project explores French representations of the British in text and image, from the Franco-Prussian War in 1870 to the Entente Cordiale in 1904. After 1870, Germany replaced Britain as France’s principal European enemy, and this shift led to a reconsideration of old national stereotypes. This monograph will take an interdisciplinary approach, pairing popular and high-culture sources to ask three key questions. First, how do everyday representations interact with literary or artistic depictions? Second, how do writers deal with the diversity inherent within Britishness, particularly in terms of gender and the differences between the four nations? Finally, what are the implications of playing with anglicisms or embracing British aesthetics for the stylistic integrity of the French text or image? This research aims to open new lines of enquiry into the intersection between popular and high culture, and to deepen our knowledge about the role of text and image in France’s understanding of Britain at a crucial moment in the evolution of Franco-British relations.

Dr Kirsty Sedgman


University of Bristol

Communications and Media Studies / Drama and Theatre Studies

A Theatre of Two Cities: Mapping the Relationship between Bristol Old Vic, London, the Regions and their Communities, from 1946 to the Present

The Bristol Old Vic theatre company was formed in 1946 as an offshoot of London’s Old Vic. The company has since experienced ongoing tensions between ‘local interests’ and the capital. Tracking evolving relationships between Bristol’s communities and the company from its launch to the present, this project explores how regional theatres balance national cultural policy with local identity. It studies three strands: 1) Regional Values: how a distinctly West of England identity was forged whilst adhering to London funders' requirements. 2) Heritage: how existing relationships with the historical Theatre Royal building were built upon and a sense of local 'ownership' developed. 3) Impact: how the region’s communities value and make use of the theatre today. The result will be a ‘deep map’ of Bristol Old Vic: locating the company within the building, the city, the West of England, and the UK. A significant record of how audience numbers are built and lost over time, this case study will demonstrate how theatres can reverse declining audiences by deepening regional community engagement.

Dr Mauro Senatore


University of Durham

Modern Languages / Critical and cultural theory - Modern Languages

Of Complexity: The Postgenetic Work of Henri Atlan

The concept of life is being deconstructed by the work of contemporary biologists in the areas of epigenetics and immunology. To interrogate this process and its implications for philosophical and political questions of life and organization of living beings, Dr Senatore proposes to take up the work of the French Jewish philosopher and bio-physicist Henri Atlan (b.1931-). The project’s hypothesis is that this work represents a rare and powerful case of a broad system of thought built on a rigorous understanding of contemporary biology. Atlan has not only played a key role in the shift from genetic to postgenetic biology; he has also developed a compelling interpretation of this shift in conversation with poststructuralist trends in contemporary European philosophy as well as with theological and philosophical traditions in Jewish thought. This research will focus on the postgenetic paradigm of complexity that has informed Atlan’s biological thought and on his systematic elaboration of this paradigm into a Spinozian and poststructuralist philosophy and politics of life.

Dr Valentina Tonei


University of York

Economics / Applied Economics

Parental Investments and Child Development

Early childhood is a time of both great promise and considerable risk. The lack of adequate investments in this period can have negative effects on the development of young children and on their future outcomes. Previous research has found that parents play a crucial role in early childhood; however it is still unclear how different types of parental investments affect different areas of child development. The proposed research will compare the effect on child development of material learning resources (e.g. books and toys), quality time spent in formal and informal childcare and parental time investment, measured as the time parents spend with their children doing formative activities. It will examine how the effects of these investments vary across three areas of child development, which are health, cognitive and socio-emotional skills. This research will provide a better understanding of the role of parents in different areas of child development and will inform policy makers on how to design interventions that promote children’s wellbeing.

Dr Kamen Tsvetanov


University of Cambridge

Psychology / Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuropsychology

Multi-scale network dynamics of the ageing brain: Modelling neurocognitive function and dysfunction

The preservation of cognitive function is crucial for maintenance of well-being across the lifespan. This project proposes that such preservation depends upon flexible coordination of neural activity in terms of 1) communication across segregated brain networks operating at large spatial and low-frequency (<30Hz) temporal scales, and 2) local neural activity operating at high-frequency (>30Hz). Thus, the combination of spatio-temporal representations of neural activity provides an optimal framework to better characterize neurocognitive function and dysfunction. Dr Tsvetanov will use advanced multivariate modelling on a unique “big -dataset” from a population-representative cohort ( to help understand successful and unsuccessful ageing in terms of functional reorganisation of brain-behaviour relations across the adult lifespan. It will further identify demographic and lifestyle factors that play an important modulatory role. It will provide major contributions to research on ageing, and generate important benefits for academic researchers, the older community and wider society.

Dr Matthew Ward


University of Nottingham

History / Medieval History - History

The Culture of Loyalty in Fifteenth-Century England

This project constitutes the first major attempt to define and understand political loyalty to the crown and secular lords in England, 1400-1500: how it was manifested; how it developed and how it was discussed in political and social discourse. It focuses on a significant period in the evolution of the concept of loyalty: the end of the Hundred Years War, the instability of the Wars of the Roses, and attempts by the Yorkist and early Tudor regimes to increase the crown’s authority in the localities. An interdisciplinary approach utilises and tests the applicability of theoretical models developed by philosophers and political scientists on the nature of loyalty, notably Josiah Royce. Alongside documentary and literary sources, there is a strong emphasis on material and visual culture. The project aims to revise a largely negative historiographical tradition by conceptualising loyalty as a sincere, voluntary expression. By developing the first paradigm of late medieval loyalty, the research will have far reaching implications for our understanding of the late medieval polity.

Dr Jennifer Whillans


University of Manchester

Sociology / Sociology of other, e.g. work, media etc

(De)synchronisation of people and practices in working households: The relationship between the temporal organisation of employment and eating in the UK.

The way we eat has some detrimental effects on our health, the environment and social cohesion. Time-poverty, feeling rushed, and lacking quality time - often attributed to juggling competing demands of work and family life - is a societal problem often associated with poor eating habits. These critical concerns are high on personal and public agendas and, together, demand attention. Bringing together understandings from the sociologies of food and work, the aim of this research is to explore how working arrangements and schedules shape the way we eat: when we eat, whether we eat at home or eat out, with whom we eat, how much food preparation we do, and the combination of meals and snacks consumed. The research takes a comparative, mixed methods approach to examine shifting patterns and mechanisms underpinning the temporal organisation of employment and eating over the last 40 years (1975-2015). This research will generate empirically-evidenced, theoretically grounded insights that speak to critical and policy-relevant debates about poor eating habits and work-life balance in the UK.

Dr Peter Williams


University College London

Education / Adult, Continuing, Vocational and Community Education or Training

The digital lives of people with Learning Disabilities

Digital Media is becoming ever more used by people with Learning Disabilities (LD) for entertainment, to socialise and enjoy self-expression. However, there is a paucity of research into the experiences of these technologies by this cohort and the barriers encountered in its negotiation. The aims will be to explore: -Participant experiences in using Digital Media in everyday life -Whether and how these technologies enhance personal identity -Usability issues, eliciting any barriers to full exploitation of the media. This aspect of the research is important in helping to show how people with LD can avoid being disenfranchised by the march of technology in everyday life. However, rather than to simply follow the standard procedure of gathering and analysing data, the project will work with the participants to co-produce an accessible, annotated and hyperlinked living e-archive of their experiences. Involving the cohort as full participants, informants and contributors - rather than as mere research 'subjects' will greatly facilitate digital inclusion and empowerment.

Dr Michael Wood


University of Edinburgh

Modern Languages / Comparative literature - Modern Languages

Embracing 'a new mode of culture': Walter Scott and the German Dramatists

Walter Scott is considered a leading figure in British literature and was a globally celebrated author in his time. Yet Scott’s literary development cannot be viewed in a vacuum, whereby the primary influences on his work were native to the British Isles. This comparative project studies Scott’s works in the context of his reception of German drama from the late eighteenth century to the early part of the nineteenth century. It demonstrates that Scott viewed the German dramatists as providing a renewing force for British literature through their rejection of the Aristotelian unities of drama. This project explores Scott’s reception of German drama through his early translations of German plays, his own dramatic works, and his novels, arguing that Scott continuously attempts to implement the formal innovations of German dramatists in his own works. In so doing, this research will shed new light on Scott’s creative development, arguing that cultural exchange and language acquisition played a leading role in the formation of one of Britain’s most significant cultural exports.

Dr David Zakarian


University of Oxford

Oriental and African Studies / Modern & Medieval Middle Eastern lang and lit

Writing History from Below: Christian-Muslim Interactions in Armenian Colophons during the Long Fifteenth Century (1375-1501)

The historical interactions of Christians and Muslims in medieval Anatolia and the Southern Caucasus have so far been explored mainly through the narratives preserved in official court histories and chronicles. As a result, an inherently elitist, therefore incomplete, history of relationships has been written. By bringing together the fields of Islamic and Armenian studies, this research aims to provide an original, interdisciplinary study of the Christian-Muslim relations. It will reveal the individual voices and perspectives of the Christian scribes, who in their vast majority were low-ranking clerics. The project will focus on about 3000, often lengthy, extant colophons of manuscripts written between 1375 and 1501. Living under Muslim political pressure of varying intensity, Christian scribes tended to reflect on their community’s immediate contact with the Muslims and to record their perception of Islam and everyday experience under Muslim rule. This will be the first research to evaluate this wealth of material and further our understanding of the dynamics of interreligious relations.

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