British academy

British Academy Research Readerships and Senior Research Fellowships

Results of the 2001 competitions

The British Academy is pleased to announce the results of the latest competition for Research Readerships and Senior Research Fellowships, for awards to be taken up in the autumn of 2001. This year, although the overall number of applicants for these awards declined, the strength of competition for the awards was no less intense. 143 scholars originally entered the competition, submitting 110 applications for the two-year Research Readerships and 70 for the one-year Senior Research Fellowships. The high quality of candidates in the competition was recognised by the Academy's decision to make the award of 14 Readerships (13 publicly funded awards, including (as a result of unusual circumstances) one award shared between two scholars working on different subjects, plus the Marc Fitch Research Readership funded from a benefaction generously donated by the late Dr Marc Fitch, CBE, FBA). Seven Senior Research Fellowships generously funded by the Leverhulme Trust were also awarded. It has also been decided that, exceptionally, two Thank-Offering to Britain Fellowships should be offered this year. Members of both the Final Award Committee and Thank-Offering to Britain Committee were very impressed by the quality of two candidates who were strongly supported for one-year awards and who also had topics which were particularly suitable for the Thank-Offering Fellowships.


British Academy Research Readerships 2001–2003

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Dr P T Baines
Senior Lecturer in English, University of Liverpool
Edmund Curll: A Bio-Bibliographical Study

Dr Baines’ project offers a case-study in early eighteenth-century book production and literary culture. The bookseller Edmund Curll fed a new public appetite for scandal, secret history and biographical anecdote; attacked, imprisoned, pilloried, sued and even poisoned for his publications, Curll seemed to thrive on controversy. A permanent thorn in the side of Alexander Pope and other literary figures of the time, Curll had a formative influence on their sense of poetic mission and acted as a continual reminder of those aspects of the literary imagination they would seek to filter out of public view. Curll was a publishing phenomenon whose activities have not been seriously examined since 1927. The immensely enhanced access scholars now enjoy to early printed books and archives means that it is now possible to examine the case of Curll from a research-based, non-partisan perspective and thus reimagine the publishing world which produced Augustan culture. This project will include a complete bibliography of Curll's publications, a full investigation of his publishing career, and an analysis of his legal (and illegal) battles with Pope.

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Professor K Barber
Professor of African Cultural Anthropology, University of Birmingham
Propositions for an Anthropology of African Texts

The goal of Professor Barber’s project is to contribute to the development of a comparative anthropology of African texts by exploring a set of general theoretical and methodological propositions through selected in-depth case studies. Verbal texts have been comparatively neglected in mainstream Africanist anthropology, yet in many African cultures they are central facts of life, affording unparalleled insights into people's values, modes of explanation, and concepts of the person and society. Using her own past research into oral and written African (especially Yorjbá) texts as a springboard, Professor Barber will explore published and unpublished data on other African cultural sites in order to show that textuality needs to be conceptualised as a historical field rather than as a collection of isolated texts or genres. The resulting book will be intended to open the way to future collaborative and comparative studies in the anthropology of texts.

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Professor David Bates (Marc Fitch Research Reader)
Edwards Professor of Medieval History, University of Glasgow
William the Conqueror

Professor Bates intends to use the award of the Readership to write up and complete his monograph on William the Conqueror for the Yale University Press English Monarchs series. This will be the first scholarly treatment of William's life and times since D C Douglas’ original book in the series was published in 1964, and will draw on Professor Bates’ extensive research and past publications on the period, most notably his edition of all William’s post-1066 English, Norman and French charters (published in 1998). The book is urgently needed since new editions of every major source for William's life and times have appeared since 1964, providing a revolution in our knowledge of these sources. Alongside this revolution there have been major historiographical shifts on almost every aspect of the reign.

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Professor M Elliott
Professor of Modern History and Director of the Institute of Irish Studies, University of Liverpool
Robert Emmet: The Making of a Legend

Robert Emmet led a rebellion in Ireland in 1803, which failed, but which had considerable ramifications in England (Despard’s Conspiracy) and France (where military aid was being sought) and America (where relatives and supporters of Emmet were launching an attack on the pro-British stance of the then government). Most importantly, however, was the legacy to the future, for Robert Emmet became the dominant influence in the emerging idea of the ‘glorious failure’ and ‘blood sacrifice’, which has pervaded Irish republican nationalism to recent times. Simultaneously his life and the manner of his death was inspiring the Romantic movement in Europe. Professor Elliott proposes to research a history of Emmet’s political life from his student days at Trinity College, Dublin in the 1790s to his execution in 1803, and to examine his legacy, particularly how he, above all the other United Irishmen, came to occupy pride of place in the myth of the noble failure.

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Dr S R Epstein
Reader in Economic History, The London School of Economics
Industrial Organisation and Technological Development in Europe, 1300–1750

Historians have recently emphasised the great organisational variety of eighteenth and nineteenth-century European manufacture and have underlined its responsiveness to changing patterns of production and demand. They have, however, paid less attention to the origins and evolution of industrial forms in earlier centuries. Dr Epstein’s project will investigate the nature and causes of alternative industrial organisations, their regional variation, and their consequences for the production and dissemination of technical knowledge between the late thirteenth and eighteenth centuries. It will focus on whether different industrial structures defined alternative paths of technological innovation; on alternative means for acquiring and diffusing tacit technical knowledge (through apprenticeship, migration and patenting); on the political economy of technological conservatism; and on industrial districts as ‘technological regimes’ where industrial skills could be pooled and cross-fertilised. The project adopts a comparative perspective and pays particular attention to the effects of the broader political and institutional framework. It aims to contribute to debates on the technological and institutional determinants of pre-modern economic performance.

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Dr D Feldman (2002–03)
Senior Lecturer in History, Birkbeck College, University of London
Migrants, Immigrants and Welfare from the Old Poor Law to the Welfare State

Dr Feldman’s project considers the changing definitions and treatment of ‘strangers’ under successive welfare regimes in England and Wales from the mid-seventeenth century to the present. Its starting point is a realisation of the structural similarity between the problems created for welfare systems by internal migrants where welfare has been organised locally (17–19C), and by immigrants in 20C when, increasingly, welfare has been organised on a national basis. This project will chart and characterise the changing definitions and treatment of outsiders, and it will go on to consider the causes and consequences of these changes. It will contribute to current policy debates about immigration, immigrants and asylum-seekers, but, primarily, the project will be a ground-breaking contribution to historical scholarship.

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Professor T J Hatton
Professor of Economics, University of Essex
International Migration and the UK Economy since 1950

Professor Hatton proposes a programme of research to examine the causes and economic effects of international migration to and from Britain in the last 50 years. The study will bring together existing data sources from Britain and overseas to produce a deeper analysis of underlying causes and effects than has previously been possible. It will use economic methodology and quantitative analysis to address some of the issues that emerged from Professor Hatton’s own recent survey of the interplay of economic forces and policy on postwar migration. The analysis will focus on three major themes:

  • What have been the main economic forces influencing the volume and composition of migration to and from Britain in the long run and the short run?
  • What have been the effects of British immigration policy on the numbers and types of immigrants to Britain and how have such effects changed over time?
  • What are the economic effects of changing patterns of migration? Among these are the effects on industry, on the welfare state and on immigrants themselves.

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Dr S K Hazareesingh
CUF Lecturer, Fellow, and Tutor in Politics, Balliol College, Oxford
Unity in Conflict: Political Transitions of the Left in Modern France

Dr Hazareesingh will use the award of the Readership to work towards completing the research and writing of a book on the French Left for Yale University Press. In this book, he hopes to make a significant and original contribution, both to an intellectual understanding of the Left (and especially the relationship between republicanism and the ideologies of the Left), and to an assessment of its continuing impact on French politics. He shall argue that the Left can be viewed as an aggregate of three distinct subcultures (the Jacobin, the progressive and the libertarian), and will explore these ideological constructs both in their historical elaborations and through specific themes such as citizenship, regionalism and feminism. His ambition with this research is to produce a book which will define the political and intellectual contours of the Left, and reappraise its overall contribution to French politics and political culture in the 20th and early 21st centuries.

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Professor M F Heath
Professor of Greek Language and Literature, University of Leeds
Menander of Laodicea: A Third-Century Rhetor in his Cultural and Social Context

The aim of Professor Heath’s research is to complete his ongoing research project on the history of rhetoric in late antiquity. Menander of Laodicea (‘Menander Rhetor’) is the late ancient rhetorician most familiar to modern classicists because of the two treatises on epideictic oratory bearing his name. The bulk of his attested output, however, was concerned with the practice and theory of forensic and deliberative oratory, and the overwhelming majority of ancient testimonia and fragments relate to this aspect of his work. This observation invites a reassessment of the significance of Menander himself, and of late ancient rhetoric in general: the widespread perception of late antique oratory as primarily epideictic sits uncomfortably with the predominantly forensic and deliberative orientation of Menander and other rhetoricians. The main output envisaged is a book that will:

  • demonstrate that the commentary on Demosthenes by Menander of Laodicea was a major source for the extant scholia to Demosthenes;
  • examine the implications of the consequent re-assessment of Menander as a specialist in forensic and deliberative (rather than epideictic) oratory for a general understanding of late ancient rhetoric and oratory;
  • relate Menander’s work to other evidence for the development of rhetorical theory and classroom practice in late antiquity;
  • consider the resulting picture of late ancient rhetorical theory and classroom practice in relation to a broader cultural and social context.

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Professor S Mithen
Professor of Early Prehistory, University of Reading
A New Study of the ‘Pre-Pottery Neolithic A’ of the Near East

Professor Mithen will use the Readership to study the Pre-Pottery Neolithic A (PPNA) period in the Near East. This period was identified by Kathleen Kenyon at Jericho during the 1950s and is now recognised as the critical period of transition from mobile hunter-gathering lifestyles to those of farming, which were in turn a prelude to the emergence of early civilisations. During the Readership, Professor Mithen will undertake a comprehensive study of the PPNA period, integrating both old and new data sets in the context of new methodological and theoretical approaches, building on the results of a fieldwork project jointly undertaken with Dr Finlayson (Director, Council for British Research in the Levant, Amman) which identified a new PPNA settlement (WF16). Preparation of the final excavation report for this site, and of the survey in the environs of the settlement will be one element of this major study.

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Dr S C Ogilvie
Reader in Economic History, University of Cambridge
The Economic World of the Bohemian Serf, 1550–1750

Rural development is widely seen as essential for economic growth, yet explanations of its historical sources have focussed on characteristics of ‘successful’ Western Europe, with little comparative research to establish their absence in ‘failed’ economies east of the Elbe. Dr Ogilvie’s research will redirect attention to Eastern Europe, hitherto largely portrayed in terms of stereotypes about ‘peasant society’ and ‘serfdom’. The award will enable Dr Ogilvie to collect archival material in the Czech Republic, to incorporate qualitative sources into an existing quantitative database, and to replace current received truth about Eastern European serfdom with a rigorous, microeconomic analysis of the documented workings of a specific serf society. Findings will be disseminated through a book comparing Bohemia with other European peasant economies and discussing implications for rural development. The results will also be incorporated into courses that will stimulate the interest of students in the social, cultural and institutional dimensions of economic history.

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Dr D Scott
University Lecturer in Philosophy, University of Cambridge
A Study of Plato’s Meno

In his dailogue, the Meno, Plato raised fundamental questions in some of the central areas of philosophy: ethics, politics, education and epistemology. Not surprisingly, this work is widely acknowledged as one of his most important. There has, however, been no philosophical monograph on it in English for twenty years. Dr Scott’s research proposes to fill this gap through a book to be published by CUP. The dialogue is too often broken into segments which are then studied more in relation to other works of Plato than they are to each other. By contrast, Dr Scott will attempt to do justice to the depth and complexity of the individual arguments, while bringing out their interconnections. Given the enormous interest in Plato’s philosophy and in this dialogue in particular, such a book should be of great benefit to philosophers and classicists, whether engaged in teaching or research.

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Dr J Scott (2001–02)
Fellow and Director of Studies in History, Downing College, Cambridge
English Republicanism

It is one legacy of Restoration forgetting that there is still no general account of English republicanism. Outstanding work on republican ideology all takes this to be exemplified by the work of James Harrington. One need is to understand republican thought as a whole, before relating Harrington to it. Another is to understand it in its political as well as intellectual contexts, not least because most republican writers were participants in the republican experiment in practice. One result will be the discovery that Harrington was highly atypical. Another, restored to its religious as well as humanist context, will be a new account of classical republicanism in England. This hinged, not upon political language, or constitutional form, but moral philosophy in the context of an attempted radical reformation of manners. Dr Scott’s proposed book will have implications both for the methodology of intellectual history and for a general understanding of the collapse of seventeenth century English monarchy and its consequences.

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Dr A S Sinclair
Reader in Modern Spanish Literature, University of Cambridge
Centres of Exchange: Organs of Cultural Diffusion in Spain, 1900–1936

There is a pressing case for the re-appraisal of knowledge and understanding of cultural and intellectual life in Spain between 1900 and 1936. Our view of Spain in the early decades of the 20th century has been retrospectively simplified, resulting in part from the cultural and intellectual shut-down in the Franco regime. A cultural amnesia has been produced, so that knowledge of the vitality and variety of cultural and intellectual life in early 20th century Spain has been lost. Dr Sinclair’s project will re-appraise Spanish cultural and intellectual life in this period, using a detailed study of the role of centres of exchange. Dr Sinclair intends to examine the ways in which cultural exchange between Spain and Europe, and between Spain and Latin America was facilitated by such centres. In addition, she will consider what the existence of such organs of diffusion implied for Spanish public life. The centres are: (i) institutions (academic and cultural), (ii) periodicals and newspapers, (iii) publishing houses, and (iv) individuals. The long-term aim is to set up a research group, which would have the task of a collective detailed exploration of the field, and which might eventually extend its chronological range to the end of the Franco regime.

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Dr C Stebbings
Reader in Modern Legal History, University of Exeter
Statutory Tribunals: Legal Foundations and Evolution in Nineteenth Century England

The objective of Dr Stebbings’ research project is a comprehensive elucidation of the legal historical foundations of a major contemporary public institution, the statutory tribunal. This specialist and largely lay body was adopted in the nineteenth century as the principal method of resolving disputes which arose between the state and the subject, or between subject and subject, in the context of the public and semi-public organisations which an increasingly sophisticated and complex government necessarily engendered. Its legal nature and procedures, and its place in the machinery of justice, were debated and refined throughout the Victorian period. In examining this process, the project aims to explain the interaction between legal constraints, social and economic demand and political expediency which gave rise to this form of dispute resolution. It also aims to assess the impact of the tribunal in the context of popular and professional attitudes to access to justice in the nineteenth century.

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British Academy/Leverhulme Trust Senior Research Fellowships 2001–2002


Dr F Colman
Reader in English Language, University of Edinburgh
On Proper Names: Their Place in Philological and Linguistic Analysis (with special reference to Old English Personal Names)

The aim of Dr Colman’s research is to work on a book evaluating the place of proper names in general, and early Old English names in particular, in philological and linguistic analysis. Old English personal names have a unique value as a source of linguistic evidence, in that they were formed from elements cognate with (a subset of) common words. Therefore, just as spelling variation in the representation of Old English common words is interpreted as potential evidence of phonological variation (diachronic or diatopic), so may be variation in the spelling of proper names. Building on her past work to establish and refine a methodology for linguistic analyses of personal name-forms on late (11th century) Anglo-Saxon coins, focussing mainly on epigraphy, phonology and morphology, Dr Colman's proposal is to undertake similarly focussed research into the names on early (8th and 9th century) Anglo-Saxon coins, and also to extend the research to include grammatical behaviour of Old English personal names. As well as constituting a significant contribution to reconstructing the history of English and to onomastic theory, this research will also be of benefit to numismatists and historians.

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Professor I Hampsher-Monk
Professor of Political Theory, University of Exeter
The Political Thought of Edmund Burke

Professor Hampsher-Monk’s research aims to provide a new historical interpretation of the political thought of Edmund Burke. This essentially historical work seeks to identify the sources deployed by Burke in his mature political philosophy and to show how he synthesised these into a new language of politics. This historical interpretation would then inform a more analytical study directed at understanding his relationship to other thinkers and his role in the emergence of modern political thought, and the character of his thought in relation to the latter.

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Dr S J Harrison
Reader in Social Anthropology, University of Ulster
Cultural Boundaries

The scheme of research proposed by Dr Harrison is for a monograph on ‘Cultural Boundaries’ which will examine the role played by ideas of cultural boundaries in the construction of ethnic and national identities. The monograph will be based on a comparative analysis of a number of case studies selected from the anthropological literature on ethnicity and nationalism worldwide. Its aim will be to ascertain the circumstances in which ethnic and nationalist communities employ particular kinds of cultural boundary discourses, and the circumstances in which such communities represent themselves as having more or less open cultural boundaries.

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Professor H M Hine
Professor of Humanity, University of St Andrews
A Comparative Study of the Language and Style of the Prose and Verse Writings of the Younger Seneca

Professor Hine’s project aims to adopt a new approach to the study of Seneca, by making a comparative study of the language and style of his prose and verse works in parallel, in order to show the similarities and differences between his prose and his verse, and the relationship of his usage in each area to that of earlier writers. The study will also address questions about the best way to categorise and describe the different linguistic and stylistic registers of Latin prose and verse, and about the presence of poetic elements in Seneca's prose.

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Dr I J Leslie
Senior Lecturer in Hindu Studies, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London
Self-Directed Violence: Indian Tradition and Practice

The present-day medical view, both in India (allopathy) and in the ‘West’, regards suicide as psychopathology of paramount significance. Assessing and quantifying suicidal risk and responsibility for preventing suicide are among the highest priorities for psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, physicians and other professionals. Suicide represents a failure of medical intervention, raising questions of clinical error. Suicide is not identified, however, as a significant clinical problem for traditional medical systems in India, such as Ayurveda; instead the issue is discussed in the socio-religious literature. Dr Leslie’s study, an extension of a joint project already begun with Professor M G Weiss (Director of the Department of Public Health and Epidemiology at the Swiss Tropical Institute in Basel, Switzerland), examines the cultural forms of suicide in India with reference to the distinctive orientations represented in the classical traditions where data are available, and considers how these representations might be linked to a social understanding of suicide in the present day. It also asks how an examination of cultural forms from classical and current vantage points may each mutually enrich our understanding of the other.

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Dr L Pratt
Lecturer in Romantic Period Literature, The Queen's University of Belfast
Robert Southey: Poetical Works, 1793–1810

Dr Pratt’s edition of Robert Southey’s Poetical Works, 1793–1810 will be the first modern edition of the poetry of one of the most important and hitherto neglected writers working in Britain in the Romantic period. It will fill an enormous gap in current knowledge and be a major, highly distinctive contribution to the field of British Romanticism. Dr Pratt is the General Editor of the five volume project, to be published by Pickering and Chatto, and is personally responsible for three of the five volumes. The Senior Research Fellowship will enable her to work on two of these volumes, Madoc and Shorter Poems and Plays, 1793–1810. Each volume will be prefaced by an essay setting the poems within their critical, literary and historical contexts. Further literary, political, historical and personal references will be identified in footnotes to individual works. A distinctive feature of the edition will be its thoroughgoing textual and critical reassessment of Southey's achievements as a writer. The two volumes to be completed during the Fellowship are central to the whole project.

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Professor T A Reuter
Professor of Medieval History, University of Southampton
An Edition of the Letter-Book of Abbot Wibald of Stavelot and Corvey

The letter-book of Abbot Wibald of Stavelot and Corvey (1098–1158) contains some 450 items from the period 1146–1157, and is not only a major source for the political, ecclesiastical and cultural history of the Reich in the early Staufer era, but also the largest letter-book from the high middle ages to survive as an original manuscript. Professor Reuter’s aim is to complete a modern scholarly edition of the letter-collection, to be published by the MGH. He has already been working on this edition and has an established text and apparatus. The award will enable him to work further on the annotation, introduction and a full palaeographical study of the original manuscript (now in LiPge). He also aims to complete associated studies: on the dating of the letters, on the make-up of the manuscript, and on a small number of issues in the commentary which require fuller treatment than will be possible in a footnote.

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British Academy Thank-Offering to Britain Fellowships 2001–2002

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Professor C Campbell
Professor of Law, University of Ulster
Emergency Powers and Politically Motivated Violence: The Lessons of Northern Ireland

As an example of the response of the liberal-democratic state to political violence and terrorism, the Northern Ireland precedent is critically important both domestically and internationally. Consequently it is vital that the lessons of the last thirty years are learned if the mistakes of the past are not to be repeated. While official discourses present the state's use of emergency legislation as a proportionate response to terrorism, a contrary thesis suggests that the rights-violations associated with the use of emergency powers may have helped to sustain violence rather than to eliminate it. Rejecting any simplistic cause-and-effect model, Professor Campbell's project explores this alternative thesis, by drawing together the emerging theoretical literature on the topic, and by applying the framework provided to the empirical data:

  • a survey of the operation of jury-less Diplock courts;
  • official data on the security situation and on the operation of Diplock courts.

The results, to be published in book form, will include suggestions calculated to ensure that any errors that may have occurred in the past will not be repeated in the future.

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Dr A Hills
Senior Lecturer in Defence Studies, King’s College London
The Theory and Practice of Military Operations on Urban Terrain

The award of the Thank-Offering to Britain Fellowship to Dr Hills will enable her to research and write a scholarly monograph on the theory and practice of contemporary military urban operations. This project will lead to the first book length analysis of military urban operations incorporating research from consultancies, professional commentaries on tactics, and military histories. The book will provide a contribution to the wider study of urban operations, the changing nature of military force in an era of globalisation and expeditionary warfare, and the growth of new socio-economic inequalities and power conflicts. The project will refine the contextual model already developed by Dr Hills which advances an explanation of why urban operations form a microcosm of significant military, political and social trends, and which demonstrates that urban operations present a unique set of political and moral challenges to policy makers and commanders. The model synthesises concepts derived from military, security, urban and crisis studies, and identifies conceptual and policy issues relevant to British strategy.