In brief (BAR 9)

09 Jul 2017

Published in British Academy Review, Issue 9.

The print version of this article can be downloaded as a PDF file.

British Academy Book Prize 2004

The 2004 Book Prize was awarded at a ceremony held in the British Academy on 13 December, to Diarmaid MacCulloch, for Reformation: Europe’s House Divided 1490–1700, published by Allen Lane, Penguin Press.

Professor Ryan, Chairman of the judges, described Diarmaid MacCulloch’s book as a ‘majestic survey, which subtly describes the interplay of theology, politics, and international relations in shaping Europe in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, and beyond to our own day. It progresses logically as well as chronologically from schisms in the Catholic Church to the religious and political consequences: the failed attempts at reunification, the permanent divisions of Europe, the consequences of these for the history of the United States and Latin America, as well as the Reformation’s cultural effects. Its great strength, though the greatest source of difficulty for the modern reader, is that it takes theology seriously as an independent explanatory variable, and not simply as the ideological expression of changes in economic and political facts.’

The other short-listed books were: Family Law in the Twentieth Century: A History, by Stephen Cretney (Oxford University Press); Elizabeth Bowen, by Maud Ellmann (Edinburgh University Press); W.B.Yeats: A Life, Volume 2 The Arch-Poet, by R. F Foster (Oxford University Press); The Field and the Forge, by John Landers (Oxford University Press); and Deforesting the Earth: From Prehistory to Global Crisis, by Michael Williams (University of Chicago Press).

The judges for the 2004 Book Prize were Professor Alan Ryan, Warden, New College, Oxford and Chair of the 2004 Panel, Antony Beevor, Professor Marilyn Butler, Rector, Exeter College, Oxford, Professor Eda Sagarra, pro- Chancellor, Dublin University, Lord Skidelsky, University of Warwick, and Professor Marina Warner, University of Essex.

Medals and Prizes 2005

The winners of the 2004 Medals and Prizes were announced at the AGM in July.

Burkitt Medal for Biblical Studies: Rev. Professor P.M. Bogaert OSB, University of Louvain-la-Neuve Derek Allen Prize (Numismatics): Professor Philip Grierson FBA

Sir Israel Gollancz Prize (English studies): Professor Patrick O’Neill, University of North Carolina, for King Alfred’s Old English Prose Translation of the First Fifty Psalms

Kenyon Medal for Classical Studies: Professor Fergus Millar FBA

Leverhulme Medal: Sir Tony Wrigley FBA, for his life-time contribution to knowledge and understanding in the social sciences

Rose Mary Crawshay Prizes (for female authors of historical or critical work relating to English literature): Judith Farr, Georgetown University, with Louise Carter for The Gardens of Emily Dickinson; and Claire Preston, University of Cambridge, for Thomas Browne and the Writing of Early Modern Science

Serena Medal (Italian studies): Mr Ronald Lightbown, formerly Keeper of Metalwork, Victoria and Albert Museum

‘That full complement of riches’: the contributions of the arts, humanities and social sciences to the nation’s wealth

In July 2004 the British Academy launched the report arising from a British Academy review, ‘That full complement of riches’: the contributions of the arts, humanities and social sciences to the nation’s wealth, at a ceremony in the Academy attended by leading representatives of the scholarly community. The report demonstrated the value of the study of these disciplines, and showed that the UK’s cultural, intellectual, social and economic well-being is dependent upon the complementary contributions made by teaching and research activities of all subjects. It recommended that a broader research and training vision should be embraced by government and other bodies, so that the arts, humanities and social sciences can be taken fully into account in all strategic thinking and planning, and also fully represented in the forums that consider such matters.

Lord Sainsbury, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (Science and Innovation), welcomed the review and commented that this report ‘provides a helpful framework for analysing the many different ways in which the arts, the humanities and the social sciences – and more particularly research and postgraduate study in those subjects and disciplines – have an impact and make a difference to the social, economic, political, cultural and educational life of this and other countries.’

Professor Paul Langford, who chaired the Review Working Group, said: ‘This review demonstrates that the arts, humanities and the social sciences provide high-level skills and ground-breaking research essential to a knowledge-based economy. It also shows how the cultural, intellectual and social well-being of the UK depends on the nurturing of these branches of knowledge. And not least it asserts their complementary function within the spectrum of intellectual discovery. Studying human beings as creative individuals and as social creatures is crucial not only in its own right but is also crucial to the study by natural scientists of human beings in terms of their biology and physical environment. The central point is not simply that every branch of knowledge makes an important contribution to the whole, but rather that no branch of knowledge contributes effectively unless the others are granted the same recognition.’

A number of follow-up events have taken place to develop the issues raised in the report.

E-resources for research in the humanities and social sciences

In response to concerns that researchers in the humanities and social sciences were not able to take full advantage of electronic developments, the Academy set up a review in 2004 to examine the state of research resources provision, and particularly of electronic resources provision. The review consulted relevant national organisations and individual researchers, to establish the present state of e-resources and their use, and to identify future needs. Its findings showed that more strategic and coordinated action was needed, in order to ensure that UK researchers could deploy the resources they needed and keep UK research and scholarship in the humanities and social sciences at the international leading edge. The report of the review (May 2005), E-resources for research in the humanities and social sciences, made a series of recommendations addressed to the pertinent stakeholders aimed at improving resource provision for HSS researchers.

Professor Spärck Jones, who chaired the Review Working Group, said: ‘More strategic, co-ordinated and well-targeted action is needed, which must, moreover, be grounded in researchers’ actual, not deemed, requirements, so e-resources and access to them are designed, from the beginning, for researchers’ use. This action should recognise that HSS researchers, far more than STM researchers, have to live in a hybrid resource world, with a complex mix of non-e and e-resources, primary and secondary. Their information needs extend far back in time, and range across many languages.’

A workshop for representatives from the organisations and bodies to which the report’s recommendations are addressed is planned for autumn 2006, to discuss the impact of the report and to identify follow-up action and activities.

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