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.
Gothic Contagion: A Trans-Disciplinary Exploration of the Gothic Mode's Representations of Infectious Disease and its Implications for Public Health
This thesis sets out to investigate the ways in which Gothic depictions of contagion mediate public perceptions about health, wellbeing and community at key moments of crisis in the evolution of capitalism.
Disputing Jewish and Christian Identities in Nineteenth Century Paintings.
This project will investigate the construction of Jewish and Christian identities in the painting "The Finding of the Saviour in the Temple" (1860) by William Holman Hunt and other relevant works. The Jewish nature of "The Finding" has been almost entirely overlooked to date. It has not been examined within the field of Jewish Studies and the attention that it has received within art-historical discourse has focused upon the Christian message offered by the artist and his associates. The scene is known as "The Disputation". Assumed to portray a generalised theological dispute between Christianity and Judaism, it also references scholarly disputations, regarded as determinants of truth within the developing academy.
The development of clothing concepts in response to analysis of changing gendered social attitudes.
This interdisciplinary study mixes practice and participant-based enquiry informed by phenomenology. It aims to understand the motivations of women who choose to wear male gendered clothing for fashion and to use this to question gender assignment in clothing, through practical experimentation. Fashions’ relationship with current social attitudes, particularly referencing gender assignment, will be explored. The PhD specifically aims to develop an experimental design approach by reviewing and reflecting on the process of constructing a series of garments which respond to women’s gender related preferences.
Objects of Delight: The Nineteen Century Mass-Produced Miniature
My research explores the phenomenon of miniaturisation, as reflected by the global trade and consumption of mass-produced miniatures, and what it reveals about the nineteenth century people who delighted in, desired, acquired, displayed, collected and discarded them.
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