New staff profiles for academic year 18/19

Below is a list of all new staff profiles that we have created for the academic year 2018-2019.

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.

Dr Nicola Astudillo-Jones

Dr Nicola Astudillo-Jones

Teaching Fellow in Spanish

Department of Modern Languages

My research focuses on the production and consumption of Latin American culture in the UK. My doctoral thesis examined the discourse of Latin American magical realism in the UK press and the reception of contemporary Latin American cinema through the ¡Viva! film festival in Manchester. It analysed the belonging and community that British audiences imagine to Latin America through acts of cultural consumption. My thesis was awarded the 2016 AHGBI publication prize and is the research on which my forthcoming monograph is based.

My research interests also lie in the Latin American diaspora in the UK and their production and consumption of Latin American culture whilst living in the UK.

Dr Kate Ballantyne

Dr Kate Ballantyne

Teaching Fellow in US History

Department of History

I am a historian of race and power in the twentieth century United States, with specialisation of the civil rights movement and student activism.  My PhD dissertation evaluated student radicalism in Tennessee after World War II, and passed without corrections at Cambridge in October 2017.  It makes significant contributions to the fields of twentieth century radicalism and social movements.  One of the few examinations of southern student activism, my PhD demands that historians reconsider the trajectory of 1960s student protest.  My second project, a national study of free speech debates on American university campuses from the 1960s to the present, has already received research funding from two major grants at the University of South Carolina and the 2018 British Association for American Studies (BAAS) Early Career Short-Term Travel Award.

Dr Matteo Barbato

Leverhulme Early Career Fellow

Classics and Ancient History

My research investigates Athenian democracy, public discourse and ideology through an interdisciplinary approach based on the New Institutionalism in political science.

I am currently involved in three projects:

  1. A study of the interplay between Athenian democratic institutions and ideology through the analysis of the social memory of Athens’ mythical past. This was the topic of my PhD thesis, which I am now turning into a book.
  2. A study on political power and ideology in Athenian democracy that tackles the issue of the existence of a political class in democratic Athens.
  3. The publication of an edited volume resulting from a conference on ‘New Approaches to Greek Institutional History’ which I have co-organised in 2017. 

Professor Kate Bedford

Professor Kate Bedford

Professor of Law

Birmingham Law School

Kate’s research focuses on how law, regulation, and governance shape economies, societies, and subjectivities, especially in terms of gender and sexuality.

In 2009 she published a book exploring the impact of the World Bank’s development lending on gender and sexuality, with case studies of Ecuador and Argentina. Rather than exploring areas of lending that were already marked as being about sex, such as HIV/AIDS or reproductive health, she analysed lending that seemed to be about other things, such as export promotion in floriculture, or institutional strengthening in the aftermath of economic crisis. The book showed how multi-lateral development institutions like the Bank played a key role in shaping gender and sexuality in the Global South. It called for much greater debate about this on the part of academics and development practitioners. As a result of this work, Kate was invited by the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development to write a report on care debates in the UN, which looked at sexuality and disability. In 2014, in the aftermath of World Bank President Jim Yong Kim’s critique of Uganda for passing anti-gay legislation, she was invited to the Bank to give a presentation on sexuality and development. Her sexuality research has also been used by Sexuality Policy Watch, a global sexual rights organisation, and by the gender team in the Bretton Woods Project, an organisation that monitors the Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

Another strand of Kate’s research considers the gendered political economy of gambling regulation. Critical political economists have long used gambling to think through capitalism, but they tend to do so via analogies with casinos. Kate was interested in other, differently gendered, more vernacular gambling forms. She was especially interested in bingo, a lottery-style game popular in many parts of the world about which there is almost no academic research, and certainly not in law. Bingo has a very different demographic to casinos, being especially popular with older, working class women, and, in North America and Australia, with indigenous populations. In addition, bingo is intriguing because it is associated with mutual aid and charitable fundraising as much as, if not more than, commercial gambling in many places. Kate wanted to know what impact that mix had on regulatory priorities in different places, and what that in turn could teach us about the political economy of gambling regulation. After some pilot projects in England and Canada, in 2013 she was awarded a large ESRC grant to research the comparative regulation of bingo. Aside from their academic publications, the research team have generated a number of non-academic outputs, including a public debate about bingo regulation in the UK, and major policy report exploring Brazil, the UK, the EU, and Canada (https://www.kent.ac.uk/thebingoproject/). Kate is currently finalising a monograph on what bingo can teach us about regulating capitalism.

Kate’s current research in on the increasing role played by law within debates about gender, sexuality, and development. Working with academics in Ecuador, she has submitted a networking grant to the Global Challenges Research Fund to strengthen socio-legal research capacity on gender, sexuality, law, and development.

Dr James E Bennett

Dr James E Bennett

Teaching Fellow in Egyptology

Classics, Ancient History and Archaeology

My research focuses on the development of Egyptian urbanism and material culture during the Third Intermediate Period, Late Dynastic Period, and the Ptolemaic-Roman Period. I currently have three main research areas:

  1. The excavations, documentation, and analysis of a newly discovered Late Ptolemaic- early Roman religious complex at Tell Timai (Thmuis) in the north eastern Nile delta, as well as a series of Late Roman burials.
  2. The development of Egyptian urbanism and domestic material culture from the end of the New Kingdom to the Late Antique Period.
  3. The chronological and stylistic development of Ptolemaic-Roman terracotta figurines from Egypt, from current excavations and existing museum collections in the UK.



Dr Verity Burke

Dr Verity Burke

Postdoctoral Researcher

Department of English Literature

I received my PhD for my thesis, “Intermedial Anatomy: Nineteenth-Century Literature and Collections Culture in the Cole Library of Early Medicine and Zoology” (July 2018). The project adopted an interdisciplinary approach to generate new understandings of how the bodies in Victorian museums were composed as much by words as they were by wax, bone or blood, revealing a complex and vital dialogue between literary culture, anatomical science and museum praxis.

My research interests include museums and collecting, anatomical illustration, the History of Science and Medicine, Material Culture, nineteenth-century medical jurisprudence and the Victorian notion of the criminal.

 

Dr John Child

Senior Lecturer in Criminal Law

Birmingham Law School

John’s research interests centre on criminal law theory, and particularly the internal structuring of offences and defences within the general part, where he has published widely.

John has contributed to several law reform and review exercises, including:

  • Law Commission consultations on Attempt; Conspiracy; Assisting and Encouraging; Intoxication; Bribery; Offences Against the Person; New Programmes of Law Reform;
  • House of Common's Justice Committee - Post Legislative Scrutiny of the Serious Crime Act 2007;
  • Cabinet Office - consultancy on corruption legislation.

John provides expert peer review for the Criminal Law Review; Oxford Journal of Legal Studies; Criminal Law and Philosophy; Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy; and the AHRC (Peer Review College). 

Professor Sylvie Delacroix

Professor Sylvie Delacroix

Professor in Law and Ethics

Birmingham Law School

Much of Sylvie Delacroix’s current work calls for renewed attention to be paid to habits and their relationship to normative agency. Mostly neglected in moral and legal theory (and rarely studied empirically), such an inquiry not only conditions an adequate understanding of the moral risks inherent in any institutional structure aimed at simplifying our practical reasoning (such as law). It is also essential if we are to come to grips with the public policy challenges raised by our growing reliance upon automated systems.

Dr Marco Di Nunzio

Dr Marco Di Nunzio

Lecturer in African Studies and Anthropology

Department of African Studies and Anthropology

As a social and political anthropologist, I am concerned with documenting how development produces marginality as well as exploring how anthropological research on the ordinary and the everyday life can help redefine what we mean by development and what development is for.

I have carried out research in Addis Ababa (Ethiopia) and more recently Lagos (Nigeria), Washington DC (USA) and Naples (Italy), investigating the economies of the street, crime and policing, authoritarianism and development, migration, entrepreneurship and micro-finance, the politics of justice, labour and the construction business, professional ethics and architecture practice, planning and the political economy of housing.

My first book, entitled The Act of Living. Street life, Marginality and Development in urban Ethiopia, is forthcoming from Cornell University Press. The Act of Living explores the relations between economic growth and experiences of marginality in inner city Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. By documenting how the biographies of two street hustlers intertwine with Ethiopia’s history, this book investigates why development continues to fail the poor, how marginality is understood and acted upon in a time of promise and why poor people’s claims for open-endedness can constitute the grounds on which to imagine better and more just alternative futures.

I am currently carrying out research for a second book project, provisionally entitled, Conspiracies to Build: The Political and Moral Economies of City Building. Conspiracies to Build focuses on the construction industry, urban development and politics of responsibility in Addis Ababa’s construction booms. It investigates the effects of the growing investment into African cities on how, why and by whom the moral and political ownership of urban development is claimed and maintained. By outlining a critique of dominant notions of the politically significant, the economically sound and the morally just underpinning Ethiopia’s construction boom, this book is intended to be a call for an anthropological commitment to an urban politics of collective responsibility and social justice.

Jessica Fay

Teaching Fellow in Eighteenth-Century and Early Nineteenth-Century English Literature

Department of English Literature

My monograph, Wordsworth’s Monastic Inheritance (Oxford University Press, 2018), is the first comprehensive study of Wordsworth’s engagement with the material and cultural legacies of the medieval monastic system. While offering insights into his poetic treatment of local attachment, national identity, and the historical resonances of landscape, the book also helps explain stylistic developments in Wordsworth’s writing between 1807 and 1822.

I am currently preparing and annotated edition of The Letters of Sir George and Lady Beaumont to William and Dorothy Wordsworth (under contract with Liverpool University Press) and a monograph entitled Things Above All Art: The Creative Relationship of William Wordsworth and Sir George Beaumont. This interdisciplinary monograph is an exploration of how and why Wordsworth experimented with various painterly techniques as his friendship with Beaumont developed. In it, I seek to modify accepted views of Wordsworth’s position in narratives of long-eighteenth-century aesthetics.

My longer term research interests concern how writers render shape, space, and stasis. I plan to pursue a broad study of experiments with teleology, the crafting of narrative and syntactical shapes, and the use of pictorialism by novelists in the long Romantic period.

Dr Leslie Fesenmyer

Dr Leslie Fesenmyer

Lecturer in the Anthropology of Africa

Department of African Studies and Anthropology

Through various research projects, I am pursuing two strands of interest:

1) Kinship and care

Drawing on multi-sited fieldwork in Kenya and London, I am completing a book manuscript titled Relative distance: Kinship, imagination, and change between Kenya and the United Kingdom. The book adopts a generational, life-stage, and gendered lens to the study of families living between Kenya and the United Kingdom, engaging with themes of migration and imagination, material and affective aspects of kinship, and reciprocity and recognition.Highlighting the affective process of negotiating relatedness transnationally, it shows that changes in kin relations cannot easily be attributed to the so-called inevitable nuclearization of families as a result of migrating to a western country.  Instead, it demonstrates how kin navigate their respective circumstances, reconfiguring the meaning of relatedness as they do so, and at the same time how wider forces mediate the social reproduction of families. 

I am also interested in issues of transnational caring between Africa and Europe against the backdrop of global ageing, neoliberal restructuring, and the entanglement of care regimes through migration.

2) Religion, mobility, and cities

Taking as its empirical starting point the flourishing of Kenyan-initiated Pentecostal churches in the United Kingdom over the last two decades, this ESRC-funded project – Kenyan Pentecostals between home, London, and the Kingdom of God – explores the coincidence of this new and renewed religiosity in a historical moment characterized by the diversification of diversity, an increasingly restrictive (im)migration regime, and ongoing austerity. I am interested in both unravelling the linkages between migration and religion and considering how Pentecostalism offers a distinct politics of identity and mode of being in the world.

With funding from the European Research Council, I will embark on a new collaborative and comparative project (2019 – 2023) – Multi-religious encounters in urban settings – with Ammara Maqsood (University College London) and Giulia Liberatore (University of Edinburgh).  While most research on religious pluralism has been conducted within the framework of secular-liberal democratic states, this project explores multi-religious encounters in three sites not typically seen as possessing secular-liberal civil societies: Kenya, Pakistan, and Italy. My research within the larger project will focus on Kenya, a multi-ethnic, -racial, and -religious society, which has been implicated in the global ‘War of Terror’ and where social tensions are increasingly made sense of through religious idioms.

Dr Richard Graham

Dr Richard Graham

Lecturer in Contemporary Literature and the Digital

Department of English Literature

My research explores the intersection of technology, language and culture in contemporary media forms within a global context. I am currently working on my first monograph, which explores historical and philosophical ways to engage with Google’s search engine. The project draws from a range of disciplines, for example Information Retrieval, Computer Science, Law, and New Media, and places the current discourse regarding search engines within a wider cultural and philosophical context. In doing so, I frame contemporary issues within digital culture as part of longer history of technological engagement: by looking to Plato, medieval mnemonic techniques, twentieth-century science of cognition and building on contemporary critical theory my research demonstrates that many of the current issues surrounding search engines are not new, while highlighting some of the aspects that make Google’s impact unique.

More broadly, my research aims to develop frameworks for attending to algorithmic cultures that facilitate interdisciplinary collaboration and shared research methods.

Dr Alan Greene

Senior Lecturer

Birmingham Law School

Alan's research focuses on the limits of constitutionalism, judicial review, and the role of courts in vindicating the rule of law. He explores these themes in the context of emergency powers, counter-terrorism, constituent power, and the judicial protection of human rights more generally. His first book Permanent States of Emergency and the Rule of Law: Constitutions in an Age of Crisis (Hart Publishing, 2018) was shortlisted for the 2018 Society of Legal Scholars Birks Prize for Outstanding Legal Scholarship.  He has published widely in journals such as Legal Studies, The International and Comparative Law Quarterly, The Modern Law Review, Public Law, and The Irish Jurist.

Alan has held visiting positions at Durham Law School (2013) and Columbia Law School (2012). He is very interested in hearing from potential PhD candidates in the area of constituent power, states of emergency, counter-terrorism, and the judicial protection of human rights. 

Dr Vendula Hnídková

Dr Vendula Hnídková

Marie Sklodowska-Curie Research Fellow

Department of Art History, Curating and Visual Studies

I am currently researching Garden Cities Movement in the project Idea, Ideal, Idyll: Garden Cities in Central Europe 1890s-1930s, funded by the ERC (Marie Skłodowska-Curie Individual Fellowship). This project examines processes of cultural and intellectual exchange between Britain and Central Europe, with particular regard to ideas of urban and architectural design.

In 2013-2017 I was a member of research project Prefabricated Housing Estates in the Czech Republic as Part of the Urban Environment: An Evaluation and Presentation of Thein Housing and Living Potential. The research, organized by Museum of Decorative Arts in Prague, pioneered investigation of the prefabricated housing in Czechoslovakia in terms of art history and urban planning.

In 2013-2015 I have participated as a joint researcher for the project Asymetrische Kunstgeschichte? Erforschung und Vermittlung ´prekärer´ Denkmälerbestände im Kalten Krieg at the Humboldt Universität zu Berlin (principal researcher Michaela Marek).

 

Dr J. Cale Johnson

Senior Lecturer in Assyriology

Classics, Ancient History and Archaeology

I am currently finishing up two major projects, a new edition of Babylonian medical treatments for gastrointestinal disease and an edition of Middle Assyrian administrative archive M6. In future, I will continue my work on Babylonian medicine, while at the same preparing several new editions of Sumerian literary works.

Dr Anne-Laura Kraak

Dr Anne-Laura Kraak

Teaching Fellow

Ironbridge International Institute for Cultural Heritage

Intersection of: World Heritage, living heritage, human rights, social justice, heritage destruction, development, conflict

Dr Atina Krajewska

Dr Atina Krajewska

Senior Birmingham Fellow

Birmingham Law School

In her research Dr Atina Krajewska focuses on the developments of human rights law in the area of health and biomedicine. Underpinning her research is the attempt to investigate the question of how the international community should manage health challenges and scientific progress. Her current research includes three main strands. The first strand is a continuation of research in the area of privacy, informational autonomy and data protection law in Europe in the context of genetic and genomic science. On the basis of this work she acted as an expert to the Polish Minister of Science and Higher Education and the Polish Senate. The second strand extends her studies into the field of reproductive rights, in which Atina is currently conducting a study on single persons in fertility treatment. She is particularly interested in the notion of invisible subjects and the mechanisms of acquiring visibility through law. The third, connected, strand of her research focuses on the formation of Global Health Law as a rising system of transnational law. Her research in this field elaborates on increasingly prominent debates regarding post-traditional patterns of constitutional organization and global justice and bears diversely on distinct legal spheres of medical and public health law, public international law, and the sociology of law

Dr Joseph Lambert

Dr Joseph Lambert

Teaching Fellow in French and Translation

Department of Modern Languages

Joseph’s research takes the innovative step of synthesising ideas from ethical theory, hermeneutics and translation studies, bringing them into critical conversation and exploring the questions of representation and intervention that accompany all translation. To date, he has engaged with several French thinkers whose ideas are underrepresented in the Anglophone world, including Antoine Berman, Henri Meschonnic and Paul Ricoeur.

At the same time, his research questions the commensurability of existing and newly-developed theoretical conceptions with the concrete, “real-life” practice of translation. An article that exemplifies this approach is his work on codes of ethics that was published in JoSTrans in July 2018. This article is indicative of the real-world impact of his research and initiates a knowledge transfer between translation studies and the translation profession. It opens a dialogue between theory and practice that he intends to explore further with future collaborative works alongside translation associations and professionals.

He is currently preparing several projects including journal articles, a potential monograph drawn from his thesis and a full-length translation of an as-yet untranslated work by Antoine Berman.

Dr Catherine Lester

Dr Catherine Lester

Lecturer in Film and Television

Department of Film and Creative Writing

My primary research area is horror films for children in Hollywood cinema. This was the basis of my PhD thesis (available here) and I am developing this into a monograph, entitled Horror Films for Children: Fear and Pleasure in American Cinema, to be published by I.B. Tauris. My journal article on the subject in Velvet Light Trap (2016) was awarded runner-up for Best Doctoral Student Article 2018 by the British Association of Film, Television and Screen Studies and was short-listed for Screen’s Annette Kuhn Essay Award 2017.

I am continuing to explore the intersections between children’s media and the horror genre with ongoing projects on children’s horror anthology programmes (e.g. Goosebumps) and the relationship between animation and horror in children’s cinema. This interest in animated horror has led to a symposium on Watership Down (1978) which explores the production, aesthetics, reception and ongoing cultural legacy of this landmark of British animation. I am also interested in representations of gender and girlhood, with a particular focus on narratives of female companionship and solidarity in recent Disney animated films, such as Frozen (2013) and Moana (2016). In relation to this, I convened the Warwick Girlhood Reading Group and co-organised a conference on the theme of Girlhood, Media and Popular Culture at the University of Warwick in 2016.

Dr Georgina Lucas

Dr Georgina Lucas

Teaching Fellow in Shakespeare Studies

Shakespeare Institute

My most recent and forthcoming publications explore the intersection between rape and massacre  on the early modern stage, the relationship between on and off-stage violence, domesticity in early modern contemporary history plays, and warfare in Fletcherian drama.

I am currently completing my first monograph: Massacre in Early Modern Drama. This multidisciplinary study examines the web of meanings constructed by and around the language and action of massacre on the early modern stage. It challenges the supposed senselessness of this form of violence and illuminates forms of massacre not immediately obvious to us today, offering new readings of canonical and critically neglected plays. In doing so, the monograph attests to the vibrant and diverse stage representation of massacre and demonstrates its pervasion in a range of rhetorical, political, and martial arena.  

My next project – Shakespeare and Atrocity – will focus upon the ways Shakespeare’s plays and cultural status have been used to handle atrocities from the Popish Plot to 9/11. This study, launched at an ISC seminar in July 2018, will juxtapose acts of atrocity with public and private engagements with Shakespeare across a range of different forms, including stage and literary adaptations, political writings, periodicals, films, diaries, documentaries, and legal proceedings. The project will thus track the use of Shakespeare to help parse, apologise for, or initiate era-defining violence.

Paul McConnell

Senior Lecturer
Director of Careers and Employability

Birmingham Law School

Paul is interested in research relating to the legal profession, as well as pedagogic research relating to the Employability and professional skills of Law students.

Dr Margarida McMurry

Teaching Fellow in Portuguese

Department of Modern Languages

I am currently working together with Doctor Virginia Pigniagnoli, University of Turin, and Doctor Malcah Efron, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, on an article based on our panel for the Narrative Conference 2016, in Amsterdam. The article has been accepted for publication to the narrative theory journal Narrative.

We propose that narrative – reading and writing – is a collaborative project between authors and readers, a project of “co-world-building.” We are investigating how what we take from narratives we read, i.e. that which will become part of how we construct the real world, starts out from assumptions authors and readers make, often supported or even triggered by the digital support around a fictional narrative at the time of writing, and continues through the reading processes and the co-construction of a story world. Our collaboration has already produced a related paper presented at the Narrative Conference 2017, Kentucky University. We are planning to take our collaboration further in this project and publish several papers on the co-constructive nature of narrative in its several forms.

I am interested in comparative studies, not just in terms of literature and culture within a particular group – eg Portuguese literature from Portuguese speaking communities – but also how different cultural groups make different assumptions. For example, within the Portuguese speaking communities, there are peculiarities of language, social contexts that may lead to serious misreadings – and misunderstandings – when these texts travel from one community to the other. Similarly, English novels will be understood differently by Portuguese readers. For this reason, my thesis analysed novels and short-stories from American, English, Italian and Portuguese authors.

I am particularly interested in contemporary literature, but I also enjoy working with texts from across several historical periods. I also enjoy analysing children’s literature and fantasy literature.

Dr Fiona Mitchell

Teaching Fellow in Greek Language and Literature

Classics, Ancient History and Archaeology

I am currently converting my doctoral thesis, ‘Monsters in Ancient Greek Cosmogony, Ethnography and Biology’, into a monograph.

I am also developing a project on conceptions of time in ancient Greek cosmogony and looking at correspondences between ancient Greek and Indian creation narratives. I held a conference, Time and Chronology in Creation Narratives, in June 2018 which brought together an international group of scholars to discuss the theme across different cultures in the ancient world. 

Immaculate Motsi-Omoijiade

Immaculate Motsi-Omoijiade

Research Associate

Birmingham Law School

Immaculate’s research focus is on Blockchain and Distributed Ledger Technology with an emphasis on the legal, regulatory, governance and operational considerations in the application of this technology in financial services and beyond. Her PhD Thesis examines the regulation of cryptocurrencies and cryptoassets with a conceptual framework embedded in complex systems, systems theory and reflexive regulation and a focus on regulation technology (Regtech) and algorithmic regulation. Immaculate is also interested in the intersection between Blockchain, Artificial Intelligence and other Industry 4.0/emerging technology from an operational perspective and on the application of Blockchain technology within the public sector and government with a current focus on the healthcare sector.

Dr Akira Murakami

Dr Akira Murakami

Birmingham Fellow

Department of English Language and Linguistics

My main research interests are in second language acquisition, corpus linguistics, and quantitative data analysis. I am particularly interested in systematicity and individuality in second language development. To characterize language development at the level of individual learners, it is essential to target a large number of learners, and for this reason, my work has exclusively drawn on large-scale learner corpora. To gain insights from such corpora, I have employed a variety of statistical and computational techniques.

Richard O'Brien

Richard O'Brien

Teaching Fellow in Shakespeare and Creativity
Birmingham Poet Laureate 2018-2020

Shakespeare Institute

The development of verse drama in Britain from the 16th century to the present day, particularly as understood in dialogue with Shakespeare; fictional depictions of Shakespeare and especially Shakespeare’s contemporaries, with a focus on Ben Jonson and Christopher Marlowe; incidental uses of Shakespeare in popular music and pop culture; the relationship between politics and poetic form; contemporary poetry; depictions of class in post-war British literature and music, including a project on the songwriter Jake Thackray (http://gatherabud.wordpress.com)

Dr Gerardo Ortega

Dr Gerardo Ortega

Lecturer

Department of English Language and Linguistics

His research explores how iconicity and gesture may influence different aspects related to the acquisition and processing of sign languages by deaf children and hearing adults. He has used behavioural and electrophysiological methods to investigate various sign languages including British Sign Language, Sign Language of the Netherlands, Turkish Sign Language, and Mexican Sign Language.

Dr Nicolò Palazzetti

Teaching Fellow in Music

Department of Music

My doctoral thesis focused on the cultural reception of Béla Bartók in Italy (1900-1960).

My current research project focuses on Italian musical migration to London from Italian unification (1861) to the Second World War (1945).

Dr Angie Pepper

Lecturer in Philosophy

Department of Philosophy

Much of my current research is concerned with the place of nonhuman animals in contemporary theorising about global justice. Specifically, I am interested in what including nonhuman animals within a cosmopolitan framework means for our thinking about resource distribution, food security, sustainability, climate change, and war.

I am also working on a series of papers that explore whether key concepts in political and moral philosophy are helpful for thinking about interspecies justice. Examples include political agency, privacy, consent, trust, and harm.

 

Dr Garry Plappert

Lecturer in Applied Linguistics

Department of English Language and Linguistics

My main research interests are in corpus linguistics, English for Academic Purposes (EAP) and discourse analysis. I am particularly interested in exploring the ways in which the methods of corpus linguistics can be used to extend our understanding of EAP, scientific discourse and the linguistics of epistemology.

Professor Muireann Quigley

Professor of Law, Medicine, and Technology

Birmingham Law School

Professor Quigley’s recent research has focused on three main areas: (1) bodies and biomaterials, (2) bodies and (bio)technologies, and (3) the use of the behavioural sciences in law and policy. All three areas are underpinned by an interest in the foundations of and boundaries in law. Amongst others, her work has been funded by the Wellcome Trust and the Leverhulme Trust.

In her forthcoming monograph she examines how the law ought to deal with novel challenges regarding the use and control of human biomaterials, arguing that innovation within the law is needed if we are to adequately deal with and regulate the uses of these. In particular, the law must confront and move boundaries which it has constructed; in particular, those which delineate property from non-property in relation to biomaterials (Self-ownership, Property Rights, & the Human Body: A Legal and Philosophical Analysis (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2018)).

Work on the monograph led to a development of Professor Quigley’s longstanding interest in bodies and (bio)technologies. She is interested in the challenges arising as (bio)technological objects move out of and into the body. Those objects moving in (e.g. relevant medical devices) present challenges to the philosophical foundations of law as it currently stands (e.g. challenging binary classifications such as subject-object upon which the law is built).

Professor Quigley’s third main area of research centres on the use of the behavioural sciences in law and policy. Behavioural-inspired public policy is often framed by proponents and policy-makers as desirable strategies for achieving a range of aims. It is also frequently presented (at least by policy-makers and Government) as being a pioneering alternative to the law and traditional regulatory structures. Professor Quigley’s work examines the problematic empirical, philosophical, and political foundations of the translation and application of the behavioural sciences into law and policy 

Dr Hany Rashwan

Dr Hany Rashwan

Postdoctoral Research Fellow (Arabic rhetoric leader)

School of Languages, Cultures, Art History and Music

My research focuses on both Arabic balāghah (literary poetics) and khitābah (oral public speech and philosophical argumentation); and how to establish fruitful dialogues between various interrelated disciplines, such as: comparative rhetoric, comparative poetics, comparative literature and translation studies.

I received the International Society for the History of Rhetoric (ISHR) Research Fellowship in 2015. My primary research interest is to bridge the two disciplines of comparative balāghah and comparative poetics to acknowledge the relationship between the ‘poetic form’ and its ‘eloquent content’. My primary research goal is to reinvigorate the studies of Islamic balāghah and khitābah in the Euro-American scholarship and to let the studied cultures to speak for themselves without any automatic imposition of Eurocentrism.

I aim to understand how the early philologists differentiated between Arabic balāghah, as a scientific field that studies the creative interaction between the imagination, poetic form, and eloquent content and khitābah (oral-public speech in the Greek sense of rhetoric). In doing so, I am opening the door to previously unexplored literary and philosophical approaches, under the umbrella of connected fields such as Comparative Rhetoric, Comparative Poetics, and Comparative Literature. I also intend to work on various Arabic rhetorical devices that are still understudied in Euro-American academia, such as moḥassanāt el-lafz and moḥassanāt el-ma‘na (the beautifiers of meaning and vocal form).

Dr Rebecca Roach

Lecturer in Contemporary Literature

Department of English Literature

My research straddles twentieth and twenty-first century Anglophone literatures. I am particularly interested in the relation of literature and literary studies to wider culture. Research interests include digital cultures, life writing, book and media history (including reading communities), transnational modernism and its legacies, the institutionalisation of literary studies, literary methodologies, and the culture of celebrity as it interacts with literature.

My first book examines the rise of the interview in literary culture and my new project examines the intersection of computing and literary history.

I am also an affiliate researcher at King’s College London as part of the European Research Council-funded Ego Media project (2014-2019), which deploys interdisciplinary approaches to examine the forms and representations of social media.

Dr Maria Roca Lizarazu

Dr Maria Roca Lizarazu

Leverhulme Early Career Fellow

Department of Modern Languages

Maria’s doctoral research investigated representations of the Holocaust and the Second World War across a range of German- and Austrian-Jewish writers who belong to the second or third generation born after the Holocaust. These writers relate to the events from the position of the “nonwitness” (Weissman 2004), and in the face of major shifts in Holocaust memory since the turn of the millennium, such as the disappearance of the survivor and eyewitness generation and the increasing mediatisation and globalisation of the events. The Holocaust has therefore emerged as a highly discursivised “floating signifier” (Huyssen 2003), which travels transgenerationally, transmedially and transnationally.

Engaging with these shifts, Maria argued that Marianne Hirsch’s concept of “postmemory” (Hirsch 1997) and recent trauma theory need to be readjusted in order to account for the massive changes in Holocaust memory. Drawing on cultural and literary theories and transnational memory studies, she developed a new approach that focuses on the Holocaust as a form of “travelling trauma” (Tomsky 2011), tracing its remediation and recycling across geographical, cultural, medial, and representational boundaries.

Maria is currently turning her PhD into a monograph which is under contract with Camden House.

Her new Leverhulme-project is situated in transnational studies and will examine how contemporary German-language literature intervenes in the heated socio-political debates about integration in the wake of the so-called European "migrant/refugee crisis”. Current discussions oscillate between unreflected multiculturalism on the one hand and aggressive assimilationalism on the other. Analysing figurations of arrival, contact and dis-/integration in recent texts about migration and displacement, Maria’s research investigates how they challenge these discursive patterns. It examines whether and how fiction offers complex models of integration that involve conflicts, frictions and misunderstandings as key aspects of transnational encounter, thus championing innovative mode(l)s of togetherness in the global age.

Dr Julia Secklehner

Dr Julia Secklehner

Research Fellow

Department of Art History, Curating and Visual Studies

I work on the ERC-funded project ‘Continuity or Rupture? Art and Architecture of Central Europe: 1918-1938’ (CRAACE) with Professor Matthew Rampley, Dr Marta Filipová and Dr Nóra Veszprémi. Within this project, my research focuses on the dialectic between avant-garde movements and ‘nostalgic’ or ‘folk’ modernism in Central Europe. I examine the tension between the avant-garde and ‘völkisch’ art, and its role in defining national, metropolitan and regional identities, and interwar sexual politics. My research highlights the contradictory impulses governing the artistic landscape, in which avant-garde renewal existed alongside cultural and artistic ideas that reached back to the aesthetic and ideological impulses of the Habsburg era.

My interests also include interwar Central European women photographers and intersections of art and activism in the interwar years. In this context, I explore how photographers used their position as politically active, leftist, Jewish women to forge a ‘humanist’ photography in the illustrated press, merging the visual language of the Bauhaus and New Objectivity with worker and documentary photography.

My PhD research, which was funded by an AHRC doctoral scholarship and titled ‘Belligerent Drawing? The Vienna and Prague Satirical Press in Political Crossfire 1918-1938’, has initialised a wide-ranging survey of the interwar satirical press. Joining the histories of individual magazines, their politics, and artistic developments, the project has demonstrated that interwar satirical magazines in Prague and Vienna encompassed considerably more variety and engagement with their social, political and artistic environment than previous studies have shown. 

 

Elizabeth Speakman

Research Fellow

Birmingham Law School

Elizabeth’s research interests lie at the intersection of law, public health and ethics. She has a particular interest in public health law and governance, particularly relating to patient safety.  In recent years her research has focused on health law in the European region. She is also interested in maternal health in low income countries.

As part of the HealthyBrexit project she will be looking at the implications of Brexit on UK health law, including issues such as health governance, NHS workforce and the position of overseas visitors using the NHS.

Professor Lyndsey Stonebridge

Professor Lyndsey Stonebridge

Interdisciplinary Chair
Professor of Humanities and Human Rights

Department of English Literature

Professor Stonebridge’s research focuses on twentieth-century and contemporary literature and history, Human Rights, and Refugee Studies, drawing on the interdisciplinary connections between literature, history, politics, law, and social policy. She is a scholar of the political philosopher, Hannah Arendt  and, following Arendt, adopts a comparative and question-driven approach to modern cultural history.

Her most recent book Placeless People: Writing, Rights, and Refugees  (Oxford University Press, 2018) is a polemical study of how the literature of exile gave way to a more complicated and vexed articulation of statelessness in the mid twentieth century. In 1944 Hannah Arendt wrote: 'Everywhere the word 'exile' which once had an undertone of almost sacred awe, now provokes the idea of something simultaneously suspicious and unfortunate.' The book offers an intellectual and literary history of that transition, by showing how Arendt read literature to think about rightlessness, and how mid-century writers, such as George Orwell, Samuel Beckett, Simone Weil, and W.H. Auden, were concerned to register to the emergence of mass displacement in their writing.  These writers all respond to a challenge that remains with us today: how might we imagine community and sovereignty beyond nation state histories?

Placeless People is a follow-on to The Judicial Imagination: Writing after Nuremberg (2011/14) which also took the work of Arendt as a theoretical starting point in order to think about the relation between law, justice and literature in the aftermath of total war and genocide. The book focused on the work of an extraordinary generation of women writers and intellectuals, including Rebecca West, Martha Gellhorn, Elizabeth Bowen, Dorothy Thompson, Muriel Spark and Iris Murdoch, who were all passionately committed to justice whilst being sceptical about the mid-century turn to human rights.

Most recently, Lyndsey has been focusing on developing new methodologies capable of demonstrating the value of the arts and humanities to real world contexts.  Understanding how writing plays a role in developing new context for thinking about human rights, particularly refugee rights, is the basis of her current work with the multi-disciplinary AHRC/ESRC project Refugee Hosts working with refugees and their hosts in Lebanon, Jordan, and Turkey.  Combining traditional humanities scholarship with creative, critical, and participatory approaches, the project focuses on the politics and ethics of hosting and neighbourliness in rights-scarce contexts.  Central to this recent work is the question of how we archive and create histories of statelessness, rightlessness, and impoverishment outside and between the histories of nations and global governance.

Lyndsey is currently completing a short polemical book for OUP's Literary Agenda Series, Writing and Writing: Literature in an Age of Human Rights (2019).
 

Professor Lorraine Talbot

Professor Lorraine Talbot

Professor of Company Law in Context
Deputy Director of Research (environment)

Birmingham Law School

Professor Talbot researches in contextual and critical approaches to company law, corporate governance and business organisations; approaches which include issues around political economy, theory, power, gender and history. Her work is particularly concerned with the tension between labour and capital in the company and how the company might become a force for social progress. Her 2013 book Progressive Corporate Governance for the 21st Century (Routledge 2013 and 2014) shows how political choices shape the company and determine whether companies will operate in the interests of investment or in the interests of labour and the wider community. The book draws on historical, comparative, theoretical and legal sources. Her 2014 book, Great Debates in Company Law, in Palgrave’s Great Debates series draws out the vigorous political debates that reside within this subject. She is currently writing a third edition of Critical Company Law (Routledge 2007, 2015) and completing a monograph entitled Extracting Global Values and Corporate Capitalism: How we could make the Company Fit for Social Purpose. Professor Talbot’s work is concerned to make critical academic work both useful and assessable to students. With that goal in mind she will be publishing an edited collection entitled Critical Commercial and Corporate Law in 2019.

Antonio Terron-Barroso

Antonio Terron-Barroso

Assistant Tutor in Modern Languages – Spanish

Department of Modern Languages

My current research focus is on the linguistic construction of the Spanish national identity through the discourse of transnational cinema in English and Spanish.

As part of my PhD I have completed two different research stays. On the one side, in 2016 I spent three months under the supervision of Professor Sally Faulkner as a Visiting Research Scholar at the University of Exeter. On the other, during the entire academic year 2014-2015, I was a Visiting Graduate Student at the University of Massachusetts Amherst under the supervision of Professor Barbara Zecchi.

Dr Antonia Wimbush

Dr Antonia Wimbush

Teaching Fellow in French

Department of Modern Languages

Antonia’s PhD research explored issues of mobility, identity, displacement, and exile as expressed in contemporary autobiographical narratives written in French by women writers from across the Francophone postcolonial world. Analysing the work of Kim Lefèvre (Vietnam), Gisèle Pineau (Guadeloupe), Nina Bouraoui (Algeria), and Véronique Tadjo (Côte d’Ivoire), her thesis investigated how the French colonial project has shaped female articulations of mobility and identity in the present.

She has written articles on exile, memory, and trauma in contemporary Francophone literature. Recent publications address French Caribbean migration during and after World War Two, and how these migratory phenomena are represented in contemporary cultural production in French.

She is currently preparing a new research project on representations of the body in Francophone postcolonial literature and film, exploring how power in its various forms is inscribed on the body.

Professor Karen Yeung

Professor Karen Yeung

Interdisciplinary Professorial Fellow in Law, Ethics and Informatics

Birmingham Law School

Karen’s research expertise lies in the regulation and governance of, and through, new and emerging technologies.  Her work has been at the forefront of nurturing ‘law, regulation and technology’ as a sub-field of legal and interdisciplinary scholarship.

Karen’s recent and on-going work focuses on the legal, ethical, social and democratic implications of a suite of technologies associated with automation and the ‘computational turn’, including big data analytics, artificial intelligence (including various forms of machine learning), distributed ledger technologies (including blockchain) and robotics. The overarching aim of her research is to enrich our understanding of the capacity and potential of these technologies to inform decision-making and to influence and co-ordinate individual and collective behaviour across a wide range of policy domains through the broad lenses of ‘Algorithmic Regulation’ and ‘Algorithmic Accountability’. She is currently undertaking series of inquiries which, taken together, seek to explore their implications for normative values associated with liberal constitutional democracies, including:

  • democracy and democratic governance, including the need for public participation in their design, construction and implementation, and the value weightings and trade-offs that are hard-wired into system development and operation;
  • constitutional values, including transparency, accountability, due process, proportionality and the rule of law;
  • individual rights, freedom, autonomy and human dignity;
  • equality, community, social solidarity and distributive justice; and
  • the allocation of decision-making authority, responsibility and liability between humans and machines.

In pursuing these aims, Karen draw upon a broad range of disciplinary perspectives from the humanities, social sciences (and increasingly, the computer sciences), including law, applied ethics (professional ethics, bioethics, information ethics, machine ethics and robot ethics), political theory, political science, regulatory governance studies, the philosophy of technology, the sociology of science (including STS and innovation studies) and criminology. Her most recent work has involved collaborations with AI researchers and data and computer scientists and she has recently been awarded a Wellcome Trust Seed Award in the Social Sciences to lead an interdisciplinary project which seeks to map the legal, ethical, technical and governance challenges associated with regulating healthcare through blockchain.