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Senior Research Fellowships - Past Awards: 2014

The British Academy is pleased to announce the result of the 2013-14 competition for Senior Research Fellowships and the Thank -Offering to Britain Fellowship. These awards were decided by the Research Awards Committee in March 2014, and will be taken up by the award-holders starting in the autumn of 2014.

The purpose of these Fellowships is to provide a period of research leave for one year for established scholars during which they will be able to concentrate on bringing a major piece of research towards completion while their normal teaching and administrative duties are covered by a full-time replacement.

Awards listed in alphabetical order by award holder's surname. All institutions named correct at point of original application.

 

Senior Research Fellowships

 

Braddick, Professor Michael                                                                                  SF130172

Professor of History, Univesity of Sheffield, Department of History

History / Early Modern History

John Lilburne and the English revolution

Value of Award: £52,253

Abstract

Professor Braddick will write a political life of John Lilburne building on new empirical work already in hand. It will focus on new techniques and possibilities for political mobilisation in revolutionary England, the networks that facilitated his campaigns and the ideas, rhetoric and emotional appeal that animated them. It will build on my earlier work on mobilisation and popular politics in the 1640s, which explained political change (institutional and ideological) as the result of activists’ efforts to define problems and opportunities and to mobilise support for their proposed solutions. It will also extend Professor Braddick’s earlier analysis of state formation as the outcome of continuous efforts by activists to define and respond to political challenges, and to legitimate political innovation; and his work on the counter-pressure of resistance and subversion. Integrating the analysis of mobilisation during the English revolution with the analysis of state formation and popular politics, it will offer a reinterpretation of revolutionary politics and their place in long-term political development.

 

Branigan, Professor Holly                                                                                      SF130180

Professor of Psychology of Language and Cognition, University of Edinburgh, School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences

Psychology / Cognitive and Perceptual Psychology

A theoretical model of syntactic processing in children's language production

Value of Award: £43,395

Abstract

The ability to produce and comprehend structured language is a uniquely human skill that develops from birth. Yet although we know a great deal about the mental processes that adults use to combine individual words to form sentences, we know remarkably little about how these processes develop in children. This research sets out to answer this question, examining how theoretical models of adult processing might apply to children’s language use. Professor Branigan will ask how children’s grammatical processes might be similar to adults’ and how they might differ. For example, are children more likely to ‘speak as they think’, rather than planning ahead, because they have less working memory capacity? Equally, are they more likely to depend on what they know about individual words, rather than the grammar of the language as a whole, because they have limited experience of the language? This research will produce a theoretical model of how children combine words when they speak to form complex expressions, which can then be tested experimentally in future research.

 

Cook, Professor Robert                                                                                         SF130190

Professor of American History, University of Sussex, History

History / Modern History

Contested Realm: Civil War Memory in the United States Since 1865

Value of Award: £46,442

Abstract

The American Civil War was a sprawling, sanguinary conflict that saved the Union from destruction and liberated four million slaves at a cost of at least 750,000 lives. From the moment the fighting ended in 1865 Americans began constructing powerful narratives about the war that continue to serve as touchstones of individual and group identity. In many respects the United States is, as historian David Blight has argued, 'the stories it tells itself about its Civil War and its enduring aftermath.' Contested Realm demonstrates how the four primary, myth-laden strands of Civil War memory ‘Union, Confederate, African American and reconciliatory’ have evolved, clashed and interconnected over time, their rise and eclipse determined by evolving power relations in the United States. It provides the fullest account to date of how the Civil War has been remembered variously as a realm of hate, of sorrow, of consensus, and of adventure, and the impact which different memories have had on inter-regional and inter-racial relations in the modern republic.

 

Fulford, Professor Tim                                                                                           SF130207

Professor, De Montfort University, Faculty of Humanities, Art and Design

English Language and Literature / Romantic literature

The Collected Letters of Sir Humphry Davy

Value of Award: £38,551.36

Abstract

Professor Fulford, an experienced editor of 19th century correspondence, will co-edit the first-ever Collected Edition of the c. 1100 surviving letters of Sir Humphry Davy (1778-1829), one of the most significant figures in the scientific and literary cultures of the nineteenth-century. Very few of Davy’s letters have been edited to modern standards; fewer than 250 have been published even in the form of extracts or, expurgated and unannotated, in Victorian volumes. This edition will therefore increase the number of published letters over fivefold. It will provide fully annotated texts, making Davy’s scientific terminology more intelligible and expanding knowledge of the scientific and literary cultures to which he contributed. It will feature previously unpublished letters to/concerning such notables as Ampere, Banks, Berzelius, Coleridge, Cuvier, Dalton, Faraday, Fox Talbot, Godwin, Herschel, Humboldt, Mantell, Oersted, Peel, Scott, Southey, Volta, Watt, Wordsworth. Matters discussed include the Voltaic pile, discovery of new elements, electromagnetism, the miners' lamp, Lyrical Ballads

 

Griffiths, Dr David                                                                                                  SF130033

Reader/University Lecturer in Archaeology, University of Oxford, Continuing Education

Archaeology / Landscape Archaeology

Birsay-Skaill Landscape Archaeology Project

Value of Award: £32,639.02

Abstract

The Birsay-Skaill Landscape Archaeology Project, Orkney (begun 2003), has undertaken extensive field survey culminating in several excavations. It has produced a range of internationally-important discoveries focusing on the Norse period (AD 800-1300). The most prominent of these is an intact longhouse settlement complex of the 11th century AD which is identifiably a skáli or central farm. An extensive project archive now exists, comprising digital, paper and photographic records, artefacts, environmental samples and radiocarbon dates. 17 collaborators are working on the material. The project has been funded by small grants from public bodies, personal donations and student fees. Dr Griffiths proposes to use the Fellowship to co-ordinate the final stages of specialist input, and for collating, writing and producing the project monograph. The Fellowship will also allow time for the preparation of the final deposit archive, in collaboration with Scottish authorities over finds and environmental materials, and with a permanent digital archiving body for the accompanying data.

 

Ryan, Dr James                                                                                                      SF130143

Associate Professor of Historical and Cultural Geography, University of Exeter, Geography

Geography / Historical Geography

Place and Popular Science in Nineteenth-Century Britain: The Work and World of Robert Hunt (1807-1887)

Value of Award: £41,327

Abstract

This research seeks to advance scholarship on the relationship between place and popular science in nineteenth-century Britain by examining the work and world of an influential but little-studied figure: Robert Hunt (1807-1887). Based in south-west England and from a relatively humble background, Hunt forged a respected career as a writer, researcher, lecturer and organizer across a range of fields, most notably chemistry, photography, geology and folklore. As secretary of the Royal Cornwall Polytechnic Society and Keeper of the Mining Record Office, and through his prodigious popular disseminations, Hunt was a major promoter of science to all classes of society. This research locates Hunt’s prolific outputs and activities within nineteenth-century networks of science and art, publishing and popularization, at local, regional and national scales. By examining Hunt’s place within distinctive local, regional and metropolitan circles of both elite and popular science, this research raises important questions about the mutual shaping of science and place in nineteenth-century Britain.

 

Sherratt, Dr Susan                                                                                                 SF130093

Lecturer, University of Sheffield, Department of Archaeology

Archaeology / Archaeology of the Ancient Near East

Silver before coinage: a history of silver from the fifth millennium to the mid-first millennium BC

Value of Award: £51,262

Abstract

The history of silver charts the history of the spread of western Old World 'civilisation', from its earliest urban beginnings in western Asia in the 4th millennium BC to its encounter with the New World in the early modern period and beyond. It is a feature of silver over this long period that its economic and social values remain broadly unchanged, and go hand in hand with its cultural and symbolic values. Dr Sherratt proposes to trace the history of silver from its beginnings in the 5th millennium BC in western Asia (shortly before the appearance of the Uruk urban centres) to the mid-1st millennium BC (shortly after the introduction of coinage), by which time silver resources were being exploited over a very wide area of the western Old World. Among other things, this history will investigate and seek to explain the social, cultural and economic processes by which silver became the elite metal of choice in southern Mesopotamia in the 4th millennium BC, and subsequently for ceremonial drinking equipment, as a standard and medium of exchange and eventually for coinage over a much wider area.

 

Thank-Offering to Britain Fellowship

 

Stevenson, Dr Nick                                                                                                SF130020

Reader in Cultural Sociology, University of Nottingham, Sociology and Social Policy

Sociology / Social Theory

Human Rights, Civil Society and the Reinvention of Freedom

Value of Award: £47,251

Abstract

Ideas of human rights, civil society and freedom have a long and complex history in Western and European societies. It is the aim of this research to investigate what these ideas mean in a modern, interconnected world. By investigating a range of artistic, cultural and political movements and associations the research will consider the extent to which the meaning of human rights and freedom are changing after the European revolutions of 1989. If, since the end of the Cold War, the human rights agenda has become more popular globally, then other, more pessimistic voices have argued that freedom is being progressively abandoned as a virtue. Many critics claim that the development of a statist agenda after 9/11 along with mass consumerism has meant that more authentic ideas of freedom have either been jettisoned through talk of security or converted into ideas that are more compatible with market choice. Dr Stevenson will explore the changing collective meanings of freedom across a range of political and cultural sites in our increasingly uncertain and fragile times.

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