Postdoctoral Fellowship Awards 2017
Dr Anthi Andronikou - University of St Andrews
Critical and cultural theory - History of Art, Cultural Studies - History of Art
The Medieval Art of Translation: Visual Culture in the Eastern Mediterranean, c.1200–1300
This interdisciplinary study examines instances of cultural translation in the visual arts across the eastern Mediterranean, c.1200–1300. Its originality lies in bringing together diverse artistic media (painting, minor arts and sculpture) to probe transcultural and transconfessional visual idioms in what are nowadays Cyprus, Egypt, Israel, Lebanon, Palestine, southern Italy, southern Turkey and Syria, by drawing on theories of cultural translation. The new artistic vocabularies stemming from the translation of Christian and Islamic visual languages in these regions stand for what cultural theorists have called ‘neither/nor’ elements –neither completely Christian, nor entirely Islamic, but something new. Such is, for instance, the case of the Islamesque imagery of the rock-cut church of Santa Maria degli Angeli in southern Italy, which evokes secular imagery of Islamic painting. Artistic production emerges as a process of translation (in its etymological sense as ‘transference’), generating novel visual metaphors that cut across languages, cultures, religions and visual habits.
Dr Alberica Bazzoni - University of Warwick
Critical and cultural theory - Modern Languages, Gender studies in language and literature, Italian language and literature
The Gender of Literature: Italian Women Writers and the Literary Canon
This project aims at assessing the status of 20th- and 21st-century women writers in the Italian literary canon. Despite the general optimism characterising pioneering academic works on the subject, women writers still suffer from marginalisation and exclusion from the literary establishment. The research looks at three macro-areas, through different methodologies: quantitative analysis of the presence of women writers in high school and university courses; rhetorical analysis of the presentation of women writers in publishing and the public debate (e.g. reviews, book covers, marketing etc.); critical analysis of the contribution of a corpus of women writers, including transnational authors, to modern Italian literature. The overall scope of the project is to provide a documented and up-to-date picture of the canon in Italy from the perspective of gender and to intervene in the debate by addressing the dynamics that reproduce hierarchies and exclusions.
Dr Emmy Bocaege - University of Kent
A micro-evolutionary perspective on tooth size at the origins of agriculture in the Levant
The development from a hunter-gatherer to a farming lifestyle occurred first in the Near East (12000-7000 BC). Small groups of mobile hunter-gatherers led to larger settled populations, and this was accompanied by changes to the human skeleton that are retained in the present day. One of the most striking changes was the development of smaller teeth. The cultural reasons behind dental reduction (changes in food preparation techniques and population density) have been heavily debated in the last decades. However, the underlying growth processes
that facilitate this change are largely unknown. By integrating data from different state-of-the-art methodologies and using samples spanning the period of change, this project will reveal the fine details of the growth mechanisms that facilitated dental reduction during this key moment in human socio-economic development.
Dr Joseph Browning - University of Oxford
Ethnomusicology, History & Criticism of Music: Art Music since 1900
Vital Sounds: Mediating Nature in British Contemporary Music
What makes new music a vital part of contemporary life? For many composers, performers and others in the contemporary music scene, one important reason is that musical sound has a certain vital power, a life of its own that mirrors the forces and patterns of the natural world. This study uses ethnography to trace this pervasive idea through the varied terrain of the British new music scene, exploring how it finds voice in organicist and vitalist traditions of composition, legitimises artistic mediations of environmental anxieties, and animates other dimensions of new music’s creation, reception, and institutional reproduction. This analytical lens reveals conceptual affinities between seemingly disparate genres and practices, whether neo-pastoral concert works, site-specific sound art, or biofeedback performances. The study will enrich our understanding of music’s role in mediating political, scientific and other narratives about the natural world, and will contribute to debates about the potential of the arts for forging critical responses to contemporary environmental issues.
Dr Timothy Carroll - University College London
Doing Dignity: Orthodoxies of Palliative Care
In Britain today, most people die either in hospital or hospice care settings. Within infrastructures of care provision there are certain procedures in place that help preserve the dignity of patients, loved ones and care providers. These procedures form the orthodoxy of British medical practice in the face of death. In a multicultural context, care
provision recognises the importance of patients’ ethno-religious background in preserving the dignity of the dying and allowing a ‘good death’. But while efforts are made on the part of NHS trusts, front-line care providers, and community groups to ensure the delivery of culturally appropriate care provision, the religious needs of minorities are often misunderstood, or require kinds of care above, beyond—and at times in conflict with—medical orthodoxy. This project works with Eastern (Arab, Greek, Romanian, Russian) and Oriental (Coptic, Ethiopian, Syriac) Orthodox Christians, looking at how Orthodox communities work alongside existing systems of end-of-life care in order to facilitate a dignified ending to their lives.
Dr Lucie Charles - University College London
Cognitive and Perceptual Psychology, Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuropsychology
Metacognition of action: how do we know what we are doing?
Despite the precision and sophistication of human motor skills, we often remain unaware of how we control our actions: we can run a flight of stairs, catch a ball or type on a keyboard, while being unable to report the actual movement of our limbs. Paradoxically, this limited knowledge of what we do does not impair our sense of confidence about our actions and feeling we are executing our movements correctly. In this project, I propose to investigate what humans know about their motor actions, disentangling the conscious experience of movements from the cognitive processes that control them. In particular, my goal is to dissociate the awareness of how one moves, from the subjective sense of confidence that one moves correctly. By doing so, I hope to test the novel hypothesis that, although we sometimes lack awareness of our movements, our confidence still predicts accurately our ability to act. My research will provide a new theoretical framework integrating subjective experience of action to motor control, providing crucial knowledge for related pathologies and technologies.
Dr Ed Charlton - London School of Economics and Political Science
American literature, Colonial and postcolonial literature, Critical and cultural theory - English Language and Literature, Cultural studies - English Language and Literature, Contemporary Literature (English)
Metropolitan Melancholia: Articulating Loss in Johannesburg, London, Mumbai and New York
In what is often heralded as today's urban age, the city has come to stand for many as a place of endless possibility. The world over, people turn to the city for collective fulfilment and individual prosperity. By drawing close critical attention to the experiences of urban life narrated in creative non-fiction writing from across a selection of contemporary cityscapes, this project address the ways in which urban space is always also melancholy. It examines how these writers find life in the global city to be structured upon a type of cruel optimism, one that more regularly delivers collective feelings of estrangement and anomie. This project uses melancholy, a term that draws particular attention to the structures of loss that pattern urban space, in order to stage a comparative, interdisciplinary study of the contemporary city, one that draws lessons from the fields of psychoanalysis, literary criticism and urbanism alike in an effort to appraise the ways in which the urban age has conditioned a global network of feelings of dislocation and dispossession.
Dr Liesbeth Corens - University of Oxford
Early Modern History, History of Ideas
Creating Counter-Archives: English Catholic record collecting, c. 1660-1720
This project investigates the unprecedented upsurge in English Catholics’ collecting of material about their recent past around the turn of the eighteenth century. The collections challenge our current notion of the archive as a neutral repository, and help to interrogate the motivations which spurred the creation of archives and shaped their content and interpretation. They further research on archives in two significant ways. Firstly, the collections' overtly oppositional nature highlights what is communicated through the format, not just content. In their countering of Protestant archives and histories Catholics deliberately constructed a seeming neutrality for their compilations to give the impression of objectivity and factual accuracy. Secondly, the dispersal of the English Catholic community across England and the Continent highlights the role of record keeping beyond localised communities and dominant administrations. The role records played in sustaining a dislocated community helps us to understand how archives supported and constructed communities, not just reflected them.
Dr Mary Cox - University of Oxford
History of Medicine, Social History, Economic History
Neutrality and Nutrition: Hunger in Stockholm and Vienna During the First World War
The First World War was a period of massive deprivation. Civilians in Vienna, the capital of the Austrian-Hungarian Empire, are widely considered to have suffered some of the worst nutritional stress during and following the conflict. Less known are the complaints published in Sweden at the time that their citizens, especially children, also suffered nutritional deprivation. Although Sweden remained neutral throughout the conflict, the Allied blockade and loss of trading partners that prevented food from entering Vienna also slowed food and other supplies from entering Stockholm, a city long dependent on oceanic trade. This project is a comparative study of the nutritional status of children in Stockholm and Vienna during the First World War. By comparing civilians from opposite sides of the spectrum in terms of political engagement with the War, but who nevertheless both had imports and exports curtailed to varying degrees because of it, this study will demonstrate the diverse impacts the conflict had on civilians. The use of new anthropometric indicators is vital to this study.
Dr Camille Coye - University of Exeter
Cognitive and Perceptual Psychology, Evolutionary and Comparative Psychology
Phonemic use and its development in vocal communication of chestnut-crowned babblers (Pomatostomus ruficeps)
Human language is inherently combinatorial - sounds are combined phonologically to form meaningful words which are then combined syntactically to form meaningful phrases. One way to understand the evolutionary progression of language is to study animal communication, identifying capacities analogous to linguistic traits. Chestnut-crowned babblers possess a complex vocal system involving the combination of acoustic units into context-specific calls akin to language’s phonemic-layer. This project aims to clarify the combinatorial structure of calls given by chestnut- crowned babblers and to provide insights into the development of cognitive processes underlying the production and perception of combinatorial signals. We will document natural adult communication, as well as the acquisition of calls by younger individuals. Through combining probabilistic analyses of utterances based on formal language theory with receiver-centred playback experiments, we will identify early forms of combinatoriality and shed light on the cognitive mechanisms involved in their emergence.
Dr Raquel Da Silva - University of Birmingham
Torn between the West and ISIS: the interplay between narratives of intervention and statebuilding and the life stories of former foreign fighters
This research aims to provide a better understanding of transnational activism through the study of the interplay between the narratives of intervention and statebuilding produced by the West and the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), and the first-hand experiences and life stories of former Western foreign fighters, men and women, and their families. Such understanding will result from the analysis of official Western and ISIS documents, social media accounts of former foreign fighters, and face-to-face interviews with the latter and respective families. This research has pertinent implications for policy and practice, regarding preventive and re-integrative interventions vis-à-vis current and former foreign fighters, providing insight into their reasons to join ISIS, their lives in ISIS-controlled territory, and the potential risk they pose when they return. This study will focus specifically on the micro narratives of returned Western foreign fighters, on the meso narratives of life within ISIS, and on the macro narratives behind their struggle produced by the West and ISIS.
Dr Christopher de Lisle - University of Oxford
Greek and Roman epigraphy, Greek and Roman numismatics, History of Greece and the Greek World, Art and Archaeology of Greece and the Greek World
Sicilian Interactions in the Ancient Mediterranean (8th – 2nd C BC)
This project explores ancient Sicily’s interactions with the world beyond its shores, from the arrival of Greeks and Phoenicians in the 8th century BC down to the Roman conquest in the 2nd century BC. I consider three kinds of interaction (political, economic and ideological), with a stress on the relationships between these different kinds of interaction. Past scholarship has focussed excessively on the Greek portion of the island and viewed it either in
isolation or as a periphery. I will offer a new interpretation of ancient Sicily’s place in the ancient world, focussing on the island as a whole and as a centre in its own right. Sitting at the heart of the Mediterranean, Sicily’s interactions with both west and east are also key to knitting together the two halves of the sea, which scholarship of the pre- Roman period has, problematically, tended to treat in isolation. The project will result in three articles on specific significant interactions, an edited volume establishing a theoretical framework for the study of large islands like Sicily, and will culminate in a monograph.
Dr Susannah Deane - University of Bristol
Anthropology and Sociology of Religion, Asian Religions, Specific Region or Location
Madness, mental health and Buddhism: an examination of smyo nad ('madness') in the Tibetan context
This research will examine historical and contemporary understandings of the Tibetan concept of smyo nad ('madness') and its relationship to religion in the Tibetan Buddhist context, a topic little explored to date. This Tibetan term is used to describe both a severe mental illness and also the state of a highly-realised Tibetan Buddhist tantric practitioner – the bla ma smyon pa ('saintly madman'). Based on nine months of ethnographic fieldwork to be conducted in Tibetan areas of Qinghai, People’s Republic of China, alongside an exploration of the relevant Tibetan religious and medical literature, this interdisciplinary research spans the fields of Buddhist studies, anthropology and cross-cultural psychiatry, bringing together ethnographic and textual research approaches to explore this fascinating subject. Output from the research will include a monograph and two peer-reviewed academic journal articles. The research has relevance and impact potential not only in the subject area of religious studies, but also for practitioners and policy-makers in the global mental health field.
Dr Michael Depreter - University of Oxford
Early Modern History, Medieval History - History, Political History
Towards a culture of lobbying? Towns, Diplomacy and the State in England, the Low Countries and the Hanse (ca. 1340 - ca. 1560)
Early modern state-building, understood as the rise of centralised sovereign government, has long been analysed through the acquisition of a Weberian monopoly of violence (police, war), inevitably accompanied by a monopoly of diplomacy (peace). Building on research in “new diplomatic history” and “state formation from below”, I aim to reconsider the nature of this monopolisation. I will argue that urban diplomacy, usually perceived as resisting centralisation, in fact adapted, gradually shifting from independent action to lobbying over the transition from feudal to early modern state. Not only dynastic policies but towns’ economic interests shaped interstate relations. Case studies will be England, the Low Countries and the Hanse, polities of diverse natures experiencing state-growth in the 15th & 16th c., in the Hanse’s case to its detriment. Using central and urban archives to compare patterns of integration of towns’ diplomacy into their states’ foreign affairs, my project will contribute to change our understanding of both the development of early modern diplomacy and the state.
Dr Adrija Dey - School of Oriental and African Studies
Gender and Sexuality Studies
Gender Based Violence in Indian Universities: A Study of Campus Life, Student Activism, and Institutional Responses
This research seeks to address Gender Based Violence (GBV) on university campuses across India by looking at how university campuses relate to the broader context and debates surrounding women in public spaces, sexual and gender based violence, and institutional structures and responses. This will be explored through a research strategy focusing on ‘campus life’ (experiences of students and staff and student mobilisation and activism) as well as institutional policies and practices (university policies and procedures, including help-seeking practices, student support services, and resources). Most importantly this study will explore campus culture (what it symbolises and how it affects students) and concepts of safety (what can be considered as a safe campus environment). The research will further draw on broader structures of discrimination, patriarchy, social, cultural, economic and political norms in India to show how these shape institutions and campus cultures creating a propensity for unsafe environments on university campuses for women and LGBT communities.
Dr Marieke Dhont - University of Cambridge
Religious studies - Judaism
The Expression of Jewish Identity through Greek Language and Literary Heritage
Jewish-Greek writings are widely underrepresented in current academic discussions on the interface between language, culture, and Jewish identity in the ancient world. In the study of Greek literature, Jewish authors such as Demetrius, Eupolemus, and Ezekiel the Tragedian are routinely neglected compared to contemporary Hellenistic writers such as Apollonius Rhodius and Callimachus. The Greek of Jewish writers is considered substandard and these authors are not appreciated as part of the wider Greek literary system. Meanwhile, in the study of Jewish culture and identity, life in the Hellenistic “diaspora” is undervalued in favour of Semitic-Jewish culture or brought into the discussion relative to Jerusalem. This project restores the status of Jewish-Greek writings as literary works and their authors as legitimate voices of a Jewish identity in antiquity. It examines the social role of koine Greek in Jewish communities and its impact on Jewish identity, thus contributing to the current debate on multilingualism and cultural change and exchange in the Hellenistic Middle East.
Dr Jessica Di Salvatore - University of Oxford
Beyond Security - The impact of peacekeeping on development and state-building in post-conflict societies
Are countries more stable, wealthy and less corrupt after hosting peacekeeping? New missions adopt multidimensional approaches to peace that entail commitments to state-building, development, democratization, and justice. The 2015 UN High-level Independent Panel on Peace Operations emphasized UN long-term commitment to peace and marked a turning point for future missions. The new Secretary General is expected to implement this new agenda. While these changes within the UN system are undergoing, we still lack a systematic assessment of the UN’s contribution to the quality of peace and the risks of overstretching peacekeeping capacity. Assessing to what extent peacekeeping fosters state-building and which are its possible side-effects have implications for governments supplying resources to missions and for local stakeholders. Moving beyond traditional security concerns, this project will provide a much-needed understanding of the long-term economic and political impact of peacekeeping. New data on quality of peace and peacekeeping will be collected and analysed for this purpose.
Dr Maria Catherine Duggan - Newcastle University
Classical art and archaeology, Medieval, post-medieval and industrial archaeology, Archaeological Science & Environmental Archaeology
Tintagel: Trans-European connections in the post-Roman world.
This project will provide a first full assessment and analysis of the internationally significant post-Roman imported ceramic assemblage from Tintagel, Cornwall. This would represent a major contribution to the knowledge of Britain and Europe during the fifth to seventh centuries AD – specifically the nature of connections between the East Mediterranean and Atlantic, the evolution of contacts between communities living along the Atlantic Seaboard and the function of exotic commodities within the emerging societies and political structures of late antique/early medieval Western Europe. A comprehensive, illustrated catalogue of the pottery will be produced, complemented by a digital archive. Collaboration with the Fitch Laboratory at the British School at Athens will enable a first concerted scientific examination of the collection. After 80 years of excavations, establishing the origins, range and quantity of material from Tintagel will allow a detailed reconsideration of the site in its British, Atlantic and international context during this crucial period of European transformation.
Dr Emman El-Badawy - King's College London
Politics of a specific area or region; Security Studies
Charting the Militant Mind-Map: A comparative study of extremist non-violent and violent propaganda
My research will be the first to provide empirical evidence on the intersection of Islamism and Jihadism, by comparing violent and non-violent extremist propaganda. Using quantitative software-driven data analysis and qualitative techniques, I will analyse and code Arabic and English propaganda from active non-violent and violent Islamist groups to identify recurring themes and strategies.
My previous research on violent extremist groups analysed propaganda from ISIS, Jabhat al-Nusra and al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, using the same methods. It identified shared ideological elements across the groups, mapping a coherent ‘system of ideas’.
The research yielded new evidence to inform effective counter-narratives against Salafi-Jihadi ideology, and generated extensive interest from the UK Foreign Office, Home Office, and the Pentagon. However, rigorous analysis of non-violent extremist Islamist propaganda has so far been lacking. My proposed research will directly address this blind spot, providing an evidence-based blueprint of Islamist extremist ideologies.
Dr Aldo Elizalde - University of Glasgow
Economic History - Economics
Land Reforms, Ethnic Groups and Long-Run Development in Latin America: A Case Study of Mexico
2017 marks a century since land reforms in Latin America took off. Yet the role of Amerindian groups in influencing land reforms is still unclear. Using Mexico as a case study, this project will seek to measure whether the political capacity of Amerindian groups may act as a determinant in the redistribution of land. To track these effects, a novel dataset at municipal level will be prepared using sources drawn from ethnographic data, agrarian archives and national censuses from the period 1930 to 2000. By undertaking an advanced econometric analysis, the results will shed light on the extent to which the political capacity of Amerindian groups determines land reforms; assess the exact mechanisms linking ethnic political capacity to land reforms; and evaluate the local and aggregate effects on affected communities.
Dr Lisa Forsberg - University of Oxford
Changing one’s mind: neurointerventions, autonomy, and the law on consent
A patient who undergoes the medical procedure transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) without meaningfully consenting, and develops hypersexuality as a side effect may lack options for legal redress. It may be impossible successfully to sue in either battery (because TMS does not involve touching) or negligence (because hypersexuality is not a legally recognised form of injury).
This project identifies and morally appraises this and related ways in which English civil law on consent fails to protect the autonomy of patients undergoing such ‘neurointerventions’, because their mode of action falls outside the law’s categories of actionable bodily and mental interference. Moreover, it examines whether the legal blind spots identified are unique to neurointerventions, or apply generally. The project examines the ethical implications of gaps in the legal protection of autonomy in light of philosophical accounts of the value of, and relationships between, different autonomy interests (eg bodily integrity, mental integrity). Finally, it considers how such gaps might be remedied.
Dr Tristan Franklinos - University of Oxford
Latin language and literature, Palaeography and transmission of Greek and Latin texts
[Vergil]’s Catalepton and Priapeia: an edition, translation, and commentary.
My proposed project focuses on aspects of the relationship between reader and author in Latin poetry, and on the extent to which writers are able to manipulate the reception of their text and how they set about doing so. I will explore the constructions of readership and authorship in an understudied collection of poems called the Catalepton and Priapeia. Doubts about whether or not Vergil wrote these poems allow us to shed light on ancient perceptions of readership and authorship. By exploring the textual interactions of the Catalepton and Priapeia with the indubitably authentic poems by Vergil and the poetic corpora of other authors, we are able to extrapolate how those purporting to be Vergil believed that he engaged with other texts. We are, in other words, able to investigate ancient understandings of inter- and intratextual strategies of reading. The proposed commentary form is apt for this sort of study, as it allows for the detailed consideration of the texts in question in order to provide a firm ground for the substantiation of wider claims.
Dr Eliza Garnsey - University of Cambridge
International Relations, Political Theory
Visual jurisprudence: a new theory of art and justice
‘Visual jurisprudence’ is a recent concept referring to the array of visual evidence used inside the courtroom. However, what does it mean when visuals are not only presented as evidence but when they take the form of artworks and inhabit the space of a court? While images of judges and insignias are common sights in courts, other artworks are increasingly housed by and displayed in courts. The conception of visual jurisprudence I will develop theorises how artworks become central to the bodies of aesthetic knowledge that shape how justice is understood and that shape the appearance of justice (two key concerns in political theory). The theoretical inquiry into visual jurisprudence will be expanded by two case studies: the transnational exchange of one artwork between the Palace of Justice (Netherlands) and the Constitutional Court (South Africa); and the display of artworks by two different courts in an Australian context—the High Court and the Youth Koori Court. This research will involve fieldwork, interviews with key stakeholders, and visual and documentary analysis.
Dr Nelson Goering - University of Oxford
Historical Linguistics, Philology, Phonetics and Phonology
Norse Influence on Early Middle English Prosody
Old English, as recorded from before c. 1150 CE, shows markedly different prosody (linguistic rhythm) from that found in modern English. A key feature of the older system was the 'Germanic bimoraic foot', a linguistic unit in which two lighter syllables counted together as a single rhythmic entity. This project will study the loss of this older rhythmic system in Early Middle English (c. 1150-1250 CE), focusing on the role of earlier Norse settlement in the Danelaw on breaking down the older system in the North and East of England, while examining the largely unevaluated evidence for the possible retention of the older prosody in the South and West. Some of this evidence comes from sound changes, while more comes from the metrical systems of Early Middle English poems. This study will consist of a detailed examination of the data from both phonology and metre to assess the influence of Norse in shaping the prosodic system of modern English.
Dr Kevin Grecksch - University of Oxford
Out of sight – out of regulation? Ensuring sustainable underground governance in the UK
This project advances theoretical and practical perspectives on underground governance in the UK. It bridges scholarly perspectives and practitioners’ experiences to develop new governance modes for underground space use including increased recognition in land use planning. In the light of increasing claims on the underground space for fracking, transport, geothermal energy or carbon capture and storage, I assess the question how an improved and sustainable governance of underground spaces can be ensured to protect for example drinking water. Geological underground models deliver only frameworks for possible uses and we do not know much about the context between geological characteristics and the human uses, demands and changes of underground space. Moreover, governing underground space can be complicated as it involves conflicting objectives and regulatory frameworks.
One key objective of this research is to conceptualise a new approach to underground governance and regulation
that takes into account its diverse uses and various stakeholders’ claims on underground resources.
Dr Irem Guceri - University of Oxford
Applied Economics, Business Economics, Economic Policy
A story of David and Goliath? The causes and consequences of aggressive tax avoidance by the corporate sector
Every year, most companies in the UK report zero corporation tax liability. Multinationals like Google, Apple and Starbucks shift their profits to tax havens. Many smaller companies also report losses – either to avoid paying any tax, or as part of their business-as-usual. The treatment of losses by the tax system has important implications for tax revenue, as well as for investment, R&D and productivity. In this project, I first study the international tax system and model the costs and benefits of profit-shifting by multinationals. Second, I examine loss-making behaviour by domestic firms and study implications for tax policy. I use applied microeconometrics on rich firm-level data to study the causes, costs and impacts of aggressive tax avoidance practices. The existing literature diverges substantially on the estimated magnitude of tax avoidance. Most studies ignore those firms with zero profit, even though these are the worst offenders. My proposed framework addresses gaps between the different strands of literature on tax avoidance and offers a new direction for research.
Dr Hanan Haber - London School of Economics and Political Science
Public Policy and Administration
Regulation for voiceless causes? Explaining regulation for individuals, groups or causes lacking significant political voice in the UK, Germany, France and the EU
What explains regulation benefiting causes, people and groups with little political voice? This research aims to compare and explain regulation aimed at individuals, groups or causes which lack the potential (or actual) capacity for political organization, asking how this type of policy varies between policy sectors, national settings, and levels of governance. The proposed research is a series of small-N comparative case studies, focusing on regulation for three ‘voiceless’ groups (economically vulnerable citizens, high skilled temporary migrants and future generations), in four polities (the UK, Germany, France and the EU), with a focus on the labor market, pensions, healthcare and housing.
Three theoretical frameworks offer tentative answers explaining regulation for these groups: a ‘cynical’ view of regulatory capture by powerful interests, an ‘idealistic’ public interest view, and a structural view, which sees this regulation as part of the ‘regulatory explosion’ of recent decades.
Dr Abigail Hackett - Manchester Metropolitan University
Learning, Pre-School Education
The emergence of literacy in very young children: place and materiality in a more-than-human world
This study will investigate the role of place, materiality and the body in the emergence of literacy in young children between the ages of 12 and 36 months. Working collaboratively with families in a multicultural urban context, the study will build a picture of how young children employ and combine different methods of communicating, including sounds, gestures and movements, in different contexts of their everyday lives. Employing ethnographic and post- qualitative methods, the research will bring a posthuman lens to thinking about children’s communication in a more- than-human-world, by paying attention to the role of bodies, places, animals, children, familiar and unfamiliar adults, material objects and affects in very young children’s literacy practices. In doing so, this study will be amongst the first major ethnographic research projects to connect posthuman theories of how children learn with the growing calls to foreground the body and materiality in early childhood literacy.
Dr Ryan Hanley - University College London
History of a specific country, Intellectual history - History, Modern History, Political History, Social History
Abolition and Political Radicalism in Britain, 1787-1838
Most British working-class radicals opposed the abolition of slavery. After a period of solidarity in the years that followed the French Revolution, relations between the two great social movements of early nineteenth-century Britain – parliamentary reform and abolitionism – began to break down. By the time Britain’s slaves were finally emancipated in 1838, leading radicals and abolitionists were mutually hostile towards one another. Existing scholarship has yet to fully account for this shift, tending instead to emphasise the more harmonious earlier period of the late 1780s and early 1790s. This had led to a major lacuna in our understanding of how the boundaries of popular politics and humanitarianism were policed during the ‘Age of Reform’. Isolating the popularisation of ‘scientific’ racism, the gendering of different types of humanitarian activism, and black people's participation in nineteenth-century British politics, this project examines how and why these two movements diverged so emphatically at the very point of their success.
Dr Adam Horsley - University of Exeter
French language and literature, Historical studies of language and literature - Modern Languages, History of the book, Philosophy of language and literature, History of Ideas (Modern Languages)
Libertine Literature and Criminal Justice in Early Seventeenth-Century France
Attitudes towards subversive and lewd literature in early seventeenth-century France changed dramatically following well-publicized trials for atheism, obscenity and irreligion. My monograph examines the treatment of subversive authors by the law courts through a systematic exploitation of trial records, thereby addressing a gap in current biographical and literary studies. My interdisciplinary approach will answer three key questions: how the imprecise accusation ‘libertine’ was addressed in court, the role of material and testimonial evidence, and how authors’ trials compare to those accused of other religious, political or sexual deviances. I shall also complete work on the first definitive critical edition of François Maynard’s poetry. Maynard was directly affected by these trials, and his daring manuscript poetry which he withheld from print has yet to be published in its entirety. My project thus explores the treatment of subversive authors within the legal sphere, as well as the consequences of this persecution on the development of their art.
Dr Neha Hui - University of Reading
Economic History - Economics
Understanding Post Emancipation Indentured Labour Migration from the Indian Subcontinent to Trinidad
Historical literature suggests that the 19th Century post slavery indentured labour migration was a significant contributor to the development of global capitalism. Policy discourse on the present day migrant situation often fails to learn from this historical form of unfree labour as comprehensive studies are sparse because of lack of accessible data sources. There is a substantial repository of archival material in the national archives of former British Colonies, which if compiled, could provide a rich data source for research in this area. I propose to carry out systematic archival work in the United Kingdom and the former colony of Trinidad to create open source databases of both macro and micro data on the indenture system and on sugar export and prices in the period post 1830s. This will be used to analyse the correlation between indentured migration and the global sugar production and consumption; and understand micro-employment decisions of plantation estates especially regarding trade off between skilled former slaves, and 'docile' but unskilled indentured workers.
Dr Naoya Iwata - University of Oxford
Ancient Greek and Roman Philosophy
The Ancient Origin of Analytic Methods
Today ‘analysis’ is typically understood as the process of breaking something into its elements for detailed examination. But the concept originally derives from the technique used in ancient Greek geometry to discover the premises by means of which a proposition can be proved. What connects the latter ‘regressive’ kind of analysis to the former ‘decompositional’ kind? The question is closely related to an apparent methodological shift in Plato’s search for definitions: how is his middle-period method of hypothesis (regressive) related to his later-period method of collection and division (decompositional)? There has been little research on the relationship between the two methods because scholars have denied that there is a meaningful connection there. But I believe that a connecting link can be found by exploring the procedural relevance of collection and division to a two-way structure of ancient geometrical analysis: discovery and confirmation. My project thus aims to offer a unified account of Plato’s two methods and a clearer picture of the earliest history of analytic methods.
Dr Rebecca Jackson - University of Manchester
Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuropsychology
Understanding how the semantic system can both generalise and be selective: Developing a full computational account of semantic cognition and its disorders
Semantic cognition reflects the interaction of representation (storing concepts) and control mechanisms (controlled manipulation of these representations). Despite resulting in coherent behaviour, these two core elements have contradictory requirements. Whilst representation requires generalisation of information across specific exemplars and contexts, the control system must constantly select subsets of knowledge to produce appropriate context- dependent behaviours. How is it possible for these opposing generalisation vs. context-specific selection processes to co-occur within the semantic system? To determine this, I will build the first full computational model of semantic cognition (i.e. representation, control and their interaction). The model architecture will be constrained by neuroanatomical information, allowing the dissociable behavioural effects of damage to representation and control regions to be simulated for the first time. This innovative, interdisciplinary approach will catalyse significant progress in understanding the processes underpinning semantic cognition.
Dr Beth Jenkins - University of Essex
Gender and Professional Culture in Britain, 1890-1950
From the late nineteenth century professional associations were core to professional society: they represented the professional interests of their members, devised codes of ethics, and provided access to professional networks. Yet many associations operated exclusionary practices against women well into the twentieth century. This project proposes that the timing of women’s admission to professional associations had long-lasting effects on the culture of the profession. Through a comparative study of the major associations in five occupations (medicine, law, architecture, engineering and accountancy), this project will provide statistical and qualitative evidence on the impact of women on professional culture. Specifically, it will ask: what effect did their admission have on the professional concerns, identities, and behaviour of members? And did women-only networks help or hinder their entry into the professional workforce? By answering these questions, the project will provide a major contribution to our understanding of the gendered nature of professional culture that still persists today.
Dr Tinghe Jin - Durham University
Curricular Areas, Education Policy, Further, Higher Education, Learning, Lifelong Learning, Teaching, Pedagogy, Theory of Education
The chequered history of British university engagement with Chinese Language Studies: Intercultural failure or success?
This interdisciplinary research identifies evolving approaches to Chinese Language Studies in UK universities, exploring how changes have been influenced by developments in sociolinguistic theory and shifting perceptions of China and Chinese. The study is located within the recently elevated status of Chinese Language Studies in UK universities, itself reflecting a move from mainly sinological and linguistic rationales to those which incorporate theoretical moves toward interculturality as well as the more political concern with strategic and economic imperatives in wider Anglo-Chinese relations. In addition to analysing Language Studies texts from the mid 19th century to the present day, the research interrogates UK government concerns about national language capabilities dating back to the 1940s. Analysis investigates the tensions and reconciliations over time between theoretical and political motivations for developments in Chinese Language Studies, offering a archival resource for scholars and policy makers, and support for those working in Chinese language teacher training.
Dr Spencer Johnston - University of Cambridge
History of philosophy, Logic
Meaning, Modality, and Medieval Logic
This project will use historical techniques to study key medieval logical ideas and then use modern mathematical techniques to develop formal reconstructions that will advance our understanding of the history of reasoning by studying how philosophers in the late medieval period (11th-14th century) understood logic. This project focuses on the logic of the 14th century French philosopher John Buridan and its relationship to the work of the 11th century Arabic philosopher Ibn Sina. I will reconstruct Buridan’s ideas about modal logic, temporal logic, and the relational syllogistic to provide the first complete formal treatment of Buridan’s logic. Past work has shown that Buridan and Ibn Sina used the same logical systems to describe modal logic (i.e. the logic of terms such as ‘necessary’, ‘possible’, and ‘true’). I will explore the possibility that a previously unknown path of historical influence exists from Ibn Sina's writings on natural philosophy, which includes aspects of his theory of tense and time, to Buridan's writings on physics.
Dr Alistair Kefford - University of Leicester
History of a specific country, Modern History, Social History, Economic History
Commercial Property Development and the Remaking of British Cities, 1954-1998
This project investigates the transformative role which commercial property developers have played in British cities in the second half of the twentieth century. The period saw property development move from a marginal economic activity to a key sector of the national economy, and individual developers amass extraordinary fortunes.
Developers’ innovative commercial strategies drove the creation of office blocks, hotels, and shopping centres, transforming the physical and economic landscape of British cities. Such commercially-led, often consumer-oriented, redevelopment is critical to the form and experience of the contemporary British city, and occupies an instantly- recognisable place in present-day urbanism. Yet for the post-war period, commercial development has been overlooked as scholars have focused almost exclusively on public planning. This project addresses the post-war burgeoning of commercial development. The research will fundamentally alter our understanding of urban change in later twentieth-century Britain, and contribute to present-day urban policy discussions.
Dr Heewon Kim - School of Oriental and African Studies
Politics, Law, Economics - Religion
Modi and Muslims: development, exclusion or path dependence?
The election of a majority Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government in India in May 2014 is a potential turning point in the management of religious diversity in India. The BJP is committed to the promotion of Hindu nationalist values but also equality of opportunity for all religious minorities. Going beyond normative or ideological accounts of the government’s policies on religious minorities, this proposal builds on the applicant’s previous research on the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government (2004-14). Methodologically, it draws on institutional policy analysis which combines path dependence in historical institutionalism with the policy process. It evaluates the NDA government’s policies for religious minorities, especially Muslims, on employment, service delivery and managing communal violence. The proposal offers a fresh, realistic assessment of whether the NDA government is a new departure in the management of religious diversity or the continuation of familiar approaches that have characterised previous administrations.
Dr Mateja Kovacic - University of Oxford
Social & Cultural Anthropology, other branches, Applied Anthropology, other branches, Material Culture Studies and Museum Ethnography
Techno-social Eugenics and the Biopolitics of Humanoid Machines in Japan
The proposed research combines technology and science history with current developments in the fields of humanoid robotics, artificial intelligence and social eugenics in Japan. It does this to understand the biopolitics and biopower of humanoid machines and their sociocultural placement in terms of underlying sociocultural, political and economic structures. The close relationship between humanoid robots and artificial intelligence and social eugenics will be demonstrated in developing a new approach to researching cultural history, material culture, cultural production, technology and science. A ‘reverse anthropology’ is applied to humanoid machines that will unveil how materials and discourses create paradigms and redefine life, human, culture, and society.
Dr Sarah Kuenzler - University of Glasgow
Medieval History - Medieval Studies
The Backward Look and the Inward Gaze: New Approaches to Early Irish Texts Through Memory Studies
As an approach to questions of identity and cultural continuity, cultural memory has become an indispensable theoretical framework across disciplines. Yet despite being exceptionally rich in mnemonic topoi, medieval Irish texts have hardly been approached from such perspectives. My project ‘The Backward Look and the Inward Gaze’ pioneers an analytical engagement with mnemonic ‘processes’ through which cultural memory is shaped. The resulting monograph will present manuscript-based close readings of texts, analysed by adapting existing theories in Memory Studies to capture the cultural peculiarities of medieval Ireland. The study introduces valuable new sources to Memory Studies, offering a significantly expanded evidence base for researchers to draw on. By including sources up to the 18th century, it also elucidates some enduring mnemonic dynamics in the formation of modern Irish/Scottish (cultural) identities. The results are further disseminated through peer-reviewed articles, conference papers and a workshop. The project also includes select measures for professional development.
Dr Julia Leikin - University of Exeter
Early Modern History, History of a specific country, Intellectual history - History, Modern History, Political History, Social History
In the Spirit of the Laws: The Russian Empire in the International Order, 1700-1856
This project challenges the extant dichotomy of Western and non-Western polities in the history of international law by examining imperial Russia’s place in the international legal order. Situated on the cultural and political periphery of Europe, the Russian Empire provides a unique vantage point to examine the cultural construction of law and lawlessness. I will assess whether peripheral status had legal implications for Russia in the 18th and 19th centuries through an examination of Russia’s practices in the maritime realm. Looking to moments of legal tension over commercial navigation, maritime borders, fishing rights, and warfare, I will critically read supplications and appeals that shaped imperial policy at the international level. As shared spaces where imperial subjects traversed physical and conceptual boundaries, seas offer privileged insight into the process of legal acculturation. My research will shift analysis of international law in the 18th and 19th centuries from states to individuals, from land to sea, and from Western narratives to alternative legal regimes.
Dr Yuexin Rachel Lin - University of Exeter
History of a specific country, Modern History, Social History
Turning Guests into Hosts: Cross-Cultural Identities in the Russian Far East, 1900 -1925
The Russian Far East sits at the intersection of three great imperial powers: Russia, China and Japan. All three had made claims on this territory over the past 200 years, a contest which did not abate after Russia seized these lands from China in 1858-1860. All three embarked on projects to populate the area. Little is known about these migrants, the "advance guard" of colonisation. What was everyday life like in this disputed frontier? How did it shape self- perceptions and affect the wider arc of revolution and civil war?
This project explores identity formation among three diasporas - Russian, Chinese and Japanese - in the Russian Far East during a time of imperial conflict, revolution and war. Everyday adaptation coexisted and evolved with nationalist rhetoric. Migrants came with their own cultural-historical narratives, but the cosmopolitan possibilities of a chaotic frontier allowed them to refashion themselves. Here, "imported" Northeast Asian diaspora nationalism redirected the course of the Russian revolution, Civil War and the region's own historical trajectory.
Dr Laura Teresa Loyola Hernandez - University of Leeds
Political and Electoral Geography
In the margins of the state: the role of emotions in negotiating female political subjecthood in Maya communities in Yucatan.
This project aims to investigate the emotional dimension of politics by new political subjects (indigenous women) in Yucatan, Mexico, a subject that has received little attention in academia. Emotions have a role in delimitating racial- gendered spatial boundaries. Analysing emotions (trust, anxiety, love, indignation) in particular spaces (political acts, traditional indigenous customs) sheds new light into the forms in which we experience certain places, moments and how bodies are associated with specific spatial notions of gender and race. Examining the role emotions have in politics allows us to trace the nuance and subtle ways in which racism is perpetuated and/or subverted in indigenous communities. Latin American countries are seen as living in a post-racial era, that is in colourless societies do to racial mixing and multiculturalism. This discourse in fact has perpetuated racist attitudes towards minorities. This project wishes to go beyond the Mexican context and use Latin America as a way to enrich theoretical debates regarding race and gender issues in a global context.
Dr David Maguire - University College London
Criminology and Deviance, Economic Sociology, Gender and Sexuality Studies, Social Divisions and Inequalities, Sociology of other, e.g. work, media etc
Time served?: The role of prison education and business led vocational training in men's post- prison transitions to service based employment.
‘Underachieving’ working class men are struggling to find and sustain employment in increasingly feminised service- dominated UK labour markets. A 95% male prison population, composed of predominantly undereducated, under-employed and poor men, trapped in a ‘revolving’ door of incarceration suggests many pay a high price for this economic marginalisation. Turning the lens on those engaged in prison training and post-prison employment schemes such Virgin and Timpson may offer insights into how marginalised men might ‘do deference’ to labour. This study will investigate if these employment schemes are successful in reconfiguring prison masculinities towards public-facing service employment. Twenty-five prisoners involved in such programmes will be interviewed at key transitional stages over a 12-month period. In addition prison and business stakeholders will be interviewed, and observations made of training programmes in prison and their partner business employment schemes in the community.
Dr Christopher Maughan - Coventry University
Environmental Studies and Management, Rural Studies, Cultural Geography, Social Geography
Growing and Spreading Innovation in Community Economies: Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems
This project will develop the latest theory on innovation processes and draw from community economies theory to propose new ways to scale-up agroecological innovation. Agroecology is now widely acknowledged as a key sustainable development framework, yet the dominant system is locked into a narrow theory of innovation, focusing on technocratic, top-down approaches. By analysing the bottom-up processes of horizontal knowledge exchange and interactive innovation in agroecology networks, I will develop a more holistic theory of innovation that can better harness the economic, social, cultural and political processes needed to develop a just and sustainable food system. I will a) analyse the discourses of innovation in agriculture policy; b) conduct participatory research with four European territorial case studies to analyse and support grassroots innovation in the context of multi-scale governance; c) examine the processes by which grassroots innovations are diffused, and d) examine how this can be supported by policy and research.
Dr Anna McFarlane - University of Glasgow
Critical and cultural theory - English Language and Literature, Cultural studies - English Language and Literature, Gender studies - English Language and Literature, Women's writing - English Language and Literature, Contemporary Literature (English)
Products of Conception: Pregnancy and Science Fiction, 1968-2015
The exponential rise of technology is experienced most intimately through medical intervention. The entanglement of the medical establishment with everyday life is revealed in experiences of pregnancy and childbirth, common yet extraordinary conditions increasingly medicalised since the 1970s by the visual construction of pregnancy as the development of ultrasound allowed the foetus to be routinely observed in utero. This period was marked by the iconic closing image of Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) and a corresponding textual corpus exploring pregnancy through science fiction, a genre shaped by the marketplace but also one that, at its best, seeks to subvert dominant narratives by suggesting alternative societies. This project investigates the ways in which science fiction is used as a counter-discourse to dominant medical and political narratives about pregnancy.
Dr Gerard McKeever - University of Glasgow
Cultural studies - English Language and Literature, Historical studies of language and literature - English Language and Literature, Intellectual history - English Language and Literature, Romantic literature, Scottish Literature in English and Scots
Regional Romanticism: Dumfriesshire and Galloway, 1770-1830
This fellowship advances scholarship on Scottish Romanticism by bringing a new regional emphasis to bear. It interrogates literary engagements with Dumfriesshire and Galloway during a sixty-year period. This geographical context – severely underexplored in existing research – amplifies and challenges features of the current Romantic paradigm in Scotland and further afield. This includes the significance of ‘improvement’, the Enlightenment’s doctrine of progress, which Romantic narratives of the region consistently foreground. The fellowship combines archival research and single-authored publications with a programme of events, delivered with partners from the academy and the region’s resurgent arts scene. A web presence via blogging, social media and a digital map will further sustain a meaningful dialogue with the local community as well as broader scholarly and public audiences. The fellowship illuminates a key, neglected aspect of Scottish and British literary history, leveraging a regional perspective to reconsider the cultural politics of a formative period for modern Britain.
Dr Sophie Meekings - Newcastle University
Cognitive and Perceptual Psychology, Social Psychology and Organisational Psychology
The voice: exploring mechanisms of identity and change
Our voice is a central part of who we are, an ‘auditory face’ that we present to the world. Talkers typically adjust their voices to accommodate for different speaking environments, or express affiliation with a co-talker. But how do talkers who have anomalous vocal control approach this? This project will investigate the relationship between vocal control, identity and affiliation in typical speakers and in two populations with atypical voices- people who stammer and people with Tourette’s syndrome. All groups will take part in three experiments. The first experiment uses delayed auditory feedback- which induces fluency in people who stammer, but disfluency in typical speakers- to explore vocal identity. The second experiment uses a conversation task between fluent and disfluent friends to look at voice change, while the third asks participants to rate their own speech and the speech of others to measure affiliation. The project aims to provide unique insight into what makes a voice our own, and how vocal control influences our feelings of identity and affiliation.
Dr Marieke Meelen - University of Cambridge
Comparative Linguistics, Corpus-based Linguistics, Historical Linguistics, Morphology and Syntax
The emergence of V2 word order
Modern languages in Europe exhibit various types of word order, ranging from English and French subject-initial to Celtic verb-initial orders. In Germanic languages like German, Dutch and Norwegian it is the second position in the sentence which is of crucial importance: regardless of the initial constituent, the second is always the verb. This 'verb-second' (V2) constraint was found in earlier stages of English, Romance and Celtic languages as well, making V2 the prevalent word order in almost all languages in Western Europe at one point. In this research, I will use both quantitative and qualitative tools for data collection and syntactic analysis. I will build annotated corpora of texts from the Medieval Celtic languages to facilitate any type of linguistic research into these endangered languages. I will furthermore add pragmatic annotation to already existing corpora of historical Germanic and analyse Romance. With this I will trace the origin of these V2 patterns that once dominated the languages in Europe by reconstructing the syntax and examining the role of pragmatic factors.
Dr Giovanni Menegalle - King's College London
Critical and cultural theory - Modern Languages, French language and literature, History of Ideas (Modern Languages), Intellectual History (Modern Languages)
Visions of Technological Change in 20th-Century French Thought: Technics, Society and the Human from Durkheim to Deleuze & Guattari
The project examines the question of technology and technological change within philosophy and the human sciences in 20th-century France. Tracing the work of a number of intellectual figures from Durkheim to Deleuze and Guattari, it seeks to assess the impact of the shift from industrial to information technology on the development of French thought, looking in particular at how the reception of cybernetic and informational paradigms mid-century both challenged the dominant idealistic assumptions in philosophy while transforming the legacy of positivism in social and political theory. The project in turn explores how these responses reflected wider historical anxieties about the nature and role of human freedom in the face of new machines, bureaucratic control, and the evolution of capitalism into a global consumer and information system, while also speaking to contemporary debates on the social and political consequences of digital technology and automation.
Dr Brent Mittelstadt - University of Oxford
Ethics including applied ethics
Ethical auditing for automated decision-making
Vast streams of data are now mined across research, commerce, government, and healthcare domains. From credit applications to user profiling, a range of work historically led by humans can increasingly be automated. Seemingly free of the biases and blind spots of human analysts, decisions about which information, interventions and opportunities to offer to people can now be made automatically, by algorithms. However, automated decisions often replicate old biases and generate new ones, and create opportunities for harmful and discriminatory decisions without meaningful channels of recourse. To complicate matters, automated decision-making, particularly involving machine learning, often works as a ‘black box’. The proposed project will specify requirements for ethical auditing of automated decision-making systems. This will be accomplished by defining (1) a taxonomy of potential harms, (2) normative interpretability requirements, and (3) normative and technical constraints on the design of ethical auditing for automated decision-making.
Dr Chris Moffat - Queen Mary University of London
History of a specific country, Intellectual history - History, Modern History
History, Architecture and the Politics of the Past in Pakistan
This project will provide the first comprehensive study of history’s contested public life in Pakistan, asking what the past has come to mean in a country born through violent rupture in 1947 and partitioned again in 1971. The research will focus on the role of the built environment in mediating relationships to history, exploring how conflicts over the construction, conservation and destruction of buildings have animated debates over Islam, democracy and the future of the state in this turbulent postcolonial polity. Combining archival research and oral history interviews with ethnographic fieldwork at key archaeological and architectural sites in Lahore, Karachi and Islamabad, the project will provide critical insight into the global career of ‘heritage’ as concept and policy practice. Drawing attention to a proliferation of non-state, participatory forms of conservation and heritage-making, the project will consider how Pakistan might be instructive for thinking about the futures of public history in a world increasingly characterized by scarcity, precarity and insecurity.
Dr Maya Nedyalkova - Oxford Brookes University
Film and Media Studies
Turning (Your) Back to Audiences? Glimpses into Shifting Cinema-Going and Film Consumption Patterns in Bulgaria
"Insulting, ugly... vulgar...and sad..." - this is how Bulgarian scholar Andronika Martonova describes what she perceives as "rampant" critique of national cinema, discussed in local online forums. Unsurprisingly, the comments under her 2014 article are less than favourable. This illustrates an essential disconnection and miscommunication between culture-producers/guardians and audiences in Bulgaria. Lack of systematic sociological research in the country creates a top-down approach to film production, distribution and exhibition. Do audiences enjoy home- grown entertainment? What motivates their perceptions of local cinema? Who has access to what media products? Why is piracy not only wide-spread but also highly acceptable? I propose an original quantitative and qualitative study to investigate shifting patterns in Bulgarian film consumption, positioned within global culture and economy. Emerging amidst talks of a Digital Single Market, the rise of online distribution but also political disunion, this project promotes a bottom-up approach, giving audiences their voice back.
Dr Catherine Owen - University of Exeter
Comparative Politics, Government, Politics of a specific area or region
Civic Participation from Discourse to Action in Non-Democracies: Russia and China in Comparative Perspective
This project examines the extent to which citizens participate in local government decision-making processes in two large, middle-income, non-democratic states: Russia and China. It compares the ways in which active citizenship is promoted in government discourse at the state level, and the extents to which this discourse is put into practice at the local level in two case study regions (Xi’an, China, and Samara, Russia). Global processes of public sector reform have created the need for increased citizen participation in the policy process in countries around the world; yet, like other advanced, non-democratic states, the Russian and Chinese governments face the additional task of balancing the cultivation of an active and engaged citizenry with that of limiting political pluralism. This project interrogates the dynamics of this balance from a comparative perspective and aims to provide a deeper understanding of the ways in which civic participation is used to ensure both political stability and effective policy-making in non- democratic states.
Dr Panayiotis Panayides - University of Oxford
Classical art and archaeology
Statue Life in Late Antique Baths
The proposed project provides the first comprehensive study of statuary displayed in public baths in the Roman Empire during Late Antiquity (4th-7th cent. AD). Baths were used by men and women of various social and religious groups and continued displaying mythological statues long after the legalisation of Christianity (AD 313). The undiminished popularity of public bathing establishments to the end of urban life offers the opportunity to document and examine the changing attitudes of the communities to classical statuary, from production to destruction, in busy urban facilities that remained neutral in cultic terms.
This research builds an unbiased biography of statues by re-siting them in their full historical, cultural, and social contexts, and explores their reception by contemporary societies. By adopting this novel, multidimensional approach, the project sheds fresh light on the mentalities of the late antique societies and renews our understanding of the processes that shaped Late Antiquity and eventually led to the demise of the classical world.
Dr Laurie Parsons - Royal Holloway, University of London
Developmental Geography, Environmental Studies and Management, Cultural Geography, Social Geography, Urban Studies
Climate Mobilities: Linking Climate Vulnerability and Cultural Change in Translocal Cambodia
The United Nations describes climate change as a ‘global challenge’ which is ‘disrupting national economies and affecting lives, costing people, communities and countries dearly today and even more tomorrow’. The relationship between climate change, livelihood impacts, and migration remains understudied, however. This research contributes to a better understanding of ‘climate mobilities’ and is original in bringing together perspectives from socio-ecological systems and a growing mobilities literature that highlights the role of cultural norms, attitudes and practices in shaping peoples’ movement. Focusing on construction workers in Cambodia, one of the world's most climate-vulnerable countries, this project uses in-depth interviews, quantitative livelihoods surveys, and social network mapping to explore how differential climate pressures drive not only economic inequalities, but cultural ones also. Dr Parsons will produce the monograph Climate Mobilities and other project outputs that engage with inter-disciplinary academic audiences and policymakers both within and beyond Cambodia.
Dr Marii Paskov - University of Oxford
Social Divisions and Inequalities
The role of family background for individuals’ material and psychological wellbeing
The extent to which individuals’ life chances depend on family circumstances is a fundamental question of social science. Circumstances of families and their adult children are typically defined in terms of income, social class, or education. Such broad categories, however, might not fully capture how family circumstances define individuals’ life chances. In this project I will extend knowledge on both the types of advantages and disadvantages that are intergenerationally reproduced and through which channels this occurs. First, this study will examine the implications of family background on various dimensions of material and psychosocial wellbeing. Material wellbeing is defined in terms of wealth, financial burdens and financial stress while psychological wellbeing is defined in terms of mental health and life satisfaction. Second, I will take a multidimensional approach to social origin and study what particular dimensions of family context are important for adult wellbeing. The project will focus on the UK in an international comparative perspective.
Dr Luigi Prada - University of Oxford
Ancient Near Eastern languages and literature
Egyptian Education at the Time of the Greeks: Schooling in an Ancient Multicultural Society.
This will be the first systematic study of Egyptian-language schooling in the Graeco-Roman Period (4th cent. BCE-3rd CE). Egypt was a multilingual society split between Greek, the language of the elite, and Egyptian, that of the populace. Schooling was twofold, catering for one or the other language. This project will reconstruct Egyptian school practices from the direct evidence they left behind, school texts, supplemented with contemporary sources discussing education. Diachronic analysis of the data will enable an understanding of how strong the continuity with earlier Egyptian teaching traditions was and conversely what influence the Greeks and their language had. The research will integrate the findings of recent scholarship on ancient Greek schooling in Egypt—which, unlike its Egyptian counterpart, has already enjoyed scholarly attention—to offer a more integrated vision of Graeco-Roman Egypt’s unique multicultural civilisation in one of society’s most formative experiences: school. This will make a significant contribution to Egyptological and papyrological scholarship alike.
Dr Tomos Proffitt - University College London
Archaeology of human origins
New Insights into the Emergence of Technology: a Capuchin Stone Tool Approach
This project will enable the first comparison of capuchin stone on stone (SoS) percussive behaviour and material with the archaeological record, allowing us to answer: what makes human technology unique? The earliest known hominin (early human) stone tool technology (Oldowan, 2.6Mya), a simple core and flake technology, was initially associated with Homo habilis, appearing abruptly as a seemingly fully-formed industry, with little indication of gradual evolution. The discovery of cut-marked bones (Dikika, Ethiopia 3.39Mya) and large flaked cores (Lomewki, West Turkana, Kenya, 3Mya linked to K. platyops) suggests that this technology was not unique to the Homo (human) lineage. I have previously (Proffitt et al, 2016 (Nature)) highlighted the significance of SoS percussive behaviour in understanding early hominin stone tool technology. This proposal will unite modern archaeological techniques, primate behavioural observations and novel experimental approaches to identify the behavioural, cognitive and morphological requirements for the emergence of our earliest human technology.
Dr Giulio Pugliese - King's College London
International Relations, Politics of a specific area or region, Security Studies, Strategic Studies
Japan’s Security Renaissance: presidential policy-making within a shifting regional order
The rise of China in East Asia has fueled the hopes and kindled the insecurities of many of its neighbors. This project engages with the wider implications of such a rise by examining Japan’s China policy, because Japan's approach to China is symptomatic of such region-wide trends. Understanding it offers a unique window into the complex interplay and links among economic, political, and security dynamics of the Asia-Pacific region. This research argues that the Japanese government responded to the structural change of the regional system -- centered on the rise of China and US relative decline -- with strategies in line with the preferences of sitting premiers and their foreign policy entourage. By enriching an International Relations theory (Neo-Classical Realism), this project argues that political leadership now accounts for substantial change in foreign and defense policy and focuses on the China policy and security agenda of recent Japanese administrations as case studies, especially the sitting Abe Shinzo government and its potentially revolutionary security reforms.
Dr Charles Rahal - University of Oxford
Economic Sociology, Health Studies, Medical Sociology/Sociology of Health and Illness, Public Policy and Management
The Social Data Science of Healthcare Supply
The evolutionary path of public healthcare systems is not clear, primarily because financial flows and organisational transformations have previously been difficult to follow. This project will develop a set of practical, interactive tools to create and analyse an innovative database which maps granular flows of money across the complex web of institutions involved in public healthcare commissioning, with a specific application to the National Health Service. We will then test a series of organisational hypotheses, such as: the role of private and third sector institutions in healthcare supply, the effect of procurement decisions on mortality rates, regional variation in access to quality healthcare, networks of board member composition and 'creeping commercialisation' over time since the introduction of the intensely controversial Health and Social Care Act (2012). While not only filling a substantial gap in the academic literature, these findings will provide a critical evidence base for potential healthcare policy reform.
Dr Hamsa Rajan - University of Oxford
Cultural Sociology, Gender and Sexuality Studies
Communal Conflict and Inherited Trauma on the Tibetan Plateau: The Impacts of Social Upheaval on Gender and Family Relations
Recent history on the northeast Tibetan plateau has seen genocide, famine, and warfare. Scholars argue legacies of social upheaval and of racist/colonial policies result in high rates of violence against women in underprivileged communities, and these effects are transmitted intergenerationally. These scholars rarely investigate the experience of those who lived through the periods of greatest upheaval, however. Marital form (patrilocal, matrilocal, neolocal), central to women’s status in the home, is likely to be heavily impacted by upheaval, but is also rarely studied. This project will address these issues, via oral history interviews examining impacts of widespread social upheaval on family interactions. As collective trauma may be linked to increased interpersonal hostility in broader society, this study will look into changes in community relationships before and after upheaval. In Tibetan areas, public discussion of historical atrocities is politically forbidden. This project will provide insight into impacts of upheaval in this type of political context.
Dr Elizabeth Robles - University of Bristol
Critical and cultural theory - History of Art, Cultural Studies - History of Art, History of art and design
Making Waves: Black Artists & 'Black Art' in Britain from 1963-1982
Making Waves: Black Artists & ‘Black Art’ in Britain from 1963 – 1982’ is a three year research project that will uncover and interpret a crucial period in the fractured and unfinished history of Black artists in Britain and British art more broadly. It will trace the history of African and Asian artists in Britain between the 1st Commonwealth Biennale (1963) and the First National Black Art Convention (1982) and examine the development of discourses around the implications of and possibilities for ‘Black Art’ in Britain. During this period, debates around the intersections of race, nationality and aesthetics set against the background of, what art historian Kobena Mercer has called, London’s ‘post- colonial internationalism’ laid the foundations for what would become the British Black Arts Movement of the 1980s. Bringing together oral histories, archival research and the sustained visual engagement of iconology, this project will redress the extant elision of pre-1980s voices from a still emerging narrative of Black creative production in twentieth century Britain.
Dr Harry Kenneth Robson - University of York
Exploring pottery use across the Mesolithic-Neolithic transition in Northern Europe
The transition from hunting and foraging to farming had far reaching consequences for our economic, social and ideological development and is a major theme in prehistoric research. In the circum-Baltic, the reasons for this change at circa 4000 cal BCE are unclear since much of the region was occupied with highly successful hunter-fisher- gatherers who were well adapted to the resource rich coastal and inland ecosystems. The project will question the value of wild and domesticated foods in the region through the novel lens of changing culinary practices. Principally organic residue analysis will be applied to the unique pottery sequences at Dabki, Dudka and Szczepanki in Poland. All three sites capture key aspects of the Neolithisation process and demonstrate long-distance cultural exchange between the Baltic and Central Europe (Hungary-Serbia) as well as Eastern Europe (Ukraine-Moldova). Another aim of the project is to develop a statistical approach to unravel mixtures of pottery contents; the technique is in its infancy and has not yet been applied to an archaeological assemblage.
Dr Cecilie Sachs Olsen - Royal Holloway, University of London
Cultural Geography, Social Geography, Urban Studies
Arts for urban change: negotiating the possibilities and practices of participatory art in urban development
From crises in housing and public space, to social unrest due to austerity measures, the current era of urban upheaval values arts practices as a crucial creative means of empowerment in the midst of urban planning and redevelopment processes. Yet key challenges relating to issues of participation and representation hamper our understanding and the negotiation of the place of arts within urban processes. Focusing on participatory art wherein artists develop collaborations with communities and other stakeholders, this innovative research combines geography and art practice to seize these challenges and to develop a toolkit for integrating artistic practices into urban development. Analysing four European case studies, and also my own artwork, I will examine the entanglements of artistic practice with local communities and urban planners/developers. Outputs will include participatory art works; publications directed at geographers, urban studies and arts scholars; participatory stakeholder workshops to refine the toolkit; toolkit briefing documents and an international conference.
Dr Orla Shortall - James Hutton Institute
Sociology of other, e.g. work, media etc
Cows eat grass, don’t they? Exploring values and visions of indoor and outdoor dairy farming in the UK and Ireland.
The dairy sectors in Britain and Ireland face an identity crisis: is the sector a traditional backbone of the rural countryside, or a high tech, efficient industry? Livestock farming in industrialised countries is increasingly intensive with more indoor housing. Should a farmer keep the cows on grass, or should they intensify and move the cows indoors to produce more milk? Indoor dairying is framed alternately as the way to sustainably feed 9 billion people, or a dystopian vision of industrial agriculture. This project will develop and apply an analytical framework of philosophies of agriculture to examine how farmers in the UK and Ireland are making these decisions, and how key stakeholders envisage the future of dairying. The industrial philosophy sees agriculture as a sector of the industrial economy, whereas the alternative view sees agriculture as having greater significance beyond the industrial lens. This is an important time for the dairy sector and a fascinating research case in which to support policy and sector wide discussions and further the theorising of agriculture.
Dr Catriona Silvey - University College London
Language Acquisition, Language Evolution
Investigating the emergence and acquisition of relational word meanings
To acquire language, children must learn what words mean. The meanings of relational words, e.g. ‘on’, which labels a spatial relation of support, are hard for children to learn because the concepts they label are abstract and vary across languages. There is evidence that the presence of the word itself crucially aids learning by highlighting relevant features across examples. From an evolutionary angle, however, this is a paradox: how did words come to label these concepts if they are hard to acquire without words?
This proposal takes a new approach to this problem, using adult iterated learning experiments to model language emergence in the lab, and child relational mapping experiments to test the efficacy of these emergent systems in aiding relational concept learning. The hypothesis is that relational meanings arise as speakers extend conventional labels for relational scenes during communication; these conventions are then systematised by the generalisations of new learners. These labelling patterns help children learn relational concepts that are hard to access without labels.
Dr Cohen Simpson - University of Oxford
Political Sociology, Sociology of other, e.g. work, media etc
The Online Manufacture of Climate Change Denial
Despite scientific consensus, Contrarian Organisations (CORGs) continue to produce discourse designed to sow doubt about anthropogenic climate change (ACC)—our most pressing global challenge. Extant research confirms that CORGs may influence political and media elite but overlooks their public reception, especially online. This is a notable gap as social media have become key channels for learning about ACC as environmental journalism has declined. My project will address this gap by investigating how the content of CORGs’ online climate change discourse influences the extent to which individuals re-share that discourse in their online personal networks—a contemporary form of mobilisation. It will also assess how CORGs’ discursive choices are shaped by their financial patrons—actors who play a key role in the financial maintenance of the Climate Change Countermovement.
Analytically, my project will use Big Data from social media and cutting-edge computational methods for text analysis and network analysis to model production of and mobilisation around contrarian discourse online.
Dr Vaibhav Singh - University of Reading
Asian languages and literatures, History of the book
Merchants of alphabets: networks of typographic design and technology in Indian-language publishing, 1900–1950
This project provides the first comprehensive scholarly assessment of the impact of typographic design and technology on the linguistic diversity of Indian publishing in the decades leading up to the country’s independence. It examines how creative and commercial networks that enabled the material production of text in India’s multilingual landscape played a critical role in establishing language and script preference, spurring the definition of regional priorities in printing and publishing. This research draws on an as yet unexamined body of literature in five Indian languages, and from primary archival sources in the UK and US, to show how networks of design and technology aided selective recognition of scripts and languages in the subcontinent, and shaped notions of literacy in independent India. It situates typographic design – a critically under-researched area in publishing and book history – within the intellectual frameworks of nationalism, mass communication, and technological innovation that defined new positions of significance for indigenous languages in the country.
Dr Claudia Soares - Queen Mary University of London
Modern History, Social History
In care and after care: emotions, institutions, and child welfare in Britain, Australia, and Canada, 1850-1914.
In recent years, the failings of historical childcare systems have become a focus of public concern and enquiry in Britain, Australia and Canada. However, our understanding of the history of these institutions is partial, especially in terms of children's perspectives of care. Focusing on a critical period in their development, this transnational study explores children’s social and emotional experiences of institutional care and ‘aftercare’ – the interactions that continued after children’s discharge. It examines the work of several prominent institutions, including those based in Britain but working at a transnational scale, as well as other smaller charities operating in Canadian and Australian settler colonies. Taking a child-centred approach and adapting a history of emotions perspective, the project draws on the rich written testimony of children and carers to shift the focus of scholarly debate to offer a more balanced assessment of the history of these institutions, that sets examples of trauma and abuse alongside more positive experiences of life in (and after) care.
Dr Carlos Solar - University of Oxford
Comparative Politics, Development Studies - Politics, Government, Peace Studies, Politics of a specific area or region (specified by regional interest on the classification tab), Public Policy and Administration, Security Studies
The Governance of Security: Comparative Public Policy in Latin America
As states navigate toward development, security failures of criminal nature prohibit their progress on democracy and human rights aspects. Defying current theories of state consolidation and governance, this research explores what role is there for the developing states to effectively ensure the rule of law. It argues that, despite their limited resources and capabilities, poor nations deal with crime in dynamic and flexible ways by centralising and decentralising authority with other non-state actors that cohabit the policymaking field. Looking at the issue of human trafficking in Peru, Colombia, and Argentina, the project builds upon the emerging literature on security governance borrowing approaches from politics, criminology, and sociology. It will produce empirical research using accounts from fieldwork interviews and quantitative data taken from public opinion surveys. Its policy- oriented outcomes will enlighten students, academics, and practitioners interested in assessing the most pressing security threats in today's political life.
Dr Tess Elizabeth Sophie Somervell - University of Leeds
Critical and cultural theory - English Language and Literature, Cultural studies - English Language and Literature, Romantic literature, History of Ideas - English Language and Literature
Georgic Climates: Writing the Weather in Eighteenth-Century Poetry
This project argues for the importance of eighteenth-century georgic (poetry about agricultural labour, based on Virgil’s Georgics) to the development of British cultural conceptions of weather. I will examine how georgic poems of the period gave expression to and in turn informed scientific and theological debates about the provenance and meaning of weather events. They questioned whether the weather was mysterious or knowable, spontaneous or part of a larger ordered ‘climate’. The project will trace the British georgic from its rise in the early 1700s to its evolution in the Romantic period; contextualise the georgic movement in relation to contemporary discourses of weather; and analyse how these ideas were articulated through the resources of poetic language, form, and structure. My thesis is that poets used georgic portrayals of weather to explore interactions between human and nonhuman agencies in the natural world. Thus this project will both illuminate an important aspect of eighteenth- century culture and offer new perspective on our own assumptions about weather and climate.
Dr Laura Sterian - University of Edinburgh
Comparative Linguistics, Language Description and Documentation, Morphology and Syntax, Linguistics & Particular Languages or Families
True Versus Intrusive Resumption: A Cross-Linguistic Investigation
What does cross-linguistic variation reveal about the architecture of the grammar ? This is a typological project that aims to find an answer to this question by investigating resumption licensing across unrelated languages; more specifically, it investigates the syntactic conditions that determine true resumption, where a pronoun may appear in some languages in contexts in which an obligatory gap is expected, and intrusive resumption, where a pronoun is used in contexts that disallow a gap. It conducts a cross-linguistic investigation into the obligatoriness, optionality or ungrammaticality of true resumption and intrusive resumption, analyzing data from Semitic, Romance, Celtic, Greek, Vata, English and German. It attempts to explain the typological variation observed in these unrelated languages in terms of different categories of pronouns, different types of complementizers, and syntactic strategies in relativization and questions. By doing this, the project aims to develop a new and comprehensive theory of resumption and to reconsider the syntax of long-distance dependencies.
Dr Natalia Telepneva - University of Warwick
History of a specific country, History of Ideas, Modern History, Political History
Winning the Development Endgame: The Political Economy of Soviet Cold War in Africa, 1974-1991
This project seeks to analyse and explain the political economy of the Soviet Cold War in Africa between 1974 and 1991. It focuses on Soviet development assistance in Africa and on how Moscow’s experience of engagement with modernisation and state-building of key allies in the region such as Ethiopia, Angola and Mozambique affected not only the Cold War in Africa, but also debates about reform in the Soviet Union. The lessons that the Soviet officials across various bureaucratic institutions learned from the practice of modernisation in these countries strengthened the views of those policy experts who would eventually argue for an overhaul of Moscow’s policy in the Third World, contributing to the end of the Cold War in Africa. For the countries in the region, the failure of development projects inspired by socialist ideas led to the onset of Western-inspired economic liberalisation.
Dr Roni Tibon - University of Cambridge
Cognitive and Perceptual Psychology
Age effects on cognitive and neural mechanisms of memory encoding
In this proposed research, I will clarify the nature of age-related memory declines, relying on data collected from 700 human volunteers, and will ultimately suggest interventions to help ameliorate age-related memory loss. Memory problems are among the most common complaints as people grow older. However, some types of memory severely decline with aging, while others remain relatively intact. Two processes can contribute to successful formation of new memories. Firstly, when encountering a new experience, we can emphasise how it is distinct from past experiences. Secondly, we can enrich our memory by emphasising features of the new experience that are consistent with prior knowledge. Evidence shows that older people find it difficult to discriminate between memories for similar events, suggesting that the former process (and its associated brain mechanisms) might be more susceptible to aging than the latter. I will translate this distinction between memory processes into useful advice for older people trying to remember events in the real world.
Dr Leila Ullrich - University of Oxford
Criminal Law and Justice, Criminology, Sociology of Law
Mind the Gap: Exploring the Interplay between Gender, Terrorism and Counter-terrorism
Women have become difficult to ignore in terrorism, yet attempts to consider them in counter-terrorism are rare and efforts to integrate a gender perspective even rarer. To close this gap, this project addresses two questions: first, how do terrorist and counter-terrorist institutions conceptualize women and with what effect on them? Second, how do women make sense of their role vis-à-vis both terrorist and counter-terrorist institutions? These questions will be explored through a comparative case study of the UK, Kenya and Lebanon.
This project breaks new grounds by exploring how ideas of ‘femininity’, ‘masculinity’ and other gender constructs shape radicalization, terrorism and counter-terrorism. It problematizes the strict separation of terrorism and counterterrorism in the literature by investigating how each feeds off the other’s gender assumptions and how women negotiate their agency at their intersection. Employing an interdisciplinary perspective, the project aims to rethink the interplay between gender, terrorism and counter-terrorism through a unique cross-cultural study.
Dr Rin Ushiyama - University of Cambridge
Cultural Sociology, Nationalism Studies, Political Sociology, Sociology of Religion, Sociology of other, e.g. work, media etc
The survival and reproduction of historical revisionism in Japanese public discourse: 1996-present.
I seek to explain why and how historical revisionism has persisted in Japan in the post-war period, despite its lack of academic credibility. In recent decades, there has been a resurgence of Japanese neo-nationalism, which seeks to reinstate Shinto as a state religion, establish a new ‘patriotic’ constitution, and positively reassess Japan’s fascist past. The rise of neo-nationalism has been accompanied by the denial or understatement of wartime atrocities committed by the Japanese military in the Asia-Pacific, such as the 1937 Nanking massacre and the enslavement of Asian women as sex slaves. This project will explore how academically controversial or discredited ideas, such as historical revisionism, persist in public discourse through the perspectives of sociology of ideas and sociology of intellectuals. It will investigate the social and political resources and networks which support revisionist intellectuals and social movements through documentary analysis, participant observation and qualitative interviews.
Dr Patrick Valiquet - University of Edinburgh
Sociology and psychology of music, History & Criticism of Music: Art Music since 1900, Scientific Approaches and New Technology
Phonopolis: The Ontological Politics of Experimental Music Research, 1958-1995
Late-twentieth century experimental musicians fought to transform the politics of music by expanding the definition of music. Inspired by Cold War activism and eager to harness the new oralities promised by mass-mediated performance and listening, experimentalists inscribed their work with liberal values like democracy and diversity.
Many of these renewals have now been absorbed into musicological practice. Scholars increasingly understand the musical in terms of listening, materiality, and performance. Taste-shaping institutions now readily embrace experimentalist principles of participation and plurality. And yet a consensus remains that it was only an aesthetic movement, with clearly defined national boundaries, concerned primarily with adding to the canon of musical works. This project will excavate historical manifestations of musical experimentalism in the sciences to examine their ontological politics. It will show how, by observing and manipulating the nature of music, experimentalists also hoped to produce new scientific knowledge practices, new media, and new musical facts.
Dr Francesca Vella - University of Cambridge
History & Criticism of Music: Romantic
Geographies of Opera in Italy, 1850-1872
My project explores opera and national identity in 19th-century Italy from three urban viewpoints: those of Milan, Bologna and Florence from the 1850s to the early 1870s. This period has traditionally been identified with a national operatic ‘crisis’ in Italy, one fuelled by a paucity of new works establishing themselves in the canon. Focusing on six local operatic ‘moments’, centred on works, singers and stagings, I challenge this standard interpretation. My research has two primary aims: first, to refine our understanding of the relationship between 19th-century Italian ideas of the local and the national; second, to investigate connections and musical exchanges between different places. By showing how multiple Italian identities were shaped through opera (both Italian and foreign) in a constant dialogue with each other, as well as with locations and cultures further removed, my project inverts the traditional national focus into a trans-municipal and transnational network, thus opening up a vital new direction for reassessing the role played by opera in Italy’s nation-building.
Dr Graeme Ward - University of Oxford
Medieval History - History
Perceptions of the Carolingian Church in the long tenth century (c.900-1050)
My project will take as its focus the post-Carolingian reception of the ninth-century liturgical commentator Amalarius of Metz. Amalarius’ commentaries, although condemned as heretical in 838, exerted tremendous influence throughout the Middle Ages, becoming authoritative guides to the interpretation of Christian worship. The period c. 900 to 1050 played an important, but under- appreciated role in this process. I have selected three uses of Amalarius’ commentaries that not only reveal that Amalarius was considered an important authority, but also that in the codices produced during the period his work often became enmeshed within a wider body of ecclesiastical literature. Reacting against recent trends to prioritize political interpretations of post-Carolingian historical memory, I propose to analyse the significance of the overlap between patristic and Carolingian knowledge found in contemporary manuscripts in order to shed new light on how the Carolingian past was understood as an extension of the world of the Church Fathers.
Dr Emma West - University of Birmingham
Critical and cultural theory - English Language and Literature, Cultural studies - English Language and Literature, Historical studies of language and literature - English Language and Literature, Intellectual history - English Language and Literature
Revolutionary Red Tape: How state bureaucracy shaped British modernism
According to Franz Kafka, ‘Every revolution evaporates and leaves behind only the slime of a new bureaucracy.’ But what if, far from being the residual by-product of a failed experiment, bureaucracy actually spawned revolutionary ideas?
Drawing on extensive archival resources (reports, memos, minutes), this project examines how public servants and official committees helped to commission, disseminate and popularise modernist art, design, architecture and literature in Britain. From vanguard exhibitions in local restaurants to innovative sanatoria on the Welsh coast, these committees masterminded dozens of schemes to bring modernism’s radical aesthetics to a general audience.
Through an examination of six case studies from architecture, town planning, literature, theatre, ballet and painting, I argue that committees should be seen alongside publishers, magazines and galleries as key mediating institutions between the artistic elite and the British public. Outside academia, the project provides a unique opportunity to use past successes (and failures) to inform future cultural policy.
Dr Jade Whitlam - University of Oxford
Archaeology of the Ancient Near East, Prehistoric Archaeology, Archaeological Science & Environmental Archaeology
Farming before agriculture: investigating variability in plant management and consumption by western Asia’s earliest cultivators
The earliest documented crop cultivation in western Asia appears highly varied and locally contingent, as people experimented with plant use as part of diverse socioecological systems. However, the management and consumption strategies involved remain poorly understood. Deconstructing the nature of this local variability, its causes and effects, is key to understanding the later emergence of established agricultural economies. This project will break new ground by exploring comparatively how communities tended and consumed plants at three recently excavated early Neolithic sites in Iran and Jordan (10,000–7500 BC), combining innovative isotopic and ecological analyses of plant remains with spatial and functional material culture. By examining how plant use articulates with specific social and ecological parameters, at a site-level and through time, this work will identify factors that were key to the establishment of agriculture in western Asia and provide testable models that can be applied to other regions of the world.
Dr Roxana Willis - University of Oxford
Criminal Law and Justice, Criminology
Classed Experiences of Mental Disorder: Examining the Intersection of Mental Disorder, Class, and Youth Offending
The UK is experiencing a mental healthcare crisis: high rates of mental disorder, and a shortage of hospital beds, can lead individuals who exhibit signs of mental distress to be detained in police custody. The Royal College of Police reports this crisis as worsening, and the government has allocated £15 million toward diverting individuals with mental disorders from police custody into healthcare facilities. Mentally distressed persons in police custody likely come from disadvantaged backgrounds; however, research has not explored the relationship between offending behaviour and the classed ways mental disorder may manifest. The proposed work supports our understanding of crucial issues in criminology, psychiatry, and law by examining the intersection of mental disorder, class, and youth offending. I adopt a mixed-methods approach that combines comparative life-history work with analysis of longitudinal data. My theoretical framework is interdisciplinary, rooted in the sociology of Bourdieu, research on criminogenic factors, and work on the aetiologies of mental disorder.
Dr Bobby Xinyue - University of Warwick
Comparative literature - Modern Languages, Critical and cultural theory - Modern Languages, Neo-Latin language and literature
Redesigning Time: Cultural Politics in Renaissance Poetic Calendars
‘Redesigning Time’ explores how Renaissance writers from across Europe used the calendar as a literary form to advance rivalling ideas about cultural identity, religion, and political power in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Focusing on three as yet untranslated early modern Latin didactic poems that reflect on and develop Ovid’s Fasti, ancient Rome’s most famous calendar poem, this project analyses these texts’ contributions to the intellectual culture of (Counter-)Reformation Italy, Germany and France around the time of the Gregorian calendar reform of 1582. By examining the poems’ creative engagement with ancient and contemporary discourses of time through a critical framework informed by recent theories on the ideologically embeddedness of the calendar, this study shows how Renaissance calendar poems interrogated and intervened in the cultural politics of competing temporal constructions. The outcome of this cross-disciplinary project will make a significant and original contribution to the understanding of the calendar as a form of human(istic) expression.
Dr Yan Zhang - University of Cambridge
Comparative Politics, Development Studies - Politics, Government, Politics of a specific area or region, Public Policy and Administration, Political Philosophy - Politics
Accelerating Sustainability among the People, Nature and Culture: the Political Economy of China's Transformative Governance in the Lost Shangri_La
Sustainable development is a shared responsibility. In a fundamentally changing political and economic global landscape, understanding China’s green governance is essential for the global acceleration of sustainability. People’s constant interactions with the nature and socioeconomic activities assembled the reality of society, but it is also the dynamic culture and its manifestations that construct representations of such a reality. Accelerating sustainability among people, nature and culture, and building a common awareness of issues pertaining to sustainable development are essential for any sort of success in this direction. This research aims to conceptualise sustainability as the ‘commons’, with in-depth study of Yunnan as the lost Shangri-La where lagging socioeconomic development is trapped with outstandingly rich natural and cultural resources. It looks into the complex reality with various actors in the transformation process, framing out the relationships and dynamics in play, and more importantly, the political economy of power structure in the people-nature-culture nexus.