A photo of the Arts building on the University of Birmingham campus

The College of Arts & Law has been awarded a total of three highly prestigious Leverhulme Trust Major Research Fellowships.

The fellowships are awarded to well-established, distinguished researchers in the humanities and social sciences in order to complete a piece of original research. All 3 projects will begin in Autumn 2021, and will result in a book from each Fellow about their research, along with other additional outputs, including articles and podcasts.

Professor Lyndsey Stonebridge of the Department of English Literature received her Fellowship for her 2 year project, “Thinking Like Hannah Arendt: Crisis Thinking from the 20th Century for Today”. The project will explore how Arendt, one time “illegal emigrant”, historian of totalitarianism, analyst of the banality of administrative evil, and advocate for new political beginnings, is now emerging as the political theorist for our new era of crisis, uncertainty, and extremism. This research project will reveal how her thinking offers us new methods for approaching the bewilderment of our present age of anxiety.

Dr Insa Nolte of the Department of African Studies and Anthropology received her Fellowship for her 2 year project,  “Muslim Men, Christian Women: An African history of gender and coexistence”. The project looks at how and why the Yoruba of southwest Nigeria, who have historically embraced Islam and Christianity in similar numbers, have experienced little religious conflict. Engaging with oral and Arabic as well as European sources, the project will explore how local ideas about gender were central to religious coexistence from the late eighteenth to the early twenty-first century. 

Professor Gavin Schaffer of the Department of History received his Fellowship for his 2 year project, "The Last Jew of Merthyr: a  Social and Cultural History of Postwar Britain”. The project explores why despite a substantial history of discrimination, Britain’s 300,000 Jews are now often constructed as ‘model migrants’, whose integration exemplifies the opportunities afforded by a tolerant British society.  Challenging these mythic and myopic narratives, the project will argue that the realities of British-Jewish experience significantly inform interdisciplinary approaches to diaspora, ‘whiteness’, racism and migration; and ask what it means to be Jewish in an age of rising secularism and nationalism, and why Jewish history matters in the study of multiculturalism and religion.