Postdoctoral Fellowship Awards 2019
Dr Sarah Abel PF19\100026
Centre of Latin American Studies, University of Cambridge
From pigment to Pantone: the science, art and politics of representing skin colour in Mexico
How have art, science and politics converged to inscribe skin colour with cultural meaning in Mexico? Early ‘casta’ paintings famously linked skin colour, race and social hierarchy in colonial New Spain, and although post-revolutionary national ideologies later portrayed modern Mexico as racially homogeneous, contemporary activists have sought to expose the impacts of colour prejudice in a society that still aspires to whiteness. The present project aims to contextualise these phenomena, examining how visual techniques, from photography to facial recognition algorithms, have been used in Mexico over the past century to portray and problematise skin colour, variously as a marker of ‘culture’, national belonging, and racial stigma. Using archival research, interviews with artists and scientists, and analyses of photographic works, this study explores the politics of representation in the overlapping spheres of art and anthropology, and the potential for scientific ‘objectivity’ and technical creativity to produce new ways of 'seeing' colour.
Dr Nadia Ait Said-Ghanem PF19\100057
Department of Religions and Philosophies, School of Oriental and African Studies
The psychology of desire and anguish in Old Babylonian divination
Heroes, births, dwindling fortunes, and the occasional trickster are powerful images encountered in Old Babylonian divination texts. These figures and events conceptualise the future as a source of desire or of anxiety. Although Old Babylonian divination texts have been studied for their grammar, historical and scientific content, they remain an unexplored source of material for the study of an ancient society’s psychology. The founder of analytical psychology Carl Jung proved the relevance and importance of divination texts to the study of psychology by showing that recording links between events that are unconnected (acausal events) creates relationships of meaning and doorways into psychological processes. This project proposes to test Jungian psychology, and its approach to divination as a doorway into the collective unconscious, in studying two psychological phenomena in Old Babylonian omen texts: anguish and desire. It will thus explore the minds of people who lived nearly 4,000 years ago.
Dr Philip Alexander PF19\100034
Department of Theology and Religious Studies, University of Glasgow
Foreign Sounds: Musical Life in Jewish Scotland, 1880–1950
This research examines the role of sound and music in the negotiation of Scottish-Jewish identity during a period that saw the largest Jewish migration to Scotland and the consolidation of significant communities in Edinburgh and Glasgow. My project is the first detailed study of Scottish-Jewish music and makes full use of a valuable and underused archival resource. I will seek to understand how Scotland’s Jews used music to navigate both difference and acculturation, with specific attention to religious music, jazz and classical music, representations of Jewish sound within Scottish culture, and points of linguistic hybridity. I will also examine what the wider historical Scottish- Jewish soundscape can tell us about patterns of exchange and dialogue between host and immigrant communities. This study of Scotland’s rapidly changing Jewish history presents important alternative narratives of British-Jewish life. It is also a timely opportunity to document one aspect of a dynamic but shrinking community.
Dr Bergit Arends PF19\100120
Centre for Black Humanities and Centre for Environmental Humanities, University of Bristol
Routes into the Anthropocene: an interpretative method for 50 years of art and environment artworks, 1970 to 2020
The Anthropocene is proposed as the most recent geologic time unit, in which human activity has changed the Earth more than natural processes. The proposition is a forceful concept that has ignited widespread debates and has inspired artists to conceptualise and visualise the consequences of this knowledge. Artworks can communicate complex planetary and local environmental issues to non-expert audiences, and can reveal tensions between nature as economic factor and as place for longing and belonging. This study applies the Anthropocene as an interpretative tool to visual and sound works.
However, in these emergent discussions the absence of cultural diversity is striking. The research thus takes a transnational purview, framed by cultural and political events from the 1970s to the present, emphasising race, locations, and subjectivity. The focus are artists’ positions in dialogue with other disciplines and cultures, interrogating migration as productive principle for the co- existence of nature and humans.
Dr Sarah Arens PF19\100001
Department of French, University of St Andrews
Constructing a Geopolitics of Nationhood: Belgium's Scientific and Cultural Colonial Project (1830- 1958)
This monograph project is the first to explore Belgian colonial science and culture in order to understand how colonialism served as a nation-building project for the young Belgian state in the nineteenth and twentieth century. The recent terrorist attacks in Paris and Brussels, but also Brussels’ role as the de facto capital of the European Union, demonstrate the need to understand Belgium’s postcolonial situation and highlight the blind spots in existing research on its lack of national identity. To this end, it is vital to understand its colonial cultures. I argue that Leopold II’s employment of explorers and scientists and creation of scientific societies, museums, and world fairs represent key moments in his attempt to consolidate a national narrative through the creation of a colonial empire. My interdisciplinary study opens up new vistas of Francophone cultural studies to examine the ideologies that fuelled Belgian colonialism and the resistance against it.
Dr Laura Arnold PF19\100004
Department of Linguistics and English Language, University of Edinburgh
Synchronic and diachronic investigations in Raja Ampat-South Halmahera, a little-known subbranch of Austronesian
Approximately 3500 years ago, Austronesian populations migrated from Island Southeast Asia into the Pacific via New Guinea – one of the most linguistically diverse, yet least well-understood, regions on the planet. Due to a lack of archaeological sites and genetic studies around New Guinea, historical linguistic research, based on comprehensive synchronic description, is essential for developing our understanding of these migrations.
Until now, the linguistic data necessary for these investigations have been inaccessible. I propose to gather such data from several undescribed languages of the Raja Ampat-South Halmahera (RASH) subbranch of South Halmahera-West New Guinea, a typologically divergent and endangered branch of Austronesian. These data will be used both in synchronic phonetic and phonological analyses of the word-prosodic systems of these languages; and in diachronic work, to subclassify RASH and reconstruct proto-RASH. This project will significantly deepen our knowledge about the languages, cultures, and history of this critically under-researched region.
Dr Daniel Calderbank PF19\100094
Archaeology, University of Glasgow
Life at the Margins of Power: the reach of Mesopotamian states in the 2nd millennium BCE
It is widely assumed that early states sought complete control over technological crafts, including the means of production and the social contexts in which products were used. Recent approaches, however, propose that ancient states operated more as ideological entities than interventional systems. These altered perceptions of state power are yet to be tested against well recorded archaeological material. Two sites located on the margins of the Mesopotamian political sphere – Khani Masi, Iraqi-Kurdistan, and Tell Khaiber, southern Iraq – provide unique datasets with which to examine these ideas for the first time. Both sites yield pottery assemblages dating to a tumultuous period, defined by the dramatic rise and fall of political powers. Through an innovative approach to craft traditions and their associated communities, this project will empirically assess the ways in which the first states materially reproduced themselves, with the aim of transforming current conceptual models of early complex societies.
Dr Micaela Canopoli PF19\100007
Department of Classics and Ancient History, University of Warwick
The Sacred Landscape of Attica Under Roman Rule (1st cent. BC - 4th cent. AD)
This project will analyse the characteristics of Attic religious sites under Roman rule between the first century BC and the fourth century AD.
The history of sanctuaries reflects the development of Greek society under Roman domination. During this period, the sacred Greek landscape underwent major changes such as the dedication of new sanctuaries, the introduction of new Gods, and the revival of traditional cults.
This project will make use of the recent archaeological and historical discoveries on Roman Greece for an innovative study of the most historically significant region of Greece. Attica will become a case study on which to base further projects on the religious development of Greece under the Romans.
As well as casting light on a long-overlooked aspect of the history of antiquity, the results will fill a gap in the existing literature and offer a new way of approaching the relation between conquered and conquering.
Dr Shruti Chaudhry PF19\100129
Department of Sociology, University of Edinburgh
Care Beyond the Family? British South Asians and Ageing in Scotland
The UK population is ageing and the ‘challenges’ this poses have been recognised by academics and policy makers alike. Discussion, however, has primarily focused on the UK population as a whole, with insufficient attention paid to ethnic minority populations, especially in Scotland. This study will serve as a corrective. It focuses on British South Asians in Edinburgh and Glasgow to interrogate aged care within a context of cultural heterogeneity. It will demonstrate that, just like British families, British South Asian families are undergoing change. It will address the implications of cultural diversity and social change for the future of ageing and the allocation of care. The proposed research will challenge common assumptions that South Asians ‘care for their own’ by exploring care beyond the family. It will thus generate new insights on how the needs of a diverse ageing population can best be addressed in planning and service provision.
Dr Nadezda Christopher PF19\100036
Surrey Morphology Group, University of Surrey
Morpho-syntax of mutual intelligibility in the Turkic languages of Central Asia
Mutual intelligibility (MI) between languages is observed when a native speaker of one language can understand a native speaker of another, related language without any special preparation. Although linguists broadly agree that languages demonstrate different degrees of MI, there is no consensus on how this should be tested and measured, and which linguistic factors are the primary determinants of the extent of MI between languages. While the vast majority of work on MI focusses on phonological and lexical aspects of the phenomenon, the proposed research scrutinises the relation of MI and morpho-syntactic features, using experimental methods to investigate asymmetries in MI in three Turkic languages: Kazakh, Karakalpak and Uzbek. This novel project simultaneously contributes to two different developing areas of linguistic research, by providing an innovative empirical background against which the phenomenon of MI can be assessed cross-linguistically, and by expanding our understanding of morpho-syntactic micro-variation in under-described Turkic languages.
Dr Emma Claussen PF19\100080
Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages, University of Cambridge
What Makes Life Worth Living in Early Modern France?
In early modern France, life, as an object of knowledge and of literature, was an unstable category. What animates the body? What is the difference between living and merely existing? How do understandings of ‘natural’ life interact with ethical and moral conceptions of a life well lived? This project explores, for the first time, how writers asked and answered these questions in France between c. 1550 and 1650, with particular attention to how they were influenced by the changing relationship between ethics and natural science, analysing canonical authors in light of lesser-known theoretical works (philosophy; medical and physical sciences). This project reveals new aspects both of early modern French literary preoccupations, and of the specific position of early modern French literature in a much longer European history of interrogating life and its meanings, from the reception of Classical philosophy to contemporary critical theory.
Dr Adriana Clavel-Vazquez PF19\100077
University of Oxford
The ethics of imagination
What is the ethical value of imaginings? Is there something wrong, for example, with pleasurably
imagining oneself harming someone? But if there is, why don’t we think that there is something good in pleasurably imagining oneself helping someone? Although in recent years there has been an increased interest in the philosophy of imagination, there hasn’t yet been a satisfactory examination of the ethical value of imaginings. The aim of this project is to distinguish ways in which imaginings might be good or bad, and to examine whether, and under what conditions, it is good or bad to engage in certain imaginative exercises. My hypothesis is that, since imaginings are highly diverse, only some instances are ethically significant; and that they are so, not in virtue of their content, but in virtue of how they interact with other mental states and how they help us engage with other people.
Dr Christian Cooijmans PF19\100021
Department of Modern Languages and Cultures, University of Liverpool
A Past in Progress: The Late Medieval Historiography of Viking Activity in the Low Countries
Across the late medieval Low Countries (c.1250-1550), the appropriation of historical narratives played a significant role in the reinforcement of shared social identities, including those of comital dynasties, monasteries, and collective urban citizenries. These accounts devote substantial attention to the early endeavours of Scandinavian migrant mariners (‘vikings’), whose presence was retrospectively incorporated into various institutional foundation myths. This project will determine how and why late medieval chroniclers recollected, represented, and repurposed the viking phenomenon during this formative period of politico-cultural memory. Through an innovative analysis of the extant primary evidence, it will trace longstanding processes of textual transmission, whilst illuminating late medieval representations of prior medieval societies, their inhabitants, and the external pressures placed upon them. Hence, it will strongly augment a limited body of knowledge on Scandinavian and otherwise ‘foreign’ influences in medieval Netherlandish historiography, and provide appropriate analogical perspectives on the (mis)appropriation of historical movements across modern-day Europe.
Dr Greetje (Gretta) Corporaal PF19\100095
Said Business School (SBS), University of Oxford
iWork: Investigating the Future of Work and Organizing in the Digital Platform Economy
Digital technologies are implicated in profound changes in the nature of work. One realm of
‘knowledge work’, historically conducted by full-time professionals in the office, is increasingly technology-mediated and executed by remote contractors. Platforms operating online labor markets are the harbingers of these changes, yet knowledge on the social and organizational implications of platform utilization by firms is scant. The iWork project addresses this gap, answering the fundamental question how ‘work’ is changing when firms use platforms to engage online freelancers in the workplace.
Through an ethnographic study inside the world’s largest platform for knowledge work, the project is the first to document how the platform itself engages online freelancers, thereby shaping at origin the future of work. Connecting scholarship on organizations, work and occupations, and the digital economy, I envisage a transformative breakthrough with the project offering novel theoretical and methodological approaches to studying 21st century work and organizations.
Dr Thomas Dekeyser PF19\100052
Centre for the GeoHumanities, Royal Holloway, University of London
Beyond ‘smart’ urbanisms? Techno-nihilism in a world of digitally-mediated cities
The ‘smart city’ narrative is increasingly shaping cities across the globe. Smart cities use communication technologies to collect data from (non)humans for the purpose of an apparently safer, more participatory, manageable, sustainable and cost-efficient urban environment. Yet, to many, the ‘digitally-mediated city’ fails to deliver on its promises of growth and emancipation, conceiving of it instead as a furthering of power, principally state/corporate power. This timely research examines three responses to the smart city. First, tracing experiential responses, the research examines the lived experience of experiments with anti-technologist communes. Second, investigating activist responses, the research will study political resistance against smart cities. Third, it examines artistic responses, studying how art practices/practitioners defy smart city technologies including urban surveillance and biometrics. Conceptualising them in terms of ‘techno-nihilism’, these three strategies of resistance are mobilised to critique the limitations of smart cities and to enact urban imaginations that exceed them.
Dr Chihab El Khachab PF19\100049
Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, University of Cambridge
The Cultural State: Bureaucratic Authority and Uncertainty in Post-Revolutionary Egypt
This project investigates the way in which the Egyptian state copes with uncertainty in the aftermath of the 2011 revolution. Specifically, it explores the efforts of bureaucrats, cultural producers, and intellectuals in and around the Egyptian Ministry of Culture (MOC) to create, promote, and shape cultural policies after 2011. Based on historical and ethnographic fieldwork in Cairo, the project will attempt to explain how people at the interface of state administration and the culture industries keep the state’s operations running, and how (or whether) the MOC implements its official strategy in practice. This research will produce the first systematic study of the internal reaction of a branch in the Egyptian state’s administration to the instability triggered by the 2011 revolution, and it will engage with wider debates about the ways in which state bureaucracy may or may not maintain its authority while implementing its official program under conditions of uncertainty.
Dr Daniel Eltringham PF19\100012
School of English, Faculty of Arts and Humanities, University of Sheffield
Translating Resistance: Latin-American 'Mountain Literature' and the Poetry of the Transatlantic Avant-garde
This project fundamentally challenges the way Anglo-American avant-garde poetry networks are understood by demonstrating how these Anglophone networks were sustained and renewed by the translation of guerrilla ‘mountain literature’ from Latin America. ‘Mountain literature’ combined militant and ecological practices of rural resistance. My central research questions are: how did the utopian ecopoetics of ‘the mountain’ in Latin-American guerrilla writing speak to conjoined militant, environmental and aesthetic resistances for Anglophone avant-gardes? And how were these spaces re-interpreted by Anglophone poets, editors and translators? This chronological study links three intersectional arenas, grounded in the contexts of rural revolt: revolutionary struggles for land rights; first-nation ecological practices; and anti-imperialist wars of national liberation. It thus proposes that translations of mountain literature made new forms of radical, ecological, decolonised knowledge and transnational solidarity available to Anglophone avant-gardes. The project engages avant-garde poetics, decolonial ecocriticism and comparative literature in an unstudied area of international significance.
Dr Mattias Gassman PF19\100047
Faculty of Classics, University of Oxford
Sojourning in the World: Roman Paganism in the World and Writings of Augustine of Hippo
The fifty years from 380 to 430 A.D. saw the decisive advance of Christianity in the Western Roman Empire and the beginning of the empire’s dissolution. One of antiquity’s most influential thinkers, Augustine (354–430) not only dealt with contemporary social tensions in sermons and epistles, but also offered a Christian reassessment of the empire’s history and of the destiny of the human race in his magnum opus, City of God. My project, the first comprehensive study of Augustine’s writings on paganism, aims to show how Augustine rethought Roman religion in an increasingly fragmented empire. Where modern scholarship has taken Augustine’s attacks on ‘paganism’ as attempts to demonise secular civic life, I will argue that traditional cult still played an important role in Augustine’s world. His aim was not to construct an opponent for Christianity, but to guide ordinary Christians through a world still shaped by centuries of pagan worship.
Dr David Grundy PF19\100128
Department of English and Comparative Literary Studies, University of Warwick
“Never by itself alone”: Sexual Poetics in San Francisco & Boston, 1944-present
My proposal is a history of gay poetry in San Francisco and Boston from 1944 to the present. Extending from the 1950s through to Stonewall and the AIDS crisis, it will provide a much-needed reassessment of literary movements of great historical and contemporary relevance. The project forms the second part of a three-volume study of relations between poets and the State in the U.S.A. The first volume, forthcoming from Bloomsbury this year, concerns 1960s-1970s African- American poetry. The third will concern American feminist poetries. The present study begins with the group of writers whose 1940s-1960s work is collectively known as the San Francisco and Boston Renaissance. Gay activists who wrote explicitly homoerotic poetry, they can be considered the first collective gay literary movement in America. The project will subsequently examine San-Francisco based New Narrative writing from the 1970s to the present, discussing the impact of AIDS and intersections with Life Writing.
Dr Amelia Gully PF19\100024
Department of Language and Linguistic Science, University of York
Anatomy, acoustics, and the individual: investigating inter-speaker vocal tract variation for forensic speaker comparison
Every person’s vocal tract is unique. Information about its shape is encoded in the speech signal and provides cues for speaker identification. Understanding this encoding is essential for forensic speaker comparison across different speech recordings, but currently there is no direct evidence of how vocal anatomy affects the speech signal. This project addresses the issue with three research questions: which anatomical features contribute most to systematic variation in speech; what is the range of variation of these features within the population; and to what extent are anatomically- derived differences in speech detectable by humans and automatic systems? These questions will be addressed with a novel combination of acoustic modelling and magnetic resonance image analysis. Results will impact forensic casework by highlighting discriminatory features, measuring their impact on listeners, and providing population data. Furthermore, understanding the links between anatomy and acoustics has impact for speech and language therapy and speech synthesis applications.
Dr Jonathan Halls PF19\100106
Learning Sciences Research Institution, University of Nottingham
Promoting children’s positive attitudes towards pro-environmental behaviours: encouraging understanding, agency and motivation through gamebooks
Climate change is a major problem currently facing society. While many individuals understand actions can be taken to combat it (e.g., turning off electrical devices), actual behavioural change is limited. Failure to change behaviour is often attributed to cognitive barriers, patterns of reasoning that inhibit action (e.g., my effort is a drop in the ocean). I will draw on theories from psychology and education to tackle these barriers through a gamebook: a non-linear narrative that will allow children (9- to 11-years-old) to explore the impact their decisions can have on their future. This will be embedded in a discursive-intervention to facilitate discussion about such decisions. During the fellowship, I will contribute to current resources on promoting pro-environmental behaviour.
Furthermore, I will engage the academic community in relation to how psychological theories (cognitive barriers and planned behaviour) and pedagogical methods (dialogic teaching and future education) can underpin education about pro-environmental behaviours.
Dr Carlo Inverardi-Ferri PF19\100031
School of Geography, Queen Mary University of London (QMUL)
Toxic Work: Rethinking the place of diseases and the role of the human body in the global electronics industry
This project investigates the place of diseases and the role of the human body in global production. Based on a qualitative and multi-sited methodology, it interrogates the life struggles of workers in the Chinese electronics industry to challenge conventional ideas of production processes. This research provides a critique of scholarship on global production networks and extends theoretical perspectives that conceptualise these globalised systems of production in light of their environmental risks and distributional effects. In particular, the study examines toxicities and diseases as mechanisms for the creation of economic value. In so doing, it rethinks the human body as i) disposable matter, ii) natural landfill, and iii) a transient agent of globalised systems of production. In collaboration with NGOs, the project will also develop a database for learning and advocacy that aims to bring transformations in the electronics industry.
Dr Charlotte Jeffries PF19\100112
Department of Psychosocial Studies, Birkbeck, University of London
The Affective Afterlife of the Feminist Sex Wars on the US Campus
In the 1980s, the US women’s movement divided over a critical debate: whether or not sexual speech and imagery could constitute sexual harm. According to the current historiography, these ‘sex wars’ died out by the early 1990s. My research contends that the ghosts of these debates have influenced American feminist and queer political debates up to the present day. In particular, feminist activism on American campuses has been fertile ground for the continuation of the core divisions at the heart of the sex wars. My project will examine American student activist history from the early 1990s to present. It will explore the connective tissue between the sex wars of the 1980s, which focused on pornography, and the contemporary climate on US college campuses, including discourse around trigger warnings and consent. This research is particularly relevant within and outside of academia today, in the context of the global Me Too movement.
Dr Diarmaid Kelliher PF19\100075
School of Geographical and Earth Sciences, University of Glasgow
The spatial politics of the picket line: Labour agency and intersectionality, Britain 1966-1998
From the late 1960s, renewed trade union militancy and high strike levels placed the picket line at the centre of British political debate. This project will explore the spatial politics of the picket in this period, tracing the development of new tactics from both strikers and their opponents. Opposing political visions, it will demonstrate, manifested in a struggle over the space of the picket. The project will explore the multiplicity of practices, physical arrangements, emotional resonances and symbolic representations that constituted the picket line. It will consider it as a space of encounter that could draw together diverse groups and individuals. Building on intersectionality theory, the research will emphasise the complex interweaving of class, race and gender in these spaces. The picket line produced deep solidarities but also sustained conflict. Understanding why picket lines were respected, and why they were ignored, offers new insights into the spatialities of labour agency.
Dr Catherine Longford PF19\100103
Department of Archaeology, University of Sheffield
Investigating cultural connections through the archaeobotanical record: Bell Beaker plant economy. A comparative analysis of Late Neolithic – Early Bronze Age agriculture in Europe, 3000-1800 BC.
Famous for its iconic s-shaped beakers the Bell Beaker horizon spread across Western and Central Europe in the 3rd millennium BC. What the Bell Beaker phenomenon represents social and culturally and how it spread is a key debate in archaeology. As an expression of identity, what people eat can reveal the group to which a person belongs and can also be an exclusionary tool to emphasise cultural and social difference. Little is known about Bell Beaker subsistence and agriculture. This project will investigate the crop choices and cultivation strategies at Bell Beaker and contemporary sites by conducting a site-by-site and regional analysis of Late Neolithic and Bell Beaker period archaeobotanical assemblages (3000-1800BC) and perform morphometric analysis on Bell Beaker cereal remains. This broad comparative study of Bell Beaker plant economy and agriculture will provide insight into cultural connections and identify across the Bell Beaker horizon.
Dr Joseph Lovestrand PF19\100070
Cultures and Linguistics, School of Oriental and Asian Studies
Complex motion predicates: Comparative linguistics and semantic structure
In complex motion predicates (CMPs), the meaning of a verb is combined with a secondary motion predicate (affix, particle or another verb), as in the “go get” construction in English. A unified, cross- linguistic analysis of the semantic composition of CMPs is complicated by the fact that CMPs in various languages can express motion before, simultaneous to, or after the event of the main verb; or have more than one possible interpretation. The interpretation is not determined by the form, so a more abstract semantic mechanism is required. This project will provide a formal account of semantic composition for CMPs in the framework of Lexical-Functional Grammar. The model will be tested against a sample of CMPs from 325 languages. The results will indicate whether all languages can be said to have an identical mechanism for semantic composition, or whether speakers of different languages differ in how they store and compose meaning.
Dr Emily MacGregor PF19\100088
Department of Music, King's College London
Sonic Diasporas: Technology and Selfhood in New York Musical Imaginaries c. 1935-1941
‘Sonic Diasporas’ examines the relationship between technology, selfhood, and modernity in the music and thought of displaced musicians and cultural theorists in New York (1935-41). The project excavates a detailed archival history of musical encounters in one time and place to explore New York’s different musical diasporas—for instance, Jewish exiles from Europe, African Americans in Harlem. The fast-developing musicological conversation about the crossover between histories of music and technology has not been attentive enough to questions of race and global location; this project intervenes by emphasising perspectives from postcolonial and exile literatures. The monograph will argue that how technology figures in the musical imagination powerfully channels tensions shaping diasporic experience: from railroad to radio, technologies are multivalent socio- cultural signifiers that uncover narratives about exclusion, assimilation, memory, optimism, loss. The project will furnish a closely contoured history of a localised technological modernity reheard through its intimate relationship with diaspora experience.
Dr Ali Mair PF19\100083
Department of Psychology, University of York
Investigating the mechanism of wearable camera memory support
Wearable cameras have been shown to be effective memory supports for people with and without memory impairments, however the mechanism of this support is not remotely understood. This precludes directed technological development, and has created an impasse: currently available devices are of limited everyday use and have not been commercially successful, and continuation of this promising work urgently depends on understanding the interaction between the technology and human memory processes.
In the proposed project, nine experiments investigate what makes wearable camera memory support successful, from a cognitive psychological perspective. Using theory and observation derived from laboratory work, this research examines how different ways of reviewing wearable-camera photographs affects recall of real-world memories. The findings will generate applied impact by underscoring recommendations for the use of current devices and the development of new technology, and will be academically rigorous in bridging the gap between laboratory and real-world investigations of human memory.
Dr Charmian Mansell PF19\100113
History Faculty, University of Cambridge
Everyday Travel and Communities in Early Modern England
This project traces patterns of everyday travel in early modern England to recover social and economic communities beyond the boundary of the village, parish, or town. Scholarship identifies high migration and parish population turnover in England during this period; yet historians continue to locate the social and economic communities to which ordinary people belonged within a highly localised framework, characterising the early modern village as self-contained. To access their spatial experiences and identities, this project investigates the quotidian journeys that men and women across the social spectrum recounted in court depositions between 1550 and 1700. Divided into three strands, the project analyses the nature of everyday travel (investigating who made journeys, how far they travelled and for what purpose); the influence of topography and landscape on cross- parish socio-economic networks; and the extent to which infrastructure and transportation determined the scale and experience of everyday travel in early modern England.
Dr Richard Martin PF19\100127
Faculty of Law, University of Oxford
Equality in Action? The Performance of the Public Sector Equality Duty Across the UK
The Public Sector Equality Duty (PSED) has catapulted public authorities to the forefront of equality law by requiring them to consciously act in pursuit of a fairer society. Yet this initiation of public authorities into equality law’s arena has been obscured by a reluctance to extend our analytical gaze beyond judges and lawyers. Equality in Action endeavours to re-orient the focus onto public authorities as a crucial, but poorly understood, class of equality law actor. Using city councils as a case study, the research will zoom into civic administration across the UK to discover, examine and compare how frontline administrators understand, interpret and apply the PSED in their routine work. By juxtaposing the daily practices, processes and narratives of city councils with the existing doctrinal analysis of the PSED, Equality in Action seeks to provide a fuller, richer grasp of the interrelationship between equality law, public administration and frontline decision-making.
Dr Timothy Matthews PF19\100091
Social, Genetic and Developmental Psychiatry Centre, King's College London
Loneliness from childhood to young adulthood: a longitudinal, epidemiological and genetically- sensitive cohort study
Loneliness is a growing concern in public discussion today, to the extent that the UK government now has a minister in post to tackle the issue at the policy level. Although often assumed to be a problem that mainly affects the elderly, as many as one-third of young people report that they too feel lonely at least some of the time. However, there is relatively little research to indicate why this may be the case, and what the implications are for young people's health and development. The aim of this project is to answer these gaps in the evidence: What sort of experiences and circumstances could make young people vulnerable to loneliness? Does loneliness experienced in childhood continue to haunt people into their adult years? And is social media bringing people closer together, or does it instead put up barriers?
Dr Josh Milburn PF19\100101
Department of Politics, University of Sheffield
Food Justice and Animals: Feeding the World Respectfully
What is the place of animals in a just food system? One answer holds that if we take the worth of animals seriously, then our food systems have to be vegan. This project argues that justice for animals does not necessitate a vegan state. The just state could source animal products by establishing ‘cellular agriculture’ (lab-grown meat and related technologies), by farming invertebrates, and by reconceiving farmed animals as workers. Meanwhile, contemporary arable agriculture can be deeply harmful to animals, and warrants critique of its own. Severing the link between justice for animals and veganism offers opportunity for reconciliation between animal advocates and their critics, who contend that a vegan world is one bad for meat-eaters, the hungry, and workers. This project will show that a just world for animals could be one with ample nutritious food and many humane jobs. We can have our cow, but eat her too.
Dr Eva Miller PF19\100037
History Department, University College London
A New Antiquity: Western Reception and Revival of Ancient Assyria in Decorative Arts and Architecture, 1850-1935
This project examines the reception of Assyrian antiquities, excavated in northern Iraq, and the revival of Assyrian imagery in decorative arts and architecture of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century West. Images from the first excavations of Assyrian sites in Iraq were received with popular excitement in the Western world: first contact with a civilisation previously only known from Biblical and Classical accounts. Yet initial critical consensus held that Assyrian art was aesthetically inferior to Classical art, even morally suspect. Only towards the end of the nineteenth century did Assyrian images begin to be taken up by an array of modernist sculptors, architects, and illustrators, usually seeking to signal a break with Classical aesthetics and old conceptions of the ancient. In these new contexts, Assyrian imagery was uniquely flexible because of its association with an emerging ‘new past’, its meaning still contested by academics, artists, politicians, and the public.
Dr Sofie Narbed PF19\100111
Royal Holloway, University of London (Department of Geography)
Dancing in/between cities: bodily practice, creativity and intercultural encounters in Latin America
Concerns around socio-cultural inequality and difference are increasingly dominating the ways in which we debate the presents and futures of our cities. While interculturality has, particularly in Latin America, become central to imaginations of civil society and the rhetorics of state policy, more could be done to explore the everyday politics of such relations and, further, how they might be brought about in practice. This innovative research combines dance and geography to investigate creative bodily work as a critical site for (re)thinking how we live through, and forge relations across, difference. Focusing on contemporary dance-making in Quito, Ecuador, research traces intercultural encounters that emerge within and extend beyond the capital through artists’ creative practice to interrogate the politics, and possibilities, of dance as a practice of relationality within and between cities. Outputs include a co-written publication with artists, a methodological toolkit for intercultural exchange, and an international conference.
Dr Andrew Needham PF19\100082
Department of Archaeology, University of York
High-resolution analysis of beads and pendants as an indicator of cultural connection in the northwest European Early Mesolithic
Across the Early Mesolithic of Europe beads and pendants have been made and used in highly varied ways, including using diverse materials, with and without additional engraving and colouring, and worn as part of clothing or on strings. However, the significance of personal ornaments, particularly as proxies for cultural connection between communities, remains unexplored. Using object biography in combination with high-resolution digital recording (macro photography, 3D models, reflectance transformation imaging), and analytical techniques (portable X-ray fluorescence, microscopy, microwear, scanning electron microscopy), the life history of selected personal ornaments will be reconstructed. By reconstructing these biographies, and comparing object from sites across Britain and Denmark, a multi-scalar appreciation of this artistic phenomenon will be created. This new appreciation of personal ornamentation will allow for the consideration of an important area within contemporary Mesolithic research: the nature of cultural connections across regions of Europe.
Dr Daisy Ogembo PF19\100125
Faculty of Law, University of Oxford
A Constitutional Prod: Has Transformative Constitutionalism in Africa Resulted in Institutional Change and Power Shifts in Tax Administration?
Transformative constitutionalism' describes the process by which the enactment, interpretation, and enforcement of a constitution transform a country's social and political institutions, and power relationships, steering them towards democracy, participation, and egalitarianism (Karl Klare, 1998). This radical social change, described as more than 'reform' but less than a 'revolution', is delivered through constitutional interpretation and enforcement by courts, and by public institutions such as tax administrations.
Has transformative constitutionalism influenced tax administration in Africa? Coming at a time of renewed global focus on tax administration in Africa, the proposed research will address this question by bridging scholarly perspectives from tax, constitutional, and administrative law, to determine how the transformative constitutions of South Africa, Zimbabwe and Kenya have: (i) influenced judicial decisions in watershed tax cases, (ii) resulted in institutional change in tax administration, (iii) impeded or strengthened tax administration, and (iv) transformed power relationships between tax authorities and taxpayers.
Dr Arianna Ornaghi PF19\100017
Department of Economics, University of Warwick
Who Watches the Watchmen? Local News and Police Behavior in the United States
Is information important to hold local institutions accountable? This research project explores the question by looking at how a decline in local news affects police departments in the United States. The empirical strategy exploits the staggered acquisition of local TV stations by large broadcast groups, a likely negative shock to local news coverage, to implement a differences-in-differences design. The research project will study how the behavior of police officers is affected combining proprietary data on TV stations’ ownership with incident-level data reporting detailed information on crimes and arrests and comprehensive data on traffic stops. In addition, the project will study TV news transcripts using tools from text analysis to understand how the change in ownership affects reporting. Finally, it will analyze public opinion data to explore in detail how individuals’ perceptions react to the new information provided.
Dr Plamena Panayotova PF19\100118
Sociology Department, University of Edinburgh
What makes science (un)popular: a sociological study of changing views of science in the UK
This research examines the motivations behind the production of, and public demand for, popular science in Britain since the eighteenth century. It aims to identify consistent trends in the strategies employed by popularisers to produce popular science materials and the reasons why laypeople engaged with such materials. The study compares these trends with results from an analysis of recent survey data on public understanding of science. The aim is to discover in what ways the current understanding of the relationship between science and society, revealed in the data, is similar to, or different from, conceptions predominant in the past. A study of this nature will help build a better understanding of what has been driving, and still drives, scientific curiosity among laypeople; it will help us identify the best ways to channel that curiosity into improving science literacy skills and promote better informed public attitudes to science.
Dr Alex Panicacci PF19\100061
Department of Linguistics, Queen Mary, University of London
Is a multilingual and multicultural identity an obstacle to integration?
Current political and public discourse, particularly surrounding Brexit, frequently frames cultural diversity as a threat to individuals’ sense of community, encouraging patterns of prejudice. This project investigates identity practices in multicultural and fast-changing societies and aims to deconstruct this assumed connection. Understanding how people reconcile different languages and cultures within their sense of self while still feeling part of a community can foster better awareness of integration practices and of modern social dynamics. Statistical analysis of data from 2000+ migrants and non-migrants will examine how psychological, social and contextual factors link to linguistic and cultural hybridity, and ethnographic data will document the day-to-day management of linguistic and culturally mixed identities. In the longer term, this research aims to empower communities, offering empirical evidence for the development of more adequate policies on migration, language teaching, citizenship procedures, and welfare administration, intended to improve individuals’ socio-economic condition and psychological wellbeing.
Dr Lucy Parker PF19\100048
History Faculty, University of Oxford
Saints across Borders: Remembering Late Antique Ascetics after the Arab Conquests
Late antique holy men are a very popular subject of historical research, but the continuation of their cults after the seventh-century Islamic conquests has received little attention. Yet this question provides a window into how Christians perceived their past and how they may have reinterpreted and adapted traditions in the wake of the Islamic conquests. Continuing veneration of holy men helps to explain how the eastern Christian communities survived, despite rapidly changing political circumstances and despite the social and economic disadvantages which many faced in Muslim- ruled societies. My project will investigate how the cults of late antique holy men evolved from c.700 to c.1200, both in Syria and Palestine and in Byzantium. For much of this period this area was a permeable borderland, in a shifting and unstable political and cultural context; this will therefore be a study not only of religious identities, but of transcultural, transregional interactions and influences.
Dr Ditlev Rindom PF19\100116
Department of Music, King's College London
Staging Italy: The Theatrical Imagination in the Italian Peninsula, 1837-1871
This monograph examines the wide range of new theatrical practices shaping Italian opera during the mid-nineteenth century: from stage technologies and stage manuals, to transformed architectural spaces, to newly powerful voices and orchestras. Italian operatic activity during this period has long been investigated primarily in relation to the enormous political upheavals surrounding Italian unification in 1861. By focusing instead on changes in theatrical practice, this project offers a revised history of modern operatic staging: one that challenges familiar narratives of Wagnerian artistic revolution, and that highlights Italian opera's role in shaping wider experiences of modernity. In so doing, the monograph also seeks to develop a more sophisticated framework for exploring the relationships between opera, aesthetics and politics throughout the period. Ultimately, this project interrogates long-held ideas about Italian opera's role in representing contemporary reality, uncovering opera's complex (and even contradictory) relationship with broader social, cultural and technological developments.
Dr Marti Rovira PF19\100020
Department of Sociology, University of Oxford
Invisible stripes? A field experiment on the mark of a criminal record in the British labour market
One-third of all sanctioned criminal offenders are reconvicted of a new crime within just one year, including over 60% of short-term prisoners. In response to these alarming statistics, the government has recently issued a call for evidence on the barriers to employment for ex-offenders, as employment is believed to be a prime contributor to desistance from crime.
In this context, this research grapples with three questions: Is the stigma of a criminal record an obstacle to finding employment? For whom? And under what circumstances? This research will use an experimental methodology, known as audit study, thus far unused in the UK in this topic — in which fictitious matched applications are sent to entry-level jobs – that overcomes the methodological obstacles limiting previous studies. The results will deepen our knowledge of the consequences of having a criminal record, including whether the consequences of a record vary by gender and ethnicity.
Dr Abhijit Sarkar PF19\100054
Faculty of History, University of Oxford
Shaken Earth, Shaken Lives: A Sociopolitical History of Earthquakes and Earthquake-Relief in India, 1930 - 50.'
This project in environmental history will explore how earthquakes in late colonial and early independent South Asia prompted sociopolitical change. Focusing on three major earthquakes in India, namely, the earthquake in Burma (then a province of British India, now Myanmar) in 1930, in Bihar in 1934, and in Assam in 1950, my research will demonstrate how the impact of these earthquakes on South Asian polity and society lasted for decades, though the earthquakes themselves lasted for seconds. The project will provide a historical understanding of the complex ways in which disaster relief is influenced by the factors of gender, caste, and religion, specifically the social selection of beneficiaries of relief and reconstruction works in the aftermath of earthquakes. It will also explore the political use of relief activism by the Indian political parties and analyse the British colonial state’s role in earthquake-relief and impact mitigation.
Dr Tripurdaman Singh PF19\100058
Institute of Commonwealth Studies, School of Advanced Study, University of London
Negotiating Decolonisation in India's Princely States
On 15th August 1947, nationalist politicians took power in British India. But in the Princely States ruled by nominally sovereign Maharajas, where Praja Mandals (People’s Associations) substituted for political parties, constitutional negotiations extended well into the 1950s.
In these negotiations, and the flexible institutional structures they led to - such as double member parliamentary constituencies - Praja Mandals were crucial players. Independence and the integration of the states was not only negotiated by the British, the Princes and the nationalist politicians - but also by the public figures within those states.
This project will explore the constitution of such associations and their important role in the dissolution of princely rule and transition to democratic politics. It will trace Indian nationalism beyond responses to colonial rule and use unprecedented access to private papers to radically revise traditional accounts of decolonisation, imperialism and nationalism in South Asia.
Dr Holly Snape PF19\100002
School of Social and Political Sciences, University of Glasgow
The Politics of Poverty in China: Bringing the Party Back In
With almost 90 million members, the Communist Party is the most powerful actor in China’s one- party system. While important studies have examined the Party itself and the role of the government bureaucracy, the Party’s relationships with governmental and social actors remain a critical blind spot. In “state-society” approaches and analyses of policy processes these relationships are obscured as the Party is collapsed into “the Party-state.” This research will treat the Party as a distinct actor, using poverty alleviation as a window onto these relationships. It will combine analysis of Party and government doctrinal and policy documents with qualitative fieldwork to probe the actions and interactions of Party, government, and social actors at the local and central level. Thus it brings the Party back, in theory and method, into the analysis of Chinese policy making, implementation and state-society approaches and will advance our understanding of governance in an authoritarian one-party state.
Dr Tim Somers PF19\100119
School of History, Classics and Archaeology, Newcastle University
Humour in Early Modern Print Culture
This project investigates humour in early modern print culture. To our modern eyes and ears, the humour of the past can seem distinctly alien. Scholarship on this topic is scarce, and where it does exist, it focuses on discrete themes and periods. This project will provide the first dedicated study of humour over both the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. It will use jestbooks to create a quantitative survey of changes and continuities; it will explore the visual and musical aspects of humour in popular ballads; and it will uncover the reception of humour amongst readers using manuscript collections.
Dr Caroline Spearing PF19\100099
Department of English, University of Exeter
The Politics of Praise: Seventeenth-Century Latin Verse Anthologies from Oxford and Cambridge
Throughout the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, the universities of Oxford and Cambridge marked major state occasions with the publication of some forty anthologies of predominantly Latin verse, typically containing fifty to one hundred poems apiece. These anthologies remain largely untranslated and hence inaccessible to the majority of Anglophone scholars of the period. I propose to investigate the works produced during the great political upheavals of the mid-seventeenth century, focusing on the period between the accession of Charles I in 1625 and the death of his queen Henrietta Maria in 1669. I shall make this material available to scholars by producing edited texts with translation and explanatory notes. Moreover, taking my cue from the emphasis in recent scholarship on the extent to which literature of the period engages with the political questions of the day, I shall show that the university anthologies form a vibrant and energetic strand within this discourse.
Dr Jessie Speer PF19\100060
School of Geography, Queen Mary University of London
Analysing the legal geographies of housing displacement through life narratives of homelessness in the United Kingdom
Today in the United Kingdom, greater numbers of people are being displaced, partially as a result of changes in private tenancy laws, cuts to shelters, and benefit caps over the past decade. This research asks: how does national law and policy impact the experience of housing displacement in the UK? To access qualitative, first-person accounts of displacement in a range of contexts, I will analyse memoirs and oral histories of homelessness from cities and towns across the UK. Preliminary analysis of 43 in-depth oral histories of homelessness at the London School of Economics Archives suggests that experiences of housing displacement in the UK are deeply tied to changing law and policy. As the housing crisis today is at the centre of multiple grassroots movements and party platforms, this research promises to shed light on how UK lawmakers can move towards new models of housing security.
Dr Rebecca Thomas PF19\100067
School of History, Philosophy and Social Sciences, Bangor University
Writing the Medieval Welsh World
Relations with the wider world were formative for Welsh politics during the seventh to twelfth centuries. Early in this period relations with Mercia and Northumbria fluctuated between co- operation and conflict, whilst the Norse were active players in Welsh politics from the ninth century onwards. The Anglo-Normans were later omnipresent on the eastern border, and connections also stretched further afield, with diplomatic relations between Wales, France, and Rome. Whilst recent scholarship has pinpointed specific connections, a cohesive and comprehensive consideration of these networks is yet to be undertaken. This project fulfils this task and builds on the identification of such connections to investigate how they were perceived and utilised by medieval Welsh writers, feeding into the wider question of how these writers presented and developed ideas of Welsh identity. This project’s broad chronological scope enables a full investigation of how presentations of international relations developed alongside changing political contexts.
Dr Leah Trueblood PF19\100114
Faculty of Law, University of Oxford
Rumours of the Death of Political Parties Have Been Greatly Exaggerated
To paraphrase Mark Twain, rumours of the death of political parties have been greatly exaggerated. Since the 1970s, membership in political parties has declined. In the UK in the year 2000, there were more members of The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds than of all political parties combined. In this same period, processes such as referendums, initiatives, and recall have been on the rise. This project asks the question: is there still a role for political parties in democratic lawmaking today?
By pursuing this question, this project advances new theoretical perspectives not only about political parties but about democracy and collective action too. It puts forward an account of political parties not as one static group, but rather as a series of overlapping yet distinct groups. The death of political parties has been greatly exaggerated, but their new lives will come in a range of different forms.
Dr Martijn van den Brink PF19\100100
Department of Politics & International Relations at the University of Oxford
Religious Equality and Employment within the European Union
The EU Equality Framework Directive (Directive 2000/78/EC) protects against direct and indirect discrimination on grounds of religion and belief in employment and occupation. Four recent decisions by the Court of Justice of the European Union on the permissibility of headscarf bans at work (Achbita and Bougnaoui) and hiring practices by the Protestant Church (Egenberger and IR v JQ), point towards the EU becoming a new testing ground for religious claims. This study offers an account of the place of religion in the area of employment within the European Union. It intends to specify which employment practices affecting the freedom of religion and belief must be outlawed within the European Union as regards persons employed by (1) private sector organisations, (2) public sector organisations, and (3) public and private organisations whose ethos is based on religion and belief.
Dr Esther van Raamsdonk PF19\100084
Centre for the Study of the Renaissance, University of Warwick
The Politics of Biblical Narrative in a Seventeenth-Century Anglo-Dutch Context
This study will explore the influence of political thought on the production of vernacular versions of the Bible in England and the United Provinces during the seventeenth century, and contemporary literary adaptations of biblical narratives in these countries. The diverse ways in which biblical narratives were depicted, allegorised, adapted, and published, reveal much about the aims, fears and tensions defining this seminal period in both nations’ history. Having identified political and cultural forces that shaped the 'King James' and 'Statenvertaling' Bible translations, I will investigate four prominent biblical narratives used by English and Dutch writers to frame their responses to political events and ideas: Creation, the Fall, Samson, and David. As well as underpinning further development of an innovative transnational critical methodology, the project will produce new readings of canonical literary works, establish the importance of the period’s transnational cultural sphere, and re-evaluate the sociocultural impact of scriptural texts.
Dr Tushar Vasudev Menon PF19\100090
Faculty of Philosophy, University of Cambridge
Establishing the philosophy of supersymmetry
Supersymmetry (SUSY) has, for the last forty years, been a central feature of theoretical physics, especially in the efforts to reconcile the Standard Model of particle physics, our best quantum theory of matter, and General Relativity, our best theory of gravitation. Yet SUSY has remained unexplored by philosophers of physics. The primary goal of this project is to establish the philosophy of supersymmetry.
SUSY is a set of symmetries that interchange bosons (quantum particles which carry force) and fermions (particles of matter, that feel force) while leaving the laws unchanged. In effect, it abolishes the distinction between force and matter, a distinction that has been endorsed in metaphysics and natural philosophy since at least the seventeenth century.
This idea has deep consequences for physics. My project is to study its equally deep, but so far untapped, consequences for metaphysics, and for our fundamental concepts of force and matter.