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Postdoctoral Fellowships Results of the 2002 competition

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The 2002 competition for British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowships attracted a record field of 554 applications (compared to 425 in 2001). The selectors faced some very difficult decisions in making just 30 awards, to be held during the period 2002-05. Details are given below of the 30 new Postdoctoral Fellows and their fields of study.


 

Barrett, Dr S (University of Cambridge, Faculty of Music)
The Music of the Early Medieval Latin Lyric

It has long been recognised that much early medieval Latin verse was intended to be sung, yet no previous attempt has been made to collect and evaluate the musical notations for lyrics composed from late antiquity through to the mid-eleventh century that survive in numerous non-liturgical manuscripts copied from the late ninth century onwards. Although these musical notations, which record only certain aspects of oral delivery, cannot be fully reconstructed, by comparing the partial information that they transmit both with other notations for the same texts and with linguistic analysis it proves possible to recover much information about the sound of this verse in performance. By studying the lyric as part of a wider song culture in this way, the shifting relations that obtained between text, music and written record before the introduction of more highly regulated song styles in the late eleventh century can be traced.

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Becker, Dr F (School of Oriental and African Studies, Department of History)
Origins, Spread and Uses of Muslim Networks in Southeast Tanzania 1920?2000

Dr Becker intends to study the self-organising, self-sustaining networks through which Islam was spread in this remote region. This means tracing the links of kinship between Muslim notables and local leaders, the link between the political and the religious use of kinship, and the role of Muslim brotherhoods. Moreover, women took an active role in Muslim congregations, although Islam challenges their rights within traditionally matrilinear families. This phenomenon must be related to their negotiations over changing domestic power balances.

Today, Muslims tend to see their religion as part of their marginal status in a Christian state. Dr Becker wants to establish how the Tanzanian state came to be seen as Christian, how this influences its relations with local Muslims, and what role Muslims? overseas links, e.g. to Zanzibar and Iran, play in these dynamics. Several archives in Tanzania and Britain will be used, and fieldwork undertaken in Southeast Tanzania.

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Bostrom, Dr N (University of Oxford, sub-Faculty of Philosophy)
A Bayesian Theory of Observation Selection Effects

Observation selection effects are a subtle kind of bias that occurs in many scientific fields. Dr Nick Bostrom?s research aims to extend and improve the theory of observation selection effect, using a framework of Bayesian probability theory, and to apply it to resolve or clarify methodological problems in cosmology, evolutionary biology, game theory, and philosophical paradoxes, such as the Shooting-room problem, that hinge on how indexical information is taken into account.

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Davis, Dr J (University of Cambridge, Faculty of History)
The Culture of Commerce, 1300?1800

Dr James Davis?s research will examine the development of English market culture between the fourteenth and eighteenth centuries. This project will explore how contemporary ideology and cultural presumptions affected practices within the marketplace and the formulation of commercial legislation. The evidence of literary and legal sources can be compared with selected case studies of English market towns, in order to understand the complex influence of cultural mores upon both the enactment of market laws and the conduct of retailers, hawkers, middlemen, and urban officials. The aim will be to address whether or not the creation of a commercial society throughout the late medieval and early modern period was accompanied by a significant change in attitudes towards trade and its practitioners.

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Dixon, Dr H (Warburg Institute, University of London)
Giulio Pomponio Leto (1428-1498), Renaissance Scholar and Pedagogue: A Case Study

Dr Helen Dixon seeks to address a number of wide-ranging questions about the reception of Classical learning in the Renaissance through a study of the fifteenth-century scholar Giulio Pomponio Leto. Given his central role in influencing the academic reception of Classical culture, both in the Renaissance and later, it is astonishing that no major study of this scholar has been undertaken since Vladimir Zabughin's now dated book of 1909-12. A series of scattered articles since then have put forward contradictory assessments of Leto, thereby making a thorough re-evaluation all the more necessary. This book project will demonstrate how Leto's publications, notebooks, manuscript marginalia and interactions with contemporary scholars not only served as a pivotal point in the rediscovery of Classical Antiquity in the Renaissance, but also continue to define the parameters of Classical studies today.

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Eller, Dr A (University of Kent at Canterbury, Department of Psychology, Centre for the Study of Group Processes)
Impact of Contact: Effects of International Exchange on Perceptions of Britain

How does intergroup contact, afforded by extended sojourns abroad, affect evaluations, emotions, and behaviour towards the host countries and people? How far are attitudes of visitors' friends affected by learning about the visitors' contact experiences? Dr Anja Eller's research, with the co-operation of the British Council, is to conduct a longitudinal test of different social psychological models of the effects of intergroup contact. The research will comprehensively test Pettigrew's (1998) reformulated model of the intergroup contact hypothesis, and Wright and colleagues' (1997) extended contact model. Both theory-based models are highly innovative and promising, but have not yet been tested over an enduring time frame. This research, involving 1000 overseas students from six different countries world-wide, will investigate the effects of direct and 'extended' contact (via friends) with Britain. It will have substantial practical and theoretical implications for our understanding of how to optimise overseas visitors' experience of contact with Britain.

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Folli, Dr R (University of Cambridge, Department of Linguistics)
The Grammaticalisation of Event Structure: Theoretical and Empirical Evidence

It is a common assumption that our linguistic knowledge is organised into components: we have a syntactic domain, a semantic domain, a lexical domain, etc. A fundamental question in linguistic research is how these domains interact, given that they seem to be distinct (i.e., governed by different rules) but at the same time necessarily connected. Dr Folli's work is directed to the investigation of the interaction between the lexical component and the syntactic component. The construction of a model of the lexicon-syntax interface has to solve the mapping problem: how does a verb's lexical specification translate into a set of syntactic configurations? The hypothesis which Dr Folli will investigate is that the syntax is sensitive to the event structure(s) of verbs and that such information on event structure is contained in the lexical specification of the verbs themselves. The objective is first to test this hypothesis by studying the grammaticalisation of event structure in different languages; second to study what role event structure plays in sentence comprehension and language acquisition.

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González, Dr F (St John's College, Oxford)
The Political Economy of 'Dual Transitions': Economic Liberalisation and Political Democratisation Throughout Latin America,1970-2000

Dr González' research will concentrate on the political economy of contemporary dual transitions. These have been defined as the political transitions from authoritarian/totalitarian to liberal democratic regimes and the economic transitions from state-oriented/command to free markets. The aim of Dr Gonz?ez current research is to elucidate the different ways in which these political and economic transitions affected each other throughout Latin America between the early 1970s and the year 2000.

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Hamill, Dr H (Nuffield College, Oxford, and Department of Sociology)
Signalling Games Young People Play

In her research project, Dr Hamill will investigate why groups of young people take part in behaviours where the cost to the individual is always very high, and often involves participation in activities that are criminal, violent and incur high levels of physical risk. This research aims to test the Signalling Theory hypothesis: that amongst certain groups, individuals assess each other's authenticity (that is, their claims to possess unobservable qualities such as toughness, loyalty, and cleverness are genuine and true) through a range of seemingly mindless and irrational behaviours. These behaviours amount to signalling games whereby hard to fake signs of toughness and loyalty are displayed in order to gain acceptance and prestige within a specific group context.

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Haour, Dr A (Hertford College, Oxford)
Ethnoarchaeology of the Zinder region, Niger, West Africa

The archaeology of Zinder suggests a dense network of activities and of people in the past millennium. Yet oral and written historical records are silent concerning these ancient living places. Why? Was the area disconnected from wider social and economic systems, thus remaining obscure? Were its settlements known under different names? Did the historical sources not consider them interesting subject material?

Archaeology remains a largely untapped source of information - only one of the Zinder sites, Kufan Kanawa, has been investigated. Dr Haour follows up her excavations there with a survey of the broader region. She suggests how archaeology should be best deployed to answer questions about past developments, while at the same time recognising the absolute necessity of a multidisciplinary approach. Methodologically, the lessons from Zinder are applicable to the many other archaeological "blank pages" which exist around the world, while in terms of data an understanding of the past in Zinder represents yet another contribution of African archaeology to documenting the changing developmental paths taken by human groups.

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Hoock, Dr H (University of Cambridge, Faculty of History)
The British State and the Visual and Performing Arts, 1700-1840

Dr Holger Hoock's research will explore the role of politics and political institutions as agents and sites of cultural change in Hanoverian Britain. A prosopography of national politicians with an interest in the visual and performing arts will provide the basis for studies of various modes of politicians' art patronage on both a local and national level, synchronic and diachronic discussion of the evolution of the artistic professions, and analysis of the political, social, and symbolic functions of cultural investment by politicians. By bringing the revised understanding of the scope and nature of the Hanoverian state to bear on cultural history, and by employing continental European comparisons, the project will supplement accounts of the commercialisation of culture and the cultural public sphere. It will probe the blurred boundaries between civil society and the state, voluntary initiative and public funding, self-regulating professions and state interventionism, and culture as commodity and as official resource and national patrimony.

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Hutcheson, Dr D S (University of Glasgow, Department of Politics)
Evaluating the Quality of Democracy in Post-Communist Russia

The extent to which a country can be termed 'democratic' depends not only on the fairness of its elections but also on the observance of wider liberal values. Dr Derek Hutcheson's research seeks to examine the quality of democracy in the Russian Federation, based on the 2003-2004 electoral cycle. It will examine the implications for 'good governance' in Russia of 'administrative resources' (resources of the state controlled by incumbent officials), media control, weak civil society and the professionalism of electioneering. Fieldwork is envisaged in Moscow and the middle Volga regions of Tatarstan, Ul'yanovsk and Samars. The research is connected to the wider topic of transition in post-communist societies. The project is based at the University of Glasgow, a leading centre of research in this field.

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Jenkins, Dr R (University of Glasgow, Department of Psychology)
Gaze Perception and Memory

Dr Rob Jenkins' research will adapt existing techniques from cognitive psychology to examine how the content and quality of one's own memory is affected by other people's eye-gaze. Several recent studies have demonstrated that our tendency to aim our attention where another person looks is a reflexive, involuntary response. It is also well-established that attentional factors can influence memory to a great extent. It follows from these findings that merely seeing another person gaze at a particular object may enhance one's own memory for that object (and correspondingly reduce memory if the seen gaze was instead averted). If so, social cues such as eye-gaze could be construed as supporting a form of shared memory between the cueing and cued parties. As well as its theoretical significance, this research will speak to the important practical issue of memory performance in everyday life. It will also address the broader philosophical question of how much control we have over our 'private' mental lives, and how much they are fixed by external factors.

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Justino, Dr A P (University of Sussex, Poverty Research Unit)
Social Inequality in Developing Countries

Dr Justino's research project will investigate non-income dimensions of inequality in developing countries. The project seeks to construct an operational concept of social inequality that can be used for inter-regional and inter-country analytical comparisons and develop a methodology for the measurement of social inequality. This measure will be used to analyse how social inequality affects economic reform programmes. Two important types of economic reform will be considered: the introduction of trade liberalisation packages and economic restructuring in post-conflict contexts.

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Kaizer, Dr T (Corpus Christi College, Oxford)
Local Religious Life in the Roman Near East

Dr Kaizer's project will focus on the variety of local cults in the Near East in the Roman period, and in particular on the worship of those deities named after localities. A detailed study of the use of those expressions by which worshippers deliberately applied forms of cultural identification to their deities, and a closer look at the evidence with regard to the various aspects of their worship, will contribute to a more complete understanding of the way in which the various aspects that constituted the religious identity of the worshippers in the Near East in the Roman period could be affected both by Graeco-Roman culture and by the indigenous cultures of the region. It therefore hopes to shed more light not only on the distinctiveness of, but also on the interplay between, different forms of local religious life in the Near East.

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Liang, Dr L (University of Aberdeen, Department of Law)
Delivering Justice - The Civil Procedure and Practice at the Magistrate's Court in Qing China (1644-1911)

The aim of Dr Liang's research is to examine the procedure and practice of the magistrate's court in solving land, debt, marriage and inheritance disputes in Qing China (1644-1911). Based on a thorough consultation of Qing law, case records of the Baodi magistrate's court, and some collections of magistrate's decisions and handbooks, it will explore a complete portrait of the Qing civil justice system in terms of the Qing's own logic by decoding its thinking on the law's approach to civil matters, demonstrating how the magistrate achieved justice in solving civil disputes, and considering the impact of Confucian orthodoxy on the magistrate in performing his judicial role. Thus, it hopes to introduce a better way to understand traditional Chinese legal culture.

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Lockwood, Dr T (University of Leeds, School of English)
The Development of Editorial Practice and Theory from Malone to Grierson, and its Impact on Current Understandings of Sixteenth- and Seventeenth-Century English Writers

Editors of early modern literary texts between Edmond Malone (whose Shakespeare was published in 1790) and H J C Grierson (whose Donne was published in 1912) have not received the attention they deserve, either by comparison with those of the eighteenth or the twentieth centuries; yet without this attention we cannot properly understand our own, historically determined, editorial theory and practice. By asking how major authors of sixteenth and seventeenth centuries are changed by their nineteenth-century editorial presentation, Dr Lockwood wants to examine not only how editing has developed, but how the texts we study, edit and teach today have been transmitted to us. The project will involve reading not only bibliographically but sociologically: to ask how the changing personal, institutional and ideological contexts in which editions are produced change over time, and how editions are shaped by them. Having for too long implicitly recognised the formative force of this editorial tradition on current study, we need now explicitly to question the forces that formed that tradition through the nineteenth century.

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O'Shea-Meddour, Dr W (University of Oxford, Faculty of English)
Representations of Muslims in Contemporary Western Culture: A Critical View

The aim of Dr O'Shea-Meddour's research is to examine the literary and visual representation of Muslims in Western (specifically British and American) culture since the 1970s. The study will include an analysis of contemporary literature and film, non-fictional works (such as reference books and travel writing), translations of key Arabic texts and an engagement in current theoretical debate. Whilst cultural theorists have generally limited discussion to representations of Islam in the media, literary critics have concentrated on texts written before the mid-nineteenth century (predominantly those of the early modern period). The marginalized, homogeneous and overridingly negative portrayal of Muslims in contemporary Western culture has yet to be studied in any depth. In the present political climate, it is important that this critical imbalance is addressed.

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Parvis, Dr S (University of Edinburgh, Faculty of Divinity)
A Literary Edition of the Extant Works of Marcellus of Ancyra: The Canons of Ancyra 314, Contra Asterium, De Sancta Ecclesia, Epistula Ad Juliam Papam and the Western Creed of Sardica

This project aims to make possible a better understanding of the importance of the thought of Marcellus of Ancyra in the Christian world of the fourth century by presenting for the first time the corpus of works most securely attributable to him as a literary whole. The structure of the works, Marcellus? rhetorical strategies, his imagery and his technical language will be the focus of the edition. The works will also be examined in their individual literary and historical contexts. A contextual study of the Canons of Ancyra will analyse Marcellus? vital contribution to the development of church law. An ordering of theContra Asterium which considers the work as a response to a credal commentary of Asterius will be defended. The affinities of De Sancta Ecclesia and the Epistula Ad Juliam Papam with Athanasius'Orationes Contra Arianos will be examined, and of the Western Creed of Sardica with the Eastern.

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Pemberton, Dr H (London School of Economics, Department of Economic History)
Governance and the development of private pensions in Britain since 1946

Dr. Hugh Pemberton will examine the development of British pensions since 1946. His research will have a particular focus on private pensions, reflecting their enormous growth during the period, but will also clarify key moments in the development of state pension provision. The project will examine the attitudes of successive governments towards the development of the private sector; the impact of public policy on this development; the extent to which the private sector was able to shape changes in government policy; and the degree to which actors, both public and private, were constrained by the legacy of past policy decisions. Comparisons will be made with developments in other countries, notably Sweden, the Netherlands and the United States. The project is explicitly interdisciplinary. It will use detailed empirical research to test and refine political science theories of governance, path dependence and policy learning; whilst simultaneously using these theories to structure its historical analysis.

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Perren, Dr K (Loughborough University, Centre for Research in Social Policy)
Social Contact in Later Life: The Influence of Birth Cohort and Social Change on the Experience of Ageing

Dr Perren's research will use large scale social survey data to explore the impact of social historical period on older people's social relationships in the last two decades of the twentieth century. It addresses the claim that rapid and profound social change increasingly renders the world-views and life-styles of older people obsolete. It will address three interlinked themes: values; relationships with neighbours; and community activity. These three facets of social life may be viewed as complementary measures of 'social connectedness'. Consequently, this research contributes to an understanding of the processes whereby, for some people, ageing is associated with marginalisation.

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Pooley, Dr O (Exeter College, Oxford)
Understanding Spacetime

At present there is little consensus concerning the status of spacetime in fundamental physics. Dr Oliver Pooley's research will seek to address three, related, questions: (1) whether spacetime should be conceived of as an entity in its own right; (2) to what extent the way we represent the world in the terms of the mathematical models of physics supports either haecceitism or anti-haecceitism; (3) whether space is more fundamental than spacetime. Particular research topics include the viability of overlooked reductive accounts of spacetime structure, how space and time are treated in various approaches to quantum gravity, and the relevance of general philosophical discussions of haecceitism and identity to the interpretation of spacetime physics.

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Poulter, Dr A (Birkbeck College, School of History, Classics and Archaeology)
Perspectives on the Ancient Past: Modern and Ancient Reconstructions of South Italy

This research project will deal with the important historical problem of the extent to which current understanding of ancient societies has been shaped by, or filtered through, the contemporary concerns of previous generations in their explorations of the past. A set of south Italian evidence - archaeological excavations, academic institutions, collections of material culture and historical representations of ancient societies, from the mid-18th to early 20th centuries - will be used to explore how elements of the ancient past were selected and manipulated on the basis of antiquarian, intellectual, monarchical and political agenda in this period, troubled by crises of cultural identity and nationhood. Once these modern influences and processes of selection have been identified, it will then be possible to attempt a new consideration of the ancient history of south Italy in its own terms.

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Pugh, Dr S (University of Leeds, School of English)
Chapman and the Development of English Epic "Poethood"

As accounts of the development of English epic, existing studies of the relation between Spenser and Milton are limited by the omission of the crucial intermediary figure of George Chapman. Inheriting from Spenser the idea of the national poet as vatic moral authority independent from , and empowered to critique, the political authority of the state, Chapman refashioned it in ways which would influence Milton, and later the Romantics. Dr Syrithe Pugh's research will analyse Chapman's shaping of his career, construction of his poetic authority and articulation of his relation to power, examining his self-positioning with respect to classical and contemporary writers, and exploring the significance of this figure to his contemporaries and successors.

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Sattig, Dr T (Brasenose College, Oxford and Faculty of Philosophy)
Language, Reality and Time

Both ordinary language and concrete reality have a temporal dimension. Ordinary language has a temporal dimension in that it is temporally modified; when we say that something is the case, we also indicate at what time it is the case. Concrete reality has a temporal dimension in that it is constituted by things that are in time. Traditionally, philosophers have studied the temporal dimension of language and the temporal dimension of concrete reality separately. Dr Sattig's project is to explore how each dimension is related to the other. For the most part, this is a project in metaphysics and the philosophy of language and logic. Excursions will be made, however, into linguistics, epistemology and the philosophy of physics.

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Schlecker, Dr M (Brunel University, Department of Human Sciences)
Modernity and 'Society' in Vietnam: Quantification, Indebtedness and the Forms of Personal and State Loyalty

Dr Markus Schlecker's postdoctoral research will examine state projects of quantification in Vietnam and the ways they have come to inform local practices of gauging personal loyalty. Central to his research are Vietnamese conceptions of reciprocal obligations, which have been the target of state attempts to secure loyalty towards the socialist society. His current research builds on his doctoral fieldwork based on 15 months work among a cohort of families in Vietnam's capital, Hanoi. This work explored Hanoians' observation of a decline in trustworthiness during the current economic reform period. Dr Schlecker's current work in Vietnam seeks to draw comparative perspectives with other state projects of quantification in the region, notably Melanesia.

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Shaw, Dr J (Merton College, Oxford and Institute of Archaeology)
Buddhist Monasteries in the Archaeological Landscape: The Social, Religious and Economic Background of Buddhist Propagation in Ancient India, between c.3rd Century BC and 10th Century AD

The aim of Dr Shaw's proposed research is to examine the social, economic and religious impact of Buddhist propagation in ancient India, and to develop new methodologies and theoretical models for explaining cultural change between c.3rd century BC and 10th century AD. Drawing on principles developed in landscape archaeology, it seeks to build up an integrated understanding of how the Buddhist Sangha established itself in new areas, and how the spread of Buddhism related to other key processes such as state-formation, urbanisation, the rise of Brahmanical theistic cults and the development of Pan Indian artistic idioms. Of particular interest is the relationship between Buddhist propagation and the development of new agrarian systems based on the control of water resources. The archaeological setting of Buddhist monasteries in the Sanchi area of Madhya Pradesh will form the primary focus of field investigation. In particular, the spatial and temporal links between monastic sites, settlements, sculpture and water-resource structures documented during an earlier phase of research will be subject to further investigation, working at times alongside scholars from related disciplines such as palaeobotany and hydrology. In turn, the wider geographical applicability of the archaeological patterns in the Sanchi area will be assessed through comparative research in other parts of India, including Gujarat, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh.

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Silverstein, Dr A (University of Cambridge, Faculty of Oriental Studies)
The Development of Caliphal Bureaucratic Institutions, until C.945CE

Dr Silverstein intends to produce a bilingual (Arabic/English) edition of the 10th century manuscriptSiyasat al-Muluk. The text, which is fifty folios in length, is a sort of Mirror for Princes apparently composed for an amir of the early Buyid period. The identity of the author is unknown and since the title page does not appear to have been written by the same scribe who penned the rest of the text, the title'Siyasat Al-Muluk' will be regarded as tentative. Strictly speaking, the work is not typical of the [Arabic] Mirror for Princes genre in that much of the information and advice included therein is extremely detailed and practical, unlike the theoretical and moralising tones of other specimens of this genre in Arabic. Furthermore, although there are chapters dedicated to 'The King' and 'The Vizier', much of the work concerns lower-ranking bureaucrats such as tax-collectors, postal-agents, the royal steward, those active in the bureaux of correspondence and imperial seals, the royal physician, and even the royal chef. Thus, an initial assessment of the work is that it is a practical manual for bureaucrats working in Baghdad under new masters, the Buyids.

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Wild, Dr J (University of Edinburgh, Centre for the History of the Book)
Betwixt and Between: An Investigation into the Place of 'Middlebrow' Literature in British Print Culture and Society from 1918 to 1939

Dr Jonathan Wild's research project will examine the range and quality of 'middlebrow' literature that appeared in Britain between the World Wars. The critical application of the dismissive term 'middlebrow' has hitherto militated against an unprejudiced (re)assessment of those writers and their works which helped to shape British print culture during an important and transitional phase of its development. Dr Wild's revisionist analysis aims to interrogate the validity of existing critical judgements in two stages: the first will reveal the breadth of (and the reasons for) the emergence of a distinctive 'middlebrow' literary culture; the second stage will attempt to (re)evaluate the relative critical merit of the work of a number of those writers who would become associated with this inter-war cultural phenomenon.

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Wilding, Dr N (University of Cambridge, Department of the History and Philosophy of Science)
Writing the Book of Nature: Authors, Printers and Readers of Natural Philosophy in Early Modern Europe

This project aims to provide an account of the theories and practices of Early Modern scientific authorship. Special attention will be given to the understudied fields of anonymous and pseudonymous works and to the scribal publication of natural philosophy. The geographical areas to be studied will be England, France and Italy during the period 1550-1700. By looking at how natural philosophy was written, how authors constructed or hid their identities, how their works circulated (in what media and through what power systems) and how readers made sense of these issues, Dr Nick Wilding hopes to restore to the field of Early Modern natural philosophy something of its historical complexity and flexibility in producing knowledge and texts.

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