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Working with Publishers - A Workshop for PGRs and ECRs

Working with Publishers

Wednesday 12th June 2024 – Scarman House 09:30-17:00

  • Do you have a plan for an edited volume or monograph?
    Would you like to find out how to produce a convincing book proposal?
    This workshop provides an opportunity to write a book proposal in a supportive & friendly atmosphere.
    Expert advice will be available from publishers Routledge (Warwick Series in the Humanities), Anthem Press, and from HRC Committee Members.
  • Open to any postgraduate and early-stage researcher in the Arts Faculty and Philosophy: you must have an actual book proposal in mind that you would like to work on.
  • Please contact Sue Rae (s.rae@warwick.ac.uk), HRC Administrator to express interest in attending: limited places available.
    Deadline: Mon 13th May 2024
  • Sponsored by Research England Enhancing Research Culture Fund.
    Lunch & refreshments provided during the day.
Mon 15 Apr 2024, 07:00 | Tags: Humanities Research Centre News

Visiting Speaker - Professor Yannis Hamilakis - Report

Humanities Research Centre – Visiting Speaker’s Fund – Professor Yannis Hamilakis

 

Outputs Supported Through the Visiting Speaker’s Fund

 

1) Keynote lecture for the Classical Association Annual Conference, the field-leading conference in Classics in the UK.

2) Research and Career-Development Seminar for Postgraduate Students in the Department of Classics and Ancient History at Warwick.

 

Description Of Outputs

 

Funds from the HRC Visiting Speaker’s Fund in combination with a contribution from the Department of Classics and Ancient History supported the travel and accommodation of Professor Yannis Hamilakis, a world-leading scholar, to deliver the keynote lecture at the UK field-leading Classical Association (CA) conference which Warwick hosted during May 22-24, 2024.

 

Professor Yannis Hamilakis is an extremely high profile archaeologist and scholar in the area of the socio-politics of the past (Greece especially) and is currently the Joukowsky Family Professor of Archaeology and Professor of Modern Greek Studies at Brown University.

 

Professor Hamilakis’ keynote lecture, entitled, Undoing Monumental Racecraft: The Acropolis Otherwise was delivered on the afternoon of Friday March 22, 2024 on Oculus 1.05 to an international audience of approximately 270 Classicists. Professor Hamilakis’ talk presented a dissection of the Athenian Acropolis as it is traditionally presented – a monument to Classical Athens. He presented how and why the acropolis was ‘cleansed’ of its non-Classical past during the 19th century in order to present very specific messages about these monuments that were heavily informed by European nationalisms of the time. The lecture then presented would-be 19th century plans for the Acropolis that were proposed by a Bavarian architect who was employed by the newly established Greek monarchy. These plans included locating a royal palace, and even a horse-racing track on top of the hill.

 

Professor Hamilakis then presented evidence from the traditionally overlooked Medieval and the Ottoman periods, and presented a very strong case for why we need to re-consider these traditions as valuable stakeholders in the history of this monument. Two of the particularly fascinating case studies presented related to the largely discarded remains of Ottoman-era headstones from a cemetery at the entrance to the Acropolis, as well as evidence for a community of enslaved people of African origin who lived at the base of the Acropolis in the 18th century. Both communities have been more-orless completely written out of the history of the Acropolis in favour of the traditional presentation of a ‘pure’ Classical Greek monument which has been heavily informed by 19th century nationalism which has its origins in a different part of Europe. This lecture calls for a reassessment and a considered decolonisation of the Acropolis by those of us who teach using its monuments. Presenting a longer-term and diverse history/archaeology of the Acropolis enables a more careful contextualisation of the monuments, and enables us to question the historiography around, and the reception of, what is all-too-often framed as an iconic feature of ‘western’ culture.

The keynote lecture did not have a question session, but The Classical Association (CA) run a promotional campaign for this conference, part of this strategy includes Twitter/X. On Jan 30, 2024, as requested, I sent the @HRCWarwick to the organising committee to pass along to the CA communications team for use in promotions regarding the keynote lecture. the CA conference held a drinks event in the Agora of the Faculty of Arts Building during which Professor Hamilakis fielded a range of questions about the lecture from colleagues across our discipline.

 

On the morning of March 23, Professor Hamilakis held a hybrid-seminar in the Faculty of Arts Building for Postgraduate Researchers in the Department of Classics and Ancient History. This even was attended by seven postgraduate (PG herein) researchers, Professor Hamilakis and the author. The seminar discussion began with questions from the postgraduate community about the keynote lecture that took place on the previous night. That particular discussion focused on the would-be 19th century development plans for the Acropolis as well as the active process of prioritising specific archaeological and historical phases of a site for presentation. On Professor Hamilakis’ direction, the seminar discussion then moved on to cover more practical topics that were of specific interest to the postgraduate community in Classics and Ancient History.

 

These topics included:

• Developing an academic career.

• Strategic publishing.

• Navigating disciplinary boundaries in research.

• Developing PhD projects.

 

The seminar discussion was lively, and lasted slightly beyond the scheduled 1-hour time slot. Online participation was facilitated using Microsoft Teams and a ‘Meeting Owl’, which proved to be an excellent tool for ensuring both audio and visual participation by the online attendees. The postgraduate students from Classics and Ancient History were happy to ask questions and to listen to advice/suggestions from Professor Hamilakis. Oral feedback provided to me from the participants indicated that this was a helpful and engaging session.

 

The original aims of this application were to secure financial support from the Visiting Speaker’s Fund in order to bring a field-leading scholar to the University of Warwick. This speaker, Professor Hamilakis, was to deliver a keynote address at the largest annual UK conference in our discipline (the Classical Association Conference) and to lead a seminar discussion with postgraduate students from the Department of Classics and Ancient History. These aims were all met, and the number of attendees and engagement at both the keynote lecture and the seminar exceeded our initial aims.

Wed 17 Apr 2024, 06:00 | Tags: Conference Information

Stonebreakers: Film Screening and Roundtable Discussion - Report

Stonebreakers: Film Screening and Roundtable Discussion
Wednesday 13 March 2024
 

HRC report – Joanne Lee

Internal webpage: Stonebreakers (warwick.ac.uk)
Coventry Cathedral webpage: Stonebreakers - Film Screening - Coventry Cathedral

On Wednesday 13th March, Valerio Ciriaci (director) and Isaak J. Liptzin (producer) visited Warwick as part of their UK tour to present their documentary film Stonebreakers (Awen Films, 2022). Thanks to the generous support from the HRC Visting Speaker’s Fund and from the Warwick Institute of Engagement, along with contributions from departments of History, PAIS, SCAPVC and the SMLC, we were able to stage two separate events: an afternoon on-campus event open to staff and students, and an evening event in the Chapter House theatre of Coventry Cathedral open to members of the public.

Valerio Ciriaci and Isaak J. Liptzin co-founded Awen Films in 2012 and Stonebreakers is their third documentary feature film. The documentary chronicles the fight around historical memory in the US that exploded in 2020 during the George Floyd protests and the presidential election. It interrogates understandings of national narratives and foundational myths (in particular Columbus and the Founding Fathers) and explores debates around contested monuments, statues and landmarks. The film premiered in 2022 at the Festival dei Popoli in Florence, where it won three awards.

The afternoon screening and roundtable panel discussion took place in the Cinema Room of the Faculty of Arts Building with an audience of around 40 staff and students and was followed by a drinks reception.In the evening, a similar free event took place in the Chapter House theatre of Coventry Cathedral with around 30 in attendance. Although scheduled on a busy day in the last week of term, the film drew in a varied audience with interests in US politics, racial justice, decolonising movements, historical memory and documentary filmmaking.

The film-screenings (70 minutes) were followed by a roundtable panel discussion – the aim of which was not only to allow the filmmakers to explain the ideas behind the making of the film and respond to questions from the audience, but also to bring them into dialogue with researchers and cultural activists who specialise in different aspects of US history and politics, questions of memory and memorialisation, and cultural policy and inclusion.

Afternoon panelists included:

Jess Eastland-Underwood: a final year PhD Student from PAIS whose research looks at how everyday understandings of the concept of ‘the economy’ in the USA mobilised the anti-lockdown and George Floyd protests during the Covid-19 pandemic. Her published work has looked at interpretations of the economic ideology of the Founding Fathers in the Tea Party movement as well as the way popular conceptions of ‘the market’ reproduce white supremacy.

Alison Cooley: Professor in Classics at Warwick, Deputy Head of Classics, and Director of the Humanities Research Centre. Her interest in contemporary debates surrounding statues and memorials stems from her research into the cultural and political aspects of the Roman world. She has a forthcoming chapter on the destruction of ancient monuments from Pharaonic Egypt to Imperial Rome: 'Control: The destruction of monuments', in D. Agri and S. Lewis (eds.) Cultural History of Media: Antiquity (Bloomsbury)

Lara Ratnaraja: an independent cultural consultant who specialises in diversity, innovation, leadership, collaboration and cultural policy within the cultural, the HE and digital sectors. She co-produces a series of cultural leadership programmes for people from diverse backgrounds linked to geographical place and also curates a digital Conference called Hello Culture. Her projects include working with the 8 Welsh National Arts Companies to develop a cultural framework for diversity co-designed with creative stakeholders and residents.Lara is on the board of Compton Verney and is Co-Chair of the Coventry Biennial. She is also on the UK Council for Creative UK and the Equality Monitoring Group for Arts Council Wales.

Evening panelists included:

David Wright: David teaches and writes about cultural policy and the creative industries in the Centre for Cultural and Media Policy Studies at Warwick. His recent work has concerned campaigns for statues and memorials to figures from twentieth-century popular culture. He is currently writing a book for Liverpool University Press: Celebrity and Public Art: Memorialising Popular Culture and his recent open access article in the European Journal of Cultural Studies concerned nostalgia and statues to comedians in the North of England.

Ras Emmanuelle Henry Cottrell: founder of I&I Collective – an international collective of promoters, producers, performers, DJs, artists & activists. One of his recent projects at St Mary’s Guildhall in Coventry involved exploring the history of the American civil rights activist Frederick Douglass who visited the city in 1847 where he delivered three lectures as part of his anti-slavery campaigns.

Lydia Plath: Associate Professor of US History at Warwick, where she specialises in the history of racism and racial violence. Her research projects have investigated the representation of slavery in twentieth and twenty-first century American cinema. Her teaching centres on African American history and her module ‘America in Black and White’ won the inaugural Historians of the Twentieth Century United States Inclusive Curricula Prize. Lydia is one of the facilitators of the Tackling Racial Inequality at Warwick Staff Development Programme.

Both afternoon and evening screenings led to lively and insightful panel discussions in which participants debated the quest for representation within the film: was the struggle really about whether a statue or monument should stand, or was the struggle for territorial rights and political space more important? Why do certain stories become central to the national narrative while other stories and voices are marginalised? How can we incorporate activism into our teaching and research? Questions to the director and producer also explored cinematography and considered how much of the intensity and beauty of the film derives from the choice to avoid a didactic voice-over, the use of music to build tension and the powerful juxtaposition of imagery. At both events, we really needed an extra hour to fully explore these aspects!

The events were successful in bringing filmmakers together with researchers at Warwick and external collaborators while the subject of racial justice and political representation clearly resonated with both audiences. We hope to purchase the documentary for the library so that other members of the university can watch a film which makes a vital contribution to political debates about monuments, memorialisation and constructions of national narratives. We extend our thanks and appreciation to Valerio and Isaak for coming to Warwick and sharing their film with us – we eagerly await their next film project!

Sat 13 Apr 2024, 06:00 | Tags: Conference Information

Divine Disasters - Conference Report

Divine Disasters: Exploring Distressed Landscapes in Literature and Theology

Conference Report

What happens when belief, the sacred and the divine collide with ecological crises? How do such distressed landscapes alter our ideas of the ecological and theological? The one-day interdisciplinary conference, Divine Disasters: Exploring Distressed Landscapes in Literature and Theology, set out to explore these questions at the University of Warwick on 24th February 2024.

This conference asked how art and literature depicted the role of the divine in disasters. During times of ecological crisis, some turn to religion for solace, while others feel their faith shaken. These dilemmas are unsurprising as the distressed landscapes of disasters are often places of multitudinous emotions, including fear, sadness, anxiety, anger, and hope, foregrounding theological queries of evil, doubt, and suffering. Literature and creative art often act as a site for exploring intersections between theological enquiries and ecological disasters. “Divine disasters” offers a new lens for examining the interrelationship between theology, ecology, and literature, questioning human vulnerability and theology’s big questions within narratives of distressed landscapes.

The conference welcomed 77 delegates, with 43 in-person attendees and a further 35 joining us online. The hybrid conference format made the event more accessible, facilitating a range of scholars from international institutions that enhanced the cross-discipline implications of Divine Disasters. In turn, the conference programme boasted presentations across diverse fields, including cultural studies, history, sociology, film, and media studies, to explore the conference theme in both imaged landscapes and real-world terms. 

Sadly, our keynote speaker, Prof. Patricia Murrieta-Flores, could not present her research on “Nepantla, between indigenous time and colonial space: Reflections about the end of the world in Central Mexico” due to illness. However, this schedule change allowed all delegates to participate in the two workshops initially planned to run concurrently. “Workshop A: Reading Ecopoetics in Divine Disasters”, facilitated by PhD candidates Ambika Raja, Nicola Hamer, and Lizzie Smith, opened the conference and invited discussions on poetry by Will Giles alongside visual art by Kaili Chun and Hongtao Zhou. In the afternoon, Catherine Greenwood from the University of Sheffield facilitated “Workshop B: Creating Responses to Divine Disasters” with Ruth-Anne Walbank, allowing delegates to write their responses to the conference theme through a series of free writing exercises and prompts from writing, including Catherine’s poetry, the Sura Qari’ah, and the Hopi Prophecies. While unexpected, the renewed focus on these interactive workshops rather than a single keynote decentred the conference’s didactic mode to refocus the event around discourse, exchange, and creativity, building a stronger feeling of academic community across the day.

The remainder of the conference encompassed six parallel panels from 17 researchers. In Room A, panels explored fictional representations of divine disasters, including ‘Dark Ecologies and Gothic Disasters’, ‘Deluge, Disaster, and Divine Deep Ecologies’, and ‘Remembering Disaster in Art and Culture’. The interdisciplinary scope of such fictional accounts enabled fresh comparisons between the mediums for imagining divine disasters, ranging from children’s animated films to Shakespeare’s plays. Meanwhile, the panels in Room B contemplated narratives from real-world disasters and the philosophical questions they raised, such as ‘Hope and Morality in the Face of Disaster’, ‘Divine Disasters and Religious Practice’, and ‘Extractions, Wastelands, and Human-made Disasters’. Papers on recent events such as the Chornobyl disaster and current topics like climate anxiety emphasised the relevance of “Divine Disasters” as an important critical lens for interpreting historic and contemporary distressed landscapes.

We would like to thank the Humanities Research Centre at the University of Warwick for their support in funding the conference. Thanks to the high-quality papers from the 2024 conference, we hope to submit a book proposal to the Warwick Series in the Humanities to develop and share ‘Divine Disasters’ with wider academic communities.

Report by Ruth-Anne Walbank and Ambika Raja

March 2024

Thu 11 Apr 2024, 15:19 | Tags: Conference Information

Funding Opportunity - Warwick PhD and Early Career Research Fellowship

The Humanities Research Centre will fund 3 internal fellowships for PhD students and early career scholars (up to 5 years post PhD) wanting to conduct short periods of research abroad. The JHU and Newberry Fellowships are worth £3,000 each. The HRC North America/Europe Fellowship is worth £2,000. These fellowships are intended to support trips of 2-3 weeks that will deepen and broaden research links between Warwick and research institutions in North America and Europe and to further individual research projects in archives and collections. Applicants are responsible for arranging travel, visas, itineraries and accommodation, although we can provide advice. We encourage applicants to seek out contacts in the institutions they want to visit in advance of their applications and to provide details of these in their material (you do not need to provide written references). Your trip must be more than simply presenting a paper at a conference and you must clearly demonstrate the potential benefits to Warwick in your application.

Fri 22 Mar 2024, 07:00 | Tags: Funding Opportunity

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