New staff profiles for academic year 16/17

Below is a list of all new staff profiles that we have created for the academic year 2016-2017.

If you are a member of College of Arts and Law academic staff and don't yet have a public profile, please contact the web team (artswebteam@contacts.bham.ac.uk).

You can also view a simplified version of this list without the research interests.

Professor Helen Abbott

Professor Helen Abbott

Professor of Modern Languages

Department of Modern Languages

My current major research project, the Baudelaire Song Project (baudelairesong.org, @BaudelaireProj) has one main aim: to research all the song settings ever of the poems by famous French poet Charles Baudelaire (1821-1867). Working with Dr Mylène Dubiau at the University of Toulouse II, and the HRI Digital team at the University of Sheffield, we are building a pioneering digital dataset which brings together for the first time both pop music and classical music settings of Baudelaire's verse and prose poetry. Using innovative digital song analysis techniques devised and tested by our project Research Associate Dr Caroline Ardrey, we are able to produce rich, comparative data across a wide dataset, meaning we can answer questions such as: What are the performance trends in singing Baudelaire's poems? Which poems are never or rarely set to music, and why? How do composers and songwriters handle the challenges of setting French verse metre? Are there certain types of musical genres which are more suited to Baudelaire's poetry than others? The project is generously funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) 2015-2019.

Related to this project, my most recent monograph, Baudelaire In Song 1880-1930 ( 2017/18) sets out a new methodology for analysing song settings of poetry. It takes five European song sets as its case studies from French, Russian, and Austrian composers of the fin-de-siècle/early 20th century, and reveals how understanding song means understanding the complex, multi-layered bonds that form and shape it. Drawing on existing theories from translation, adaptation, and word-music studies, it critiques and enriches these perspectives by exploiting recent neuroscientific research and developing new digital approaches for analysing song.

My inaugural lecture at the University of Birmingham on 17 November 2017 on the topic of 'Baudelaire in Song' is available to watch online:

Beyond the Baudelaire Song Project, my broader research areas include:

  • Rhetoric, poetics, music and aesthetics 1850–1950, with particular emphasis on theories of voice
  • Post-romantic French poetry, and in particular Baudelaire, Gautier, Mallarmé, Villiers de l’Isle-Adam, Verlaine, Valéry, and Post-romantic French song, and in particular Berlioz, Charpentier, Debussy, Duparc, Fauré, Vierne
  • Aesthetic theory and neuroscience 1880–present (in particular the work of René Ghil, Jacques Rancière, and neuroscientific theories of ‘pre-movement’ and resource-sharing)
  • Influence of French symbolist poetics on early twentieth-century Italian poetry (in particular the poetry of Dino Campana, Eugenio Montale and Gabriele D’Annunzio)

Central to my approach is working regularly with practitioners (songwriters, composers, singers, pianists, performers, actors). Current and recent collaborations, and events include:

  • Series advisor to the Académie Francis Poulenc (Centre International de la Mélodie Française)  2017 season on Baudelaire
  • Hector Berlioz / Théophile Gautier, Les Nuits d'été recitals, creative collaborations, and coaching sessions with professional singers (including Sophie Bevan) and translators (including Eleanor Brown) February 2014
  • Aloysius Bertrand / Maurice Ravel 'Gaspard de la Nuit'. Related interview on ABC Australia 'Into The Music' (broadcast 6 April 2013)
  • Co-organiser, with Richard Langham Smith (Royal College of Music), of Debussy symposium ‘Debussy Text and Idea’, London 12-13 April 2012 (fully podcast online). Related interview on BBC Radio 4 programme 'Songs for Madame Vasnier' (broadcast 10 January 2012).
  • Collaboration with pianist Sholto Kynoch, Artistic Director of Oxford Lieder (including series adviser, and numerous pre-concert talks)
  • Member of Oxford Song Network: Poetry and Performance research group (TORCH network)
  • Member of SongArt Performance Research Group (podcasts available online)
  • Collaboration with LLA-Créatis at Université Toulouse II-Jean Jaurès, working on French mélodie.

Current and previous research grant awards include:

  • AHRC Standard Grant 2015-2019, Baudelaire Song Project (£594,000)
  • AHRC Early Career Fellowship 2011 (£55,186)
  • The Leverhulme Trust Artist in Residence Scheme 2009 (£11,800)
  • British Academy Small Research Grant 2008 (£2,477)

Mr John Adenitire

Mr John Adenitire

Lecturer

Birmingham Law School

John’s recent doctoral thesis shows that there is a general legal right to exemption for conscientious objectors in the USA, Canada and UK. It shows that it is a limited right: exemptions may be lawfully denied to protect the rights of others or important public interests. The thesis then investigates whether such a legal right is exclusively reserved for religious believers. The thesis shows that it is not: it is available to those that object on the basis of conscience, irrespective of whether their conscience is motivated by religious or non-religious beliefs. The thesis concludes by defending the existence of this general right by appealing to liberal values.

Dr Caroline Ardrey

Dr Caroline Ardrey

Lecturer in French

Department of Modern Languages

Caroline’s research focuses on nineteenth-century French literature, in particular poetry, and its intersections with other art forms. She is especially interested studying the links which poetry during this period had with musical culture, fashion and social life.

Her doctoral thesis looked in particular at the work of the nineteenth-century French poet, Stéphane Mallarmé, who published a fashion magazine, entitled La Dernière Mode during the second half of 1874. Caroline’s thesis argues that 1874 and, more specifically, the eight issues of La Dernière Mode represent a turning point in Mallarmé’s aesthetic. Through a comparative study of the text and typographical conventions in the fashion magazine and in Mallarmé’s theoretical writings and notes, she makes a case for seeing La Dernière Mode as a testing ground for some of the key principles which form Mallarmé’s ideal book, known as the Livre

Caroline’s current research is linked to her work as part of The Baudelaire Song Project, focusing in particular on popular song settings and appropriations of Baudelaire’s poetry. She is especially interested in the socio-cultural and political conditions which serve as a backdrop for appropriations of Baudelaire’s texts in genres including black metal and experimental pop. She is currently in the process of preparing a monograph which looks at song settings and appropriations of Baudelaire’s poetry in modern pop, rock and rap music.

Caroline is also pursuing new avenues in her research, looking at social and professional networks in nineteenth-century Paris. Her future research outputs seek to build on her expertise in digital humanities and apply techniques drawn from fields including the social sciences and statistics to the study of literature and culture. Taking an interdisciplinary approach, forthcoming projects involve using social network analysis  (SNA) techniques to tease out alternative historical narratives and re-evaluate sites of artistic cross-pollination in late nineteenth-century France.

Within the context of her research, Caroline is particularly committed to public engagement, exploring new ways of using technology, in particular mixed reality tools, to communicate scholarship to a wider audience.

Dr Henriette van der Blom

Dr Henriette van der Blom

Senior Lecturer in Ancient History

Classics, Ancient History and Archaeology

I specialise in the political life and oratorical culture of the Roman republic and early Empire, especially the history of the late Roman republic, patterns of political careers, all aspects of Cicero, oratory and rhetoric, fragmentary evidence, exempla and cultural memory.

My first book, Cicero’s Role Models, explores Cicero’s rhetorical and political strategy as a newcomer in Roman republican politics. It argues that Cicero advertised himself as follower of chosen models of behaviour from the past – his role models or exempla – in order to promote his public persona and political influence.

My second book, Oratory and Political Career in the Late Roman Republic, investigates the relationship between oratory and political career in the Roman republic. Through close study of speech fragments and testimonies, I analyse how far the oratorical profile and performances of politicians such as Pompey, Caesar, Cato the Younger and others define and restrict their political actions and agendas, and, ultimately, their political influence and careers. In relation to this project, I co-organised an international conference on Oratory and Political Career in the Roman Republic (Oxford, 2010) from which an edited volume appeared: C. Steel & H. van der Blom (eds) (2013), Community and Communication: Oratory and Politics in Republican Rome, Oxford University Press.

I am now planning a new book on the reception of Roman republican orators and oratory in the Roman imperial period.

I am the founding director of the Network for Oratory and Politics (NOP), an interdisciplinary research network on the relationship between oratory and politics. The aim of the Network for Oratory and Politics, initially funded by the Royal Society of Edinburgh and now funded by the AHRC, is to facilitate research into and discussion of political oratory across historical periods and regions in order to broaden up the study of political speech and reach out to non-academic communities. The network aims to connect academics with political practitioners of public speech such as politicians, speech writers and the general public in an exchange of knowledge and ideas. For more information, visit the website for Network for Oratory and Politics

Another research project, funded by the AHRC and entitled The Crisis of Rhetoric, takes the ideas of the Network for Oratory and Politics further: Over two years, I am leading a project group of political scientists, linguists, historians, classicists and rhetoricians to analyse what is going wrong in current British political communication. We involve politicians, speech writers, civil servants and political journalists in our research to remedy the faulty communication. 

I am a member of the editorial and advisory boards of the Fragments of the Roman Republican Orators project (University of Glasgow) which will provide a new edition with commentary and translation of the fragments of the non-Ciceronian Roman orators of the republican period. Alongside this edition, I co-editing with Professor Catherine Steel and Dr Christa Grey a conference volume entitled Institutions and Ideology in Republican Rome: speech, audience and decision (Cambridge University Press, 2018). For more information, visit the website for the Fragments of the Roman Republican Orators.

I am also involved in a project to co-edit a collection of essays on Mesopotamian, Hittite, Egyptian, Maya, Chinese, Biblical, and Classical usages of the past, provisionally entitled Historical Consciousness and the Use of the Past in the Ancient World.

Dr Hannah Boast

Dr Hannah Boast

Teaching Fellow in Contemporary and Postcolonial Literature

Department of English Literature

My research examines the politics of resource scarcity in contemporary world literature, focusing on hydropolitics. I am currently completing my first monograph, titled Hydrofictions: Water, Power and Politics in Israeli and Palestinian Literature, for Edinburgh University Press. Hydrofictions identifies water as a crucial new topic of literary and cultural analysis at a critical moment for the world's water resources. By analysing a range of twentieth and twenty-first century texts, I argue for the necessity of recognising water's vital importance in understanding contemporary literature from Israel/Palestine, showing that water is as culturally significant as that much more obvious object of nationalist attention, the land. Newer projects in development include monographs on world literature and water crisis, and on literature and environment in Israel/Palestine.

My wider interests include popular culture; the intersections between literary studies and geography; literary theory, particularly postcolonial studies, ecocriticism, world-systems, feminist and queer theory; Arabic literature; and literature and activism, particularly environmentalism.

Dr Lloyd Brown

Dr Lloyd Brown

Lecturer

Birmingham Law School

Lloyd has a growing, national reputation – commensurate for an academic of his age and experience – for undertaking research in the area of environmental law. His specialist research interests include: land pollution, Part 2A of the EPA 1990, environmental risks and environmental due diligence. He has a knowledge and understanding of qualitative interviewing techniques, having used a semi-structured interview methodology to collect data from “elite” banking respondents. Currently, Lloyd is in the process of writing a number of publications from the results of his doctoral research. He intends to publish his findings in a number of internationally renowned, peer reviewed journals. 

Dr Emily Buffey

Teaching Fellow in Early Modern Literature

Department of English Literature

My doctoral research (2012-16) stemmed from a combined interest in medieval dream vision poetry and early modern women’s writing. This led to my AHRC-funded doctoral research project (completed 2016), entitled ‘The Early Modern Dream Vision (1558-1625): Genre, Authorship and Reception’: the first full-length investigation into the ‘afterlife’ of the dream vision in the period spanning 1558-1625.

My research has since expanded to look at other examples of visionary literature and its reception, with a particular focus on the legacy of Edmund Spenser’s Complaints (1591). I am currently preparing these findings for monograph publication.

I have also published articles on servant writing and the literary representation of Mary Queen of Scots, and I am in the process of preparing several more articles deriving from my doctoral research. In addition to my main research interests, I am also interested in modern historical fiction, particularly the representation of the poet Aemilia Lanyer in historical fiction by women.

Dr Courtney J. Campbell

Dr Courtney J. Campbell

Lecturer in Latin American History

Department of History

I am currently finishing my book Region Out of Place: The Brazilian Northeast and the World (1924-1968), which examines how groups within a marginalized region of Brazil asserted their world belonging, relevance, and uniqueness through the creation of regional cultural symbols and institutions from the 1920s to the late 1960s. My manuscript focuses on the Northeast of Brazil, generally considered the nation’s poorest, most backward, and most rebellious region, and yet also considered deeply culturally authentic and untouched by the outside world. My manuscript explores how ideas about the region and its meaning circulated among social groups and across international lines. While considering the role of intellectuals and policy makers in the process of regional definition, I emphasize that to become part of the popular geographic imaginary, ideas on the Northeast had to circulate and find relevance among a greater portion of the population, particularly among working women and men of colour. For this reason, I analyse international interactions involving diverse social actors, such as intellectual conferences, dating during World War II, a campaign to bring a World Cup match to the Northeast, beauty pageants, literacy programs, and international aid projects. In doing so, I show that while ideas about the Northeast moved through one social class and into another and from one geographic scale to the next, notions of what the Northeast meant, what made up its culture, and who should be allowed to represent it were constantly revised and recirculated. A revised chapter from this manuscript appeared in Past & Present's February 2017 issue.

In addition to my book manuscript, I am co-editing a volume titled Empty Spaces: Confronting Emptiness in National, Cultural, and Urban History with Allegra Giovine and Jennifer Keatingunder contract with the Institute of Historical Research’s conference series. I am also drafting an article titled ‘The Winners, the Losers, the Invisible: Discussing Race and Gender in Brazilian World Cup and Miss Universe Media Coverage of the 1950s and 1960s’ and carrying out research for another article titled ‘UFOs, Aliens, and Astronauts in Popular Culture of the Brazilian Northeast’. I also occasionally collaborate with other contributors to the Ecclesiastical and Secular Sources for Slave Archives (ESSS) to produce scholarship on the digitization of endangered archival sources.

Meanwhile, with the support of an undergraduate research fellow, I have begun research for my next book project, tentatively titled Rebellious Women and the Brazilian Nation. The book approaches gender and historical memory in twentieth-century Brazil.

Professor Khadija von Zinnenburg Carroll

Professor Khadija von Zinnenburg Carroll

Professorial Fellow
Chair of Global Art History

Department of Art History, Curating and Visual Studies

My research comes in various forms: books, exhibitions, videos, performances, lectures. They all grapple with a set of concerns about power and representation. I am interested in Art History as a form of writing that is rigorous and rhythmic, political and poetic, that reflects the art and world it seeks to represent. Rather than working on a particular period or medium I’m interested in anachronism and reception history. Interrogating the geographic complacency of the discipline, I work comparatively and on non-European knowledge systems.

I have been doing art-research recently on confinement, imprisonment, detention and surveillance. As well as being scholarship my research feeds my art projects and aims also to be useful broadly to museums and other institutions who are grappling with the ethics of diverse representation, colonial collecting histories, and epistemic regimes based on existing hegemonies.

Dr Rebecca Catto

Dr Rebecca Catto

Assistant Professor, Kent State University, USA
Honorary Fellow, Edward Cadbury Centre

Department of Theology and Religion

My research is sociological in approach and framed by an overarching interest in religious-secular relations: how religious individuals and groups in Britain and beyond engage across boundaries, with those of other faiths, no faith, and especially in the public realm. This has translated into specific research interests in: Christian mission, interfaith dialogue, equality and religion and belief, science and religion, nonreligion and secularity, faith-based organisations, and the crosscutting question of youth participation, which speaks to macro questions of religious and social change in modernity. Currently I am a Co-Investigator on Science and Religion: Exploring the Spectrum.

Previous projects include:

Jonathan Collinson

Doctoral researcher

Birmingham Law School

My thesis explains and evaluates how the UK Parliament and courts have taken into account the best interests of the child in the decision whether or not to deport a foreign national offender. The right to a family life under Article 8 ECHR is invoked by foreign national offenders with children to resist deportation, but Article 8 ECHR does not easily accommodate the more recent demands of Article 3 UNCRC; the best interests of the child. My thesis theorises the different models UK law has developed to reconcile these different norms and to produce an answer to individual cases. I critique each model and ask whether there is a better way of ensuring the UK’s international legal obligations can be met.

Dr Louise Curran

Dr Louise Curran

Lecturer in Romanticism and Eighteenth-Century English Literature

Department of English Literature

My first book, Samuel Richardson and the Art of Letter-Writing (Cambridge University Press, 2016), examined the links between the novelist’s correspondence and his epistolary novels. As a result of this work, I’m co-editing a volume of letters for The Correspondence of Samuel Richardson (Cambridge University Press, forthcoming). My current research project is a book provisionally entitled Archiving the Self: The Ends of Letters in the Eighteenth-Century, which explores the desire for epistolary fame in a range of writers from Alexander Pope to Frances Burney through the examination of the textual content and material layout of their letters. It emerges from a broader interest in the peculiar history of the letter’s association with authorial character and celebrity, whose modern beginnings can be traced back to this period.

Other research interests include eighteenth-century satire (particularly by women poets and novelists), Samuel Johnson, Jane Austen.

Dr Tom Cutterham

Dr Tom Cutterham

Lecturer in United States History

Department of History

Tom’s current work focuses on the Atlantic World in the late-eighteenth century Age of Revolutions. He is writing a biography of Angelica Schuyler Church, which explores the processes of bourgeois class-formation in this period through the lens of her ideas, exploits, and transatlantic voyages. This project has benefited from the support of the International Center for Thomas Jefferson Studies at Monticello, Virginia. He is also working on a number of articles about merchants, finance, and commerce in the 1780s.

Dr Will Davies

Dr Will Davies

Lecturer in Philosophy

Department of Philosophy

I work in the philosophy of mind and cognitive science, broadly speaking. I am particularly interested in the philosophy and psychology of visual perception and disorders of consciousness. Much of my work to date has focused on colour vision and the nature of perceptual constancy for colour.

I also have interests in the philosophy of psychiatry relating to the nature of mental illness, and the role of the wider social environment in explaining psychiatric disorder.

Some of my earliest work was in philosophy of language on the topic of vagueness, particularly the cognitive origins of our susceptibility to the sorites paradox.

Dr Adam Dighton

Dr Adam Dighton

Teaching Fellow in the History of Warfare

Department of History

My research interests include the History of the British Army in the 19th and 20th Centuries, the developments in the writing of Military History during this time and the evolution of European military thought. 

Dr Eleanor Dobson

Dr Eleanor Dobson

Lecturer in Nineteenth Century Literature

Department of English Literature

My first monograph (currently under consideration for publication) examines the mutual influences of Egyptology and literary culture across the closing decades of the nineteenth century and the opening decades of the twentieth, in the wake of the discovery of the tomb of Tutankhamun. In this project I conceive of a culture that at once encompasses Egyptological writing, popular forms of fiction, as well as works of ‘high modernism’, from the writings of archaeologists such as Howard Carter, through to the fiction and poetry of figures as diverse as H. Rider Haggard, Marie Corelli, Sigmund Freud, H. P. Lovecraft, Oscar Wilde and H.D. It also brings into conversation the physical books published by authors and Egyptologists alike, establishing the complex relationships between these objects as products of Egyptological study and the objects of Egyptological study themselves: artefacts often housed in museums, and sometimes in the private collections of these very authors.

I am also interested in science of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, particularly when it is seen to intersect with contemporary ideas about the supernatural or occult. I have published on the intersection between electromagnetic radiation and texts with ancient Egyptian subject matter, establishing the quasi-alchemical ways in which depictions of electrical phenomena and X-rays are presented as emblematic of magical lore of the ancients, and, simultaneously, the pinnacle of modern scientific understanding. I am currently researching other scientific areas in which these parallels can be traced: in psychology, and in the development of photographic technologies.

I have recently published on supernatural fiction set in Egyptian hotels, the intersection between the fairy-tale genre and mummy fiction in the late nineteenth century, and fictional representations of the ghost of Oscar Wilde. Forthcoming publications address the imagery of jewels and precious materials in Bram Stoker’s Dracula, as well as photographic technologies, spiritualism and psychical research in Oscar Wilde’s only novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray.

Mairead Enright

Mairead Enright

Senior Lecturer

Birmingham Law School

I have a range of research interests, grounded in feminist legal theory, and critical theoretical approaches to legal agency, legal pluralism, law-breaking, resistance and disobedience. My research to date has focused, in particular, on how women may strategically manipulate legal processes (contract formation, private law litigation, vernacular dissident legal interpretation and the feminist drafting of legal texts) to resist religious or cultural dispossession. A related strand of my research concerns states’ use of legal discourse to construct and maintain exclusionary politics of national identity, whether with or against religion. My research in this respect has involved close examination of the intersections of law, religious power and gendered national identity projects, Islamic family law and the politics of reproductive justice in Ireland (particularly the early family planning movement, abortion rights and reparations for historical obstetric violence). 

Dr Catriona Fallow

Dr Catriona Fallow

Research Fellow

Department of Drama and Theatre Arts

Broadly, my research interests lie in in contemporary British and European playwriting, and Shakespeare and early modern performance (both historically and their contemporary iterations and significance). Specifically, my work focuses on post-war British playwriting, its relationship to the theatrical past, intersections with contemporary European theatre practice(s), and the evolving status of New Writing within Britain’s theatre ecology.

As part of the Harold Pinter: Histories and Legacies project, my work will focus initially on Pinter’s relationship to the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) during the 1960s and 1970s. This work intersects with my broader research on the origins and evolution of contemporary playwriting at the RSC.

Dr Victoria Flood

Lecturer in Medieval and Early Modern Literature

Department of English Literature

I have published on English political literature, prophecy, and poetry, Arthurian literature, and manuscript studies, with a particular focus on comparative perspectives; and have produced a number of articles and book chapters relating to the translation of late medieval and early Tudor prophecy between English and Welsh, and the broader European context of political prophecies in circulation in medieval Britain. My first monograph, Prophecy, Politics, and Place in Medieval England: from Geoffrey of Monmouth to Thomas of Erceldoune (D. S. Brewer, 2016), charts the development of a dominant secular tradition of political prophecy in medieval England, beginning with Geoffrey of Monmouth’s Prophetiae Merlini, considering the formative role of Welsh and Scottish literary influences.

I am currently working on my second monograph, early research for which was funded by the Leverhulme Trust. This considers the movement and geo-political localisation of narratives of the female fairy or phantom in Arthurian and related literature, produced in Britain and France, c. 1180-1400. The book is intended to offer a new direction for our understanding of the evolution of certain aspects of the Matter of Britain, suggesting a zone of common literary exchange and functional multilingualism spanning northern France, England and Wales.

Dr Salvatore Florio

Senior Lecturer in Philosophy

Department of Philosophy

My current research focuses on philosophical issues concerning the nature of logic and the foundations of semantics. Together with Øystein Linnebo, I am writing a monograph on the logic and meaning of plurals, titled The Many and the One: A Philosophical Study (under contract with Oxford University Press). I am also working on projects about the entanglement of logic and mathematics, the role of mereology in linguistic semantics, and the paradox of Burali-Forti.

Laura Ford

Laura Ford

Postgraduate Teaching Associate

Birmingham Law School

The United States Supreme Court has ruled that the execution of juveniles, the intellectually disabled and the insane is in violation of the Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution. However, it is not unconstitutional to execute severely mentally ill defendants. My thesis aims firstly to understand why the severely mentally ill are executed in the United States, which involves an examination of the treatment of the severely mentally ill in the criminal justice system, and secondly to argue that the severely mentally ill should also be exempt from execution, as an important next step in the Supreme Court's Eighth Amendment analysis.

Dr Matthew Geary

Dr Matthew Geary

Teaching Fellow in Twentieth-Century Literature

Department of English Literature

My research has a maternal bias and focuses on the role of the mother as not only central to the development of the child but also to the production of art, text and culture. This work is at the interface of several fields of study including English and American literature, psychoanalysis, philosophy, theology, maternal studies, feminism, gender and sexuality studies, and psychosocial studies. Noting that for the last thirty-five years the critical search for the mother has been almost entirely 'daughter-centric', in that she is positioned almost entirely in terms of her relations with, and as perceived, by the daughter, I am interested in the ‘mother-son relationship’ as a continuing taboo topic. I am especially interested in more complex and nuanced perceptions of modernist and postmodernist masculinities considering new materials, new scholarship and theoretical advancements.

My first monograph T. S. Eliot and the Mother is forthcoming with Routledge (2019) for the Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Literature Series. I have several articles on T. S. Eliot in preparation. I am researching ideas of transcendence and immanence in relation to the body in the work of T. S. Eliot, W. H. Auden, and Robert Lowell. I am also working on a collaborative book Eliot Agonistes with Milton with Dr Islam Issa of Birmingham City University (AHRC New Generation Thinker for 2017).

Because of my archival research and findings on T. S. Eliot, I received acknowledgement in the critically acclaimed The Poems of T. S. Eliot, Volumes 1 and 2 edited by Christopher Ricks and Jim McCue (Faber 2015).

Professor Andrew Ginger

Chair of Spanish
Head of School of Languages, Cultures, Art History and Music

Department of Modern Languages

In my research, I have explored political, aesthetic and scientific thought, painting, photography, cinema, and literature. I have had a strong interest in nineteenth-century studies, as a focus for debate about the foundations of ‘modern’ culture and ‘modernity’. At the same time, my interests extend from the eighteenth century to the present.  While I work on Spain and Latin America, the approach that I take leads me to look outwards from those locations to other places and times.

My present work focuses on what it is for cultures and people to have something in common with others across stretches of place or time. I am interested both in how we might articulate such connections, and in what resources past cultures might offer us in so doing. This has led me to explore alternatives to locating cultures in a narrow ‘context’. I have become interested in strong assertions of commonality such as historic and utopian universalisms, in the study of large geographical areas such as the ‘Atlantic’, and in the ‘deep time’ of cultures (that is, powerful connections over distant time periods). I have been particularly engaged by the work of scholars such as Susan Manning and Wai Chee Dimock.

Dr Andrew Hodgson

Dr Andrew Hodgson

Lecturer in Romanticism

Department of English Literature

I have written essays on a range of English poets from Gray to Larkin and have a monograph on individualism in nineteenth and twentieth century lyric (particularly Clare, Hopkins, Edward Thomas, and Ivor Gurney) forthcoming in 2019. 

Dr Jessica Johnson

Dr Jessica Johnson

Lecturer in the Anthropology of Africa

Department of African Studies and Anthropology

I have conducted more than two years’ fieldwork in Malawi, 2009-10 and 2015. My doctoral work concerned gender relations and marital dispute resolution in a matrilineal context. My more recent research focuses on the workings of a rural Magistrates’ court. 

Dr Toria Johnson

Dr Toria Johnson

Lecturer in Early Modern Literature

Department of English Literature

My areas of expertise include drama, early modern culture, the history of emotions, and the work of Shakespeare and his contemporaries. My research interrogates the impact of the Reformation on early modern English emotional culture, with a specific focus on the role of pity and compassion in defining English understandings of subjectivity and ‘social’ emotion. I have contributed essays to Compassion in Early Modern Europe 1500-1700, and Shakespeare and Emotion (both forthcoming). I am the co-editor (with Rachel E. Holmes, CRASSH/Cambridge) of a Special Issue of Forum for Modern Language Studies entitled ‘In Pursuit of Truth: Law and Emotion in Early Modern Europe’ (forthcoming January 2018). I am also currently working on my first monograph, entitled ‘Piteous Overthrows’: Pity and Identity in Early Modern English Drama.

In 2017, I was a Visiting Research Fellow at the Australian Research Council Centre for Excellence in the History of Emotions 1100-1800 (University of Adelaide node).

Dr Jeremy H. Kidwell

Dr Jeremy H. Kidwell

Lecturer in Theological Ethics

Department of Theology and Religion

I currently have three research projects underway:

  • An AHRC funded study titled “finding common ground” which seeks to investigate religious environmental groups in Britain and finds ways of connecting up religious and secular carbon workers.
  • A monograph-length book project, Ecological Reconciliation in the Anthropocene which examines ways in which different theologies of time are at work in the recently ratified construct of the “Anthropocene”
  • An investigation into the ethics of design.

Dr Natasa Mavronicola

Dr Natasa Mavronicola

Senior Lecturer in Law

Birmingham Law School

Dr Mavronicola is chiefly interested in the theory and interpretation of human rights. Her research has focused on a number of facets of human rights, especially on the absolute right not to be subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. Her research explores a number of intersections between human rights and criminal justice as well as the relationship between human dignity and human rights.

In 2016, Dr Mavronicola provided expert input to the Commissioner for Human Rights at the Council of Europe and the European Network of National Human Rights Institutes on the role of National Human Rights Institutes in protecting human rights in the context of counter-terrorism. Dr Mavronicola also gave written and oral evidence on the right to life to the Joint Committee on Public Service Oversight and Petitions and the Joint Committee on Justice, Defence and Equality of the Oireachtas in 2015. She has presented her research on the right to life and the right not to be subjected to torture at the Office of the Attorney General for Northern Ireland and at the Attorney General’s annual visit to the European Court of Human Rights in 2014-15. She has made submissions, and participated in a symposium, towards the preparation of a report on Deportation with Assurances by the UK’s Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation.

Dr Trish McTighe

Dr Trish McTighe

Lecturer in Theatre

Department of Drama and Theatre Arts

My current research involves two distinct strands. One emerges from my work on Beckett and seeks to examine the relationship between the arts and the economy in the latter half of the twentieth and twenty-first century, with particular emphasis on literary tourism and the festivalisation, so-called, of culture. I am in the process of establishing a research network which will address key questions about the ways in which the arts and tourism interact in Ireland (and elsewhere). I have a number of publications forthcoming on the festivalisation of Beckett’s work in Ireland and internationally.

The other strand of my research has to do with the politics of cleaning in contemporary performance. Rooted in what performance artist Mierle Laderman Ukeles has termed ‘maintenance art’, this project seeks to trace the ways in theatre and performance has used the labour of cleaning as a mode of exploring inequality, class and gender. I am currently working on ways to trace the politics and temporality of the act of cleaning in contemporary performance.

Dr Ben Mechen

Dr Ben Mechen

Teaching Fellow in Modern British History

Department of History

I am currently working on turning my doctoral research into a book, provisionally entitled Responsible Pleasures: Reframing the Sexual Subject in Seventies Britain. I am also preparing an article on the sexual politics of Alex Comfort’s manual The Joy of Sex and another on the “zoological turn” in postwar popular sexology. A chapter on the changing face of the male reproductive subject, the “Durex man”, is due for publication soon.

I have also begun preliminary research for my next project, a history of pornography in postwar Britain, and in particular the ever-shifting debate about its effects on sexual wellbeing.

Dr Lydia Morgan

Dr Lydia Morgan

Research Fellow

Birmingham Law School

As a research fellow on Joseph Rowntree Foundation funded project Counter-Terrorism Review with Professor Fiona de Londras (Birmingham) and Dr Jessie Blackbourn (Oxford) (2017-2019), Lydia is researching the legal accountability of counter-terrorism measures and laws in the UK.  The project aims to draw a comprehensive map of the current patchwork of measures to better understand where and how legal accountability takes place.  Dr Morgan is also currently researching and writing on UK national security cases through theories of legal coherence, work which she presented at the Society of Legal Scholars in Dublin 2017.  Dr Morgan is particularly interested in state secrecy, the UK security services, the regulation of investigatory measures and the responses of liberal theory to contemporary political practices. 

In May 2017, Dr Morgan presented her paper 'Reconfiguring Freedom: Big Data, the Investigatory Powers Act 2016 and the Construction of Liberty in the UK’s Security State.' at the 'Big Data: New Challenges for Law and Ethics' Conference, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia. 

Dr Mo Moulton

Dr Mo Moulton

Lecturer in the history of race and empire

Department of History

My current research project, “Democracy and State Direction: Practical Experiments in Political Economy,” is about economic citizenship and decolonization. It uses the curious and virtually unstudied story of ubiquitous agricultural co-operatives in last decades of the British Empire to ask how the co-operative became a method for producing a certain type of economic citizen. Case studies include Irish co-operative creameries, the colonial coffee industry in Tanganyika, and dairy co-operatives in Gujarat. Placing British experiments in the company of Soviet collectivization, Brazil’s estado novo, and the New Deal in the United States, it  provides a new framework for understanding how current ideas about international development, including the primacy of the market and the centrality of the individual entrepreneur, came to be enshrined.  In addition, I am working on a side project on a group of friends centered around detective novelist Dorothy L. Sayers (1893-1957) who were among the first women to earn degrees from Oxford University.

Dr Chris Mourant

Dr Chris Mourant

Lecturer in Early Twentieth-Century English Literature
Co-Director of the Centre for Modernist Cultures

Department of English Literature

I am a literary historian interested in modernism, print culture and early twentieth-century women’s writing. My work analyses networks of influence between writers and across reading communities.

My first monograph, Katherine Mansfield and Periodical Culture (EUP 2019), situates Katherine Mansfield’s work within networks of production, uncovering the many ways in which Mansfield engaged with the writings of others and responded to the political, aesthetic and social contexts of early twentieth-century periodical culture. The book examines Mansfield’s ambivalent position as a New Zealand-born colonial woman writer working both within and against the London literary establishment, considering her work in the contexts of both British and global modernisms.

I have presented my research on Mansfield to wider audiences through national public outlets, including BBC Radio 4 and the Times Literary Supplement.

In addition to this work on Mansfield, I have published and presented research on a range of other modernist writers, including Sherwood Anderson, Olive Moore, Edwin Muir, Stevie Smith, Rebecca West and Virginia Woolf. I am currently researching the life and works of Beatrice Hastings, and together with Professor Elke D’hoker (KU Leuven) I am co-editing a volume of essays on the modern short story and magazine culture in Britain and Ireland.

Dr Amy Myshrall

Dr Amy Myshrall

Research Fellow

Department of Theology and Religion

  • Contributor to COMPAUL – investigating the earliest Greek commentaries on the Pauline Epistles as sources for the biblical text.
  • Contributor to the Museum of the Bible Greek Paul Project  - preparing xml transcriptions of 1 Timothy for publication.
  • Contributor to the International Greek New Testament Project – providing and editing transcriptions for the Editio Critica Maior in John, Galatians and Ephesians.

Dr Saima Nasar

Dr Saima Nasar

Teaching Fellow in the History of Race and Culture in Twentieth Century Britain and America

Department of History

I am a social and cultural historian who works on race, empire and Britain’s diasporic communities. Committed to multi-archival and interdisciplinary research, my previous and future work contributes to developing comparative and interdisciplinary approaches in the fields of Modern British History, Migration Studies, and Imperial History. My first book will examine the transnational trajectories of Britain’s East African Asian population. My future research focuses welfare imperialism.

Professor Jorgen Nielsen

Professor Jorgen Nielsen

Professor of Contemporary European Islam

Department of Theology and Religion

Currently I am mostly active in managing reference works and a journal on Muslims in Europe. I keep up with work in this area but have withdrawn from active research.

Dr Terri Ochiagha

Dr Terri Ochiagha

Honorary Research Fellow

Department of African Studies and Anthropology

My research interests include colonial whiteness, the history and literary representations of British colonial education, first-generation Nigerian Writing, Nigerian Print Cultures, and Life-Writing.

My first book, Achebe and Friends at Umuahia: The Making of a Literary Elite studied the ways in which the secondary education of five first-generation Nigerian writers—Chinua Achebe, Elechi Amadi, Christopher Okigbo, Chike Momah and Chukwuemeka Ike—in the elite British colonial school Government College, Umuahia prompted and influenced their literary careers. Achebe and Friends at Umuahia has just been shortlisted for the African Studies Association UK’s inaugural Fage and Oliver Prize, to be awarded to the author of an outstanding original work published on Africa during the preceding two years. The book has been widely and glowingly reviewed in such periodicals as The Times Literary Supplement, The Times Higher Education, AFRICA: Journal of the International Africa Institute and The Leeds African Studies Bulletin, among other outlets.

I am currently writing my second book, E.H.Duckworth’s Experiments: A Study of Colonial Eccentricity in Nigeria, which examines the life and career of Edward Harland Duckworth, who was originally recruited into Nigeria’s colonial government as Inspector of Education but later made his fame as the founding editor of the cultural and developmental magazine Nigeria. Duckworth was an elusive and liminal figure, upholding Imperial rule while forging alliances with nationalist figures, disseminating a seemingly positive image of Nigeria which was nevertheless fraught with paternalism and unspoken tensions, and championing the country’s youth while at the same time stultifying their possibilities of a university education. Duckworth’s life serves as window into such issues as Nigerian anti-colonial nationalism, print cultures, educational history, colonial domesticity and sexuality, the devolution of power after independence, and British intervention in the Nigerian Civil War.

 

Dr Georgi Parpulov

Dr Georgi Parpulov

Research Fellow, CATENA Project

Department of Theology and Religion

As a member of the CATENA Project research team, I am preparing a union catalogue of commentary manuscript of the Greek New Testament.

Dr Amanda Patten

Dr Amanda Patten

Lecturer in Historical Linguistics

Department of English Language and Linguistics

I am interested in the analysis of grammatical constructions and how they change over time.

Much of my work has focused on English information packaging constructions. In my 2012 monograph, I examined the development of the English it-cleft from a constructional perspective. My current research is on the topic of copular constructions and inversion sentences.

Dr Wouter Peeters

Dr Wouter Peeters

Lecturer in Global Ethics

Department of Philosophy

My PhD dissertation examined the challenges climate change and other problems of environmental sustainability pose to our conceptions of individual freedom (the capabilities approach in particular) and responsibility (more specifically, common-sense morality).

Building on this, my current research focuses on the perspective of duty-bearers on issues of global justice. Alleviating human rights deficits such as poverty and climate change will not only depend on action undertaken by collective agents (such as states and international institutions), but also by individuals. However, this suggestion is met with several objections: individual duty-bearers have worries and concerns regarding their responsibilities of global justice. These concerns merit ethical attention since they might impede action.

Examples include but are not limited to the objection that the actions necessary to protect human rights would demand too much of agents (the over-demandingness objection) and the concern that nothing individuals can do will make any difference (the problem of ineffectiveness). Another important question might concern the relationship with other duty-bearers, including institutions, other individuals, companies and NGOs. People also have a legitimate interest in being treated fairly, so they would object to an unfair distribution of the burdens involved in for example poverty alleviation or climate change abatement. 

My aim is to investigate these and other concerns in order to develop a novel account of the duties and responsibilities for realising human rights that accommodates the legitimate concerns of duty-bearers and persuasively debunks their misconceptions.

My contributions to the Justice Everywhere Blog can be read at: http://justice-everywhere.org/author/wouterpeeters/

Dr Merten Reglitz

Dr Merten Reglitz

Lecturer in Global Ethics

Department of Philosophy

  • Global justice
  • Egalitarianism
  • Internet ethics
  • Political authority
  • Intergenerational justice
  • Kant's practical philosophy

Dr Olivia Robinson

Dr Olivia Robinson

Lecturer in Late Medieval Literature

Department of English Literature

My major research specialisms are in Anglo-French literary interrelationships, cultures and exchanges; and in medieval theatre. 

My first book, Contest, Translation and the Chaucerian Text (Brepols, forthcoming) brings a study of medieval translation between English and French into conversation with questions of canonicity and reception (both medieval and post-medieval).  It examines the way in which three Middle English translations of French-language works (The Romaunt of the Rose; the Belle Dame Sans Mercy and An ABC to the Virgin) respond to and reconfigure their French-language source texts, exploring at the same time the role which attribution of these translations to Chaucer has played in determining and delimiting critical approaches to them, and reconceptualising them as active, cross-channel participations in well-known late medieval debates about their French-language sources and intertexts.  I am interested in the ‘place’ of texts like these on the fringes of the Chaucer canon, and how critical approaches to Chaucer have affected the ways in which their processes of translation are studied and characterised.  In addition to my monograph, I have published articles and book chapters on a range of late medieval English- and French-language texts, authors and codices, including manuscripts of the Roman de la rose (2015), Alain Chartier (2013, 2015, 2018), and Charles d’Orléans (2018). 

Current research: Medieval Nuns and their Theatre

My current research forms part of a major collaborative project, The Medieval Convent Drama Project, which will run 2016-2020 and which is fully funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation and hosted by the University of Fribourg, Switzerland.   It aims to explore the traces of theatrical activity – which include playscripts, but also other, more fleeting and fragmentary accounts – within late medieval women’s religious houses in England, Northern France and Burgundy.  In opening up this neglected area of study to new investigation, we hope to integrate study of medieval nuns’ theatre more coherently and fully within contemporary and future critical appraisals of the medieval dramatic canon and its performance history.  

My work for the project focuses upon one convent in particular: the Dames Blanches (‘White Ladies’) of Huy, in what is now Belgium.  One of the first Carmelite houses for women to be founded, the surviving medieval manuscripts and archives from Huy convent include an extraordinary collection of plays copied by sisters themselves.   I work principally on this manuscript, seeking to understand the circumstances in which it was copied, and the material that it contains.  I do this by working through archival material from the convent, to get a sense of how the sisters were living and the place which theatre may have occupied in their lives, but also through contemporary performances of the plays, both in present-day convents and in other locations.  The project has a strong outreach and public engagement element: we are particularly interested in discussing medieval convent theatre history with today’s nuns, and in engaging with audience responses and thoughts about the performances we present. 

I have published several preliminary studies in the area of convent drama, some authored jointly with colleagues on the MCD project (2012, 2015, 2017, 2018).  Our major planned outputs, in addition to our performances, will comprise an edition of a selection of medieval nuns’ plays, and a monograph on drama in medieval women’s religious houses.

For more information about Medieval Convent Drama and our events, please do visit the Medieval Convent Drama website

Teaching and research

In parallel with my academic work, I pursue research into university pedagogy and outreach in relation to medieval literature and culture.  I have a long-standing research partnership with Dr Helen Brookman (KCL) in this area of study.   Helen and I are particularly interested in the intersections between creative and critical practices and their potential pedagogic impacts.  We have published a joint article on creative writing and teaching Old English verse (2016) and are currently (2018) co-editing a collection of case-studies, Creative and Critical Encounters in Teaching Early EnglishMaking New, which will be published by ARC Humanities in their ‘Teaching the Middle Ages’ series. 

 

Dr Asha Rogers

Dr Asha Rogers

Lecturer in Contemporary Postcolonial Literature

Department of English Literature

My AHRC-funded thesis examined how the modern state intervened to support literary culture after 1945, thereby becoming an integral, though conflicted, guardian of literary autonomy in the postcolonial world. This research has contributed to the monograph State Sponsored Literature: Britain and Cultural Diversity after 1945, which examines the changing justifications for state literary support in Britain. Across six chapters on British Council, the Arts Council, the Rushdie Affair, the GCSE curriculum and the UK Committee for UNESCO, I argue that beliefs about who constituted literature’s ‘public’ were radically challenged by the unrivalled migration to Britain at the end of Empire.

Methodologically, my research emphasises the archive-based study of literary and cultural institutions, cultural policy, and organizations as definitive forces in literary history. Future research projects will address how democratic liberalism has shaped literary culture in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. My abiding interest is in the global histories of texts and their multivalent uses.

Dr Gregory Salter

Dr Gregory Salter

Lecturer in History of Art

Department of Art History, Curating and Visual Studies

My research to date as focused on the themes of home and masculinity in post-war British art. This work emerged out of my PhD thesis and post-doctoral work at the Geffrye. I have published numerous articles on this work and I am currently completing a book titled Art and Masculinity In Post-War Britain: Reconstructing Home (due to be published with Bloomsbury in 2019). This book considers home as an unstable entity at this historical moment, imbued with the optimism and hopes of post-war recovery, while continuing to resonate with the memories and anxieties of wartime. It argues that artworks offer insights into the experience of the reconstruction of home in Britain in this period, in that they make visible and help to negotiate these contradictions. It focuses on John Bratby, Francis Bacon, Keith Vaughan, Francis Newton Souza, Victor Pasmore, and Gilbert and George.

My new research project will address queer migrations in British art since 1945. It will place the development of queer art and culture in Britain in a global context of decolonisation, migration, and globalisation by exploring queer artists and artworks 'on the move', both physically and psychologically. Case studies will include David Hockney, Howard Hodgkin, Rotimi Fani-Koyode, and Isaac Julien, amongst others.

Dr Mohammad (Shahab) Shahabuddin

Dr Mohammad (Shahab) Shahabuddin

Reader in International Law & Human Rights

Birmingham Law School

Shahab’s research is a part of a vibrant line of critical historical projects, in which the assumptions inherent in international law’s conceptual foundations are being scrutinised. His research interests include legal theory, international legal history, international human rights law, international law of minority rights, international law of ethnic conflicts, postcolonialism and law, and Third World Approaches to International Law (TWAIL).

In recent years, he has received a number of research grants including the Leverhulme Trust Research Fellowship (2018-2020), the British Academy Writing Workshops Grant (2018), Harvard Law School’s Institute for Global Law and Policy (IGLP) Research Grant (2015), Brown University’s Brown International Advanced Research Institute (BIARI) Grants (2016) and the Japan Foundation Fellowship (2016).

In addition to academic research, he is also actively involved in policy work. He worked for the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Bangladesh as its National Consultant in 2011/12 to conduct compliance studies on International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT). These study reports have been published by the National Human Rights Commission, Bangladesh. 

For Shahab’s research updates, follow him on Twitter @MShahabuddin77

Canon Dr Andrew Smith

Canon Dr Andrew Smith

Director of Interfaith Relations for the Bishop of Birmingham
Honorary Fellow, Edward Cadbury Centre

Department of Theology and Religion

Dr Simon Smith

Dr Simon Smith

Lecturer in Shakespeare and Early Modern Drama

Shakespeare Institute

I am interested in all aspects of early modern culture, but work particularly on drama, music, playhouse culture, and historical sense-scapes. One common thread is my interest in overlooked or obscured voices and perspectives, be those everyday opinions about music, or playhouse engagements with drama pursued by those not themselves professionally involved with the theatre. Such investigations often involve recourse to overlooked, partial and even tangential sources that might collectively serve to suggest the contours of historical practices and attitudes not conveniently preserved in more explicit archival accounts.

I began my research career thinking about music and playhouse performance, a topic that I continue to explore. My first monograph, Musical Response in the Early Modern Playhouse, 1603-1625, investigates non-specialist ideas about the experience of hearing music, and the influence of those ideas on playhouse music use. The book argues for a widespread and thoroughgoing musical dramaturgy in Jacobean drama that depends upon these non-specialist ideas. Published by Cambridge University Press in 2017 (paperback 2018), it won the Shakespeare’s Globe Book Award, receiving praise for taking ‘a new approach in [its] analysis of how music was thought of, in both theoretical and popular terms, and how audiences, offstage and on, respond to it’, as well as for its ‘lucid, poised and graceful critical prose’.

I’ve also written a number of shorter articles and chapters on music, including pieces for Shakespeare Survey (2014), for Bill Barclay and David Lindley’s Shakespeare, Music and Performance (Cambridge, 2017), and for Mervyn Cooke and Christopher R. Wilson’s forthcoming Oxford Handbook of Shakespeare Music (Oxford, c. 2020). Topics range from inappropriate trumpets to the multi-sensory experience of music, via musician placement at indoor Jacobean playhouses. Musical Response takes a multi-sensory approach to musical performance, sensory studies being another long-standing interest that led to me co-editing The Senses in Early Modern England with Jackie Watson and Amy Kenny (Manchester, 2015) whilst I was working on the project.

I’m now working on a monograph examining Playgoing, Pleasure and Judgement in Early Modern England; the project will offer a new account of playhouse engagements with drama and was funded by a Leverhulme Trust Early Career Fellowship. Related publications include articles for Shakespeare Survey and Early Theatre (both 2017), respectively exploring audience attention to actors’ technical craft, and the relationship between print- and performance-based encounters with drama. I’m also busy co-editing a volume with Emma Whipday (Newcastle), examining Playing and Playgoing in Early Modern England, which follows on from a 2017 conference on the same topic funded by the Leverhulme Trust. The volume identifies and advocates a set of emergent methodologies in Shakespeare and early modern drama studies that draw eclectically upon literary-critical, theatre-historical and other approaches, showcasing such work and suggesting future directions for the field. Finally, I’m editing Shakespeare/Sense, a substantive state-of-the-discipline volume, for the new ‘Arden Shakespeare Critical Intersections’ series.

Future research plans include some scholarly editing, investigation of Shakespeare’s musical afterlife in the repertory of the King’s Men, and some thinking about playhouse music’s archival traces (and the nature of the early modern archive itself).

  • I put my research into practice whenever possible by providing historical music research, arrangement and direction for productions of plays by Shakespeare and his contemporaries. As Early Modern Music Research Associate of Shakespeare’s Globe I contributed to the design of – and practical experiments in – the new Sam Wanamaker Playhouse, and provided historical music research for various productions including 'Original Practices' stagings of Richard III and Twelfth Night. As a musical director I have collaborated several times with Emma Whipday on research productions of early modern plays and masques, including one performance from actors' parts. I have also provided music research and arrangement for a fistful of 'Read Not Dead' staged readings at Shakespeare's Globe, most recently for Thomas Jordan's Tricks of Youth, chosen for performance by public vote following a pitch by director Nicola Pollard and myself in the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse in 2015. In 2014, I provided historical music research and historical theatre research for the BBC adaptation of Wolf Hall.

Dr Will Smith

Dr Will Smith

Visiting Lecturer in Canadian Studies

Department of English Literature

My current research work builds on my PhD thesis, exploring the history of Toronto’s depiction in literature. This has drawn me to focus on early twentieth-century writers of popular Toronto fiction, such as Fred Jacob, Frank Lillie Pollock, Bradda Field, Isabelle Hughes and Jesse Middleton. Wider research interests include periodical/magazine studies, literary awards, literary tourism and Canadian comic books.

Dr Katharine Sykes

Dr Katharine Sykes

Lecturer in Anglo-Saxon History

Department of History

My research focuses on the creation and regulation of communities and institutions in the early and central middle ages. In particular, my work focusses on double monasteries – religious communities which housed both men and women – and the extent to which monasticism was gendered in both theory and practice. I draw on a variety of methodological approaches, from anthropology and sociology to psychoanalytic theory, and my work makes use of both textual and material sources. I am currently working on my second book, which explores the relationship between monasteries and families in Anglo-Saxon England.

Dr Rachel Sykes

Dr Rachel Sykes

Lecturer in Contemporary American Literature

Department of English Literature

My first book, The Quiet Contemporary American Novel, was published with Manchester University Press in 2017. It is the first study to develop a theory of quiet as a narrative aesthetic in contemporary fiction and shows how, as a phrase, “the quiet novel” has a long and untraced history dating back to the 1860s in British and American periodicals.

Post-quietness, I am developing new work based in contemporary feminisms, memoir studies, and popular culture. My second book project, currently in the early stages of development, will function as an updated study of confession in an era of neoliberalism. I published an article on popular and critical use of the term oversharing and its relationship to gendered online identities with Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society and I’m currently writing about discourses of risk and precarity in contemporary confessional writing.

Dr Zoë Thomas

Dr Zoë Thomas

Lecturer in the History of 19th Century Britain and the Wider World

Department of History

I am currently writing my first monograph titled Women Art Workers and the Arts and Crafts Movement which will be published by Manchester University Press in the ‘Gender and History’ series.

I am also co-editing an edited collection with Dr Heidi Egginton titled Precarious Professionals: Gender, Identity and Social Change in Modern British History which explores the gendered formation of professional identities in Britain from the mid-nineteenth century to the dawn of second-wave feminism. This will be published by the Royal Historical Society’s ‘New Historical Perspectives’ series.

Dr Richard Todd

Dr Richard Todd

Lecturer in Islamic Studies

Department of Theology and Religion

  • Medieval philosophy, especially Arabic Aristotelianism and critiques of Avicennan thought
  • Ashʿari and Muʿtazili theology
  • Sufism and its interaction with philosophy: I am working on two new projects in this connection: ‘Levels of being in Sufi thought’ in A Handbook of Sufi Cosmology, edited by Alexander Knysh and Christian Lange, (Brill, Handbooks of Sufi Studies), commissioned June 2016; and ‘Philosophical Sufism? Ṣadr al-Dīn al-Qūnawī’s Miftāḥ al-ghayb’ in A Guide to Sufi Literature, edited by Mohammed Rustom and Joseph Lumbard, (University of California Press), commissioned July 2016
  • Arabic medicine and science, especially post-Jābirian alchemy and its influence on Renaissance and Reformation Europe: I am currently preparing a new monograph on this topic – A History of Arabic Alchemy: from Abbasid Iraq to Ottoman Istanbul
  • Medieval scriptural commentaries, in particular philosophical, theological and mystical hermeneutics
  • Classical Arabic wine songs, Sufi poetry, and didactic verse
  • Islamic codicology

Dr Bosko Tripkovic

Dr Bosko Tripkovic

Lecturer in Law

Birmingham Law School

Dr Tripkovic’s research focuses on the philosophical foundations of judicial review. His book ‘The Metaethics of Constitutional Adjudication’, which explores the metaethical foundations of value-based arguments in constitutional adjudication, is available on Oxford Scholarship Online and Oxford University Press websites. Dr Tripkovic has most recently published on legal-philosophical aspects of the use of foreign law in constitutional reasoning, and on transformation of legal enforcement in Europe. His latest publications are available on SSRN and Academia. In his current research, Dr Tripkovic explores the legitimacy of post-national judicial review, especially in the context of human rights adjudication.

For research updates, follow him on twitter: @BoskoTripkovic.

Dr Sophia Vasalou

Dr Sophia Vasalou

Birmingham Fellow in Philosophical Theology

Department of Theology and Religion

My current research interests include:

  • Islamic ethics
  • Philosophical and theological approaches to the virtues
  • Philosophy of religion, esp. the relationship between morality and religion, the problem of evil
  • Schopenhauer; pessimism, the problem of suffering
  • Wonder; the emotions

Professor Wolfgang Vondey

Professor Wolfgang Vondey

Professor of Christian Theology and Pentecostal Studies
Director, Centre for Pentecostal and Charismatic Studies

Department of Theology and Religion

My research interests include:

  • Pentecostal and Charismatic theology
  • Theological method and hermeneutics
  • Pneumatology
  • Ecclesiology
  • Ecumenical studies
  • Theology and Science
  • Ritual and Liturgical Studies

Dr Matthew Ward

Dr Matthew Ward

Lecturer in Nineteenth-Century Literature

Department of English Literature

Current work involves developing my first monograph about the place of laughter in the long Romantic period. This will be a revised and expanded version of my PhD thesis on the sound of laughter in Romantic poetry, and will have a particular focus on how a masculine identity reacts to and creatively employs laughter. Through close reading and historical insights, it will provide the first in-depth account of the significance of laughter to the lives and lines of verse of the Romantics. Laughter has generally gone unheard by critics of the Romantic period. When acknowledged at all, it tends to be shorthand to denote the humorous; I read it as a significant category in its own right that tells us much about human interactions and emotions, and that sheds light on crucial political and aesthetic concerns. Part of my research focuses on laughter in relation to sympathy and identifies a cultural sea-change to how people felt about, perceived, described, and experienced laughter between 1760-1840.

Developing out of my interest in literary periodization and inheritance I’m also focused on a project about Byron’s poetic afterlives. Even in the solitude of writing, Byron was of a sociable bent. He constantly thought about himself in comparison with other poets. Yet there’s a pervasive tendency in both the popular and academic imagination to think about Byron’s influence in terms of his personal character rather than his art. I’m keen to push at these issues, and the first result of this will be a symposium in January 2018, co-organised with Dr Clare Bucknell (University of Oxford). This symposium will bring together contributors to exchange ideas about the many ways Byron might be thought to be – perhaps more than most – ‘among’ the poets: alluding and alluded to; collaborative; competitive; parodied; worked and reworked in canons, pantheons, anthologies and miscellanies.

My third area of research emerges from my background in sounds in literature and an interest in environmental matters. I’m beginning to think about a project focused on how modes of listening might be related to our approach to, and understanding of, the environment.

Dr Ben Warwick

Dr Ben Warwick

Lecturer in Law

Birmingham Law School

Ben’s research interests lie within the broad field of human rights law. A primary strand of this research are the issues surrounding resource constraints and the implementation of economic and social rights. Working primarily with the international human rights framework, he has researched the circumstances in which 'backwards steps' (or ‘retrogression’) in rights protection might be taken. This research is particularly applicable to situations of crisis and where resource constraints occur through natural and economic disasters.

He has also undertaken research projects on, for example, the general obligations of the ICESCR, the performance of the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the right to food in the UK, neoliberalism, theories of emergency, and the right to education in armed conflict.

Michael Wear

Michael Wear

Founder, Public Square Strategies LLC
Honorary Fellow, Edward Cadbury Centre

Department of Theology and Religion

Dr Michael Wilkinson

Dr Michael Wilkinson

Distance Learning Instructor

Department of Theology and Religion

Research Interests include the relationship between religion and globalization, religious diversity and public life, immigration and ethnic congregations, culture and embodiment.