Dr Emma Hart wins AHRC International Research Network Grant

EmmaHartThe School of History is delighted to announce that Dr Emma Hart has won an AHRC International Research Network Grant for a project on ‘The Global City: Past and Present’.

The project will consider the rise of the contemporary global city in its historical context. The global city – which both enables and embodies today’s inter-connected and globalized world – has become the focus of significant research and policy-making. However, the historical processes that produced many of the foundational practices of the global city have hitherto been overlooked. Whilst the immediate historical context of such spaces is commonly addressed, what is missing is a solid understanding of the historical precedents of the global city. This omission has grown out of a lack of interaction between global studies scholars and urban historians, as well as among urban historians working in different regions, who rarely have the opportunity to share their research or collaborate with one another. ‘The Global City: Past and Present’ will seek to address this lack by creating new opportunities for international and interdisciplinary networking.

The modern global city. Photo by Daniel Scwen (By Daniel Schwen (CC-BY-SA-2.5) via Wikimedia Commons.

New York – the modern global city. Photo by Daniel Scwen (By Daniel Schwen (CC-BY-SA-2.5) via Wikimedia Commons.

The project will be centred around four workshops, each discussing different aspects of ‘The Global City’. These events will bring together an international network of scholars to explore the connections between today’s global cities and their early modern colonial precursors from three angles; space, political economy and populations. The workshops will include geographers, urban planners, anthropologists, art historians, sociologists, and policy makers and will take place in St Andrews, Rio de Janeiro, and London at the Centre for Metropolitan History (part of the Institute of Historical Research).  There will also be a public lecture at the IHR. It is hoped that these events will both serve to improve our understanding of the global city as a historical phenomenon and provide the means by which this knowledge can be exchanged with academics and policy-makers at work in today’s global cities.

The AHRC Research Network Scheme is designed to promote wide-ranging discussion and intellectual exchange upon specific thematic areas, issues, or questions. As such, the ‘Global City’ project spans multiple continents and encompasses multiple research groups; Dr Hart’s Co-Investigator, Professor Mariana Dantas (a historian of colonial Brazil) is based at  Ohio University, and the St Andrews Centre for Transnational History will be involved with the project. Dr Jaap Jacobs, an Honorary Lecturer at the St Andrews School of History, was also a founding member of the network.

Conference hosted by the Heirs to the Throne Project

Heirs to the Throne processionOn 30-31 August, the Heirs to the Throne project hosted its first international conference on Monarchical Succession and the Political Culture of 19th-Century Europe, which brought speakers to St Andrews from Hungary, Germany, Italy, the UK, Denmark, Belgium, Spain and Austria.

The conference focused on the political roles played by heirs to the throne within their respective dynastic systems across a largely monarchical Europe between 1815 and 1914. The concept of hereditary rule made heirs and heiresses to the throne a crucial part of monarchical systems: While the sovereign represented the embodiment of existing rule, his successor embodied rule “in the making”; personality, ideas and concepts still to be shaped. The political sphere in any constitutional monarchy generated plenty of interested parties doing their best to “prepare” the future monarchy by actively influencing this next generation. Despite its strong appeal very little research on a national and even less on a comparative level have been done about the relationship between the heir to the throne’s office and political representation. In the context of this conference heirs and heiresses were used as prisms to explore Europe’s monarchical systems, the institutions, agencies, groups and individuals engaged in either sustaining or challenging them.

Two keynote lectures given by the project team, Principal Investigator Frank Müller and Postdoctoral Researcher Heidi Mehrkens, and Christopher Clark of the University of Cambridge, focused on dynastic generations, on Fathers and Sons. The (political) function of the heir was analysed against the backdrop of royal family-life and the supreme authority of the monarch, the heir being obliged to show love and respect against the pater familias. Four panels then aimed to explore the societies and cultures within which heirs existed and operated. The first panel concentrated on the heir’s biography, his perception as personality and individual contribution to specific constitutional contexts. The second panel dealt with succession crisis and what happened when there was no heir to succeed to the throne. To what extent was the political sphere involved in solving the most crucial dynastic dilemma of all? The third panel shed some light on “courtly contexts”, e.g. on political dimensions of appointing the heir’s entourage, while the last panel focused on heirs during the Great War. A detailed report and a conference volume are in preparation.

Dr Aileen Fyfe gains place in Birmingham-based AHRC Research Network

Lodge, OliverDr Aileen Fyfe is part of a successful AHRC Research Network investigating the physicist, spiritualist and university manager, Oliver Lodge (1851-1940). The network, based at the University of Birmingham and organised by Dr Jim Mussell, will be holding 4 meetings over the coming two years, each investigating different aspects of Lodge’s life. Lodge has much to teach us about the place of science in culture because, in his life and career, he transcended many of the boundaries we imagine structure the cultural status of science. A pioneer of wireless telegraphy, Lodge was an internationally-acclaimed physicist and engineer, equally at home in laboratory and workshop. Alongside his commercial interests Lodge carved out a career in the new Victorian universities, becoming the first professor of physics at the University of Liverpool and then Principal of the University of Birmingham after its move to Edgbaston. Not only did Lodge help science consolidate its place at the heart of the university, but he also saw the institutionalisation of the differences between scientific disciplines.

A prolific writer, speaker and, later in his life, broadcaster, Lodge was widely known as a populariser of science and commentator on current affairs. Yet in the latter part of his life, Lodge became a famous spiritualist, carrying out psychical investigations alongside his scientific research and publishing a bestseller, Raymond (1916), detailing encounters with his son killed in the trenches. Focusing on Lodge can help us understand the differences between science and the arts and humanities; the place of faith and the imagination in scientific practice; and the role of the arts and humanities in popularising science.

For more on the award see Dr Mussell’s blog: http://jimmussell.com/2013/03/02/making-waves-oliver-lodge-and-the-cultures-of-science-1875-1940/