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British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowships Results of the 2008 Competition

Full List of 45 Awards, with Abstracts

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Akasoy, Dr Anna               

Oxford, Oriental Studies (H3; H8)                       

£232,984

Al-Andalus in Exile: Regional Identities of Andalusian Scholars in the Eastern Mediterranean (11th - 14th Centuries)

From the time of the Arab conquests, traders, pilgrims, travellers and individuals in search of knowledge travelled from the Iberian Peninsula to the central lands of the Muslim world. Some returned, whereas others created emigrant communities with continuous links to the Western Mediterranean. These movements facilitated the exchange of ideas, but they also made the diversity within the Muslim world apparent. Andalusians were perceived as different and displayed a great sense of pride in their intellectual heritage. Practical considerations as well as their sense of alienation tied them together in exile. Parallels between Muslim and Jewish Andalusian emigrants confirm that identities of scholars were complex and also comprised a regional component. This research project investigates the impact of migration and regional identities on intellectual life among Muslims in the Mediterranean in the era of the Berber dynasties and brings the geographical diversity of Islamic intellectual history into perspective.


Brickell, Dr Katherine

Royal Holloway, University of London, Geography (S3)

£243,651

Geographies of Transition in the Mekong Region: Gender, Labour and Domestic Life in Cambodia and Vietnam

In recent years, the Mekong Region has experienced spectacular economic growth with dramatic changes taking place in the lives of women and men, particularly in the workforce. At the same time, the global 'feminisation' of labour has become the focus of sustained attention on account of its transformative potential for women's lives. Insufficient consideration however has been paid to two key arenas influencing future trajectories of gender inequality- first, the implications of the feminisation of labour for men's lives and masculine identities and second, for gender injustices within the home. These critical gaps are addressed through the research in post Doi Moi Vietnam and combined with focused additional research in contemporary Cambodia to illuminate the gendered geographies of transition shaping the Mekong Region.


Chatterjee, Dr Nandini

King’s College London, Modern History from c. 1800 (H10)

£234,043

Personal Laws in the British Empire: A Comparative History

In different parts of the British empire, there developed a legal phenomenon known as ‘personal laws’, which were religion-based laws overseeing matrimonial disputes, inheritance, custody of children, and in some cases, religious endowments. In postcolonial India, the personal laws are subject for acute political controversy, especially vis-à-vis proposals for instituting a uniform civil code. Scholarly interventions in the subject have tended to remain territorially limited to the Indian subcontinent, although colonial India was in many senses a legal laboratory which exported imperial legal forms to other colonies. This project is an attempt to study the personal laws in a multi-territorial context, particularly along the broad swathe of British power from India to what was then known as Malaya.

My Ph.D. thesis on law and religion in colonial India showed that the Indian personal laws were not simply remnants of religious codes, but the historical product of British legal ideas interacting with organized religio-legal demands by Indians. The present project, which will use archival material from UK, India, Singapore, and, with some luck, Malaysia, will continue to situate legal governance in specific political and social contexts. The broader aim will be to contribute to newer paradigms of ‘de-centred’ but connected imperial history, encompassing de facto distinct territorial states but also routes for the transmission of ideas, laws and people.


Croucher, Dr Karina

Manchester, Archaeology (H7)

£229,616

Being in the World: Perceptions of the Body and Identity from the Earliest Villages to State Societies

An understanding of the body is central to an understanding of who we are, how we understand the world around us, and how we communicate. However, perceptions and conceptualisations of the body, both during life and after death, are far from universal.                

This project will analyse the body and identity in the prehistory of the Near East, a geographical region spanning modern-day Turkey, Iraq, Syria, Israel, Jordan, Palestine and Iran, and a temporal period c.10,500-3,000 BC. Economic and subsistence changes are well documented in the period, with changes from mobile hunter-gatherers, to sedentary lifestyles and the adoption of agriculture, and ultimately urbanism and city states. Traditional approaches to studying these changing life-ways have focused on subsistence strategies, or on a search for evidence of developing social hierarchies (i.e. architecture and wealth). Whilst these approaches are valuable, perceptions and understandings of the human body are rarely considered in the context of such fundamental social changes. Through examining treatment of the body, including mortuary practices, anthropomorphic representations, and bodily treatment during life (including adornment, decoration and modification), fundamental insights can be gained, providing an alternative context through which to study social changes during a crucial period in the history of human development.


Derbyshire, Dr Philip

Birkbeck, University of London, Hispanic Languages (S3; H6)

£195,501

“The Andean" in Argentina: A Region in Representation & Cultural Imaginaries

By analysing the ways in which ‘the Andean’ comes to be represented in various forms of discursive production within Argentina, this research project will investigate how the complex relations between nature, the historical, the fantasmatic, the philosophical and the political have been constructed around a particular geography, and the ways in which a region and its populations become articulated in and through cultural imaginaries, forming part of a nation-in-space with its situating of the indigenous within a settler society.  The research will look at production in a) the philosophical work of Rodolfo Kusch, b) the historical  narratives of the foundation of the republic, c) the literary work of Héctor Tizón, d) the 1960s left discourse on the ‘people’, e) the discourse of self-representation of the ‘indigenous’ peoples of the Argentine North West, f) contemporary archaeological and anthropological discourses on pre-Conquest cultures.


Devadason, Dr Ranji

Bristol, Sociology (S4)

£211,961

Transnational Moral and Market Entrepreneurs: Carriers, Drivers and Products of Globalisation

This study analyses the ideas, biographies and communities of two groups of transnational actors: employees of international NGOs and multinational corporations.  These are the highly skilled moral entrepreneurs and market entrepreneurs of globalization who – in employment – perform a crucial role in mediating the material, practical and symbolic exchanges which drive globalization.  Theorists of globalization routinely cast these ‘cosmopolitans’ as elite beneficiaries of transnationalization.  Yet their personal identities, biographies and beliefs which are, inevitably, shaped by intensifying global interconnections, are often neglected. This comparative, cross-national project examines the interactions, social networks and mobility of these influential actors and how they are informed by distinct organisational contexts.  The study is situated in three European cities – London, Geneva and Stockholm – because these cities provide ‘hubs’ for the financial and information transfers of prominent global corporations and NGOs.  This comparative multi-method design provides an original and substantive contribution to this emergent field.


Dixon, Dr Leif

Cambridge, Early Modern History (H9; H2)

£192,283

William Perkins and the Theological Culture of Calvinism in Early Modern England

The aim of this project is to fill a major historiographical gap by relating the thought of the Elizabethan Calvinist William Perkins to the wider theological culture of late Elizabethan and Jacobean England. Perkins was a key populariser of the thought of John Calvin, and a major influence on both English puritanism in particular and English protestantism more widely.  My approach is to ask ‘historians’’ questions of ‘theologians’’ sources: thus trying to analyse ostensibly abstract doctrinal issues in terms of their social foundations and applications.  For instance, I would seek to ground Perkins’ understanding of predestination in terms of the experiences and pastoral aims of his generation of reformers.  By relating the ideas of one man to the wider religious culture I would hope to go beyond the narrow confines of both biography and church history, and produce a monograph which will be of use to historians and theologians alike.


Doherty, Dr Hugh

Oxford, Medieval History (H8)

£239,710

The Impact of Angevin Rule in the English Kingdom, 1174-1194

This project will examine the impact of Angevin government on the shires of the English kingdom between 1174 and 1194. Using the Gesta regis Henrici of Roger of Howden as its narrative framework, the project will integrate three themes traditionally studied in isolation—the world of secular landholders, the careers of king’s officials, and the infrastructure of the king’s government in the shires—to present a detailed examination of precisely how and to what effect the governments of Henry II and Richard I shaped the ambitions, aspirations, and actions of laymen and their communities between the suppression of the war of 1173–4 and the collapse of the rebellion of 1194. This project will demonstrate that the crisis of 1215–17 and the demands expressed in Magna Carta were deeply rooted in the oppressive implementation of Angevin rule in these two earlier decades. Historians have often pronounced judgement on the nature and extent of the ‘Angevin leap forward’; this work will be the first to explore both within the context of local society.


Dotson, Dr Brandon

Oxford, Oriental Studies (H8; H3)

£229,348

Narrative, Orality and Sacred Kingship in Tibet's First Epic History

The Old Tibetan Chronicle is Tibet’s earliest known narrative history. This epic retelling of the deeds of Tibet’s emperors and ministers was composed during the period of the Tibetan Empire (c.600—c.850 CE), when Tibet was one of the major military and cultural powers of Central Eurasia, and during which it vied with Tang Dynasty China for control of the Silk Road. A royalist paean to Tibetan cultural dominance in Central Eurasia, it encodes the principles of Tibetan sacred kingship, and stands at the root of Tibet’s historiographical and epic traditions. My annotated translation of the Old Tibetan Chronicle, accompanied by reproductions of the original Dunhuang manuscript, will render this fundamental work accessible to a wider audience, and underline its importance to cross-cultural scholarship in narrative studies, oral and epic literature, and sacred kingship.


Ensor, Dr Rosie

Cambridge, Psychology (S6)

£219,477

The Good, the Bad and the Socially Busy: Children's Prosocial and Antisocial Acts With Friends

Early peer problems appear to have a long reach for some children, yet do not lead to enduring difficulties for other children. A major challenge for research is to differentiate developmentally normative from clinically significant problem behaviours in young children. The proposed research will investigate the role of redeeming or compensatory behaviours in explaining contrasts in children’s adjustment. It is founded on the applicant’s previous findings that children’s peer-directed problem behaviours can both preclude and accompany prosocial acts (such as sharing or helping). The first part of the proposed research will build upon an existing study of 200 children to examine the real-world consequences of problem / prosocial behavioural profiles. The second part of the proposed research will involve a new mixed-age sample of children attending after-school and holiday clubs. Innovative and effective measures will be developed with which to test the generalisability and stability of problem / prosocial behavioural profiles.


Floyd, Dr Rita

Warwick, Political Studies (S5)

£217,638

Consequentialist Evaluation of Security for Cooperative International Society

A considerable number of security studies specialists hold that addressing a political problem in 'security mode' is a problematic development that is best avoided. This thinking is informed by the logic of securitisation, which holds that once an issue is 'securitised' it is moved outside of the ordinary democratic process and into the realm of emergency politics, where it can then be dealt with by recourse to extra-ordinary measures. My research questions this one-sided moral evaluation of securitisation. Rather than justifying the moral value of scurity or securitisation per se I focus only on its consequences. I propose that specifically relevant for moral evaluation is the following question: When, if ever, does human well-being benefit from securitisation? As such we need to begin by identifying what in the world can plausibly be said to benefit human well-being and as such should be preserved, if necessary, by the use of extra-ordinary security measures.


Gilmore, Dr Camilla

Nottingham, Psychology (S6)

£208,778

The Roots of Arithmetic: Linking Numerical Cognition With Mathematics Education

There is increasing evidence that humans possess a ‘number sense’ system that supports non-symbolic representation and processing of number. This system allows infants, children and adults to distinguish and manipulate sets of items on the basis of number. When children learn to count, and are taught arithmetic in school, they acquire a symbolic system to represent and process number.  It has been suggested that ‘number sense’ plays a role in acquiring and using symbolic number. However, we know little about how these systems of representation are connected, or whether we can build on children’s natural number sense to help in the early stages of learning arithmetic.

This project will examine links between children’s number sense and their ability to learn formal symbolic arithmetic. In doing so, it will examine how findings from numerical cognition can inform our understanding of the challenges faced by children when they learn mathematics at school.


Grotti, Dr Vanessa

Oxford, Social Anthropology (S3)

£228,974

Bodies of Kin: Changing Relations of Wellbeing in Northeastern Amazonia

Dr. Grotti will study concepts of personhood and wellbeing in contemporary native Amazonia, focusing on social relations between Amerindians and biomedical health practitioners, and the relationship between conventional medical services and shamanic healing. The Trio and Wayana have migrated close to health care providers in Suriname and French Guiana, in areas newly affected by environmental pollution and social problems associated with clandestine placer mining for gold. Based on comparative fieldwork in missionary and secular medical centres, focusing on traditional knowledge practices comprising embodied knowledge and shamanic skill (especially childbirth, nurturing of kin and apprenticeship in hunting and resource management), her project introduces a relational approach to address key debates in public health using recent theoretical advances in the anthropology of kinship and the body. Beyond its academic output, its conclusions will lead to policy recommendations concerning the provision of health care, sanitation and land use in indigenous Amazonia.


Harris, Dr Susanna

University College London, Archaeology (H7)

£229,827

Cloth Cultures in Prehistoric Europe

The aim of this research is to bring together and examine the evidence for the cloth cultures of Western Europe from the Mesolithic to Bronze Age (c.8500-1200 BC). “Cloth” I define as flexible thin sheets of material that can be wrapped, folded and shaped, including cloth of fibres and threads, such as textiles, looped cloth, netting and animal skins.  What I am calling “Cloth culture” signifies the range of materials and techniques a particular society practices in the production and use of cloth.  The originality of this research is the identification of these cloth cultures in prehistoric Europe, the combination of textiles and animal skins, and the approach to the use of available evidence despite the poor preservation of actual cloth remains. The research programme will include new research and synthesis of current research that is relevant to a specialist and wider audience. 


Haustein, Dr Katja

Cambridge, German (H6)

£192,600

Cultures of Distance: Visualising the Place of Women in Weimar Germany

This project challenges the apparent masculinity of the “culture of distance” in Weimar Germany by investigating the contributions of women to the contemporary aesthetics of “Neue Sachlichkeit” [New Objectivity]. By examining the practices of looking in women’s new objective novels, photographic (self-) portraits, films and paintings, this project posits these artworks as distinctly female proposals of visual and emotional conduct. Situated at the interface between a cultural history of the emotions and a history of the look, this project seeks to reconstruct the behavioural guidelines that lay at the heart of female post-war self-assertion. The overall aim of this project is to locate the place of “new women” on a scale between “Cold Objectivity” and its cultural-conservative converse.


Hinarejos, Dr Alicia

Oxford, Law (S1)

£234,421

Legal Problems Arising from European Union Action Against Terrorism

During the first year of the fellowship, Alicia will write a monograph on judicial control in the intergovernmental pillars of the EU which will build and expand upon her DPhil thesis. The second phase of the fellowship will consist of new research on legal problems arising from EU action against terrorism. Topics of research in this phase will include: the constitutional structure of the EU and its suitability and legitimacy as a forum for States to fight terrorism collectively; actual and potential legal problems arising within the framework of EU/USA co-operation (e.g. human rights concerns); and the interaction between the EU and UN (e.g. implementation of UN Security Council Resolutions into the Union’s legal system and problems concerning judicial review and judicial protection of individuals).


Johnson, Dr Oliver

Sheffield, Modern History from c. 1800 (H10; H11)

£206,093

A Critical Analysis of the Post War Soviet Art Establishment, 1946-1956

How was the Soviet Union’s official art of Socialist Realism theorised, produced and disseminated in the period of late Stalinism, and how did the Soviet public respond to its products? This project will present a series of case studies involving key artists, critics and politicians, with the goal of developing a revised understanding of the Soviet art establishment at the outset of the Cold War era. The research will draw on the largely unexplored resources of Russia’s state archives to develop an understanding of the institutional, economic and social determinants directing the art production of the Stalinist regime at a time when state influence reached its peak and began a gradual decline. The investigation will cover the awarding of Stalin Prizes, the commissioning and selecting of works for exhibition, the public response to major exhibitions and the correctional methods employed against artists who ‘stepped out of line’.


Kan, Dr Man Yee

Oxford, Sociology (S4)

£230,299

Time Together: Impacts of Desynchronized Work Schedules on Family Life in Britain and France, 1960s - 2000s

This project aims to investigate changes in work schedules and family-life patterns in Britain and France between the 1960s and 2000s.  It will examine the impacts of (de)synchronized work-time schedules of partners on their time spent together, domestic division of labour and childcare strategies, using data from various years of UK and French time use surveys.  Previous studies usually analysed “stylised” time use data at the individual level and focussed on the aggregate level of time use.  In contrast, I will employ high-quality time-diary data at the couple level, and study the sequential dimension of daily activities.  A deductive approach (as opposed to the conventional inductiveapproach) in sequence analysis method will be developed.  I will apply this method to investigate the extent to which actual distributions of work patterns deviate from theoretically derived ideal-type ones, focussing in particular on estimating the degree of synchronization in partners’ family time.


Kibort, Dr Anna

Surrey, Linguistics (H4)

£199,784

Syntactic Government

In order to understand and model the complexity of natural language, researchers use features and their values - e.g. NUMBER (singular, plural,...), CASE (nominative, accusative, ...).  A feature may appear on a linguistic element purely because it contributes some meaning to the element, or it may be demanded by a syntactic rule - e.g. '[Mary] runs' does not express one instance of running; instead, the rule of agreement requires that the verb agrees in NUMBER with its singular subject.  Another type of syntactic rule is government - e.g. a verb may demand that its object bears accusative CASE.  Agreement and government are key concepts in linguistic description, analysis, and modelling.  However, while we have a detailed account of agreement, there is no equivalent account of government.  There are no criteria by which to identify less typical instances of government, and no systematic inventory of government phenomena.  The proposed research will fill this central gap by offering a general typology of syntactic government, and a theory of syntactic government based on a canonical approach.


Lashmore-Davies, Dr Adrian

Cambridge, English (H5; H9)

£186,526

Bolingbroke's Unpublished Letters

The aim of this project is to produce an edition of the Unpublished Letters of Henry St John, 1st Viscount Bolingbroke (1678-1751), including full transcriptions of all letters. Bolingbroke was the friend and correspondent of leading figures across the politico-religious spectrum. In an age distinguished for the excellence of its letter writing he was regarded as a model prose stylist. Alexander Pope called him "absolutely the best writer of the age". In comparison with his journalism, Bolingbroke's correspondence has been unjustifiably neglected. This five-volume reset edition, to be published by Pickering and Chatto, will draw together Bolingbroke's unpublished letters now scattered in public and private archives around the world. New editorial apparatus will include a general introduction, headnotes, biographical index and a consolidated index in the final volume. Each letter will be annotated and contextualised, identifying persons, places, and incidents. The project will contribute to the study of eighteenth-century literature and history.


Mani, Dr Nivedita

University College London, Psychology (S6; H4)

£236,395

Investigating Phonological Priming in Infancy

Adults recognise words faster when they are immediately preceded by phonologically related words (cup primes cat) compared to unrelated words (door). This finding suggests that word recognition involves the activation of not just the heard word, but also any phonologically related words. The simultaneous activation of these phonologically related words further implies that words in the adult lexicon are represented based on their phonological properties.

The organisation of words in the infant brain, however, remains under-explored; at least as far as phonological priming effects are concerned. The proposed research will examine the organisation of words along phonological and semantic dimensions in the infant brain to understand the processes involved in infant word recognition: are infants faster at recognising words when they are preceded by phonologically related words compared to unrelated words? Are phonological priming effects in infancy influenced by the number of phonologically similar words known to infants?


Marchand, Dr Fabienne

Oxford, Ancient History (H1)

£234,413

Crossing Political Borders: Social and Cultural Interactions Between Euboia and Boiotia (c.700-171 BC)

Boiotia and Euboia are neighbouring regions of Central Greece. They are separate political entities, and many features distinguish them, such as the dialect. However, they interact at various levels and undergo mutual influences.

The aim of this project is to transcend the political boundaries and to carry out an original study in a comparative and synthetical form, not limited to one subject or one period, extracting and combining all possible evidence – epigraphical, archaeological, literary – of the social and cultural interactions and influences between Euboia and Boiotia over a period of time comprised between the Archaic and the Early Hellenistic Periods (c. 700-171 BC). Research will concentrate on the areas most susceptible to influences, roughly centered around the Euboic Gulf. Several subjects will be embraced, such as economic relations (specific attention will be given to the different ports), funerary customs (including funerary epigraphy), onomastics, cults and sanctuaries.


Marmodoro, Dr Anna

Oxford, Philosophy (H12; H1)

£234,718

Causal Powers in Aristotle's Philosophy of Mind

My project is on the metaphysics of Aristotle’s philosophy of mind.  It comprises an analytic discussion of philosophical problems extracted exegetically from Aristotle’s texts, while also engaging with the relevance of Aristotle’s proposed solutions to contemporary debates.  My research goals are:

  •  an original interpretation of Aristotle’s ontology of causation 
  • the consequent account of powers in Aristotle: their criteria of individuation 
  • an application of my interpretation of Aristotelian causal powers to three problems in his philosophy of mind: 

o      the metaphysical status of perceptual properties

o      the unity of perceptual consciousness

o      self-awareness  

  • an account of the realisation of powers according to Aristotle: what powers do before and after they are realized
  • a model of ontological dependence arising from Aristotle’s account of power realisation

the contribution Aristotle’s account of causal powers can make to contemporary theories of properties as powers which are currently being developed


Martin, Dr Ralf

London School of Economics, Economics and Economic History (S2)

£276,497

How to Induce Innovation to Address Climate Change?

To successfully mitigate and adapt to climate change further innovation is needed. This requires R&D investment, much of which has to come from private businesses. Without an adequate regulatory framework, specific market interventions or other forms of government support, the amount of private investment is likely to be below desirable levels. This project will deliver crucial new evidence enhancing our understanding of how such policies should be designed. It will also produce results and indicators that can be used by investors as guidance on how to channel funds. This evidence will be derived from 3 major components

  1. Econometric analysis of the characteristics of climate change related innovation (CCRI) using global firm level and patent datasets. The focus will be on the quantification of the various market failures that prevent socially optimal investments in this area.
  2. Econometric evaluation analysis at the firm level of the innovation impact of already existing government policies trying to induce CCRI.
  3. The design and implementation of prediction markets related to climate change.

 


Moseley, Dr Carys

Edinburgh, Theology (H2)

£206,908

Karl Barth in Critical Conversation with Social Scientific Readings of Religion, Nationalism and Gender Relations

I propose to read Karl Barth’s analysis of religion, nationalism and gender in the Church Dogmatics in conversation with social-scientific accounts. First, sociological work on global religious resurgence since the end of the Cold War is read through Barth’s understanding of the relationship between secularisation and eschatology. Second, Barth’s theological understanding of nationalism as ideology is put into debate with Anthony D. Smith’s sociological analogy between ancient Israel and the post-revolutionary French paradigm of the nation-state. Adrian Hastings’ historical-literary critique of Smith is advanced and then read in conversation with Barth, whose own reading challenges Hastings’ Herderian reduction of the Bible to ‘literature’. Barth’s view of nationhood as based on human agency is put into conversation with the alternatives of nationhood based on statehood and language. Third, Margaret Mead is posited as immanent critic of Barth’s analysis of gender relations. Both thinkers share similar concerns regarding the struggle of men and women for recognition and its relation to the future welfare of western society. The resulting debate is then linked to a Christological reading of international religious conflict.


Mroz, Dr Matilda

Cambridge, Film Studies (H6)

£192,529

Configurations of Time and Space in Polish Cinema from 1945 to 1989

Cinema has been inextricably bound up with the social and political changes that have transformed Europe in the twentieth century, providing invaluable insight into the available images and discourses with which a given society was able to represent experience. In Polish culture, cinema has provided the most powerful and popular means for attempts to radicalise, censor, and commemorate history, yet historical studies of what has been one of Europe’s most strategically important nations, as well as a country of prolific filmmakers, have been conducted with little awareness of the rich possibilities inherent in examining its cinema.

My research aims to redress this lacuna through a series of detailed examinations of the cinematographic strategies of particular Polish films between 1945 and 1989. I utilise the rich body of theory relating to spectatorship and cinematic experience to explore how cinema not only thematisessocial and political concerns, but also enacts them through particular cinematographic configurations of time and space. This will enable a more complex understanding of not only the way Polish cinema re-envisioned historical trauma, but also of the invaluable contributions cinema can make to historical study itself.


Olson, Dr Katharine

Bangor, Early Modern History (H9)

£212,451

Local Contexts of Change: Popular Religion, Community, and the Development of Confessional Identity in Wales, c.1500-1640

This project is an original socio-religious study of popular religion, community, and confessional identity in Wales from the Pre-Reformation church to the Civil War. It represents the first endeavour to write a much-needed social history of religion in Wales spanning this crucial period, offers a new comparative and interdisciplinary methodology, raises provocative questions, and utilizes previously neglected sources. First, it investigates the Reformation’s impact on aspects of ‘popular’ beliefs, customs, and practices. Further, it considers the significance of kinship networks, social, economic, and other bonds on socio-religious choices in a Welsh context. Finally, it explores the development of Protestant and Catholic confessional identities and lay responses to the Reformation on a local level through the experiences of household, parish, and community. It answers a serious deficiency in modern scholarship by re-assessing late medieval religious life and the Reformation in Wales, and contributes to dialogues on these issues, identity formation, social and cultural interactions, and nationalism.


Pettigrew, Dr Richard

Bristol, Philosophy (H12)

£187,816

Finding the Foundations for Natural and Real Number Arithmetic in a Theory of Finite Sets

Dr Pettigrew’s research seeks foundations for the arithmetics of the natural and real numbers.  The traditional foundations lie in a theory of transfinite sets.  In this theory, there is not just one system of natural numbers, nor just one system of real numbers, but infinitely many systems of both.  However, the assumptions that underpin the theory guarantee that these many different natural number systems are all structurally identical, and similarly for the many real number systems.  These results are Dedekind’s isomorphism theorems.

Dr Pettigrew offers an alternative foundation for natural and real arithmetic in a theory of finitesets, and gives a philosophical motivation for this foundation.  What is of especial philosophical interest is that, in this theory, Dedekind’s theorems fail.  With this conclusion comes the possibility of natural number systems that are not structurally identical; for instance, a natural number system 'longer' than another.  Also, it opens the door to a revival of the infinitesimal calculus of the seventeenth century.


 

Poleg, Dr Eyal

Edinburgh, Medieval History (H8; H2)

£222,423

The Material Culture of the Bible in England, c.1230–c.1700

Bibles, in print and manuscript forms, displayed the biblical text through a carefully structured layout, which facilitated a specific understanding.  This project will trace how the Vulgate, available only to a narrow elite in late medieval England, and English Bibles, celebrated for their accessibility, employed ink and script, typeset and foliation, in creating a textual hierarchy, which encoded mnemonic devices and liturgical echoes.  A survey of layout and addenda of biblical manuscripts and prints will be complemented with evidence for the use of Bibles in liturgy and courts of law, where intricate rituals employed biblical books as sacred objects, detached from their textual contents.  This study will examine the changes, continuities and remnants in biblical appearance and use.  It will question the transition from the Middle Ages to modernity and reexamine the advent of print and the Reformation.


Popescu, Dr Marina

Essex, Political Studies (S5)

£203,708

Explaining When and Why Media Influence Citizens: A Multi-Method Cross-National Analysis

This cross-national empirical study aims to identify the conditions under which mass media significantly influence voting behaviour, turnout, political knowledge and trust among citizens. Marina Popescu proposes a parsimonious theoretical framework that links key characteristics of the media system, party-voter linkages and individual citizens to the way and extent to which media exposure can be expected to impact citizens’ political attitudes and behaviour. Multilevel modelling of comparative survey data from several dozen countries and longitudinal case studies of two new democracies are brought to test the propositions. By moving away from the debate between the minimal vs. maximal media effects paradigms, the project uses an explicit definition and conceptualisation of media effects as contingent upon individual and contextual level characteristics and explores how the type of media system and political context interact and condition the influence of the mass media on public opinion.


Roberts, Dr Roberta

Birmingham, Psychology (S6)

£267,379

The Feeling Hand: An Exploration of Tactile Perception Contrasting Whole Hand and Single Finger Exploration

The sensations we experience when touching objects affect many aspects of our everyday behaviour. While we often use more than one point of contact to interact with the world around us there is limited understanding of how tactile perception is influenced by the parts of the body used to acquire information. For instance, how our perception may differ when exploring an object using our whole hand compared with using a single finger. Using psychophysical methods the present research explores this issue for the perception of texture. Understanding how tactile surface perception (e.g. roughness) varies with the body parts used is critical for a range of both basic and applied topics – from how to optimise object design to understanding the basic question of how information is integrated across fingers. This research examines the conditions under which textures are combined across the fingers and hands, whether this process can be controlled, and what type of integration mechanisms may operate.


Rowbottom, Dr Darrell

Oxford, Philosophy (H12)

£235,370

Group Rationality and the Dynamics of Inquiry

Epistemological research has long been individualistic in character. Rationality has been understood as a property of individual subjects, concerning their degrees of belief and how these change, and what it is to inquire well has been understood to depend only on personal conduct. On the face of it, though, this leads to a highly implausible view of inquiry. It suggests that all scientists might refuse to work with one another, beyond reading one another’s work, but nevertheless inquire in an exemplary fashion.

This research will draw on recent developments in formal epistemology and the philosophy of science in order to address this omission. It will further our understanding of rationality at the group level, as well as our understanding of how inquirers can and should interact within and across disciplinary and sub-disciplinary boundaries.


Sharot, Dr Tali

University College London, Psychology (S6)

£266,617

How Emotion Biases Choice: The Neural Mechanism Mediating Affective Forecasting Errors

People’s choices are strongly influenced by a subjective evaluation of how potential outcomes will make them feel. It is unknown how the brain estimates future emotional reactions, and what is the neurobiological basis for the common errors in these estimations. Using fMRI I will identify brain activity that tracks expectations of hedonic reaction and predicts later choice. I expect these estimations to be coded in brain regions previously implicated in processing reward (e.g., straitum) and emotion (e.g., amygdala). I will then test the hypothesis that these estimations (i) are based on memories of past emotional reactions, (ii) fail to incorporate anticipation of automatic cooping strategies (iii) fail to account for all aspects of a possible outcome. The findings will yield novel insights into the nature of affective biases on decision making, and have potential benefits for understanding depression and anxiety disorders.


Simoni, Dr Marco

London School of Economics, Political Studies (S5)

£258,290

The Low Inflation Left: Converging Policies and Diverging Outcomes During Globalisation

Since the 1980s, a strong control over wage increases has been the key strategy to fight unemployment in Europe. Labour market liberalisation and coordinated wage setting, at times pursued simultaneously, were expected to deliver low unemployment as a consequence of low wage growth. However, similar strategies have delivered remarkably divergent outcomes across countries. 

This project will explore the impact that labour market reform strategies, and in particular wage moderation, had on different models of European capitalism. It will show that the interplay between electoral competition and the structure of interest intermediation has crucially conditioned the results of reform efforts pursued by European governments, in particular when these governments were centre-left. In addition, reforms were implemented in political economies densely populated by a host of micro-level institutions. The unanticipated result of the interaction between these institutions and top-down reforms offers a new perspective on employment dynamics in European countries.


Siniossoglou, Dr Niketas

Cambridge, History of Ideas (H8; H1)

£183,362

Platonic Philosophy and Hellenic Idenitity in Gemistus Plethon

Plethon has been called ‘the last of the Hellenes’: he was the last major figure of the pre-modern world to fall back on Platonic ‘paganism’ for envisioning man’s philosophical and political regeneration. Plethon promoted a philosophical, political and religious reform based on a long tradition of Neoplatonic thought that was erroneously considered long dead. This project deals with Plethon’s reception of ancient philosophy. It aims to investigate the political/rhetorical aspect of Plethon’s appropriation of late antique Platonism and its significance for the construction of intellectual and religious identities in the late Byzantine period. It will explore how Plethon transformed Platonic philosophy and anti-Aristotelianism into a weapon of resistance against, on the one hand, the Ottoman invasion, and on the other, Christian monasticism and messianism.


Southcombe, Dr George

Oxford, Early Modern History (H9; H5)

£225,576

The Dissenting Uses of History in the Restoration

Those who dissented from communion with the Church of England often exploited the historical record during their polemical battles with intolerant Churchmen and Tories in Restoration England.  Despite a recent growth of interest in the development of historical writing, the contribution of dissenters has been largely overlooked.  Through an examination of a wide range of printed and manuscript dissenting literature I will seek to recover the various uses to which nonconformists put the past, and the ways in which their enemies responded.  I will discuss the rewriting of medieval history by nonconformists, as well as the appropriation of the martyrology and history of the English church.  The Dissenting Uses of History in the Restoration will be an exercise in intellectual history, recovering the conceptual bases of Restoration religious debates, but it will also be a contribution to the study of historiography itself, emphasising a largely ignored body of evidence that points to a dissenting heritage for later developments.


Suetsugu, Dr Marie

Aberystwyth, Cultural Studies (S5; H6)

£174,183

Postcolonial Relations and Responsibility in Japan and East Asia: The Writings of Haruki Murakami

The proposed research will analyse Japan's postcolonial politics in East Asia through the writings of Haruki Murakami.  Postcolonial politics is often understood in terms of the coloniser/colonised binary, but Japan was both coloniser and colonised, in between the two.  Murakami's writings explore the potential of in-betweenness by negotiating binaries such as ambiguity and certainty, victim and perpetrator, and detachment and commitment, and give a unique insight into Japan's postcolonial position in between the West and East Asia and, especially, into Japanese war responsibility to East Asians in the context of American war responsibility to the Japanese.  The research will be interdisciplinary and draw upon postcolonial, poststructural and psychoanalytical theorists such as Homi Bhabha, Jacques Derrida and Jacques Lacan, and provide an original approach to Japan-East Asia relations both by regarding Japan as in-between in this political setting and by analysing novels in exploring political questions of in-betweenness and responsibility.


Tan, Dr Shzr Ee

Royal Holloway, University of London, Music (H11; H3)

£252,666

Virtual Sounds: New Music-Scapes in the Chinese Diaspora

Chinese diaspora communities are a major force today. No longer facsimiles of the “motherland”, they are cultural originators in their own right who also broker between the imagined “East” and “West”. This has been complexified with the rise of new media platforms that have allowed for the charting of virtual and nomadic geographies fast re-defining Chineseness itself. I am interested in the musical facets of these geographies, where collective expressions translate into billion-dollar industries and corresponding challenges (eg piracy), even as they have created opportunities for civil society debate. These communities are as monolithic, fragmented and reproducible as the Google, YouTube and iTunes search-engine technologies with which they are assembled, mediated, consumed and re-mediated.

My research concerns transnational, transmedia and transcontext flows between communities that can no longer be conceived of as operating through hegemonic/ counter-culture discourses. Instead, they are constantly morphing and re-imagined, while remaining powerful manifestations of collective consciousness. My research will undertake ethnographic analyses of Chinese pop, indie bands and blogs, viral videos and 'sound art', among other trajectories.


Tankebe, Dr Justice

Cambridge, Law (S1; S4)

£187,644

Policing and Legitimacy in a Multicultural Society: The Case of London

Recent criminological interests in legitimacy suffer two shortcomings. First, while there has been growing empirical studies that purport to measure legitimacy, very little attention paid to examining it theoretically. Consequently, there has been a tendency to focus on aspects of police exogenous legitimacy, such as procedural fairness, thereby overlook the equally important endogenous legitimating activities of the police, which are intended to cultivate police self-confidence in the moral rightness of their own powers. Secondly, and empirically, we know very little about exogenous police legitimacy in the United Kingdom and its impacts on public co-operation with the police. Nor do we know anything about the predictors of police officers’ self-confidence in the moral rightness of their powers, and how this may help us explain aspects of police behaviour. This research seeks to develop an improved theory of police legitimacy and to test its propositions through a study of both police officers and members of the public in London boroughs with diverse population composition.


Truswell, Dr Robert

Edinburgh, Linguistics (H4)

£202,261

Reconstruction without Movement

This project will investigate the phenomenon known as reconstruction, where a phrase is interpreted in a more deeply embedded position than that in which it is pronounced.  This discrepancy between loci of pronunciation and interpretation has crucial implications for the relationship between linguistic form and meaning.  It is usually assumed (e.g. in Chomsky’s 1993 copy theory) that movement is a prerequisite for reconstruction, yet we find evidence for reconstruction without movement in several cases, notably quantifier scope reconstruction into control complements.  Reconstruction following movement is simply the most widespread class of reconstruction phenomena, but a proper subset of those phenomena can be found in non-movement environments such as control.  In fact, implicational relations such as this are extremely widespread when reconstruction data are subjected to a fine-grained analysis.  A major envisaged outcome is therefore the development of a grammatical theory designed to account elegantly for such implicational relations.


Van Lottum, Dr Jelle

Cambridge, Economics and Economic History (S2; S3)

£193,024

In Search of Work: Labour Migration and Economic Performance in England and the Netherlands, 1600-1900

Labour migration is intimately linked to a country’s economy. In order to make sure an economy keeps running in times of labour scarcity additional workers need to be attracted. This means that economic performance is closely related to migration, as migration is influenced by changes in the economy. Remarkably, the link between economic performance and geographical mobility before the 20th century has hardly been studied in a comparative perspective.

In my project I intend to fill this lacuna by studying the link between economic performance and migration for two countries over three centuries: the Netherlands and England between 1600 and 1900. By analyzing the migratory behaviour of people within, into and out of two countries that experienced such different economic development, this project aims to use historical evidence to address a contemporary question: what is the effect of economic performance on the migratory behaviour of people and vice versa?


 

Varwig, Dr Bettina

Cambridge, Music (H11)

£199,979

Imagining Heinrich Schütz: Early Modern Culture and German Historiography

My project investigates aspects of musical culture in seventeenth-century Europe, in particular in the German territories, viewed in the context of ‘early modernity’ in its intellectual and sociological manifestations. Using five central episodes in the career of the German composer Heinrich Schütz as focal points in my narrative, I explore the ways in which his music articulates and shapes early modern anxieties about religious and political identity, the power of artistic expression and its control, and the emerging problem of ‘Germanness’ in its relation to dominant foreign cultures. Close historical examination of specific events will be embedded in a critique of the broader theoretical frameworks of modernity, and a reassessment of the German nationalist appropriation of this history in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.


Waibel, Dr Michael

Cambridge, Law (S1)

£194,405

The Insolvency of States In International Law

Sovereign insolvency, the inability of a country to pay its debts as they fall due, is a recurrent empirical phenomenon. Notwithstanding, international law fails to adequately protect sovereign creditors and provide insurance to countries experiencing genuine financial distress. In 2000 just like in 1800, sovereign defaults are a perennial source of international tension.

Against this unsatisfactory status quo, this project investigates how international tribunals and national courts react to sovereign defaults. This analysis will reveal rules for balancing creditor and debtor interests in sovereign debt crises, and suggest better responses. The similar position of individuals and countries in financial distress may justify the analogous application of domestic insolvency law for individuals to states.

After showing how general principles of municipal insolvency law could cross-fertilize sovereign insolvency, I demonstrate the practical utility of this approach in mitigating the impact of sovereign debt crises.


Watson, Dr Alexander

Cambridge, Modern History from c. 1800 (H10)

£192,978

National Minorities at War: Polish Identity and Combat Motivation in the Armies of the Central Powers, 1914-1918

This project investigates the Polish soldiers who served in the German and Austro-Hungarian armies during the First World War. Drawing principally, but not exclusively, on combatants’ personal testimonies, the records of the Central Powers’ armies and Allied military intelligence reports, it will address two key issues. Firstly, by analysing the attitudes and combat performance of the Polish national minorities between 1914-18, it aims to help resolve the longstanding debate on the importance of ideological motivations, especially patriotism, for martial efficiency. Secondly, the study will utilise this extensive but neglected military documentation on Poles’ wartime outlook and conduct to assess the strength of Polish national identity during the early twentieth century and evaluate the success of the different policies pursued by Germany and the Austro-Hungarian Empire before 1914 in obtaining their minorities’ allegiance. The resulting monograph will be an original contribution to the military, social and cultural historiography of Central Europe.


Weeden, Dr Mark

SOAS, Oriental Studies (H3)

£225,187

Studies in the Akkadian of Alalakh

The research will provide a comprehensive, systematic investigation of the Akkadian dialect of Alalakh, Tell Atchana in southern Turkey.

The 466 clay tablets with Akkadian inscriptions found there in British excavations before and after World War II were published in the 1950s. Further tablets are being discovered as part of the current American excavations. The majority of the tablets are in Akkadian, the lingua franca of the day, with strong admixture from West Semitic and Hurrian substrates. A few are in Hittite.

On the basis of collation of the original tablets, and taking account of the last 50 years of research, the research will describe the script and language of these tablets on the levels of palaeography, orthography, phonology, morphology, syntax and lexicon. Comparisons will be drawn with the rest of the cuneiform world to illustrate Alalakh's situation in a region through which much of the cultural transmission between Mesopotamia, Anatolia and the Levant must have occurred.


Wollstonecroft, Dr Michèle

University College London, Archaeology (H7)                 

£229,890

Diet and Subsistence Choices of Southwestern Europe's Last Hunter-Gatherers: An Archaeobotanical and Interdisciplinary Investigation into the Role of Plants in the Muge (Portugal) Final Mesolithic

This project investigates questions about why and how Southwestern Europe’s last hunter-gatherers persisted long after the “neolithisation” processes were introduced to the region. The aims are to identify the plant exploitation practices of hunter-gatherers of the final Mesolithic, to pinpoint the nature and tempo of any changes in their plant selection and plant-use practices, and to assess how such changes might have affected their overall hunter-gatherer subsistence system. The research encompasses: i) the recovery and identification of plants from Cabeço da Amoreira (6,630±60 B.P. to 6,550±70 B.P.) a Final Mesolithic site in the Muge Valley, Portugal; ii) experimental processing and microstructural observations on modern specimens of Mesolithic plants to identify their potential uses and the labour, technology and knowledge that were probably necessary to process edible species; iii) theory testing: considering Mesolithic technological expertise and the biological and functional characteristics of edible plants that were exploited, under a range of cultural and ecological conditions.


Woodman, Dr David

Cambridge, Medieval History (H8)                 

£192,474

The Historia Regum: A Critical Edition

The primary aim of this research is the production of a critical edition of the Historia Regum, a major historical compilation closely associated with the twelfth-century religious community housed at Durham. Because it preserves an often unique record of events in the North, the Historia is acknowledged by scholars to be a vital source for the early history of Northumbria and hence of Anglo-Saxon England in general, but it is notoriously full of problems. It is clear that the Historia in its received form is a composite text which has been written in various chronological stages and by various different authors and relies on various different sources. This research will involve a study of the Historia Regumas a whole. My intention is to produce a detailed textual analysis which would aim to unravel all of the ‘textual layers’, to discuss the different styles of Latin, and to provide a text, translation and commentary which would be readily accessible to scholars and students alike.


Woods, Dr Kerri

York, Political Studies (S5)     

£211,612

Solidarity with Distant Others: Motivation and Justification in Contemporary Cosmopolitan Political Philosophy

This project seeks to address important but currently understudied questions of motivation in contemporary cosmopolitan political philosophy, specifically in theories of human rights, global justice, and intergenerational environmental justice. Scholars in these fields often rely on a ‘motivational assumption’ to underwrite duties to distant others, yet fail to address the pertinent question of why individuals should act beyond self-interest. On the other hand, Humean, Neo-Aristotelian, and feminist approaches to caring for others have largely been ignored in the literature on human rights and global and intergenerational justice. This project will effect a rapprochement between these presently disengaged fields and explore the idea of ‘informed sentiment’ to further investigate this ‘source’ as the basis of a model of solidarity which can address the motivational questions largely ignored in the literature.


Zhou, Dr Jidong

University College London, Economics and Economic History (S2)

£229,455

Behavioral Industrial Organisation

Behavioral IO is a new and promising research field. By introducing well documented “non-standard” human behavior into the study of IO, it aims to deepen our understanding of market performance.

This project will mainly investigate the market implications of behaviorally biased consumer behaviour. It consists of two parts. The first part will focus on using consumer imperfections to understand market phenomena which have not been satisfactorily explained within the orthodox IO framework. For example, why are firms’ tariffs still so complicated in some markets even with strong competition? The ultimate goal of this part of research is to develop some unified theoretical behavioral IO frameworks which are still absent in the current literature. The second one will study policies toward markets with imperfect consumers. A particularly important issue is how to design appropriate policies to protect biased consumers but not harm rational ones. For example, how should the government regulate markets for temptation goods?

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