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Senior Research Fellowships - Past Awards: 2017

The British Academy is pleased to announce the result of the 2016-17 competition for the BA/Leverhulme Trust Senior Research Fellowships. These awards were decided by the Research Awards Committee in February 2017, and will be taken up by the award-holders starting in the autumn of 2017.

The purpose of these Fellowships is to provide a period of research leave for one year for established scholars during which they will be able to concentrate on bringing a major piece of research towards completion while their normal teaching and administrative duties are covered by a full-time replacement.

Awards are listed in alphabetical order by award holder's surname. All institutions named are correct at point of original application.



Connelly, Professor James Mark                                                                                               SF160132

Professor of Political Thought, University of Hull, School of Law and Politics

R.G. Collingwood: A Biography

Value of Award: £43351


The proposal is to complete an intellectual biography of R.G. Collingwood (1889-1943). Collingwood was a philosopher and archaeologist working in the first half of the twentieth century. He made important contributions to the philosophy of history, aesthetics, political philosophy, metaphysics, philosophical method and the history and archaeology of Roman Britain. He took the relation between theory and practice seriously both in the sense of exercising social and political responsibility and also in the sense of drawing connections between his practice as an archaeologist and his work in philosophy. His life is a fascinating study of a philosopher/historian who worked for the Admiralty in the First World War and who wrote on civilisation and barbarism in response to the second world war. Professor Connelly will argue that Collingwood and his contribution to philosophy and archaeology has been understated and misunderstood and place his work within the context of a vibrantly lived life during which he made enduring contributions to the intellectual life both of his time and of ours.


della Dora, Professor Veronica                                                                                                  SF160096

Professor of Human Geography, Royal Holloway, University of London, Geography

The Mantle of the Earth: Genealogies of a Geographical Metaphor

Value of Award: £53997


This project charts the genealogy and reception of the mantle of the Earth metaphor from Classical Antiquity to the present. While intellectual and visual histories of the global imagination have attracted the attention of geographers, map historians, and literary critics, they have nonetheless remained either largely disconnected from each other, or focused on specific periods and media. The proposed project aims at bridging this gap by way of metaphor, offering a novel and exciting rereading of western spatial history. Focusing on textual sources ranging from ancient Greek literature and Patristic theological writings to Romantic poetry, twentieth-century popular science and geography books, and on graphic representations including Byzantine embroideries, medieval and Renaissance maps, modern artworks and geological diagrams, it uses the mantle metaphor as a lens through which to explore different geographical traditions, and shows how these have in turn shaped shifting perceptions of space and ways of imagining the Earth and our place on it.


Mahon, Dr Alyce                                                                                                                        SF160131

Reader in History of Modern and Contemporary Art History, University of Cambridge, Department of History of Art

Dorothea Tanning's Chimerical World

Value of Award: £44452


Dorothea Tanning (1910-2012) was an American artist and writer who played a major role in Surrealism - one of the 20th century's most important art movements. Working prolifically in the United States and France, she was pioneering in her painting and sculptures of modern womanhood, domestic space, and erotic subjects. These were informed by her political sense of the unconscious, by the effects of World War Two, and totalitarianism. However, Tanning has been unjustly overlooked by scholars and curators, too often viewed as tangential to Surrealism, or as wife and muse to her more famous husband, Max Ernst (1891 -1976). Dr Mahon aims to increase scholarly knowledge and public awareness of this important woman artist in two ways: (i) by curating the first major retrospective exhibition of Tanning’s art, to be held in Madrid and London in 2018-19, and (ii) by producing the first comprehensive academic monograph on her art and writings. These will benefit from Mahon's privileged access to Tanning's extended family and estate, including previously unknown works and personal papers.


McCullough, Professor Peter                                                                                                    SF160053

Professor and Fellow in English, Lincoln College, University of Oxford

Lancelot Andrewes: A Life

Value of Award: £52345


Professor McCullough will complete a major scholarly biography of Lancelot Andrewes (1555-1626), the Elizabethan and Jacobean preacher, scholar, and court prelate. Long celebrated as one of the greatest prose stylists of his age, Andrewes is also now recognised as the most politically and theologically influential churchman in Jacobean Britian. Professor McCullough’s book will replace a now very dated mid-20th biography. It will be based on decades of archival research, aimed at presenting Andrewes' life and writings purged of centuries of accumulated hagiography, and giving a robustly critical account of his posthumous influence. The book will directly address several specialist disciplines (literature, social and ecclesiastical history, history of scholarship, theology), and have a strong non-academic appeal among general readers of British history, and even more broadly, across the global Anglican Communion.


McDoom, Dr Omar                                                                                                                     SF160141

Assistant Professor in Comparative Politics, London School of Economics, Department of Government

Why We Killed: Security, Opportunity, and Authority in Rwanda's Genocide

Value of Award: £51001


Although it has generated much research, there remain several puzzling and distinctive features of Rwanda’s 1994 genocide that have yet to be fully explained. Why did so many ordinary Rwandans participate? Why did the violence spread so quickly? And why did it happen in nearly every community? This project draws on extensive new field-data to explain the genocide’s shocking and extraordinary features that tragically inscribed it as a world-historical event on the global conscience. It also challenges research emphasizing the genocide’s uniqueness, by identifying and explaining the mechanisms behind the remarkable political radicalization and social mobilization along ethnic boundaries observed in Rwanda. It aims to show, by distinguishing the prosaic from the exceptional mechanisms at work, that these radicalization and mobilization processes can and do arise in contexts that may not culminate in genocide. The final output will be a book synthesizing ten years of research and primary data on Rwanda with secondary evidence on the operation of these mechanisms in shadow cases.


Valassopoulos, Dr Anastasia                                                                                                    SF160076

Senior Lecturer in Post 1945, Postcolonial World Literatures in English, University of Manchester

Palestine in the Popular Imagination

Value of Award: £46838


This project seeks to understand how Palestine has been imagined in the public sphere in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Dr Valassopoulos will bring together and prioritize the images and themes that have dominated the visualization of the land of Palestine internationally. International photojournalism, poster art, film, documentary, cartography, photography and humanitarian organizations have created the lasting images associated with Palestine. Guiding the investigation into these materials are socio-cultural moments that have framed their representation: Palestine as the Holy Land; 'aid' films, the construction of the ‘refugee’ and the role of the United Nations; global activist cinema; the cultural representation of international terrorism and, finally, the visual cultures of ‘negotiation’ and the peace accords. Brought together for the first time, these materials reveal a sustained and uninterrupted centrality of Palestine in the popular imagination.


 Zachhuber, Professor Johannes                                                                                               SF160094

Professor of Historical and Systematic Theology, University of Oxford; Fellow and Tutor in Theology, Trinity College, Oxford

The Rise of Christian Theology and the End of Metaphysics

Value of Award: £52345


The overarching objective of this research is to demonstrate how 4th-8th century theological developments in the Christian East radically altered the trajectory of Western philosophy in ways that remain effective to the present day. Professor Zachhuber will accomplish this by investigating how debates about key theological doctrines—and especially about the person and work of Christ—gave rise to innovative ideas about some of the most fundamental areas of philosophical inquiry including the nature of reality and human nature. The main outcome of this project will be the first major monograph in the emerging interdisciplinary field of Patristic philosophy.