The Faculty's primary commitment is to the provision of high-quality taught programmes, fully informed by scholarship and research. The Faculty also attaches great importance to its many and varied collaborative activities (local, regional, national and international), since these conspicuously enrich the provision the Faculty is able to offer. The most recent RAE submissions for English, History and TRS have been particularly successful.

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Recent Submissions

  • Hyper-compressions: The rise of flash fiction in “post-transitional” South Africa

    Blair, Peter; University of Chester (SAGE Publications, 2018-07-16)
    This article begins with a survey of flash fiction in “post-transitional” South Africa, which it relates to the nation’s post-apartheid canon of short stories and short-short stories, to the international rise of flash fiction and “sudden fiction”, and to the historical particularities of South Africa’s “post-transition”. It then undertakes close readings of three flash fictions republished in the article, each less than 450 words: Tony Eprile’s “The interpreter for the tribunal” (2007), which evokes the psychological and ethical complexities, and long-term ramifications, of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission; Michael Cawood Green’s “Music for a new society” (2008), a carjacking story that invokes discourses about violent crime and the “‘new’ South Africa”; and Stacy Hardy’s “Kisula” (2015), which maps the psychogeography of cross-racial sex and transnational identity-formation in an evolving urban environment. The article argues that these exemplary flashes are “hyper-compressions”, in that they compress and develop complex themes with a long literary history and a wide contemporary currency. It therefore contends that flash fiction of South Africa’s post-transition should be recognized as having literary-historical significance, not just as an inherently metonymic form that reflects, and alludes to, a broader literary culture, but as a genre in its own right.
  • Spiritual formation in secondary education: An investigation into how children use collective worship within secondary education

    Graham, Elaine; Llewellyn, Dawn; Birkinshaw, Stephen J. (University of Chester, 2018-09-03)
    The past thirty years has witnessed significant changes in the practice of collective worship in UK schools, although the statutory requirements relating to collective worship have not changed since 1988. Predominantly, collective worship in schools is managed and delivered by adults. However I became aware, from my professional context and practice as a chaplain in a faithbased urban secondary school, little attention has been given to the ways children actually experience and make use of collective worship. The aim of my research has therefore been to gain a more child-centred perspective on collective worship, and to generate a deeper understanding of how children might use collective worship to reflect on their relationships and life experiences. My research methods reflect the aim to privilege the children’s voices: the primary data source comes from children’s own accounts of participating in collective worship, using a longitudinal qualitative method across four years. Using a definition drawn from Hay and Nye (1996, 2006) and Hyde (2008), the study employs thematic analysis to interpret the data using the framework of spirituality as relationship with God (or Transcendent), self and other (including people and the world). The results revealed in this study show that children construct collective worship as a sacred space in which they are able to reflect on their own understandings of God, faith and the world. Crucial to this process is an emerging sense of self and its connection with these relationships. Through critical reflection within collective worship children encounter a particular dynamic that I have identified as reluctance-permission-opportunity. I therefore argue this dynamic underpins a child’s evolving sense and awareness of faith and relationship with God, other and self, and represents aspects of a three-dimensional model of spiritual reflection and maturity. The study concludes that the sacred space of collective worship is actively constructed by the children, building on the established frameworks offered by the statutory provision of school-based collective worship. The constructed sacred space of collective worship is – for the children – precious, set apart, revelatory, special and life-changing. As such there is a sense of ownership by the children of this sacred space. This thesis suggests new approaches to researching and understanding children’s spirituality as well as implications for professional practice. It represents a contribution to knowledge by advancing a more nuanced understanding of children’s spiritual development than currently exists. The notion of a three-dimensional dynamic also offers a contribution to theoretical understandings of the concepts of spiritual formation. The findings of the research are seen as having implications for professional practice in collective worship by arguing for a child-centred approach to critical spiritual exploration and reflection, and therefore to the design and provision of collective worship.
  • Review of Charteris-Black, J. (2017). Fire Metaphors: Discourses of Awe and Authority. London: Bloomsbury.

    Neary, Clara; University of Chester (John Benjamins, 2018-11)
    Book review of Charteris-Black, J. (2017). Fire Metaphors: Discourses of Awe and Authority. London: Bloomsbury.
  • From Fallen Woman to Businesswoman: The Radical Voices of Elizabeth Gaskell and Margaret Oliphant

    Wynne, Deborah; Baker, Katie (University of Chester, 2018-09-28)
    This thesis demonstrates the ways in which Elizabeth Gaskell and Margaret Oliphant drew upon their domestic identities as wives and mothers to write in radical, yet subtle, ways which had the potential to educate and inform their young female readership. While in the nineteenth century the domestic space was viewed as the rightful place for women, I show how both Gaskell and Oliphant expanded this idea to demonstrate within their novels and short stories the importance of what I term an 'extended domesticity'. This thesis charts how Gaskell and Oliphant educated their young female readers to imagine their lives beyond conventional domesticity. The extended version of domesticity they presented offered space for women of all backgrounds and experiences, including those whose lives did not fit into the Victorian ideal of marriage and maternity, to forge their own identities, educate themselves, and find personal fulfillment. Through examples of female characters from several of Gaskell's and Oliphant's novels and short stories, I explore the ways in which both writers made clear the importance of the domestic space as a tool for women's personal growth. Without providing prescriptive answers or solutions, both authors encouraged their readers to make decisions about their own lives by showing them what was possible when domesticity was extended into a place for education and development. They also pointed to possibilities for women beyond the domestic sphere. In the 'Introduction' to the thesis I outline my argument for Gaskell's and Oliphant's 'radical voices', discussing the range of recent critical approaches, as well as positioning Gaskell and Oliphant in their historical context as nineteenth-century women writers. I explore how the rise of feminism affected their work and consider how their way of communicating ideas in fiction differed from the approach taken by their contemporary, George Eliot. Chapter One discusses in detail Gaskell's and Oliphant's domestic identities and how both authors drew upon these to create an extended domesticity within their novels and short stories. I explore the publishing careers of both women before exploring how they exemplified the importance of educating their young female writers with their work. This chapter also introduces Gaskell's focus on representing female sexuality and Oliphant's interest in exploring the choices available for women in marriage and a career. Central to the chapter is a discussion of how both authors extended the boundaries of the domestic by representing it as a place for women to find recuperation, education, and personal growth. They did this, I argue, via their development of 'radical voices'. In Chapter Two the focus is on Gaskell's representation of the 'fallen' or sexually experienced unmarried woman. Through the close analysis of four of Gaskell's novels – Mary Barton, Ruth, North and South and Wives and Daughters - and two of her short stories – 'Lizzie Leigh' and Cousin Phillis, I demonstrate the evolution of her female characters, all of whom experience their sexuality in different ways. While her earlier young women have little autonomy over their lives, her later female characters are endowed with the ability to make their own decisions and forge their own identities. Gaskell makes clear that sexuality is a natural part of women's lives and that even so-called 'fallen' women should have a place in an extended domestic community or family where they will find room for recuperation and rehabilitation. Chapter Three moves on to discuss Oliphant's representation of 'enterprising' women. These women make choices regarding marriage and maternity, and even have identities in the public sphere as businesswomen. Again, through the close analysis of four of Oliphant's novels – Miss Marjoribanks, Phoebe Junior, Hester and Kirsteen - and two of her short stories – 'A Girl of the Period' and 'Mademoiselle', I demonstrate how Oliphant represented a range of female characters who were enterprising in different ways; from those who did not have careers of their own, yet used their talents in their communities, to those who managed their own businesses and enjoyed identities in the public sphere. The 'Conclusion' sums up the main arguments of the thesis, concluding that for both Gaskell and Oliphant their professional identities were as important as their domestic identities and that their novels and short stories suggest that all women could achieve an assimilation of private and public roles. I suggest that by using their radical, yet subtle voices, Gaskell and Oliphant showed that women could make choices and decisions over their own lives which moved them beyond the realms of conventional domesticity.
  • New Journeys in Iberian Studies: A (Trans)National and (Trans)Regional Exploration

    Gant, Mark; Ruzzante, Paco; Hatton, Anneliese; University of Chester; University of Cambridge; University of Nottingham (Cambridge Scholars, 2018-08-01)
    The research collected in this volume consists of 18 chapters which explore a number of key areas of investigation in contemporary Iberian studies. As the title suggests, there is a strong emphasis on trans-national and trans-regional approaches to the subject area, reflecting current discourse and scholarship, but the contributions are not limited by these approaches and include an eclectic range of recent work by scholars of history, politics, literature, the visual arts and cultural and social studies, often working in transdisciplinary ways. The geographical scope of the transnational processes considered range from intra-Iberian interconnections to those with the UK, Italy and Morocco, as well as transatlantic influences between the Peninsula and Argentina, Cuba and Brazil. The book opens up some pioneering new directions in research in Iberian studies, as well as variety of fresh approaches to hitherto neglected aspects of more familiar issues.
  • The Evolution of Artificial Illumination in Nineteenth Century Literature: Light, Dark, and the Spaces in Between

    Richard Leahy; University of Chester (University of Chester, 2016-03-04)
    This thesis concentrates on the role of artificial light in the society, culture, and literature of the nineteenth century. Technologies of illumination in this period had a great effect on how society operated and how people experienced space and reality. These effects will be studied through reference to contemporary sources, historical analysis, and literary analysis. Each chapter uses a distinct theoretical viewpoint, and maintains a focus on a particular author (where possible). In the first chapter, the role of firelight in the works of Elizabeth Gaskell is examined, using Gaston Bachelard’s ideas on fire and psychology. The second chapter focuses on the role of candlelight in the works of Wilkie Collins, using Jacques Lacan’s theories on the Gaze. Due to the density of metaphoric references to gaslight in his fiction, Émile Zola’s work is the focus of the third chapter, while Jean Baudrillard’s theories on the nature of modern reality inform the theoretical analysis. The fourth and final chapter examines electric light’s rise to prominence and the rapidly changing attitudes towards it. It was impossible to limit this chapter’s study to only one author, so instead attention is paid to how electric light transitions from a fantastical technology to something real; this is done through a close examination of the early Science Fiction of H.G. Wells and Jules Verne, before the study moves to examine the realism of E.M. Forster and Edith Wharton. The theoretical background of this chapter is informed by a combination of previously covered theory, with attention also paid to posthumanism. The thesis identifies a number of trends and developments in the relationship between light and literature. It notes how artificial light created a space symbolically independent of light and dark, as well as elaborating on each light source’s individual symbolism. It also documents the relationship between artificial light and the transition of society and culture into modernity; it outlines the development, and cultural acceptance, of the notion of a technologically connected society and consumerism. Perhaps most importantly, this study identifies a psychological connection between literature, light, and the individual, and examines the representation of such a concept in the symbolism and metaphor of artificial light.
  • The Realisation of Electric Light in the Early Twentieth Century

    Richard Leahy; University of Chester (De Gruyter, 2015-10-01)
    Perceptions of electric light in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century witnessed a rapid turnaround of popular opinion on the light source; following its widespread adoption from the 1880s, it was at first met with derision, before perceptions shifted around the fin-de-siècle period, and it eventually grew into the light source that would come to define twentieth century. It evolved from something that was perceived as a symbol of the modern - it was a fantastical presence in the literature of Jules Verne many years before its realisation for example - to something that solidified a sense of modern life. Electricity, Alex Goody writes, 'transformed Victorian Culture', suggesting that "it was electric light that epitomised this transforming power […] the coming of electric light is a transformation of culture at a fundamental level; it marks the coming of what Marshall McLuhan, in Understanding Media, calls 'the electric age' (Goody 2011: 7) Electric light was both symbol and catalyst of the late nineteenth-century emergence of the truly modern world of capitalism and mass-society. McLuhan claims that this early emergence of the electric age had a distinct cultural and psychological impact on the way people thought of modernity: "electric light is pure information […] a medium without a message," further suggesting that its light "has no content, and in this purity it ushers in a modern world where instant communication connects us in a web of interaction"(McLuhan 2001: 8). McLuhan's analysis of the early electric age suggests a continuation of the burgeoning qualities and perceptions of the processes of gaslight - the invention of a networked system of light took the power of lighting away from an individual; people no longer felt as intimate a connection with the light they inhabited as they did in fire or candlelight.
  • 'Losing face among the natives': Something about tattooing and tabooing in Herman Melville's Typee

    Atkin, Graham; University of Chester (Palgrave Macmillan, 2017-12-07)
    Herman Melville’s first novel Typee, published in 1846, is an intriguing South Sea adventure based on the author’s own experiences and narrated by ‘Tommo’, who, with his companion Toby, jumps ship and wanders into the valley of Typee, home to a tribe of suspected cannibals. This essay concentrates on a chapter in which Tommo describes his encounter with a Typeean tattooist before discussing ‘the mysterious “Taboo”’. Tommo becomes fearful that he will be ‘disfigured in such a manner as never more to have the face to return’ to civilisation. The threat of non-consensual body modification confronts narrator and reader with unsettling issues of personal and cultural identity in crisis. The analysis draws on a range of material from the fields of anthropology, psychology, literary criticism, sociology and linguistics.
  • Distances

    Seed, Ian; University of Chester (Red Ceilings Press, 2018-06-15)
    A chapbook of flash fiction.
  • Coins and Cosmologies in Iron Age Western Britain

    Pudney, Caroline; University of Chester (Taylor & Francis, 2018)
    Using an approach derived from material culture studies and semiotics, this speculative paper addresses possible relationships between humans and horses in the British Iron Age. Through a study of dominance of horse imagery found on Iron Age British coinage, specifically the Western coins traditionally attributed to the ‘Dobunni’, the author explores what these coins may be able to inform us regarding the possible relationships between humans and horses and their personhood therein. Drawing on wider evidence including faunal remains and other horse-related metalwork, it is argued that these coins could be interpreted as a manifestation of the complex perspectives surrounding a symbiotic relationship between humans and horses.
  • Translational Public Archaeology? Archaeology, social benefit, and working with offenders in Wales (Part 2)

    Pudney, Caroline; University of Chester (Taylor & Francis, 2018-06-05)
    This article reports on a second case study in the relationship between archaeology and social benefit through working with young offenders in Wales. Whereas a previous article (Pudney 2018), focused on the MORTARIA Project - an archaeological education project engaging adult offenders in South Wales - this study explores the distinctive methods and challenges faced by the subsequent Heritage Graffiti Project (HGP). This project faced similar, but also different, experiences to MORTARIA, involving different skills and technologies, as well as specific artistic engagement with place. The article considers the effectiveness of the HGP before reflecting on the two projects’ shared implications for future, translational public archaeology projects that wish to work with offenders.
  • Humans in the Environment: Plants, Animals and Landscapes in Mesolithic Britain and Ireland

    Overton, Nick J.; Taylor, Barry; University of Manchester; University of Chester (Springer, 2018-05-29)
    Environmental archaeology has historically been central to Mesolithic studies in Britain and Ireland. Whilst processual archaeology was concerned with the economic significance of the environment, post-processual archaeology later rejected economically driven narratives, resulting in a turn away from plant and animal remains. Post-processual narratives focused instead on enigmatic ‘ritual’ items that economic accounts struggled to suitably explain. Processual accounts of landscapes, grounded in economic determinism, were also rejected in favour of explorations of their sociocultural aspects. However, in moving away from plant and animal remains, such accounts lacked the ability to rigorously explore the specificities of particular landscapes and humans actions within them. This paper will bridge this gap by considering how palaeoecological and zooarchaeological analyses can be used to explore human interactions with plants and animals, which were key in developing understandings and relationships that ultimately structured landscapes, influenced past human actions and shaped archaeological assemblages.
  • Rhynie: New Perspectives on Settlement in Pictland in the 5th and 6th centuries AD and the Context of Pictish Symbol Stones

    Gondek, Meggen M.; Noble, Gordon; University of Chester, University of Aberdeen (Braunschweigisches Landesmuseum, 2018-01-10)
    This paper offers and update on work at the important high status Pictish site at Rhynie, Aberdeenshire. It highlights the excavation results and puts these into context and examines how the Pictish symbol stones on site may have been key features of this high status secular and ritual complex.
  • Making History Otherwise: Learning to Talk and The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher

    Pollard, Eileen J.; Carpenter, Ginette; University of Chester; Manchester Metropolitan University (Bloomsbury, 2018-09-06)
    This chapter will explore ambiguous representations of history in Hilary Mantel’s two short story collections to date, Learning to Talk (2003) and The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher (2014). The chapter will consider the figure of the ellipsis, which is traced metaphorically and literally in the stories, as a pertinent means by which to read them, including the titular ‘The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher’ in Mantel’s more recent collection. Despite the media furore that followed the publication of this book, this chapter will argue that it is less the fantasy of the shooting of the premier that disturbed, but rather the pervasive sense of ambiguity. The uncertainty of individual biographies in Learning to Talk develops into an unsettling national narrative in her 2014 collection. For example, as stated in the titular story concerning Thatcher, ‘note the cold wind that blows through [the door] when you open it a crack. History could always have been otherwise’ (2014: 239-40).
  • ‘What cannot be fixed, measured, confined’: The mobile texts of Hilary Mantel

    Pollard, Eileen J.; Carpenter, Ginette; University of Chester; Manchester Metropolitan University (Bloomsbury, 2018-09-06)
    ‘I don’t know, you wait twenty years for a Booker prize, two come along at once!’ was Hilary Mantel’s laconic response to winning for the second time. A respected, if critically neglected, British author, she had in fact been writing and publishing for over twenty years when she won the Booker prize in 2009 for her tenth novel, Wolf Hall. She then made literary history by winning for a second time in 2012 with the sequel, Bring Up the Bodies, an unprecedented achievement that catapulted her into the realms of global stardom. The Tudor novels have since been adapted for the stage by Mike Poulton and have been performed to much critical acclaim in Stratford, London and Broadway. Similarly, the 2015 BBC dramatization has aired in both the UK and the US to glowing reviews. Yet, despite Mantel’s renown and popularity at home and abroad, there remains surprisingly little critical material interpreting the rich and varied content of her work. As a result, this collection of essays aims to introduce students, scholars and general readers of Mantel’s writing to the diversity of her texts in order to showcase the extraordinary range and reach of this contemporary British author, currently at the peak of her writing life. The essays will explore the recurring themes of ambiguity, ghosts, trauma, childhood and memory that both trace and, in many ways, define Mantel’s oeuvre. The collection will also examine the challenge to conventional evocations of the past that underpins Mantel’s historical novels, from A Place of Greater Safety (1992) through to Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies, as well as the complex experimentation with perspective and tense that really sets apart her later work on Thomas Cromwell. The main objective of this book is to provide a wide-range of readers with a guide to Mantel’s historical fiction, autobiographical writing and short stories, as well as some of her more experimental early novels, that will help explain those most ambiguous elements of her corpus while demonstrating her fearlessness and breadth as a writer.
  • The Violence of the Lamb: Martyrs as Agents of Divine Judgement in the Book of Revelation

    Middleton, Paul; University of Chester (T & T Clark, 2018-05-03)
    The act of martyrdom in the worldview of the Apocalypse has been considered to be an exemplification of non-violent resistance. Paul Middleton argues here, however, that it is in fact a representation of direct participation by Christians, through their martyrdom, in divine violence against those the author of Revelation portrays as God's enemies. Middleton shows that acceptance of martyrdom is to grasp the invitation to participate in the Revelation's divine violence. Martyrs follow the model laid down by the Lamb, who was not only slain, but resurrected, glorified, and who executes judgement. The world created by the Apocalypse encourages readers to conquer the Beast through martyrdom, but also through the experience of resurrection and being appointed judges. In this role, martyrs participate in the judgement of the wicked by sharing the Lamb's power to judge. Different from eschewing violence, the conceptual world of the Apocalypse portrays God, the Lamb, and the martyrs as possessing more power, might, and violent potential than the Emperor and his armies. Middleton believes that martyrdom and violence are necessary components of the worldview of Revelation.
  • Care in the countryside: the theory and practice of therapeutic landscapes in the early twentieth-century

    Hickman, Clare; University of Chester (University of Hertfordshire Press, 2018-05-01)
    In 1945 Jane Whitney, when writing her biography of Geraldine Cadbury visited the Cropwood Open-Air School in Blackwell and described how ‘the sleep-time garden might be the envy of princes, with its fountain in the midst of a green lawn, so that the children took their naps amid the soothing, somnolent plash of falling water’. This evocative description of a princely garden gives an indication of the attention and importance given to gardens associated with such institutions in the early decades of the twentieth-century (Figure 8.1). Cropwood (opened in 1922) was just one of a number of open-air schools and hospitals operating at this time in Blackwell, near Bromsgrove, in the West Midlands. The open-air approach to treating chronic diseases such as tuberculosis became popular in the late nineteenth and early twentieth-century in Britain. It encouraged inmates to spend as much time as possible in the fresh air and sunshine, as both were considered to have curative properties. The 1937 Ordnance Survey (OS) Map depicts a cluster of such institutions - along with Cropwood these were: Hunters Hill Open-Air School (opened 1933), The Uplands (Children’s Convalescent Home, opened 1923), Burcot Grange (annexe to Birmingham and Midland Eye Hospital, opened 1936) and the Birmingham and Midland Counties Sanatorium, which became known as the Blackwell Convalescent Home (opened on this site in 1873) (Figure 8.2, 8.3). This chapter will explore this cluster but focus in detail on the gardens associated with Cropwood and the Blackwell Convalescent Home. In particular it will aim to unpick the design and use of these gardens in relation to contemporary medical and social ideas. In so doing, it will illuminate the connections between garden history and histories of health care, which is a growing research area. Historians that have explored this connection in relation to designed green spaces include myself and Sarah Rutherford. Medical historians, particularly Andrew Scull and Linda Bryder, have discussed the hospital landscape in relation to issues such as economics and national efficiency. Similarly, cultural geographers have taken an interest in the concept of ‘therapeutic landscapes’, including the work of Chris Philo on asylums, Hester Parr on mental health and space, and Wil Gesler, who originally coined the term.
  • Excavations at Flixton Island

    Milner, Nicky; Taylor, Barry; Conneller, Chantal; University of York; University of Chester; University of Manchester (Quarternary Research Association, 2017-09)
    This chapter outlines the results of fieldwork at Flixton Island
  • Early Holocene wetland succession in Lake Flixton.

    Taylor, Barry; University of Chester (Quarternary Research Association, 2017-09)
    This chapter discusses the evidence for wetland succession during the early Holocene in lake Flixton
  • Archaeological and palaeoenvironmental investigations at Star Carr

    Taylor, Barry; Conneller, Chantal; Milner, Nicky; University of Chester; University of Manchester; University of York (Quarternary Research Association, 2017-09)
    This chapter outlines the results of recent archaeological and palaeo-environmental research at Star Carr

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