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Postgraduate Profiles

Turkey’s Strategic Advantage in Sub-Saharan Africa: The Effects of Reciprocity and the Continuing Viability of the New Engagement

The aim of this PhD is to increase the scientific knowledge of Turkey’s behaviour in terms of diplomacy, trade and military presence in SSA as an emerging power. The project will also shed new light on the reshuffling global landscape of economic and political strength between the great powers of the East and West, and Turkey as a new emerging challenger.

A Creative Writer’s Investigation into Representations of Nurturing, Single-Parent Fatherhood in Children’s and Young Adult Fiction

My research examines the portrayal of nurturing, single-parent fathers in children’s literature through the development of paternal characters in a young adult novel. It privileges creative practice over other research activities, exploiting those scholarly theories which resonate most deeply with my creative concerns.

Haunting Corporeality: A Cultural History of the Animated Skeleton

The visage of an animated skeleton is an omnipresent theme in the cultural sphere of horror and the Gothic, but scant little attention has been given to this powerful symbol. My research blends literary studies, art history, archaeology, and thanatology to examine how the skeleton operates as a signifier throughout Western literary, visual, and material culture, originating during Medieval Christendom as a moralistic reminder of the afterlife and subsequently becoming a multi-faceted symbol for memorializing grief, disease and community health, class struggles, and ultimately humanity's own relationship with the vastness of time.

The Use and Abuse of Ancient History in Victorian Sport

Nineteenth-century elite education in Britain was dominated by classics inside the classroom and sport outside, often to the exclusion of almost everything else. The move towards athleticism in the public schools and universities ultimately transformed the social landscape by creating, codifying, regulating and promoting new games such as association and rugby football while reforming existing sports such as athletics, boxing and rowing. As these sports became more popular, bitter struggles erupted for their control. These often ostensibly centred on the issue of amateurism, but had an element of class conflict as their underlying cause. As part of this dialogue, some classical scholars created a powerful and widely accepted narrative which projected an image of the ideal Victorian sportsmen on to the athletes of ancient Greece in order to create a pedigree for elite amateurism. At the same time, they created a second narrative, detailing negative aspects of sport during the Roman period, in order to highlight the so-called ‘evils of professionalism’. My research looks at how these narratives were created and why, and examines the personal networks which intricately linked the classicists behind them with the leading sports administrators, politicians and educationalists of their day.

US-Russia Relations Post-Cold War

Dan’s research focuses on why US-Russia relations failed to improve after the Cold War had ended. By 1991, it was hoped that years of deep mistrust and resentment would give way to a new era of relations built on trust, pragmatism and healthy diplomacy. However this did not turn out to be the case. Dan’s research analyses the complex reasons for this, challenging commonly held assumptions whilst raising points that have not been previously considered.

Killer Plants & Gothic Gardeners: Gendered EcoGothic Monsters

From tentacled blood-suckers, to carnivorous exotics with a desire for human flesh to human-plant hybrids, plant monster fiction has received little attention within a Gothic context or from an ecofeminist perspective. My research aims to establish plant monsters as ecoGothic tropes by exploring how the gendered attributes of plant and gardener reflect cultural anxieties of their time and asserting their ecoGothic monstrosity through their consumption of humans. Emerging ecoGothic criticism has largely focused on bleak landscapes, dark forests and spectral settings, exploring nature in the Gothic genre with an ecocritical eye. Analysing plant monsters as distinctive tropes, I would argue, provides a concrete hybridisation of ecocriticism and gothic theories as ecoGothic. Drawing on ecofeminist concepts of interconnectedness, such as Stacy Alaimo’s material trans-corporeality and Nancy Tuana’s viscous porosity alongside Female Gothic theories of monstrosity and the grotesque, my research aims to demonstrate how the plant monster not only challenges androcentric socio-cultural interpretations (particularly the gender associations) but also presents a case for the (hu)man-eating plant as an ecoGothic monster.

Architecture of the photographic print: the spatial and dimensional relations between photography, print and architecture

A practice-led enquiry into the spatial and dimensional relations between photography, print and architecture.

Contemporary Feminine Aesthetics After Postfeminism

My research investigates the relationship between 1990s-early 2000s postfeminist discourses of empowerment and constructions of female subjectivity in contemporary fictional genres aimed at women and girls.

The primary aim of the thesis is to better understand the impact of postfeminist empowerment discourse on women whose coming of age coincided with the height of its cultural ubiquity, and to explore the continuing postfeminist legacy in girlhood coming-of-age genres. To do this, I focus on the shifting affective registers of postfeminist culture and the role feelings and emotions play in constituting female subjectivity.

Conferred 2019

Angel Meadow: Origin and persistence of Victorian Manchester's hell on earth slum

Victorian Manchester was the world’s first industrial city – the shock city of its age. It was the first to experience the wealth and horrors that rapid urbanisation could bring. More than 200 years later, cities around the world continue to face unprecedented social, economic and environmental challenges. An estimated one billion people around the world live in slums – a figure the UN says will double by 2030. This study will investigate the origin and persistence of Angel Meadow - one of Victorian Manchester's most notorious slums. It will seek to bring context to recent archaeological excavations of workers' housing in Angel Meadow and add to the wider debate about the formation of modern slums.

Taking the Reader into the Woods: An investigation into the relationship between the act of walking in woodland and the creative process, through the medium of novel writing

This PhD will explore the connections between walking, creative process and fiction with a focus on creative practice as research method. I will be undertaking a series of walks in a number of woodlands, and using the experience to inform my creative practice. I will write a novel inspired by the walks and also non-fiction reading about place. As well as the novel I will write a thesis about the process I have undergone, and how my work fits into the world of place-writing. I will interview some other published novelists who have a strong element of place writing in their work, to ask them about their creative process.

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