showcasing excellence The Department of Humanities of Humanities

310401K_SASS Showcasing Excellence 26/4/11 11:49 Page BC1 SCHOOL OF ARTS AND SOCIAL SCIENCES Programmes in The Department of Humanities BA (Hons)...
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Programmes in The Department of Humanities BA (Hons) English Literature BA (Hons) English Literature and Creative Writing BA (Hons) English Literature and History BA (Hons) English Language Studies

showcasing excellence The Department of Humanities

MA Applied Linguistics for TESOL MA TESOL MA English Literature and Place MA Creative Writing MRes Creative Writing

BA (Hons) English Language and Literature

MRes Linguistics

BA (Hons) History

MRes English Language

BA (Hons) History and Politics

MRes English Literature

MRes Language and Cognition

MRes Gender Studies MRes History

Tel: 0191 243 7441 [email protected]

Head of Department Dr David Walker Tel: 0191 227 3724 [email protected]

Professor Ewa Dabrowska

Professor Don MacRaild

Tel: 0191 227 3497 [email protected]

Tel: 0191 243 7259 [email protected]

Professor Michael Green

Professor Richard Terry

Tel: 0191 227 3492 [email protected]

Tel: 0191 227 3568 [email protected]


CONTACT Dean, School of Arts and Social Sciences, Professor Lynn Dobbs

Issue 3

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The American and British relationship with Africa since 1960


Friday 10 June 2011 at Northumbria University (Newcastle upon Tyne)

In this issue

Keynote speaker: Fergal Keane, BAFTA award-winning journalist

14 Conference themes: The evolution of Anglo-American relations and Africa.


16 – Belgium: from battleground to meeting ground Dr Daniel Laqua looks at Belgian citizens with international ambitions

Africa and the Cold War strategy of the United States and/or Britain.

17 – Profile on Professor Don MacRaild

Civil rights, race and foreign policy. US presidents, UK prime ministers and Africa since the 1960s.

Don explains his fascination with the history of migration


19 – Chinese connections

British and/or American reactions to African crises such as Rhodesia, Rwanda, South Africa and the Congo.

Dr Rachel Edwards examines how China’s changing society is depicted in the western media

US and/or UK responses to apartheid. UK and/or US relations with key African leaders such as Smith, Mugabe, Botha, Amin and Kenyatta. Western attempts to solve the problems of Africa from Biafra to debt. The impact of UK/US soft power – peacekeeping, missionaries, aid workers and international development. The British and/or American media and Africa.

Information and bookings:

09 – Humanities staff celebrate publishing success 04 – Foreword Dr David Walker reviews recent developments in a thriving department

05 – Shakespeare and the American identity crisis Dr Monika Smialkowska reflects on the American Shakespeare Tercentenary celebrations in 1916

06 – Before depression A three-year interdisciplinary project brings the history of depression to a wider audience

Department hosts launch for eight new books

10 – Profile on Professor Ewa Dabrowska Ewa’s groundbreaking research challenges one of the dominant theories in linguistics

20 – Shandy Hall: a novel partnership Collaborative PhD student Helen Williams talks about her work at literary museum Shandy Hall

22 – Clubbing together Dr Tanja Bueltmann investigates how Scottish clubs and associations spread across the world

23 – Masters of research 11 – Pixels and pikestaffs How digital technology has revolutionised research in American history

07 – Litpop

13 – Write in the city and other stories

Dr Adam Hansen discusses literature and pop music

A new creative writing centre for the region

08 – Were copycats always uncool?

14 – Honeytrap lies and women spies

Professor Richard Terry examines accusations of plagiarism in eighteenth-century literature

Dr Rosie White explores the myth of Mata Hari and the mundane reality of the female spy

Three students discuss their experiences on the new MRes in Humanities

24 – Following Tolstoy Dr Charlotte Alston discusses the international Tolstoyan movement

25 – Women’s centres on campus Dr Sylvia Ellis examines how American universities tackle gender issues

26 – Bedroom stories Dr Sasha Handley delves into the social history of sleep


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Shakespeare and the American identity crisis

by Dr David Walker, Head of Department The Department of Humanities incorporates English Literature, Language, Linguistics, Creative Writing and History. Thanks to the popularity of our courses and the University’s investment in research excellence, the Department has expanded rapidly in the last few years. Drawing on the expertise of 62 academic staff, the Department promotes quality, diversity and innovation in research and teaching across creative writing, English language, literary culture, and national and international history. The Department is home to internationally recognised journals in language, literature and history, including Bunyan Studies, Cognitive Linguistics, Labour History Review and Immigrants and Minorities. We have links with public and private organisations such as New Writing North, the Laurence Sterne Trust, the North-East England History Institute, Newcastle's Literary and Philosophical Society, and the leading women’s writing magazine Mslexia. These collaborations allow us to offer funded studentships for doctoral studies, share expertise with partner organisations and encourage public engagement with the vibrant research going on in the Department. In the last three years, the University has made a significant investment in Humanities research. We’ve appointed 38 highly research-active staff and funded a total of 36 studentships to attract the most talented graduates to our postgraduate programmes. In 201011, we invested £600,000 in Humanities library resources, providing online access to a wealth of journals, databases of primary sources, digital collections and newspaper archives. Researchers at Northumbria can now access one of the best collections of American and Irish newspapers in the UK university system. We’ve launched fresh training programmes to equip postgraduates


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with the research skills they need for doctoral studies and for professional careers in research and teaching. Our Master of Research (MRes) programmes in English Literature and History are now in their second year, and our new MRes in Gender Studies launched last year. In September 2011, we are introducing four more programmes – MRes in Linguistics; MRes in English Language; MRes in Language and Cognition; and MRes in Creative Writing. All our postgraduate programmes are designed to engage students with the most up-to-date research and are delivered by academics at the cutting edge of their subjects. Humanities staff participate in diverse research groups and collaborate with academic colleagues and expert practitioners across the world. Recent research and consultancy work has attracted funding from the Arts and Humanities Research Council, the Economic and Social Research Council, the British Academy, the Nuffield Foundation, the Marc Fitch Fund, the Canadian Government, the Royal Irish Academy, the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, the Roosevelt Study Centre, the Leverhulme Trust and others. Our English and History scholars have an excellent record of publishing success. In December 2010, eight of our academic staff shared a book launch at the University. Dr Leigh Wetherall Dickson, Senior Lecturer in

In 1916, Americans faced economic uncertainty, increased immigration and anxieties concerning the country’s potential involvement in the Great War. Shakespeare had been dead for three hundred years. Yet, according to new research by Dr Monika Smialkowska, the Bard was still influential in shaping American national identity at the time.

Eighteenth and Nineteenth Century Literature, was recently shortlisted for a prestigious Modern Language Association prize. We have a thriving creative writing community in the Department too. Our creative writing lecturers are professional writers whose work has been published nationally and internationally, produced by the BBC and by independent film, television and theatre companies. We’ve recently set up Write in the City, a new regional centre for writing and publishing organisations, based at Holy Jesus Hospital in Newcastle. We’ve also founded a new creative writing journal, Slovo, and our writer in residence, Marion Husband, is working on projects in the local community on memory and place. The Humanities Department hosts international academic conferences, events, seminars and literary readings, providing a stimulating environment for exchanging ideas. Last year we hosted the 5th annual conference of the British Society for Literature and Science, as well as Locating the Hidden Diaspora: the English in the Anglo-phone World. In June 2011, we are hosting two more fascinating conferences – Litpop: Writing and Popular Music and The American and British Relationship with Africa Since 1960, featuring awardwinning journalist and broadcaster Fergal Keane.

Monika’s research focuses on the American celebrations of the 300th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death in 1916. “The American Shakespeare Tercentenary celebrations were a fascinating moment of cultural adaptation and appropriation,” says Monika. “The US intellectual elite of the time were promoting Shakespeare as an

embodiment of a particular version of national identity, based on the supposedly natural superiority of the ‘Anglo-Saxon’ cultural norms of the early colonial settlers,” she says. “At the same time, underprivileged groups, such as new immigrants, AfricanAmericans and the urban underclasses, used the Bard as a way of selfadvancement through association with a powerful cultural icon.”

“Certain texts, authors and practices become invested with cultural authority, and that authority can be appropriated by groups and individuals in their attempts to construct their cultural identity or elevate their status. Shakespeare was one such author, epitomising English-language literature.” Monika’s research on the Tercentenary is particularly timely, in the build-up to the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death in 2016. She was awarded a Folger Shakespeare Library fellowship during the initial stages of her research. Monika’s interest in the cultural significance of Shakespeare extends beyond this project. She is a member of the English Diaspora project, a collaboration between English Literature and History staff, which investigates how English ethnic identity was maintained among the émigré communities across the globe. The project is under consideration for a major grant from the Arts and Humanities Research Council, and promises to offer a new insight into English ethnicity abroad.

The Sock and Buskin Society perform ‘Shakespeare, the Playmaker’ at the University of North Dakota’s Bankside Theatre in 1916. (Courtesy of the Department of Theatre Arts, University of North Dakota.)

Monika participated in Locating the Hidden Diaspora: The English in the Anglo-phone World, a conference which took place at Northumbria University in July 2010. She is also contributing to a volume of essays based on the findings of that conference, which will be published by Liverpool University Press.


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Before depression


What was depression like before it was called depression?

Dr Adam Hansen discusses the connections and conflicts between writing and pop music. An art exhibition at the Shipley Art Gallery in Gateshead attracted over eight thousand visitors. 18th-Century Blues: An Exploration of the Melancholy Mind featured work by Hogarth, Reynolds, Wright, Romney, Blake, Rowlandson, Goya, Constable, John Martin and Luke Clennell. “The exhibition included both visual representations of depression and work by notable depressives of the period,” says Allan.

The Bathos by William Hogarth (1697-1764) ©The Whitworth Art Gallery, University of Manchester

The World Health Organisation estimates that as many as one in five people may suffer from depression during their lifetime. Yet before the mid-nineteenth century, the term did not exist. Now a three-year interdisciplinary research project has brought the history of depression to a wider audience. Before Depression: The Representation and Culture of ‘The English Malady’ (1660–1800) resulted in two public lecture series, an art exhibition, a website, an international academic conference and a series of publications. The project was funded by the Leverhulme Trust and led by Allan Ingram, Professor of English at Northumbria University. “The aim was to explore the different expressions, representations and manifestations of what we now call ‘depression’, during the eighteenth


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century,” says Allan. “The focus of the project was primarily literary – looking at poetry, fiction and drama; letters; journals; pamphlets; and biographical and autobiographical work. Literary writing allows particularly revealing insights into historical cultures and mentalities, particularly when considered alongside material from adjacent fields – such as the history of medicine; social and cultural history; and art history.” Twenty public lectures took place over two years with speakers from Britain, Europe and America. “These discussed different aspects of the understanding and experience of depression during the period, and looked at its representation by writers and artists,” says Allan. The lectures are now available as podcasts at

An international academic conference on the subject attracted speakers and delegates from Britain, France, Germany, Latvia, Japan, Canada and America. Several publications are due out next year. These include a major co-authored volume written by the core team, Varieties of Melancholy Experience (Palgrave, 2011), and a four-volume edited set of primary material, Depression and Melancholy, 1660–1800 (Pickering & Chatto, 2012). Selected public lectures are being published in two special editions of the journal Studies in the Literary Imagination (Spring and Fall, 2011) and a selection of the conference papers will appear in a two-volume edition of the journal The European Spectator (2011). The project was a collaborative venture between the English departments at Northumbria University and the University of Sunderland. The core team included Professor Richard Terry, Dr Clark Lawlor, Dr Leigh Wetherall Dickson and Visiting Professor Stuart Sim. Three doctoral students were also attached to the project – Dr Diane Buie, Pauline Morris and Charlotte Holden. Professor Allan Ingram has a strong research interest in melancholy and insanity in relation to eighteenth-century writing. He has published two monographs – The Madhouse of Language: Writing and Reading Madness in the Eighteenth Century (Routledge, 1991) and Cultural Constructions of Madness in Eighteenth-Century Writing: Representing the Insane (Palgrave, 2005, with Michelle Faubert).

An international conference hosted by Northumbria University aims to bring fresh perspectives to debates about the forms and functions of popular music in relation to literature. LitPop: Writing and Popular Music will take place in June 2011. “The conference brings together students and scholars to think in more detail about how two forms of expression relate to and influence each other,” says Dr Adam Hansen, who is organising the conference with colleagues at Northumbria and Teesside University. Speakers will explore connections and conflicts between writing (fiction and nonfiction, past and present) and popular music. “Thinking about these issues raises others,” says Adam. “In the past, people tried to give value to popular music by saying it was ‘as good as’ or ‘just like’ literature. In the 1960s, Bob Dylan was ‘worth listening to’ because he was as clever a writer as John Keats. This view still has some power today: Seamus Heaney tells us that Eminem has a poet’s way with words.” These views, Adam argues, suggest that literature still has more cultural worth than popular music, and, indeed, that the two are separate. “Is this kind of separation and hierarchy desirable, or possible?” he asks. “If it is, why do we make these differences? If it isn’t, why isn’t it? Nowadays many writers freely borrow the language and imagery of pop: what makes this possible, or desirable?” Adam believes that various forms of writing have had a crucial role to play in making pop music culture what it is. “Novels, poetry, biographies, blogs and journalism represent fans, collectors, consumers, performers, moguls and producers. They chronicle pop music’s histories and mythologies – through nostalgia, pastiche and memory.” “If we’re used to thinking of music in terms of genres, we will also try to think about whether we can categorise writing in terms of the genres of popular

Adam Hansen’s recent book

music. Is there such a thing as a ‘jazz’, ‘hip-hop’ or ‘punk’ novel or poem? Are music criticism, journalism and biography ‘literary’?” The interplay between so-called ‘high’ and ‘popular’ cultures is a theme that features in Adam’s recent monograph, Shakespeare and Popular Music (Continuum 2010). The book has already won critical acclaim. “This unique book combines a pop music fan’s dedication with an academic’s rigour,” writes Emma Smith, Fellow and Tutor in English at the University of Oxford.

To make connections between literature and popular music, Adam believes we must examine the social and historical contexts that make these connections possible. “In its own way, the Litpop conference will be political,” he says. “It will have to acknowledge and confront the idea that class-based, sexualised, gendered and racialised identities inform our experience, production and consumption of ‘litpop’.” Conference organisers are planning to submit an edited collection of selected papers to the Ashgate Popular and Folk Music Series for publication.


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Were copycats always uncool? Whether you are a student, an academic or an author, plagiarism is the most heinous of writing crimes. But has this always been the case and has the crime always been the same? Professor Richard Terry's new book examines the way plagiarism developed as an accusation through the eighteenth century.

“Plagiarism has always been considered wrong,” says Professor Richard Terry, “but this is because, by definition, plagiarism is the term we apply to instances of appropriation that we consider ‘wrongful’ – the language simply makes it impractical to consider plagiarism in any light other than a negative one. But this doesn’t mean the crime has always been the same.” In his new book, The Plagiarism Allegation in English Literature from Butler to Sterne, Richard reveals the broad developments in the word’s meaning from 1600 onwards. He shows how it started as a word for theft of a work in its entirety, in which an author would find himself stripped of the very title of ownership and be forced to witness the credit of his or her labour being diverted to another party. By the eighteenth century however, it had come to also mean the appropriation of ideas or expressions within a work rather than of the whole work itself. This then created the opportunity to regard acts of plagiarism as pardonable if the plagiarist had improved artistically on the original source or had assimilated the appropriated material so harmoniously that it deserved no longer to be seen as foreign matter. “What really interests me is not plagiarism itself but how the allegation of plagiarism became such an important part of literary culture in this period,” says Richard. “Why should Dryden and Pope, the satiric writers of the highest eminence in their time, have been subject to such virulent plagiarism allegations? Why should Shakespeare, whose extensive plundering of source material was being investigated during the eighteenth century, have been


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Humanities book launch © Simon Veit-Wilson

Humanities staff celebrate publishing success almost entirely exempted from such allegations? And why did William Lauder go to the length of actually forging source materials for Paradise Lost in order to stick the brand of plagiarism on Milton? “I am also interested in why it should have been the case that so many women writers seem to have run the gauntlet of plagiarism allegations and why, equally, do there appear to have been so few plagiarism accusations levelled by women against men? There exists some evidence that during the literary period covered by this book, the plagiarism slur actively conspired with other forms of misogynistic belittling of women’s writing. The slur had the effect of challenging women’s entitlement to

What really interests me is not plagiarism itself but how the allegation of plagiarism became such an important part of literary culture in this period be seen as authentic originators of their own productions, as legitimate bearers and custodians of their own literary property.” The Plagiarism Allegation in English Literature from Butler to Sterne was published by Palgrave in September 2010.

Professor Richard Terry shared the limelight with seven other recently published colleagues at the Humanities book launch at Northumbria University in December 2010. “The appearance of so many books in such quick succession is quite unprecedented, and testifies to the very vibrant research culture of the Department,” said Richard. The authors who achieved publishing success in 2010 are all academics in three subject areas; English Literature, Linguistics and History. Literature provided a rich seam for research, with authors exploring subjects from poetry to popular culture.

In Marianne Moore and the Cultures of Modernity (Ashgate), Dr Victoria Bazin examines the work of the American modernist poet Marianne Moore in relation to the emerging consumer culture. Dr Adam Hansen’s Shakespeare and Popular Music (Continuum) listens in to what generations of artists, critics and fans have had to say about the ways seemingly separate ‘high’ and ‘low’ cultures interact. Then there is Richard’s book on plagiarism; Dr Peter Garratt’s Victorian Empiricism (Fairleigh Dickinson University Press); Dr Claire Nally’s Envisioning Ireland: W.B.Yeats’s Occult Nationalism

(Peter Lang); and Dr Robert McKenzie’s linguistics study The Social Psychology of English as a Global Language (Springer).

History publications focussed on peace and co-operation. Haus Publishing commissioned international historian Dr Charlotte Alston to write Antonius Piip, Zigfrids Meierovics and Augustinas Voldemaras: the Baltic States for their

32 book series Makers of the Modern World about the peace conferences of

1919-23. Her colleague Dr Nicole Robertson produced The Co-operative Movement and Communities in Britain, 1914–1960: Minding Their Own Business

for Ashgate.


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Pixels and pikestaffs

Profile Ewa Dabrowska, Professor in Cognitive Linguistics For fifty years now, Chomsky’s theory of a universal grammar has dominated linguistics. At its heart is the assumption that all human beings learn language equally well, and that there must therefore be underlying common structure to all languages that is somehow ‘hard-wired’ into the human brain. But what if that assumption was wrong? Original research by Professor Ewa Dabrowska calls into question this core tenet for the existence of a universal grammar. Working with her colleague James Street, she tested a range of adults on basic elements of core English grammar. The participants, some of whom were postgraduate students and some of whom had left school at the age of 16, were asked to identify the meaning of a number of simple active and passive sentences, as well as sentences which contained the universal qualifier ‘every’.

Professor Ewa Dabrowska

Ewa’s groundbreaking research calls into question the existence of a universal grammar

“We all assume that every adult native speaker of English is able to understand the meaning of the sentence ‘The soldier was hit by the sailor,’” explains Ewa, “but when we actually tested people we found that a high proportion of those who had left school at 16 make mistakes. Indeed, some participants were not able to perform any better than chance, scoring no better than if they had been guessing.” What makes these findings so groundbreaking is that, for decades, the theoretical and educational consensus has been solid. Regardless of educational attainment or dialect, we are all supposed to be equally good at grammar, in the sense of being able to use grammatical cues to understand the meaning of sentences. “Of course some people are more literate, with a larger vocabulary and greater exposure to highly complex literary constructions,” adds Ewa. “Nevertheless, our results show that a proportion of


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people with low educational attainment make errors with understanding the passive, and it appears that this and other important areas of core grammar may not be fully mastered by some speakers, even by adulthood.” “The existence of substantial individual differences in native language attainment is highly problematic for one of the most widely accepted arguments for an innate universal grammar, the assumed ‘fact’ that all native speakers of a language converge on essentially the same grammar. Our research shows that they don’t.”

Dr David Gleeson reflects on the role of online archives in his research into the American Civil War. “Digital technology has revolutionised research in American history just in the last few years,” says Dr David Gleeson, who is writing a new book about the American Civil War. The Green and the Gray: Irish Immigrants in the Confederate States of America, which is under contract for the Civil War America series (University of North Carolina Press), examines the role of Irish immigrants who supported the Southern side in the war. The manuscript features John Maginnis, an Irish newspaper editor who lived in New Orleans, the most Irish city in the nineteenth-century South.

“From the computer in my office or at home through ‘desktop anywhere’, I can access the full run of his newspaper, The Daily True Delta, through the website Civil War America.” Maginnis’s newspaper carried copious coverage of Irish Confederate units, as well as his own opinions on secession and war. It was an influential paper with thousands of readers.

“Maginnis was a partisan and made no bones about it. But he often published opposing views and proceeded to attack them, so he gives us a good view of nineteenth-century opinion.” Maginnis’s reports may have been biased, but they include telling details about attitudes among the Irish Confederates. One story recounts how Captain Michael Nolan’s Montgomery Guards carried a pike with them from the 1798 Irish rebellion to remind them of their old Irish fighting traditions. “After the Confederate defeat, the Irish had another lost cause to celebrate and they did so with gusto,” says David. “They ignored the reality that their

fighting had perpetuated the institution of slavery.” David’s book examines how the Irish reimagined their new American identity in a society that embraced white supremacy. “It tells us a lot about the host society and its values, as well as the immigrants seeking their place in it.” Online resources like Civil War America and the Nineteenth-Century American Newspapers database have proved key to David’s research. The University has recently invested £600,000 in Humanities library resources, and the Department now boasts online access to one of the biggest collections of American and Irish newspaper archives in the UK university system. “The electronic databases available at Northumbria are excellent. Our library now has access to three major sites on nineteenth-century US history,” explains David. “We also have top-of-the-line microfilm readers/copiers on order, as well as microfilm of Records from Antebellum Southern Plantations and US State Department Diplomatic Records.” “There is so much more available online than when I wrote my first book ten years ago. Indeed, it would have been difficult for me to move from the US to the UK to teach US history without the availability of these sources.”

Ewa is now developing this research into other areas. She is currently looking at whether non-native speakers of English perform differently on the same test to native speakers and whether there are any ways to predict individual differences.

David is currently supervising two PhD students who are examining the American Civil War’s impact on Latin America and Great Britain. He is also collaborating on a new project with departmental colleagues Professor Don MacRaild and Dr Tanja Bueltmann. The project seeks to uncover the English immigrant story in America.

More fundamentally, she is asking how it is that we can produce and, in most situations, understand the same sentences while appearing to have different underlying rules for constructing them. Some people, it seems, understand the passive and can reapply that knowledge to more complex or less familiar examples, while others only understand the meaning of the passives they routinely encounter. “It's intriguing,” she says. “Rather than a single abstract universal grammar, it's as if there are a number of underlying grammars out there in the population.”

“Newspapers were the key element in political party building. Most voters never saw or heard the politicians they voted for, but they read about them,” explains David. “Every town usually had two newspapers, one for each party. John Maginnis was the voice of the Democratic Party in New Orleans.”

Research students have remote access to online archives

David is particularly interested in how English migrants accommodated themselves to American political realities like the Civil War. He was coorganiser of the Civil War: Global Conflict conference held in Charleston, South Carolina in March 2011, and presented his initial findings at the conference.


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Write in the city and other stories A new venture in an ancient landmark is set to become a regional centre for writing and publishing organisations. Professor Michael Cawood Green and Dr Penny Smith discuss recent developments in Creative Writing at Northumbria University. Holy Jesus Hospital, in the heart of the city, is one of Newcastle’s most historic and atmospheric landmarks. The 700year-old building has been an Augustinian friary, an almshouse and a soup kitchen. Now it is home to Write in the City – an exciting collaborative venture between Northumbria University’s Department of Humanities; the regional literature development agency New Writing North; the leading creative writing magazine Mslexia; and the independent publisher Flambard Press. Each organisation is housed within the building, providing a unique creative centre and teaching space. “We are delighted to be able to share this very special place with New Writing North, Mslexia and Flambard. Having all these groups under one roof has resulted in a real creative ‘buzz’, and provides the region with a centre for creative writing,” says Dr Penny Smith, novelist and Enterprise Director for the Department of Humanities. Michael Cawood Green, Professor in Creative Writing at the University, agrees. “It's a remarkable resource to have a significant small press, a significant journal and the main creative writing agency for the region all linked in to our creative writing programmes,” he says. “Some of our undergraduate students are already gaining work experience with these organisations, while Will Mackie from Flambard Press and Claire Malcolm, Director of New Writing North, are involved in lecturing to our senior undergraduates and masters students.” The Department of Humanities started the first MA in Creative Writing in the North East 15 years ago. This very successful programme still runs


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Michael Cawood Green at Holy Jesus Hospital

© Simon Veit-Wilson Student volunteer Lucy Greenwood helps out on New Writing North’s Read Regional campaign

alongside the BA in English Literature and Creative Writing. The Department now offers an MRes and a PhD in Creative Writing and has recently taken on five new doctoral students. “We have set a high standard for applications to the PhD,” says Michael. “While a career in creative writing is now an established academic pathway, we have chosen to limit our numbers by taking the view that it is essential for our doctoral students to have a publishing record to stand alongside their interests in academia.” The Department of Humanities regularly hosts literary events and book launches. Over the past year, the Department has celebrated the publication of several books by graduates of its MA in Creative Writing. These include Graham Pears’s gripping crime novel, The Myth of Justice, set in the North East; Josephine Scott’s poetry collection Sparkle and Dance; and Dan Smith’s prize-winning thriller, Dry Season, set in Brazil. Staff and partner organisations have

also celebrated recent literary successes at the University. Michael Cawood Green’s novel, For the Sake of Silence, was launched at Gallery North. This work was awarded one of South Africa's most prestigious literary awards, the Olive Schreiner prize, and was described in The Times Literary Supplement as ‘an extraordinary story of religious passion, missionary zeal and political machination.’ The reviewer added: “Cawood Green’s engaging and original fiction illuminates a little-known aspect of colonial history. It shows and enacts how European ways of looking led to the distorted reflections we are only now beginning to understand.” The poetry collection The Galloping Stone was launched here too, and attracted widespread praise. The collection was edited by the poet Gillian Allnutt, and featured contributions from asylum seekers and others who have been the victims of torture. It was published by New Writing North in collaboration with the Medical Foundation for the Care of Victims of Torture.


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Honeytrap lies and women spies Dr Rosie White discusses the films, the facts and the fantasies behind our fascination with female spies. “When we think of the woman spy, the image that most often springs to mind is that of the enemy agents who feature in many Bond novels and films,” says Dr Rosie White, author of Violent Femmes: Women as Spies in Popular Culture. “Cultural stereotypes surrounding femininity are hard to shake, with pejorative accounts of women as devious, deceptive and dishonest feeding into the mythology of the woman spy as a seductress – an Evelike figure, a Mata Hari.” Mata Hari – an exotic dancer who was tried and executed as a spy during World War I – fascinated writers and filmmakers. Her story became a legend, her name a byword for betrayal. Greta Garbo played the title role in George Fitzmaurice’s 1931 film Mata Hari, shimmering onto the stage wearing veils and writhing provocatively around a statue of Shiva. “This scene, with its confused account of cultural and race identities, is a good example of the manifold mythologies surrounding women spies,” says Rosie. “The real Mata Hari was barely a spy, and accounts of her career as a courtesan only serve to establish that she was not very successful.”

Mata Hari, born Margaretha Geertruida Zelle, was a Dutch woman who moved to the East Indies after marrying a colonial army captain 21 years her senior. When her marriage came to an end, her husband refused to pay her a settlement. Divorced and impoverished, she struggled to earn a living before arriving in Paris in 1904 to reinvent herself as Mata Hari, drawing on memories of dancers she had seen in Java and Sumatra. Initially she was a great success, touring the grand theatres and private salons of Europe. As she got older, however, her celebrity began to pall. She tried unsuccessfully to redesign her act before finally seeking employment with the French secret service during the First World War. “In this final attempt to sustain an income, Margaretha was betrayed by her own employers, who, even as they signed her up, were convinced that she was a double agent working for the Germans,” says Rosie. “The compelling public image of Mata Hari effectively proved the downfall of its creator. She was shot on 15 October 1917 following a trial that most now regard as barely legal.”

Cultural stereotypes surrounding femininity are hard to shake, with pejorative accounts of women as devious, deceptive and dishonest


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The potent myth of Mata Hari’s exotic sexuality overshadowed fictional accounts of women spies that followed. Like the real Mata Hari, however, real women spies were rarely such exotic figures. “Women have been employed by the British secret service throughout its history, albeit in backroom roles,” explains Rosie. “During World War One, the Postal Censorship Branch of British Intelligence employed 3,500 women, while MI5 (the intelligence division concerned with internal security) used a trained team of Girl Guides as messengers.” “By the Second World War, women were taking more active roles, most notably in the Special Operations Executive which sent agents into occupied France. Women such as Odette Churchill and Violet Szabo were remembered after the war in films such as Odette (Herbert Wilcox, 1950) and Carve Her Name With Pride (Lewis Gilbert, 1958).” “While such films commemorate the part that female agents played in wartime, they also bear witness to changing views which were just beginning to regard women as capable of taking on professional roles once solely the province of men.” Dr Rosie White is Senior Lecturer in Contemporary Literature, Theory and Popular Culture. Her book Violent Femmes: Women as Spies in Popular Culture was published by Routledge in 2008.

Greta Garbo as Mata Hari © MGM/The Kobal Collection/Bull, Clarence Sinclair


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Belgium: from battleground to meeting ground How did a small Western European kingdom emerge as a key hub for international meetings and associations? And what does this tell us about more general political, cultural and social developments in Europe between the 1880s and the 1930s? Dr Daniel Laqua considers transnational processes through the prism of a small country. “A lot of historical scholarship deals in national categories, especially when tackling a period that is widely viewed as an age of nationalism,” says Dr Daniel Laqua, Lecturer in History. “My research adopts a transnational perspective. It is concerned with processes that cut across national boundaries – covering the movement of people; the circulation of ideas; and the dissemination of strategies or practices.” “If we want to write a history that goes beyond ‘Great Power’ narratives, we need to consider developments in smaller states. Belgium is a particularly appropriate test case, as it was a popular site for international congresses and associations,” says Daniel. The country hosted a plethora of scientific meetings and diplomatic conferences and provided a base for bodies such as the International

Book celebrating the centenary of the Belgian Revolution in 1830, which led to independence from the United Netherlands


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Socialist Bureau. Before 1914, three Nobel Peace laureates came from Belgium, which was no small achievement, considering that the Nobel Peace Prize had only been launched in 1901. “Much of my work looks at individuals or organisations whose efforts were launched in the Kingdom of Belgium, but whose ambitions and contacts went far beyond their own country,” says Daniel. Maintaining links with colleagues in other countries is an important part of Daniel’s own work. Last year the University of Ghent, listed by the Times Higher Education Supplement as one of the top 200 universities in the world, awarded Daniel a Visiting Fellowship, supported by its Special Research Fund. Together with two historians from Ghent, Professor Gita Deneckere and Professor Christophe Verbruggen, Daniel launched the international project Beyond Belgium: Transnational Social and Cultural Entanglements, 1900-1925. “In April 2010, we organised a workshop as an official side event of the European Social Science History Conference,” says Daniel. “Our workshop looked at several issues how Belgian feminism was influenced by women’s movements abroad; the contacts between Catholic lay organisations from different countries; the academic exchanges of social

Profile Don MacRaild, Professor in History and Associate Dean for Research “Migration is part of the human life-cycle. Like a birth, a marriage or a death, it is a threshold event, a moment of profound choice or change that affects people forever.” (Don MacRaild)

This is Professor Don MacRaild, explaining his fascination with the history of migration. As the author of the standard text on the Irish diaspora in Britain, Don is active in several related research areas including the history of English migration to the world and, particularly, to America, an area in which he is working closely with colleagues David Gleeson and Tanja Bueltmann. “I believe historians can learn a lot from the science model of collaborative research”, he says.

scientists during the Belle Époque; and ambitious yet unsuccessful schemes to construct a ‘world capital’ on Dutch, Belgian or Swiss soil. A themed journal issue will be published next year and each contribution will be co-authored by a Belgian and a non-Belgian historian.”

One of the surprising aspects of Don’s research is the revelation that Englishness used to be just as much an ethnic identity in the US as Irishness or Scottishness. “From the late eighteenth century and throughout the nineteenth century, many US towns and cities boasted organisations such as the Sons of St George, where 'roast beef, plum pudding and English cheer' could be enjoyed,” he explains.

Daniel has spoken at several international conferences in the field of transnational history and has collaborated with the Centre for Transnational History at University College London (UCL). His edited volume, Internationalism Reconfigured: Transnational Ideas and Movements between the Two World Wars (London, 2011), sheds light on movements and organisations that sought to influence international politics between 1919 and 1939, with a special focus on their interactions with the League of Nations. “Northumbria University is a great place for research in transnational history,” says Daniel. “Several historians in the Humanities Department share an interest in processes that cannot be captured by a focus on the nation-state. We have run several events to address these issues, including Sites of Internationalism at the Fin de Siècle: From Metropolis to Cosmopolis (2010), a workshop that looked at the settings in which transnational exchanges occurred. We are now planning further events and publication projects which underline the need to look at Europe from a transnational perspective.”

Don is working on new research that reveals how other expressions of Englishness were once also commonplace. St George’s Day was celebrated along with Shakespeare’s birthday, toasts to Queen Victoria were drunk (alongside those to the President), and English characters such as Robin Hood, Walter Raleigh, Morris dancers and chimney sweeps were incorporated into May Day celebrations.

Professor Don McRaild

“Our assumption has always been that the English assimilated more easily or contributed more to Anglo-American culture, so removing the need for ethnic expression,” he adds. “However, the

evidence of the Sons of St George societies suggests that, far from being an invisible group within a world of noticeably ethnicised European immigrants, the English consciously ethnicised themselves in a much more active way. Our research suggests that this was a much wider and deeper movement than has generally been acknowledged.” Don is also about to publish work on socalled ‘child stripping’, a nineteenthcentury crime of poverty, which saw children under ten being lured into secluded areas by teenagers so that they could be stripped of all their clothes, which would then be pawned. Don sees this study as a return to the classic social history which inspired him as an undergraduate, but finds it is now enhanced by the modern ability to search through millions of pages of digitised newspapers. “Child stripping was an emotive crime that changed the way the authorities dealt with children,” he says. “The shocking revelation that young children would rob infants of their clothes amplified the intensity with which reformers sought to define childhood and protect children, working with, within and around the family. As the century progressed, legislation enacted in the 1840s and 1850s enabled a more benign and progressive response to child criminality. Certainly, though the story my research tells is, on one level, bleak, the findings also temper popular ideas about the brutality of life in Victorian Britain.”

Don’s research reveals surprising insights into English ethnic identity in nineteenth-century America


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Chinese connections Since the opening up of China in the late seventies, China’s relationship with the West has undergone a series of transformations. Western journalists and filmmakers have ‘documented’ these changes, representing China through a series of stories and iconic images. Dr Rachel Edwards examines western cultural constructions of China and explores opportunities for genuine dialogue between the two cultures.

“You only have to think of media coverage of the events of Tiananmen Square in 1989; more recent representations surrounding the Beijing Olympics in 2008; Paul Merton’s comedy travelogue Paul Merton in China; and Peter Firstbrook’s A Year in Tibet, to appreciate the diversity of output in this area,” says Dr Rachel Edwards, Senior Lecturer in Language and Culture at Northumbria University. Rachel combines her interests in language, discourse and multimodality, with those in film and cultural studies, to carry out her research into western cultural constructions of China. One of the texts she is currently working on is Jonathan Lewis’s China, a fourpart made-for-television documentary, which he began in 2001 and completed in 2006, spending 14 months filming on location. “Lewis’s films really offer the viewer new ways of engaging with China and the people who live there,” explains Rachel. “They help to challenge stereotypical representations and discourses which are often associated with China, and open up new possibilities for interpretation.” “This is particularly true of the second episode, China: Women of the Country, which I’ve written about most recently. It presents a picture of rural and migrant


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Buddha in Beijing, China

women’s lives throughout the mainland, and interweaves three sets of narrative voices – Lewis’s own; those of various ‘experts’; and those of the rural and migrant women themselves. There is tension between the performative aspects of the women’s voices, and the pedagogic dimensions of the experts’ and the narrator’s take on things. This makes for a complex picture which positions women of China midway between victims of an outmoded tradition and agents in command of their own lives.” Rachel’s research interests tie in with her teaching and the Department’s commitment to internationalising its curriculum. She is exploring connections with universities in China, and especially with Sun Yat-Sen University in Guangzhou, where she recently spent five weeks as a visiting scholar. “When I showed Lewis’s film to staff and students at Sun Yat-Sen, their responses ranged from admiration to condemnation, from admissions of feeling enlightened to expressions of disbelief. This opened up a very interesting space for dialogue between our two cultures, and provided exciting opportunities for further research.” Other researchers within Humanities share Rachel’s interest in China. Dr

Mimi Huang recently returned to her alma mater, Sun Yat-Sen, where she presented a paper to staff and postgraduate students on the topic of conceptual metaphor in the context of cognitive linguistics and critical discourse analysis. The paper examined examples of conceptual metaphor in English and Mandarin Chinese, and led to productive discussions on the subject. Mimi is working on a project that examines the function of metaphor and the notion of Chineseness as represented in the public discourse about international events held in China – such as the 2008 Olympic Games; the 2010 Asian Games; and the 2010 World Expo. Research Professor Ewa Dabrowska will give a series of ten lectures on Grammar in the Mind at the China International Forum on Cognitive Linguistics in Beijing in July 2011. These will cover topics in language acquisition; the mental status of linguistic rules; individual differences in linguistic knowledge; and the relationships between functional constraints, usage, and individuals’ mental grammars. She will also present keynote lectures at the International Cognitive Linguistics Conference in Xi’an and at the 7th China Cognitive Linguistics Conference in Shanghai in July 2011.


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Shandy Hall: a novel partnership Helen Williams divides her time between researching her PhD and helping out at literary museum Shandy Hall, thanks to an innovative partnership between Northumbria University and the Laurence Sterne Trust. Shandy Hall, near Thirsk, was home to the eighteenth-century novelist Laurence Sterne. Sterne is famous for his eccentric, experimental masterpiece Tristram Shandy, which came out in serial form between 1759 and 1767. “The book encouraged a wave of spin-off texts and influenced numerous writers,” says Helen Williams, whose PhD project looks at Tristram Shandy in relation to earlier eighteenth-century experimental fiction. A film adaptation of the book, renamed A Cock and Bull Story (Michael

Winterbottom, 2005), brought Sterne’s novel to a modern audience. In the film, Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon play fictionalised versions of themselves as rival actors in a period adaptation of Tristram Shandy. The action cuts from period costume scenes to the drama off-camera as the two stars bicker over who has the most important role. “The conflicts that arise during the making of the film reflect scenes about writing in the novel,” explains Helen. “In the book, Tristram is telling stories about his father and his uncle, but we also get ‘behind-the-scenes’ access to

Tristram the narrator. We see him sitting at his writing desk, screwing up his paper in frustration. We witness the difficulties he experiences as he tries to tell his story. That’s how playful the novel is. There’s a self-consciousness about the process.” “You’re never going to get an accurate visual rendering of Tristram Shandy. It’s a very writerly novel. But Michael Winterbottom captured what the book is trying to do.” Helen holds a collaborative doctoral studentship funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. She works closely with the Laurence Sterne Trust and spends some time each year at Shandy Hall, where she is able to make full use of the Sterne archive. She assists in the running of the museum, and participates in the education and public engagement activities that are the life-blood of any literary house. “It’s great to get hands-on experience working with the collections,” says Helen. “You learn skills you wouldn’t get in an academic setting – how to conserve books, how to handle them.” “You can also raise the profile of your research, bringing it to a wider audience through public engagement.” Last year, Helen carried out research for One Previous Owner, an exhibition of Sterne-related writings with a curious ownership history. She delved into the background of the books and their owners, and wrote their stories for display with the exhibits.

Laurence Sterne’s study at Shandy Hall


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“The museum is keen to have research which engages with the collection,” explains Helen. “There is material that is still being catalogued, and having links with a research student means that they can engage with this unseen material in a scholarly way.”

Shandy Hall in Coxwold, North Yorkshire

Patrick Wildgust, the curator at Shandy Hall, acts as Helen’s external supervisor. She enjoys working with a non-academic specialist. “Patrick lives and breathes Laurence Sterne every single day. He can always point me in the right direction when I have a question about my research,” she says. “Patrick is interested in expanding the collection as well as conserving the original manuscripts. He has great connections with artists, writers and musicians who use themes and techniques that Sterne would approve of.” The approach behind new exhibitions at Shandy Hall is as experimental and playful as Sterne’s writing. To celebrate the 250th anniversary of the publication of volumes 1 and 2 of Tristram Shandy, the museum held an exhibition called The Black Page. The ‘black page’ refers to page 73 of volume 1, a completely black page which marks the death of Parson Yorick. “This was highly controversial in 1759,” says Helen. “For the exhibition, 73 well-

known artists and writers were asked to create their own response to Sterne’s black page. Each item had to fit within the dimensions of Sterne’s original page. They were displayed anonymously and auctioned, so people had the chance to pick up valuable works without knowing who they were by.”

“Being collaborative students, we feel we have a responsibility to disseminate our research to a wider public and to give something back to the institutions we work with. Public engagement is the main issue – how can you create a narrative about your research that engages with the public? Social media can be the key to this.”

Finding innovative ways to engage with audiences is essential, and new media can play a vital role. “The internet is a really important source of publicity for a small museum,” says Helen. “Because of its location, Shandy Hall is somewhat isolated. There is no brown sign on the A19 saying ‘Sterne Museum this way’, so the Trust uses its website, e-newsletters, Facebook and a YouTube channel to drive engagement with its work.”

The event will encourage arts and humanities postgraduate researchers to use platforms such as YouTube, Twitter and blogging for the dissemination of research. A panel of representatives from museums, charities and media businesses will discuss how they use digital media to promote their work and provide access to their collections. Participants will get a chance to produce a two-minute video about their research and upload it to a new YouTube channel, launched at the conference.

Helen is working with other collaborative students across the country to organise New Media and Academia, a two-day conference which will take place at Northumbria University from 10-11 May 2011.

For more information about New Media and Academia, visit http://newmediaacademia.


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Clubbing together

Masters of research

Dr Tanja Bueltmann’s British Academy-funded research investigates the rich array of clubs and associations that Scottish emigrants carried with them to the diverse new worlds in which they settled.

Students on the new Master of Research (MRes) degree have impressed course leaders with their high-quality work and dedication to research.

“The twenty students on the MRes programme this year are working hard to respond to a challenging set of tasks, and their work is both impressive and exciting,” says programme leader Dr Rosie White.

Tanja first developed an interest in Scottish clubs and societies during her PhD research on the Scots in New Zealand, which was funded by the New Zealand government. Exploring Scottish immigrant community life, she discovered the importance of associations, not only as sites of memory, but for more immediate purposes.

The MRes programme in Humanities is now in its second year. The first courses in English Literature and History were launched in 2009, and a new MRes in Gender Studies was introduced last year. Four new programmes will start in September 2011 – MRes in Linguistics; MRes in English Language; MRes in Language and Cognition; and MRes in Creative Writing.

“Scottish associations in New Zealand functioned rather more as a mechanism for integration into the new society than as a source of reassurance and comfort,” says Tanja. “Scots did not simply ‘club together’ for sentimental reasons. In fact, clubs and societies, such as Caledonian societies, helped many Scots to gain respectability in their local communities.” Associations facilitated the cultivation of a wide range of benefits through networks and patronage that transcended their immediate ethnic purpose. Caledonian societies had a broad community appeal, annually hosting the immensely popular Caledonian Games. “It is partly a result of the strength and longevity of Scottish associations,” argues Tanja, “that Scots contributed disproportionately to the making of New Zealand society.” Her research on the Scots in New Zealand, which includes an analysis of immigrant correspondence and Scottish cultural traditions such as Burns Nights, will be published in the Scottish Historical Review Monograph Series under the title Scottish Ethnicity and the Making of New Zealand Society, 1850 to 1930 (Edinburgh University Press, 2011). Yet, while St Andrew’s Societies, Gaelic Clubs and Caledonian Societies can be found all over the world, they did not develop uniformly throughout the Scottish diaspora. Their emergence and development in different colonial settings diverged, and had more to do with the local circumstances, the particular type of migrants who came and the timing of their arrival, than with the migrants’ ethnic origins as Scots.


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Wairarapa Caledonian Society (Courtesy of the Wairarapa Archive, New Zealand)

This important point provides the hook for Tanja’s work on the Scots’ associational culture in the wider Scottish world. “No one has yet problematised Scottish associations as a series of transnational connections,” Tanja observes. Her research promises the first global study of this type, suggesting that associations are a key to explaining how Scots negotiated their ethnicity overseas and connected to society in diverse settlements. Building on her previous research in both New Zealand and Canada, Tanja’s current project, Ethnicity, Associationalism and Civility, moves beyond the traditional settler dominions, integrating the city-state trading centres of Singapore and Hong Kong into this wider Scottish world. The project is funded by the British Academy, and aims to transcend the cultural aspects of Scottish ethnic associations to uncover their wider civic and political relevance.

The MRes differs from a taught Masters programme in that all the modules are designed to support individual students’ research projects. Students submit a research proposal with their application and, if successful, are allocated a supervisor who works with them throughout their degree. Adam Tregidga is studying for an MRes in History. His research project examines British and American diplomacy during the Falklands War. “I chose to do the MRes course to develop my skills as a historian; to explore history with an independence that I had not had as an undergraduate,” he says. Adam enjoys the emphasis on independent study. “You are tasked to create a question, and then find the means to answer it with sources you had never used as an undergraduate.”

New Zealand newspaper cartoon

MRes students Greg Surtees and Adam Tregidga

is a strong tradition of interdisciplinary working at Northumbria University. “There is an emphasis on a research community,” says Greg, “and combining classes with English and Gender Studies has meant I’ve made new friends and enjoyed the wide range of topics discussed in seminars.”

Fellow History student Greg Surtees agrees. “I can research my topic how I want to and at my own pace, while still having full support from my guidance tutors, who are always available to talk to, and help direct me to improve my work.”

The MRes in Humanities is an ideal preparation for students wishing to pursue doctoral studies, careers in professional research or teaching. The main element of the programme is a 20,000 word dissertation, which is submitted in August. Three intensive modules in semesters 1 and 2 allow students to develop the skills they need to complete this substantial piece of research.

Tutors supervise projects that relate to their own research, so students benefit from their expert knowledge of the field and the research process. The Department of Humanities has a number of research groups, and there

Daniel Thomson, a part-time student on the MRes in English Literature explains: "The MRes has a very good balance between the theoretical and the practical. It's intensely research-based with a lot of emphasis on the need to

manage our own time and show initiative when it comes to developing our own work and ideas, but we're also being taught the practical skills necessary for a career as an academic, such as giving presentations; using electronic resources; organising our workloads; and putting on a conference.” “The combination of taught sessions, regular meetings with supervisors, and individual study, means we have all the support we need, but we also have the autonomy and freedom to think creatively, come up with new ideas and fresh angles, and follow our research wherever it takes us.” The MRes is available as a full-time one-year or two-year part-time programme. It meets the UK Research Council’s training requirements for research students. Staff are happy to talk to prospective applicants and recommend that candidates get in touch before applying.


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Following Tolstoy

Women’s centres on campus

Dr Charlotte Alston is writing a new book on the international Tolstoyan movement, a Christian Anarchist movement based on the philosophy of the Russian novelist, Leo Tolstoy.

Dr Sylvia Ellis examines the American approach to gender issues in universities.

was painfully at odds with what he was trying to achieve. “Yet such a phenomenon clearly did exist,” says Charlotte. “In Russia, Tolstoyan colonies existed during Tolstoy’s lifetime and continued to exist long after the revolution. Lenin regarded Tolstoyism as a threat that should be ‘fought all along the line’. Tolstoyan ‘hubs’ emerged in Britain, the USA, the Netherlands, Hungary and New Zealand. Tolstoy clubs and lecture societies sprang up in cities like Manchester and Boston. Sympathisers and devotees made the ‘pilgrimage’ to Yasnaya Polyana to meet Tolstoy.”

Leo Tolstoy’s writing influenced his many followers

“In the last thirty years of his life, Leo Tolstoy turned away from writing major works of fiction, and devoted himself to expounding a form of primitive Christianity,” says Charlotte. “He rejected the state, which could only exist on the basis of physical force, and all institutions that derived from it – the police, the law courts, the army and the Russian Orthodox Church. He condemned private property and money, and advocated living by one’s own physical labour. He also came to believe in vegetarianism, complete chastity, and abstinence from tobacco and alcohol.” The Tolstoyan movement flourished in Europe and the USA in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries and influenced key figures such as Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King. Jane Addams, the American social reformer and activist who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1931, wrote about the profound influence Tolstoy had on his


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readers in an article titled A Book That Changed My Life. She said they ‘lived through miserable days and sleepless nights tormented by the simple question of 'what to do?'’ Most of them, ‘whether they finally worked through the problem to their own satisfaction or whether they gave it up and lived on as best they could without having solved it, found their lives in greater or lesser degree modified’. According to Charlotte, “Tolstoy’s most dedicated followers were those who found that they could not work through the problem, or live on without having solved it. These were the individuals who formed the core of the Tolstoyan movement, whether in Croydon or Derby, Connecticut or Georgia, the Hague or Budapest.” Tolstoy himself strenuously denied the existence of a specifically ‘Tolstoyan’ movement. His emphasis on attacking rigid doctrine meant that the emergence of groups of people who attempted to live according to his blueprint for life

“Tolstoyan groups exchanged correspondence, personnel and ideas, and mounted common campaigns. They also interacted with a wide range of local and international reform movements, including anarchism, vegetarianism, communitarianism and the cooperative movement.” Letters between Tolstoyans and Tolstoy, the personal papers of individual Tolstoyans, and the newspapers and pamphlets produced by Tolstoyan groups have proved vital to Charlotte’s research. She has been awarded a year’s research leave, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, and is drawing on archive materials from Britain, Russia, the USA, Hungary and the Netherlands.

American universities have adopted a very different approach to gender issues from their UK counterparts, according to historian Dr Sylvia Ellis. Sylvia recently visited five US women’s centres in a pilot study funded by the Nuffield Foundation. “In contrast to the gender-equality approach taken in the UK, most American universities have institutionalised women’s centres at the heart of campus,” she says. “The five women’s centres – at Harvard University, the University of Connecticut, the University of Rhode Island, the University of North Carolina and Loyola University in Chicago – were largely funded following lengthy activist campaigns run by campus women. They have many common aims such as gender equity, female empowerment, improving the educational environment and running programmes addressing issues such as sexual violence.” She found differences too. Women’s centres varied in their origins; their positions in the university structures; their degrees of staff/student participation; their levels of political

activity; and their engagement with core gender issues. “It was intriguing to discover how the dominance of religion, and the corresponding weakness of trade unions, meant that the women’s centre at North Carolina was reluctant to be at the forefront on issues such as sexual health and abortion,” says Sylvia. “Similarly, the staff at Harvard’s women’s centre face the challenge of being scrutinised in all their activities as news stories from the student newspaper, The Harvard Crimson, are often picked up on the AP wires.” Although American women’s centres have become institutionalised, less political and more service driven, Sylvia believes they still offer a challenge to the way gender issues are dealt with at UK universities. “A US women’s centre can create and lead university policy on an issue such as date rape,” she says. “Rhode Island’s women’s centre has implemented an innovative ‘Peer Advocates’ programme in which a team

of specially trained students provide interactive workshops and programs to educate and increase awareness of dating violence, sexual assault, daterape drugs, and related topics, as well as providing advocacy services to victims of these crimes on campus. In the UK, date rape is hardly regarded as an issue.” Sylvia is currently preparing a bid for a larger-scale comparative study of women’s centres on US campuses. “As a historian, I'm keen to capture the story of the struggle to establish and maintain women’s centres on campus,” she says. “These centres only came about as a result of female activism and agency; Harvard’s, for example, was only established in 2006 after thirty-five years of campaigning.” “The story of women’s centres includes many direct action tactics such as sitins, candlelight vigils and fund-raising yard-sales and bake-sales. These centres have passed from the cellar to the attic, so their institutionalisation is a good thing. That was, after all, what they were fighting for.”

The project has also received funding from the British Academy (Small Research Grants), the Royal Irish Academy and the Hungarian Academy of Sciences (Research Fellowship Exchange Scheme). Charlotte recently published an article on the Tolstoyan movement in History Today, and took part in the BBC3 radio documentary Tolstoy in the Cotswolds. Her new book, which she hopes will be published next year, will be the first to cover the international Tolstoyan movement.

American students provide peer support


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Bedroom stories From bedroom rituals to bed-fellows, Dr Sasha Handley examines the history of sleeping practices in English society.

Like sex and death, sleep lies at the interface of the biological and the cultural. Yet despite its centrality to life, its history remains shrouded in darkness. There is very little research on how people organised sleeping practices, bedroom rituals and physical spaces at different periods in history. Supported by a prestigious AHRC Early Career Fellowship award, Dr Sasha Handley is currently writing the first major historical study of sleeping practices in English society. Her book, Bedroom Stories in Early Modern England 1660-1760, will chart the way that cultural practices surrounding sleep changed as a result of a number of factors – the changing arrangement of domestic space; the explosion of domestic consumer goods; and new medical and philosophical understandings of sleep that increasingly linked the physical act of sleep to an emergent sense of self. “Some of these shifts were enacted in one fundamental domestic change,” explains Sasha. “Beds were moved out of the parlour into hidden, private spaces that became designated sleeping rooms. These were almost always located upstairs – the arrangement we have inherited today.” In order to show what sleep reveals about lifestyles, beliefs and preoccupations, Sasha is looking at the experiences of sleepers themselves through the evidence of diaries, journals and personal correspondence. She is also examining the material and spatial constructions around sleeping, through analysis of the number and type of beds, mattresses, bolsters and

bedclothes that enhanced the physical experiences of rest. “One of the central ambitions of the book is to revise Norbert Elias’s thesis of sleep privatisation,” she says. “In this thesis, the animalistic function of sleep is said to conflict with the advancing thresholds of shame that served as templates for bourgeois sensibilities. In his celebrated work The Civilising Process, Elias argues that new rules of civility in this period demanded that physical contact was strictly regulated, that sleeping bodies were clothed and separated, and that beds were relocated from the parlour to the bedroom.” “By way of contrast, my book will describe the often messy, complex and ad hoc sleeping arrangements that accompanied working lives, patterns of sociability and associated habits of bed-fellowship. Evidence from personal testimonies is particularly rich in detailing how unpredictable working patterns and travel forced people to sleep in different places – in the workplace; in lodging houses; at the homes of friends and relatives; and in carriages. When combined with accounts of bed-fellowship, these arrangements show the limitations of Elias’s narrative, which fails to account for the contingencies that governed everyday practices of sleep management and diluted the prescriptive demands of religious and moral advice literature. My aim for the book will be to offer a more complete and nuanced picture of the sleeping lives of early modern people, based on a wide range of individual experiences of this essential daily activity.”

Beds were moved out of the parlour into hidden, private spaces that became designated sleeping rooms


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The alcove in the Queen's closet at Ham House in Surrey © The National Trust