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Postdoctoral Fellowships Results of the 1999 competition

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Allan, Dr W R  (Oxford, Faculty of Literae Humaniores & St Anne’s College), Greek Tragedy

The behaviour and morality of the gods are fundamental to Greek tragedy and its metaphysical meaning. The aim of Dr William Allan’s research is to explore the role of the gods in the tragedies of Euripides, which is one of the most controversial aspects of his whole work. The study will draw on a reading of Greek tragedy as a whole, and will set the literary genre within its wider ritual and civic context. In the first year of the Fellowship, Dr Allan intends to complete an edition of the same dramatist’s The Children of Heracles for the Aris and Phillips’ Classical Texts series. The play raises interesting questions about the relationship between tragedy and history, and about the popularity and spread of tragedy outside Athens in the fifth century BC.

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Avery, Dr V J (Cambridge, Department of History of Art), History of Art

The aim of Dr Victoria J Avery’s research is to investigate the production of both decorative and functional bronze objects in Cinquecento Venice. Archival research combined with visual analysis of the bronze objects themselves, will provide a much clearer picture about the number of private and public foundries in Venice, their size and location, their production capabilities and the sorts of objects they cast. It will also reveal more about the identities of the founders, and the extent to which bronze founding was a dynastic concern, as well as providing evidence of inter-artistic rivalry, and patterns of patronage and collaboration. This research will feed into the projects being undertaken by several European and American museums to catalogue their Italian Renaissance bronze collections.

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Banerjee, Dr R A (Sussex, School of Cognitive and Computing Sciences), Developmental Psychology

The aim of Dr Robin Banerjee’s research is to shed new light on self-consciousness in primary school children. Self-consciousness involves both cognitive issues (eg thinking about how one is being evaluated by others) and emotional issues (eg feeling embarrassed or anxious). The proposed research will investigate how the cognitive and emotional aspects of self-consciousness interact during childhood, and will test hypotheses about how children’s self-consciousness is related to their peer relationships. The research will provide new insights into our understanding of how children think and feel about the social world, and of how these thoughts and feelings are related to their social interactions.

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Bermúdez Otero, Dr R (Manchester, Departments of English and Linguistics), Theoretical and Historical Phonology

Dr Ricardo Bermúdez Otero proposes to undertake a diachronic study of anaptyxis in rising sonority consonant clusters in Old and early Middle English, with special reference to variation between dialects. His principal aim is to test and refine an optimality-theoretic model of phonological change relying on level segregation; within this context, his research will particularly focus upon the role of input optimization in determining the life cycle of phonological constraint rankings. In addition, new evidence will be gathered with a bearing on the representation of opaque phonological generalizations in constraint-based grammars.

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Billinge, Dr H (King’s College London, Department of Philosophy), Philosophy of Constructive Mathematics

The aim of Dr Helen Billinge’s research is to provide a philosophical justification or defence of Constructive Mathematics as presented in Errett Bishop’s Foundations of Constructive Mathematics. This justification will be based on considerations of mathematical meaning and understanding in general, developing Bishop’s own philosophical motivation and following the work of Michael Dummett and Neil Tennant. The philosophical justification must do justice to Constructive Mathematics as it is practised and so the work will also involve looking at both what mathematicians working with Bishop’s Constructive Mathematics do and what they say about what they do.

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Cassidy, Dr R L (Cambridge, Faculty of Social Anthropology), Social Anthropology

The aim of Dr Rebecca Cassidy’s research is to examine themes of class, nature, biology and heredity in relation to horse racing in the USA. Conducting participant observation amongst horse breeders in Lexington, Kentucky will enable the interrogation of notions of nation, race and breed. Discourses of purity and contamination will be traced in the history of the American Stud Book, and related to broader socio-historical contexts from discrimination on grounds of race to contemporary discussions of genetic inheritance.

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Clark, Dr S E (Oxford, Faculty of Music & Merton College), Musicology

The aim of Dr Suzannah Clark’s research is to assess the nature of the medieval refrain, particularly as it functions in the thirteenth-century French motet. In this context, a refrain is typically defined as a fragment of text and/or music that migrates from one composition or genre to another. Refrains are found in most lyrico-narrative genres of the time, but the motet is unique insofar as refrains are embedded in a polyphonic texture. Apparently hidden in the texture, composers found numerous musical ways to signal their presence. Thus, on the one hand, this study will provide new insight into the practice of citation and interpolation and, on the other, will shed light on how composers marked important structural events in motets. Suzannah Clark’s other research interests include the instrumental music of Franz Schubert, which was the subject of her doctoral thesis, and the history of tonal theory.

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Conybeare, Dr C M (Manchester, Department of Classics), Late Antique Latin Literature and Theology

Dr Catherine Conybeare’s project is intended completely to revise traditional interpretations of St Augustine’s thought, which tend either to reiterate, or react against, his perceived dogma. This obscures a truer contrast between the dogmatic and the anti-authoritarian strands of Augustine’s thought. She will explore the anti-authoritarian Augustine, who emphasised the fluidity of human concepts and language, and insisted upon the importance of individual interpretations and, above all, of a continual striving towards the divine. The project will especially be based upon Augustine's early and little-read works and the ’personal’ medium of his letters.

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Dimova-Cookson, Dr M (University College London, Centre for Politics, Law & Society), Political Theory

The aim of Dr Maria Dimova-Cookson’s research is to examine how liberalism can be grounded in a modern form of idealism based on a re-interpretation of 19th Century British Idealism and Early 20th Century European Phenomenology. This re-interpretation offers a framework for resolving issues that are part of the contemporary research agenda in the field of political theory. Most Late 20th Century liberals, and John Rawls in particular, deliberately avoid recourse to any form of idealism (or ‘metaphysics’) and thus ignore powerful resources for defending liberalism and responding to the profound philosophical challenges of the communitarians.

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Erskine, Dr T A (Cambridge, Centre of International Studies, Clare Hall), International Political Thought

Dr Toni Erskine’s research will focus on the concept of moral agency within the discipline of International Relations. The aim of this research is to explore the theoretical potential (and limitations) of treating collectivities ’ bodies such as states, ‘quasi-states’ and international organisations ’ as analogous to individuals in the assignment of moral duties. It will also consider the practical implications of extending moral agency beyond the individual by questioning the expectations that one might place on these actors in the context of international violence.

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Ferretter, Dr L (Cardiff, Centre for Critical and Cultural Theory), Contemporary Literary Theory

The aim of Dr Luke Ferretter’s research is to examine the relations between phenomenology and Catholic theology in the work of Stanislas Breton (b. 1912) and Jean-Luc Marion (B. 1946), and in particular to analyse the relevance of this work for contemporary literary theory. This is the first full-length study of either philosopher in English, and it will show that their work enables us, under certain conditions, to use theological language in literary theory and criticism, despite the common assumption that this can and should not be done. It should prove useful to all those who wish to use elements of contemporary literary theory without thereby relinquishing the potential truth-claim of Christian theology.

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Gleadle, Dr K J (London Guildhall, Department of Politics and Modern History), Politics and Modern History

The aim of Dr Kathryn Gleadle’s research is to recover and analyse the nature of middle-class women’s involvement in politics and their contribution to political culture, 1780-1860. By focusing upon the radical political tradition, the project seeks to explore much neglected aspects of women’s political engagement. This will include considerations of political motherhood and the creation of family political traditions; the politics of life-style (for example alternative health care and dietary choices) and women’s involvement in pressure group campaigns such as the movement for European nationalism. The project seeks to challenge the existing parameters of political history, as well as re-evaluating perceptions of women’s ’domesticity’.

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Hamilton, Dr S M (Southampton, Department of History), Early Medieval Social and Ecclesiastical History

The aim of Dr Sarah Hamilton’s research is to use the liturgical evidence found in the manuscript collections of the pastoral rites for baptism, penance and death, known as ‘rituals’ to study the delivery of pastoral care in Italy in the period c900-c1200. Through the study of some forty manuscripts this research will establish how they were used and by whom. This research will thus provide both new insights into how pastoral care was delivered by the clergy to the laity and of how the laity experienced the medieval church at the time of the eleventh-century papal reform movement.

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Harris, Dr R A (School of Oriental and African Studies, Department of Music), Ethnomusicology

Dr Rachel Harris’s project aims to examine the production and consumption of musical recordings amongst the Uyghur ethnic minority people of China’s northwestern border region, Xinjiang. The project seeks to draw attention to the diversity of local meanings and contexts, and the development and continuity of traditional music, through the mediation of technology. ‘Popular music’ is defined here as music which is primarily mediated by technological means and intended for wide dissemination. The choice of popular music as the core of this study leads on to a broad range of social and political issues which are reflected and effected through this medium. The role of the relatively inexpensive cassette technology worldwide, as a local counterforce to national and transnational control of the recording industry, is now attracting increasing scholarly interest. This project will contribute to a comparative understanding of the role of recorded music amid competing local attempts at the construction and assertion of identities.

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Haskell, Dr Y A (Cambridge, Faculty of Modern & Medieval Languages,  Newnham College), Jesuit Latin Poetry and Pedagogy

Dr Yasmin Haskell will explore the Latin didactic poetry written by Jesuits in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries on agriculture, science, manners and art. Such poems reveal much about attitudes to labour and learning within the Society of Jesus, and, more generally, about the contemporary diffusion and reception of social and scientific ideas. The poem will be interpreted against a background of classical and Renaissance didactic poetry and theory, vernacular traditions in didactic poetry, and, more crucially, early modern Jesuit pedagogy and ideology. Haskell will also investigate the state and significance of classical studies in the Italian Jesuit colleges of the eighteenth century, with a special focus on the Collegio Romano.

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Henry, Dr N S (Cambridge, Faculty of Divinity & Jesus College), Early Christian Literature and History

The aim of Dr Nathalie Henry’s research is to examine early eastern interpretations of the Song of Songs and their influence on the development of christology, ecclesiology and asceticism in the late Roman Empire. This research will provide a new insight into the relationship between biblical exegesis and the formation of the doctrine of the Church. In addition the research will cast new light on the continuity between classical culture and Christian literature.  

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Hosfield, Dr R T (Southampton, Department of Archaeology), European Lower and Middle Palaeolithic Archaeology and Demography

The aim of Dr Robert Hosfield’s research is to investigate demographic trends in the Lower and Middle Palaeolithic (c 500,000-40,000 bp) along an ecological transect between southern and northern Europe. The research conclusions will encompass and extend beyond isolated studies to achieve a comparative investigation of global population characteristics. Within these goals the research will also address three themes relevant to regional methodological approaches: the variable compatibility of regional data collected under different conditions; the potential chronological and structural information contained within off-site archaeology, and the role of regional artefact data in estimating population sizes and densities.

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Iguchi, Dr K (Oxford, Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology), Social Anthropology

The aim of Dr Kawori Iguchi’s research is to examine the relationship between musical notations, knowledge and practice, in reference to the Japanese traditional flute, the nohkan, of the Gion festival and the noh drama. The specificity of the relationship between instrument, sign, sound and bodily movements is made literally visible when the notation is revised or made anew. The research focuses on the historical transformation and manipulation of nohkan notations since the nineteenth century, and on how this has affected actual musical practices and concepts of (musical) knowledge. This will also provide a platform for comparing the relationship between sound and notation with that between speech and writing, leading to wider areas of debate about what exactly the act of inscription entails and its effects on our understanding of tradition, memory, practice and knowledge.

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Janes, Dr D T S (King’s College London, Department of History), Early Medieval History and Social Anthropology

Dr Dominic Janes’ project is intended to provide an evaluation of the applicability of concepts from social anthropology to the study of post-Roman society in western Europe. Ritual, gift-exchange, kinship and symbolism are just some of the areas of study, long prominent in anthropology, which have been recognised as having considerable value in the understanding of early European society. It is unclear, however, how applicable concepts derived largely from the understanding of modern pre-industrial societies are to the more distant past. By looking at the history of anthropology this project aims to provide a careful investigation of the opportunities, as well as the dangers, of anthropologically-informed approaches to the study of European history.

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Kirby, Dr S (Edinburgh, Department of Linguistics), Linguistics

What are the origins of human language, and how did its evolution impact on its structure’ Dr Simon Kirby’s research suggests a new approach to answering these questions, one in which biological evolution is less important than has previously been assumed. Instead, the focus of his approach it to treat languages themselves as adaptively evolving systems. By using computer models of populations of simulated individuals that are able to learn and communicate with one another, the behaviour of evolving languages under various different theoretical assumptions can be tested. With this modelling methodology, it should be possible to show how many universal properties of human language may be naturally emergent from the process of linguistic transmission over time.

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Luckhurst, Dr N J (Oxford, Somerville College &  European Humanities Research Centre),

The aim of Dr Nicola Luckhurst’s research is to investigate a scientific moment which is of particular resonance today: the origin of the modern study of genetics, and its implications for French literature of the modernist period. Theories of heredity and evolution have been identified as a powerful influence on the nineteenth century novel: the discovery, towards the end of the century, of a new genetic model reshaped those concerns. This research project will follow two lines of enquiry – thematic and rhetorical. The first will trace literature’s dialogue with the themata of the life sciences, focusing on the response of writers who use these themata to negotiate definitions and narratives of the self and of aesthetic practice. The second, an analysis of the rhetorical repertoire developed by biologists to communicate their work and its subsequent mediation through other styles of text, will consider the style and consequences of the developing conversation between ’the two cultures’. It is hoped that this interrogation of the relationship between French literature and the life sciences during the period 1890–1930 will also illuminate the extent to which current thinking is shaped by the language of genetics.

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McKee, Dr H A (Wales Aberystwyth, Department of Welsh), Palaeography and Cultural History

Dr Helen McKee’s research will involve a re-examination of cultural contact and development in eleventh-century Wales, using the primary evidence of the surviving manuscripts. The aims are, in the field of palaeography and art history, to identify the sources for developments in script-styles and decorative techniques, and to clarify the still imperfectly-understood transition from Insular to Norman hands; and on the textual side, to establish what material was available, and which of Wales’ neighbours were important in the transmission of learning. It is hoped that by-products of this research will be the identification of new Welsh manuscripts and of new glosses in Old Welsh.

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Punch, Dr S (Stirling, Department of Applied Social Sciences), Sociology of Childhood

Dr Samantha Punch’s research aims to explore children’s own views of their sibling relationships and their experiences of family relationships according to their gender and birth order. It is a qualitative study which will examine to what extent and under what circumstances children use siblings as a source of informal support rather than adults, peers or formal services. Psychological sibling research has defined the sibling relationship as one of support, rivalry and conflict. Little is known, however, sociologically about the ways in which children themselves perceive and negotiate such sibling relationships. This research seeks to explore how children make sense of their own and their siblings– roles within the household, in particular examining power relationships between siblings (their strategies as both givers and receivers of power). The research will include 30 focus group interviews, 90 individual interviews, and 90 essays carried out with a sample of 90 children between the ages of 7 and 15 drawn from 30 families with at least three siblings within this age range.

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Schencking, Dr J C (Cambridge, Faculty of Oriental Studies & Wolfson College), Modern Japanese History

Dr Charles Schencking’s work examines the political emergence of the Imperial Japanese Navy between 1868 and 1926, an emergence which was an essential prerequisite to the navy’s rise as a formidable military power. Specifically, his work illustrates that from its inception in 1872, but particularly after the Russo-Japanese war of 1904–05, the navy immersed itself in politics, both at the elite and local level in society in order to build a groundswell of support for the expensive proposition of naval expansion. Moreover, his work documents the navy’s early attempts to construct a consciousness of a South Seas destiny in Japan to encourage exploration of, and emigration into the island territories of the Pacific, Australasia, and Southeast Asia – both of which were used to legitimate fleet expansion. Revising past and current scholarship on the Japanese navy, his research will, when complete, demonstrate that the navy was a sophisticated political and ideological actor whose leaders understood the importance of elite-level political pragmatism and mass society. Finally, his work will strengthen the historiography associated with politics, the military and society in Japan by providing historical context to the Japanese navy’s later involvement in national politics and imperial expansion in the turbulent decade of the 1930s.

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Sharp, Dr M L (Reading, Department of Classics), Graeco-Roman Egypt

The aim of Dr Michael Sharp’s research is to undertake a new and comprehensive study of taxation in Ptolemaic, Roman and Byzantine Egypt (332BC–AD642). Egypt is the only part of the Graeco-Roman world for which such a study is possible, thanks to the survival of thousands of receipts, accounts and related documents written on papyri and ostraka. The project will begin with the compilation and elucidation of this documentary evidence and the analysis of the technical issues involved in the assessment and collection of taxes. This will serve as the basis for a broader study of the fiscal regime operating during the period of Greek and Roman rule and the extent to which it changed over time. Use will be made of comparative evidence, drawn in particular from other periods of Egyptian history and other parts of the ancient world, in order to determine what, if anything, was distinctive about Egypt during the period. Finally, the relationship of taxation to the wider economy will also be examined.

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Shaw, Dr J E (Oxford, Faculty of Modern History), Early Modern History

Dr. James Shaw’s research will examine the consumption of foodstuffs in seventeenth-century Venice, focusing on the relationship between consumption patterns and the construction/maintenance of social identity. While declining as a centre of industrial production in the seventeenth century, Venice continued to develop as a centre for aristocratic tourism, with an economy increasingly dependent upon the service, foodstuffs and luxury sectors. Analysis of shifts in consumption and market structures will be examined in relation to issues of identity, in particular the difficulties experienced by the emergent 'shame-faced poor' (poverty-stricken nobles) in maintaining an aristocratic lifestyle. The project will analyse the impact of foreign culinary fashions and the debate over ‘luxury’ and ask whether it is possible to write a history of Venetian 'decline' in culinary as well as economic and political terms.

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Stephanou, Dr Y (King’s College London, Department of Philosophy), Modal and Philosophical Logic

Dr Yannis Stephanou’s research concerns indexed actuality operators and quantifiers. Indexed symbols meaning ’actually’ and ’everything actual’ (or ’something actual’) can be added to modal logic; the index allows such a symbol to point back to a preceding possibility or necessity operator having the same index and refer to the possible world introduced by that operator. The formal part of the research will aim at finding complete axiomatisations for various semantics. The philosophical part will address the question whether the theorems of those axiomatisations are schemas all of whose instances are true. New insights will be gained into the philosophical arguments and disputes that involve the concept of actuality. The research will also pave the way for similar investigations in tense logic.

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Voiculescu, Dr A (Oxford, Faculty of Law), Human Rights and Public International Law

The aim of Dr Aurora Voiculescu’s study is to analyse the negative impact caused by non-state agencies such as the International Financial Institutions and the Transnational Corporations on economic, social and cultural rights. The realisation of these rights will be measured against the standards set by the International Covenant on the Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the American Convention on Human Rights in the Area of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and the European Social Charter. The importance of this research lies in assessing the extent to which tools and mechanisms currently available are sufficiently ardent and well equipped to induce the necessary large-scale alterations of practices, policies and even laws which put the activity of the non-state agencies at odds with the real promotion of economic, social and cultural rights.

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Walker, Dr J (Cambridge, Faculty of History & Wolfson College), Early Modern History

Dr Jonathan Walker’s aim is to research the concepts of fortune, providence and chance in early modern Europe. Fortune is one of those ideas that is not exactly a literal statement of belief nor exactly a metaphor, but somewhere in between, an explanatory mechanism. In the early modern period, ideas like fortune were manipulated in concrete form as pictures and images, as icons and emblems, and these images were understood to say something ‘real’ about the way the world was. Dr Walker intends to use a study of gamblers as an example of a group who were forced to deal with ‘Fortune’ explicitly not only on a theoretical level, but also on a practical level. By thinking about fortune a line can be traced from the abstruse speculations of university-trained theologians to the popular superstitions of card-players, from literary essays to neo-Aristotelian philosophy, from sermons to ‘field’ investigations by the Inquisition.

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Wroe, Dr A J (Essex, Department of Government), Politics

In recent years Californian voters have, through the direct-democracy process, excluded illegal immigrants from receipt of state services, made affirmative action unconstitutional and outlawed bilingual education in schools. It is the intention of Dr Andy Wroe’s research to examine why Californians are now supporting exclusionist policies by analysing the three aforementioned initiatives.

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