British academy

British Academy Research Readerships, and British Academy/Leverhulme Trust Senior Research Fellowships, and Thank-Offering to Britain Fellowships

Results of the 2002 competition

The British Academy is pleased to announce the results of the 2002 British Academy Research Readerships, British Academy/Leverhulme Trust Senior Research Fellowships and British Academy Thank-Offering To Britain Fellowships


British Academy Research Readerships 2002-2004

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Professor T Besley, FBA
Professor of Economics, London School of Economics
link: http://econ.lse.ac.uk/staff/tbesley/
The Architecture of Government: A Study in Comparative Political Economy

This research develops theoretical and empirical analyses relevant to the design of governmental institutions. It brings together work in political economy and normative public economics. The objective of the work is provide a framework for appraising piece-meal institutional reforms and their impact on economic policy making. Examples include the role of decentralization, direct democracy, and the choice of electoral systems. It will draw on empirical evidence from a number of countries including the United States, the UK and India.

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Dr C M Davis
Lecturer in Russian and East European Political Economy, University of Oxford and Fellow, Wolfson College
Economic Influences on Health Crises in the USSR and Russia, 1965-2000

Most countries in the Former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe experienced increases in illnesses, deterioration in medical care, and worsening of mortality during the initial decade of economic transition. Christopher Davis will carry out research on the interactions between health and economics in these countries, with a focus on Russia. The topics to be studied include: the influences of economic factors on health crises and on reforms of medical systems, the effectiveness of medical care in the health production process, the causes of and trends in inequalities in health, and poverty-related health problems. The new research will build upon two decades of work in this field. The main output of the Readership will be a book on the economics of health in the USSR and Russia during 1965-2005. The findings should be of interest both to scholars and to health policy makers in transition countries and in international organisations.

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Professor Yr Athro J Hines
Professor of Medieval Archaeology, School of History and Archaeology, Cardiff University
Athro, Astudiaethau'r Oesoedd Canol, Ysgol Hanes ac Archaeoleg, Prifysgol Ceardydd
The Cultural History of Anglo-Saxon England: An Interdisciplinary Study

Professor Hines aims to draw on the strengthening interest in interdisciplinary historical studies to write a comprehensive, and reflexive, history of the first six centuries of an English culture. Considerable advances have been made in recent years in understanding the potential of such disciplines of philology, literary studies, history and archaeology. Particular importance will be attached to integrating textual and linguistic information with the full range of archaeological evidence, a significant amount of which is either not yet published, or recorded in the form of so-called 'grey' literature. The period will be approached in a thematic rather than a narrative manner, following a sequence of topics from the environmental and economic, through social, political and ecclesiastical history, to art, language, literature and ideology. This ordering does not presuppose environmental or material determination of cultural history but rather is intended to facilitate a critical evaluation of such a view. Even the validity of concepts such as the Anglo-Saxons, an Anglo-Saxon Period, and an Anglo-Saxon Culture with a unitary history will be explicitly assessed. This project is designed to produce a substantial book that will provide an accessible interpretative account of this period while also being of sufficient scope to serve as a scholarly reference work. The ambition is not only to provide a comprehensive account of the specific topics, but also to make a major contribution to the continuing debate over an agenda for future interdisciplinary work in the Humanities.

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Professor D W Hopkins
Professor of English Literature, University of Bristol
The Poems of John Dryden, Vols 5-6: Poems, 1696-1700

Professor Hopkins's principal research project during his tenure of the Readership will be to work on Vols. 5 and 6 of the Longman Annotated English Poets edition of The Poems of John Dryden, which he is currently co-editing with Professor Paul Hammond of the University of Leeds. The Longman Dryden (of which four volumes have already appeared) is a scholarly undertaking of major proportions, and comprises the fullest edition ever prepared of the complete non-dramatic verse of the most celebrated English poet of the later seventeenth century, presented in chronological order of its appearance in the public domain. Texts are newly edited from the primary sources, and presented in modernized spelling and punctuation. Extensive on-the-page annotation (including a full headnote to each item) provides full information on the publication, sources, meaning, and contexts of each poem.

Dryden's work is often densely allusive to contemporary events and personalities, and his work abounds in allusions and echoes - sometimes obvious, sometimes much less so - of his poet- and dramatist-predecessors. Though the political allusions in Dryden's later work are less obviously dense than in his writings of the 1660s, 70s, and 80s, there is a consistent strain of subtle Jacobite allusion beneath its surface. In his later work, moreover, Dryden engaged extensively, for the first time, with the medieval writers Chaucer and Boccaccio, as well as with classical poets (Homer, Ovid, Virgil) in whose verse he had long been steeped. The Longman annotation will enable the reader to identify Dryden's allusions to his contemporary world, and to explore the complex processes in which Dryden engaged while composing his classical and medieval translations, by charting his numerous departures from, and creative reworkings of, his source-texts, and by documenting his use of seventeenth-century scholarship and of the work of numerous translator-predecessors.

The Longman Dryden illuminates the poet's distinctive use of language more fully than in any previous edition. Much information available in the OED and other sources, such as the English Dialect Dictionary and various contemporary glossaries, has been underused by previous editors. But the Longman editors are also able to make use of the resources of such archives as Chadwyck-Healey's Literature on Line for the further of Dryden's linguistic meanings and extensive literary echoes (including self-echoes).

During his tenure of the Research Readership, Professor Hopkins hopes to advance (and, if possible, complete) work on his remaining contributions to the edition. He is also engaged, as co-editor (with Dr Stuart Gillespie of the University of Glasgow) and contributor, in work on Volume 3 (1660-1790) of the forthcoming Oxford History of Literary Translation in English, and on a facsimile edition of Jacob Tonson's Miscellany Poems (1684-1709).

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Professor A S Knight
Professor of the History of Latin America and Fellow of St Antony's College, and Director, Latin American Centre, Oxford University
Cardenismo: State and Society in Mexico in the 1930s

Building on his previous work on the Mexican revolution (1910-20), Professor Alan Knight will write a major study of the 1930s in Mexico, based on original sources, and focusing on the administration of President Lazaro Cardenas (1934-40) and the 'Cardenista' project. This involves analysis of: the domestic and international context; the dynamics of the 'institutional' revolution; relations between state and society; and the impact of the major reforms - agrarian, labour, educational - of the Cardenista project. The ensuing book will address the questions: was Cardenismo the culmination of the Mexican Revolution and, if so, what sort of revolution was it?

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Professor P Magdalino
Professor of Byzantine History, University of St Andrews
L'orthodoxie des Astrologues; and The Culture of the Future in Byzantium, c.500-1354

Anxiety and speculation about the future are a basic part of the human condition, and the assertion or attribution of foreknowledge confers advantage and status in human relations. Pre-modern civilization privileged the prediction of future things by supernatural inspiration and revelation, but it also made use of 'primitive', mechanical forms of divination, as well as 'scientific' conjecture based on recorded experience and the observation of natural phenomena, above all the movements of the heavenly bodies. Indeed, the boundaries between these categories were often fluid, and it makes sense to study them as a single culture of the future. My project is to study this culture in Byzantium, the successor civilization of the ancient world which adhered most faithfully to the traditions of Greco-Roman antiquity.

The project involves, firstly, the completion of a book on the place of astrology in Byzantine learned society from c.600 to 1204. The book charts the attempt to justify astrology in terms acceptable to Orthodox Christianity, and explores the apparent paradox that astrology received greater official recognition in medieval Byzantium than it had in the more sophisticated and diverse culture of late antiquity. At the same time, it considers why astrology, along with a range of related scientific activity, never 'took off' in Byzantium to the same extent as in Islam or, eventually, in the medieval West. The explanation I propose is that Byzantium, despite precedents, opportunities and incentives, never wholeheartedly embraced the key principle that made astrology compatible with monotheism, namely that the natural universe shows the image of God, and must be studied to reveal the mind of its Creator. I argue that this principle suffered because it became identified with Iconoclasm, and 'science' thus fell behind rhetorical 'humanism' in the ninthth-c. revival of learning, which was definitive for future priorities. The very success of astrology in the Islamic and, later, the Latin worlds only increased its unacceptability to the Byzantine Church;. A twelfth-century attempt to win official recognition for it completely backfired, producing an uncompromising reaction, which, together with the sack of Constantinople in 1204, effectively removed astrology and astronomy from the Byzantine intellectual scene for a century, at the very time when Greek and Arabic learning was becoming fully assimilated in the West.

The second part of the project is to undertake a more general survey the culture of the future in Byzantium, c.500-1350. This will look at astrology along with the other kinds of divination, prediction and chronological projection which are attested in Byzantine sources. They include the various 'magical' methods of divination by natural phenomena which were proscribed by the Church, as well as oneiromancy, oracle literature and the prophecies attributed to holy men. More central to the survey, however, will be the whole question of Byzantine eschatology and apocalypticism - anything remotely related to speculation about the end of the world and the events leading up to it, notably the reign of the Last Emperor and his immediate predecessors. The study of Byzantine Endzeitvorstellung has advanced considerably in recent years. The time is ripe for a new synthesis, and there is still much pioneer interpretation to be done. My study aims to provide both, by exploring the following issues:

  • The official attitude of church and state, as expressed in normative theory and recorded in historical practice. The proscription of astrology and divination has been well studied, but there is still room for comment on the gap between condemnation in principle and toleration in practice, and no comment has yet been offered on the almost total absence of any overt prohibition of oracles, apocalypses, and speculation on the dating of the End.
  • The relationships between the various 'genres' of predictive literature: apocalypses, oracles, horoscopes, saintly prophecies, computistic treatises.
  • The sharing, transmission, and adaptation of methods and motifs between Byzantium, Islam and the West; the continuing Jewish input, and the association of eschatological literature with anti-Jewish polemic; the importance of Sicily and Southern Italy in the genesis and transmission of prophetic literature.
  • The function of prophecy - to know the future, to legitimise or subvert the status quo, to present an agenda, or simply to provide a narrative device?
  • The prosopography of the experts, insofar as this can be determined, and the relationship between their predictive expertise and their other r?es and interests.
  • The dynamics of supply and demand, production and reception, circulation, recycling and updating; the relationship between the written texts, almost invariably pseudonymous or anonymous, and the oral prophecies credited to holy men, even when they clearly derive from a textual model.
  • The rewriting of history, especially of world chronology, in order to reschedule the End of Time.

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Dr F Moltmann
Reader in the Department of Philosophy, University of Stirling
Unity in Conflict: Political Transitions of the Left in Modern France

During the readership, Dr Moltmann will investigate the way natural language makes reference to abstract and derived objects, such as properties, propositions, facts, events, and collections. Expressions involving such objects in natural language have often been misunderstood by philosophers because of an insufficient linguistic understanding and by linguists because of too narrow philosophical presuppositions. This project concerns itself with the various philosophical issues concerning abstract and derived objects while making systematic use of linguistic research. It will involve a systematic linguistic investigation of expressions or constructions involving derived or abstract objects as well as an exploration of the philosophical ramifications of their linguistic analyses, taking into account contemporary as well as historical perspectives in metaphysics and philosophical logic. The research will culminate in a book about reference to abstract and derived objects.

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Dr E C Norton
Reader in Medieval Art and Architecture, University of York
The St William Window in York Minster and the Cult of St William of York

The St William Window in York Minster is one of the most remarkable medieval stained glass windows in Europe. It is currently undergoing a major restoration programme, which provides unique opportunities for study. It has already been possible to solve a problem which has baffled scholars for the last century and a half, namely to work out the original arrangement and iconography of the complete cycle of 95 narrative scenes. The aim of this project is to publish these new discoveries as a book which presents colour photographs of all the panels alongside translations of the Latin sources on which the narrative is based. An introduction will elucidate the historical and art-historical context and significance of the window. Dr Norton also proposes to prepare a series of public lectures (for subsequent publication) on the Cult of St William, to coincide with the 850th anniversary of the death of St William in 2004.

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Professor T Nunes
Professor of Psychology, Oxford Brookes University
Understanding Mathematics Underachievement: New Analyses of the Relation between Arithmetic and Conceptual Knowledge

International comparisons reveal that an unexpectedly high proportion of English youngsters underachieve in mathematics. Their educational and professional development can be severely limited by this underachievement. Currently available assessments do not provide the detailed information needed for a conceptually sound analysis of the problem, either at the individual level or as a national issue. In collaboration with colleagues in England and other countries, Professor Nunes has collected data on a new series of assessments that allows for separate investigation of performance in arithmetic and knowledge of mathematical concepts and can thus provide the necessary information. The assessments were designed considering youngsters' informal knowledge of mathematics (described in her book, Street Mathematics, School Mathematics, CUP) and the need to transform this everyday knowledge into scientific, formal knowledge for the successful learning of mathematics in school. The project considers themes already recognised as central to the teaching of mathematics in British schools and also brings under focus children's conceptual difficulties that may be at the root of mathematics underachievement but remain unexplored in our schools. The project will draw on existing datasets collected with the support of the ESRC, the Nuffield Foundation, and the longitudinal study of children in the county of Avon (ALSPAC) and will add to the information available for understanding mathematics underachievement.

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Dr A D B Poole
Reader in English and Comparative Literature, University of Cambridge
Witnessing Tragedy

The witness is an important figure within tragic drama from the anonymous messengers of Greek tragedy onwards, and for the audience outside the frame of the fiction the act of witnessing is essential to performance. These figures and acts persist when tragedy migrates from drama into other forms of representation, into written narrative, both fictional and historical, and works of visual art, both still and moving. The developments of visual technology over the last hundred and fifty years have seemed to raise new questions about what it means to witness the pain of others, especially questions about complicity. One way of addressing them is to look back to the great paradigms of dramatic fiction in the genre traditionally deputed to their embodiment, and then to consider the predicament of the witness in and of tragedy alongside concepts, practices and debates in adjacent domains, including those of theology, jurisprudence and medical science. Dr Poole will give close consideration to examples from drama, narrative and the visual arts from various historical contexts including ancient Greece, early modern England and France, and the increasingly globalized conditions under which 'modern tragedy' has been produced and experienced. He will seek to establish some of the things that witnessing tragedy once meant, and what they can contribute to our understanding of tragedy now.

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Dr P Thompson
University Lecturer in the Faculty of Modern History, University of Oxford and Non-Stipendiary Fellow of St Cross College
Colonial Virginia in an Atlantic World

Virginia, founded in 1607, was the first permanent British colony in America. It soon became the largest and most valuable of Britain's mainland possessions. It was the first colony to establish a representative assembly but equally was the first to tie its economic fortunes to slave labour. Dr. Thompson's study uses Bacon's Rebellion - a short-lived internal civil war in 1676 involving unstable coalitions of planters, white servants and slaves -- to situate the development of Virginia within the broader history of the Atlantic World. Virginia's "image problem" - a nagging sense, skilfully exploited by Nathaniel Bacon, that there was no good reason for its existence - was directly attributable to British contempt for a "colony founded on smoke"; a contempt symbolised by the policy of dumping in it the "offscourings of the realm." In consequence Virginians sought a creole identity, one that allowed them to express that sense of being both British and Virginian which their position within an Atlantic economy made inescapable. Analysing Virginian society from this perspective sheds fresh light on American history as a whole by resisting the teleological impulse to search for an authentically American identity or an explanation for American independence in the colonial period. The results of Dr. Thompson's research will be disseminated via a book under contract with OUP and also through Dr. Thompson's participation in conference, web-sites and public events tied to celebrations of the 400th anniversary of the founding of Virginia.

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Professor P Williamson
Professor of History, University of Durham
The New Oxford History of England: Britain 1918-1951

The scale of the New Oxford History of England, with the range of themes it allows and its demand for coherence, provides an opportunity for original conceptualisation of the formative period of modern British experience - from the prolonged depression and anxieties of the 1920s and 1930s, though the transformations of the second world war to the establishment of economic management and universal welfare. The core theme of the research will be the development of the state, which in these years shaped political, economic, social, and intellectual life as never before. The perspectives will nevertheless be different to those of orthodox policy, party and institutional histories. The emphasis will be moved towards political culture and public values, both as the fundamental materials of political and intellectual debate and as the forms of community and communication between the disparate sections of the population and those aspiring to lead them. Ideas and values neglected in much of the existing historical literature, particularly constitutionalism and religion, will be given proper weight. More recent areas of study, such as gender and national identity, will be more firmly assimilated. The aim will also be to produce a genuine history of Britain, given that this period produced an unprecedented (and in retrospect short-lived) integration of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland into the British state and a British identity.

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Professor C J Withers
Professor of Historical Geography, University of Edinburgh
Geographies of the Enlightenment

Professor Withers' project aims to advance new understandings of the Enlightenment as a geographical phenomenon. Historians and others have debated the 'what', the 'when' and the 'why' of the Enlightenment, yet little attention has been paid to the 'where' of the Enlightenment. The research proposed will consider the geographies of the Enlightenment through attention to three related themes. The first will explore Enlightenment ideas as locally-situated, nationally-expressed or as ideas above national context. The second will consider the effect of new geographical knowledge upon Enlightenment thinking. The third theme will consider the geographical movement of Enlightenment ideas and explore how new knowledges travelled, how they were translated and how and where they were differently acted upon. The intended monograph is thus concerned not only to map the sites of the Enlightenment's production but also to discern geographies of movement and of reception within the Enlightenment's public sphere.

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British Academy/Leverhulme Trust Senior Research Fellowships 2002-2003

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Dr M C Carpenter
Reader in Medieval English History, University of Cambridge, and Fellow of New Hall
A New Constitutional History of England, c.1215-1509

The award will assist Dr Carpenter in the completion of this book. Since the 'McFarlane revolution' and the welter of research which it inspired finally destroyed Stubbs' grand 'Whig' narrative, the emphasis of research in this period has been increasingly on the personal and private at the expense of the public dimension. Some very distinguished older work on central and local government has been neglected, while the continuing excellence of the Maitland heritage of medieval legal history has impinged little on recent political history. Dr Carpenter is combining the rich accumulation of recent research on politics and political life with the older traditions of exploration of the public face of government. By these means she intends to show how private and public power interacted closely to make governance possible and to delineate the constitutional framework of institutions, power structures, political culture and ideas within which the more evanescent and frenetic activities of political life occurred. The work is designed to demonstrate that, despite the interpretative fragmentation that has resulted from the rejection of Stubbs and from the increasing specialisation of research, a grand narrative of politics, government and governance in this period is still both necessary and possible.

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Dr M Dumper
Senior Lecturer in Middle East Politics, University of Exeter
The Repatriation and Resettlement of Palestinian Refugees

This project will examine options for the repatriation and resettlement of 3.6 million Palestinian refugees, focusing on proposals that have been put forward since the Madrid Conference in 1991. Although much of the current policy debate assumes the uniqueness of the Palestinian refugee situation, this study contends that prior international efforts to resolve refugee issues necessarily will influence any final resolution of the Palestinian case. For this reason, the project will examine specific repatriation and resettlement proposals in the light of the wider global experience of refugee programs. Examples will be drawn from UNHCR programmes and other cases of humanitarian assistance to refugees analysing both their operational and politico-legal aspects. In addition, lessons will be drawn from case studies to suggest a compensation/restitution regime and the required characteristics of a lead agency to implement a repatriation and resettlement program. The findings will be presented in a book for publication.

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Professor A Halpin
Professor of Legal Theory, University of Southampton
Definition in the Criminal Law

In recent years, a number of key terms of the criminal law have seemed to defy definition. Scepticism over the possibility of defining basic concepts and identifying general principles has been raised by both judges and academic commentators. This is not simply a matter of theoretical interest, given the Law Commission's dishonesty project and its concerns with codification of the criminal law. Furthermore, the Human Rights Act incorporates a requirement of legality under Article 7 of the ECHR ('No punishment without law'), whose scope is clearly connected to our understanding of how criminal offences are defined.

Professor Halpin will use the award to undertake a general study on the role and scope of definition within the criminal law, to be published as a book with Hart Publishing. More specific objectives of the project are:

  • to demonstrate how general theoretical insights on legal reasoning can assist with the practical problems of defining criminal offences;
  • to identify where different features of the process of definition call for different practical responses in applying the law;
  • to clarify the uses of definition in the work of the judiciary and law reformers;
  • to determine realistic expectations for the principle of legality within the criminal law.

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Professor A Janowitz
Professor of Romantic Poetry, Queen Mary, University of London
A Comparative Study of the Language and Style of the Prose and Verse Writings of the Younger Seneca

Anne Janowitz, who is Professor of Romantic Poetry at Queen Mary, University of London, will spend the period of her Senior Research Fellowship working on a study of London star and night sky poetry. She will explore skyscape poems within the history of English landscape poetry, showing how stellar poetics modify the tradition of the prospect poem and alter the aesthetics of sublime poetry. Although star and night sky poems are ubiquitous in enlightenment and romantic poetry they have never been the subjects of systematic study. The Sky at Night will argue that they offered to poets and readers over two centuries imaginative possibilities for making sense of urban experience. Interpreting poems by, amongst others, John Gay, S.T. Coleridge, William Blake, Joanna Baillie, Amy Levy, and Lawrence Binyon, the study will investigate the night sky as both the source of light (stars and the moon) and the screen on which urban light is reflected (lamplight, fireworks, and urban glow). It will argue that in the poetic engagement of natural and fabricated urban night light is found both a celebration and a fear of how humanly-made night light imposes upon the natural sublimity of the starry sky.

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Professor A Oswald
Professor of Economics, University of Warwick
link: http://www.warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/Economics/oswald/
Economics and Happiness: A Longitudinal Analysis of Wellbeing in Britain

This project will study happiness and psychological wellbeing in Britain. By following random samples of people through time, it will apply a new statistical method to calculate the value of good and bad events in life. In this way, the work addresses difficult but fundamental questions like 'which makes human beings happier, a large pay rise or getting married?'. The project will draw upon data from the latest sweeps of the British Household Panel Study and the National Child Development Study. It fits within an emerging literature on the economics of happiness.

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Professor A Spencer
Professor of Linguistics, University of Essex
link: http://privatewww.essex.ac.uk/~spena/Research.html#morphtheory
A Paradigm-Based Approach to Morphosyntax

Professor Spencer's project will examine two sets of related linguistic phenomena, Case marking (as when a verb assigns Nominative to its subject and Accusative to its object) and Agreement (as when a verb signals the person/number of its subject, or an adjective signals the number/gender/case of the noun it modifies). The patterns observed across languages turn out to be extremely complex and linguistic theories of various kinds have generally only attempted to account for a small subset of the phenomena. The first aim of the project will be to codify the more important phenomena and explore some of their interrelationships. The second aim will be to develop a theoretical account of these phenomena within the theory of Lexical Functional Grammar (Bresnan, 2001), by incorporating the notion of paradigm-based morphology (Stump, 2001). This develops recent work which Professor Spencer has been conducting in collaboration with various colleagues.

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Dr N Stargardt
CUF Lecturer in Modern European History, University of Oxford and Official College Tutorial Fellow, Magdalen College
Children's Lives in Nazi Germany (1933-c.1948)

This study is an attempt to write a social history of the Nazi period from the perspective of children. In what ways was Nazi Germany, a regime which lasted a mere twelve years, able to transform the mentalities of the children who lived through it? Drawing largely on archival sources from the time, this book explores the experience of living under Nazi rule. At its centre are the lives and imaginations of children, in all their diversity. Whether they came from Jewish or Nazi, Catholic or Socialist families, whether they were disabled or juvenile delinquents, the Nazi period would profoundly transform their experiences and their attitudes, not to mention their life chances and danger of death. This is a social history through the eyes of children and it is a book about all kinds of childhood, bringing together under a single empathetic gaze the experiences of 'ordinary Germans' and of mentally disabled children and Jews killed in the war, to restore the social unity to a world which Nazism ripped apart.

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British Academy Thank-Offering to Britain Fellowship 2002-2003

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Dr S C Greer
Reader in Law, University of Bristol
Interpreting the European Convention on Human Rights

The proposed study will examine the failure of the European Court of Human Rights, and the (recently abolished) European Commission on Human Rights, to resolve systematically several core issues raised by the European Convention on Human Rights: (a) the appropriate division of labour between the European Court of Human Rights and national parliaments, courts, executive and administrative institutions; (b) the relationship between Convention rights and each other; (c) the relationship between Convention rights and public interests; (d) when human rights standards should be harmonised in member states and national differences preserved. It will be argued that the current confusion can be traced to a single source - the haphazard way in which the Convention has been interpreted by the Strasbourg institutions. However, a more rigorous theory of interpretation, based on three constitutional principles - 'rights', 'democracy' and 'priority to rights' - is already inherent in the text and case law awaiting more deliberate articulation. If this model were applied more consistently it would enhance the credibility of some existing decisions, but undermine that of others. However, it would also offer a solution to the core uncertainties and would bring much greater coherence and authority to the Court's future decisions, particularly in the domestic law of member states.