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.
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.
Responses to the Culture and Politics of the United States of America in the Novels and Nonfiction of Anthony Burgess
To provide a critical account of the British author Anthony Burgess’s engagement with the culture and politics of the United States of America. Burgess travelled extensively in the USA for lecture tours, professorships, visiting author positions, book tours, and other artistic engagements. This enquiry involves original research into archived documents, audio recordings of lectures, unpublished letters and journalism. The dissertation will deploy this new material in a close analysis of six post-1960 novels and non-fiction books by Burgess.
Revisiting English Chinoiserie from a Perspective of Postcolonialism: How Can New Narratives be Embedded into Cultural Heritage Sites through Art Practice?
A practice-based fine art research investigating the historiography of chinoiserie from a perspective of postcolonialism through exploring how otherness was prescribed to Chineseness.
Towards a New Realism: An Investigation of the Possibilities for a Socially Engaged Painting Practice
I am proposing to examine the methodologies and signifying structures of ‘classical’, ‘critical’, ‘social’ and ‘socialist’ realist painting to determine whether they can be synthesised or adapted to generate a socially informed and democratically readable contemporary painting practice.
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.
Archaeology: Site, Object, Context; Interpreting A Collection. A study of the ceramic work of Robert Louis Blatherwick (1920-1993)
The previously unrecorded work of Robert Louis Blatherwick occupies an empty space, representing a gap in the recording of twentieth century ceramic history. The body of work produced deserves attention.
'Gender Politics: The Paratext In the Late 19th Century Feminist Periodical (Britain, c. 1888-1899): A Transdisciplinary Holistic Approach’
This thesis offers an interpretation of the feminist periodicals Women's Penny Paper, Woman's Herald and Woman's Signal, using an original modified version of linguist Gérard Genette's theory of the paratext as a methodology. It examines to what extent the gendered conventions of late nineteenth century Britain influenced the editorial identities of these general feminist periodicals, and whether emerging hybrid paradigms of late nineteenth century New Womanhood in any way challenged conventional patriarchal ideals. The findings reveal that the periodicals studied projected a voice that was critical of the established gendered norms, which manifested through a plethora of carefully orchestrated editorial choices.
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