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Fellowship awards for Arts academics

Posted on 04/10/2010

The fellowship awards will help Royal Holloway academics undertake world-leading research

Four academics at Royal Holloway, University of London have been awarded The Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) Fellowship awards, with just under £300,000 being invested into their research.

The AHRC fellowship scheme helps fund the study time needed to undertake world-leading research and to support the career development of outstanding researchers in the arts and humanities.

Dr Daniela Berghahn, from the Department of Media Arts, has been awarded £90,113 for her research project entitled: ‘The Diasporic Family in Cinema.’

Her research will analyse the representation of families with a migratory background. Many contemporary diasporic films have enjoyed considerable mainstream appeal such as ‘Bend it Like Beckham’. This is particularly true of diasporic family films and the issues addressed in the research, such as the opportunities and conflicts arising from migration and cultural diversity and the transformation of family structures and values, are both topical and controversial. Issues such as arranged marriage and honour killings continue to make media headlines and these themes also play a role in diasporic family films.

Dr Berghahn said: “I am really excited about this AHRC Fellowship. It will give me nine months during which I can devote myself exclusively to my research. To have this time feels like an enormous luxury.”

Dr J. P.E Harper-Scott, from the Department of Music, has been awarded £74,098 for the project entitled ‘Modernism’s Quilting Points: Heidegger, Žižek, Walton’, which will result in a Cambridge University Press monograph.

Dr Harper-Scott says: “Modernist music was condemned as ‘degenerate’ by the Nazis and forcibly replaced by ‘socialist realism’ under the Soviets. Sympathetic philosophers and critics have interpreted it as a vital intellectual defence against totalitarianism, yet some American critics have labelled it ‘elitist’, ‘undemocratic’, and ‘unnatural’. Despite its evident importance, there is little agreement among this range of critics as to what the canon of modernist music actually comprises, or what its aims are.”

This project proposes that modernism is not a single entity but a set of constructions of wildly differing ideologies, and that labelling music as modernist or not is not a neutral aesthetic judgement but always a political act. Drawing on the philosophy of Slavoj Žižek, it examines the processes leading to the imposition of the various ideologies that use modernism as their object.

Dr Sarah Wright, from the Department of Modern Languages, has been awarded £76,749 for the project entitled 'The Child in Spanish Film: Memory, Innocence, Genre'.

The study will be the first sustained critical approach to the child in Spanish film, probing themes such as sexuality, horror and fear.

Dr Wright, Senior Lecturer in Spanish Studies, said: “Since the inception of Spanish cinema, child protagonists have enjoyed a continuous presence.  Scholars have briefly noted this persistent preoccupation with the portrayal of the child in Spanish film.  Others have examined films featuring children or with childhood themes.  Yet no book has yet explored how the concept of the child is created and re-created throughout the history of Spanish cinema.”

Professor Richard Alston, from the Department of Classics, has been awarded £58,013 for the project entitled ‘The End of the Republic: Rome at War.’ The project will look at the origins of the violence that marked this great transition, examining civil war violence from contemporary settings to understand the role of the common soldier in the Roman revolution.

Professor Alston, explains: “This is a topic that has been of central interest to historians and political thinkers for centuries and remains so to this day. Dramatised, novelised and endlessly discussed, the Fall of the Republic is a core historical moment. It has been seen as a great political tragedy, a warning from history for republicans about the dangers and unmanageability of Empires. More generally, political theorists have seen in the end of the Republic a parable about militarism, or populism, or moral decay, or of the inevitable corruption of political systems.”

Professor Katie Normington, Dean of Arts, says: “I am delighted that our academics have been awarded these fellowships. This is a really remarkable achievement for the faculty, excluding Oxford University, we have received the greatest number of awards nationally within this round.”




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