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

  • ‘I’m Gonna Be the Best Friend You Could Ever Hope For—And the Worst Enemy You Could Ever Imagine’: Frank Miller’s All Star Batman & Robin, the Boy Wonder and the Problem of the Boy Sidekick in the Twenty-First-Century Superhero Narrative

    Andrew, Lucy; University of Chester (Palgrave Macmillan, 2021-07-25)
    Andrew examines the representation of the boy sidekick/adult detective relationship in Frank Miller’s All Star Batman & Robin, the Boy Wonder (2005–2008). The chapter explores the ways in which Miller’s graphic novel revises, rewrites and problematises the classic Batman/Robin relationship, with particular emphasis on power, violence and abuse. It explores the disturbing parallels that the text draws between the boy sidekick and the love interest, the troubling power imbalance between the adult superhero and his boy sidekick, and the dangers inherent in introducing an innocent and traumatised boy into the violent world of an adult crime fighter. The chapter concludes by identifying how tonal and structural shifts in the comic-book medium have contributed to the growing prevalence of problematised Robin figures in twenty-first-century Batman narratives.
  • Introduction: Step Forward, Sidekicks

    Andrew, Lucy; Saunders, Samuel; University of Chester (Palgrave Macmillan, 2021-07-25)
    Saunders and Andrew offer a definition of the sidekick in crime fiction and provide a brief account of the origins and development of this figure from the nineteenth century to the present day. They outline significant moments in the history of the sidekick, establish key trends in the construction of the sidekick, and identify and interrogate widely held views about the sidekick’s function and representation in crime fiction. They make a case for the wider significance of the sidekick beyond the role of help-mate or foil to the infallible detective and point towards the key contributions that the sidekick has made and continues to make to the canon of crime fiction. They also offer a brief introduction to each of the essays and key themes/ideas explored by contributors throughout the collection.
  • Patterns of borrowing, obsolescence and polysemy in the technical vocabulary of Middle English

    Sylvester, Louise; Parkin, Harry; Ingham, Richard; University of Westminster; University of Chester; Birmingham City University
    This paper reports on a new project, Technical Language and Semantic Shift in Middle English which aims to address questions about why semantic shift, lexical and/or semantic obsolescence and replacement happen and to try to uncover patterns of narrowing, broadening, obsolescence and synonym co-existence at different levels of the lexical hierarchy. The data is based on the Middle English vocabulary for seven occupational domains collected for the Bilingual Thesaurus of Everyday Life in Medieval England, with the addition of two further domains representing the interests of the elite and professional classes. This paper offers three case studies illustrating how we used the type of information in the BTh, the MED and the OED to construct the semantic hierarchy on which our analyses are based; an example of how data are interpreted in relation to change within a particular semantic field; and an exploration of how obsolescence by distinguishing between obsolete lexemes and obsolete senses. We then present some results of our analyses of obsolescence, polysemy and borrowing in our data.
  • The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Family Names in Britain

    Parkin, Harry; University of Chester (Oxford University Press, 2021-08-03)
    A dictionary of family names found in Britain in the present day. A concise version of the Oxford Dictionary of Family Names in Britain and Ireland (2016).
  • Collaboratory, coronavirus and the colonial countryside

    Williams, Howard; University of Chester (JAS Arqueologia, 2020-12-01)
    Introducing the second volume of the Offa’s Dyke Journal (ODJ), this five-part article sets the scene by reviewing: (i) key recent research augmenting last year’s Introduction (Williams and Delaney 2019); (ii) the key activities of the Offa’s Dyke Collaboratory in 2020; (iii) the political mobilisation of Offa’s Dyke in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns; (iv) the ramifications of accelerated efforts to decolonise the British countryside on both archaeological research and heritage interpretation on linear monuments; and (v) a review of the contents of volume 2. Together, this introduction presents the context and significance of ODJ volume 2 for both research on the Welsh Marches and broader investigations of frontiers and borderlands.
  • Living after Offa: Place-Names and Social Memory in the Welsh Marches

    Williams, Howard; University of Chester (JAS Arqueologia, 2020-08-01)
    How are linear monuments perceived in the contemporary landscape and how do they operate as memoryscapes for today’s borderland communities? When considering Offa’s Dyke and Wat’s Dyke in today’s world, we must take into account the generations who have long lived in these monuments’ shadows and interacted with them. Even if perhaps only being dimly aware of their presence and stories, these are communities living ‘after Offa’. These monuments have been either neglected or ignored within heritage sites and museums with only a few notable exceptions (Evans and Williams 2019; Williams 2020), and have long been subject to confused and challenging conflations with both the modern Welsh/English border and, since the 1970s, with the Offa’s Dyke Path. Moreover, to date, no study has attempted to compile and evaluate the toponomastic (place-name) evidence pertaining to the monuments’ presences, and remembered former presences, in today’s landscape. Focusing on naming practices as memory work in the contemporary landscape, the article explores the names of houses, streets, parks, schools and businesses. It argues for the place-making role of toponomastic evidence, mediated in particular by the materiality of signs themselves. Material and textual citations to the monuments render them integral to local communities’ social memories and borderland identities, even where the dykes have been erased, damaged or obscured by development. Moreover, they have considerable potential future significance for engaging borderland communities in both dykes as part of the longer-term story of their historic environment.
  • Public Archaeologies from the Edge

    Williams, Howard; Clarke, Pauline; Gleave, Kieran; University of Chester; University of Salford (Archaeopress, 2020-11-26)
    The chapter serves to introduce the first-ever book dedicated to public archaeologies of frontiers and borderlands. We identify the hitherto neglect of this critical field which seeks to explore the heritage, public engagements, popular cultures and politics of frontiers and borderlands past and present. We review the 2019 conference organised by Uiversity of Chester Archaeology students at the Grosvenor Museum, Chester, which inspired this book, and then survey the structure and contents of the collection. We advocate that public archaeologies should seek to incorporate and foreground perspectives ‘from the edge’. By this we mean public archaeology should make frontiers and borderlands – including the people living with them and seeking to traverse them – paramount to future work.
  • A “WomEsanist” Theory: Autoethnography of Triads of Familial Generations of Nigerian Esan Women’s Perceptions of Body Size and Image

    Rees, Emma; Ugege, Elsie O. (University of Chester, 2021-06)
    I consider the under-theorised genre of less powerful cultures, like my Esan culture, as a site for the subversion of dominant discourses. Espousing a novel feminist theoretical framework – “WomEsanism”, in combination with autoethnographic research methodology, I aim to advance the understanding of Nigerian Esan women’s constructions of ideal body size and image while reflecting on my own status as an Esan woman. My research trajectory was constantly characterised by self-interrogation and self-analysis, while relating my personal experience to wider cultural, political, and social meanings and understandings articulated by other Esan women participants of my study. I recruited 16 sets of triads of familial generations of Esan women from all five local government areas of Esanland. A triadic family set comprised of daughter, mother, and grandmother. The total number of individual participants were 48. I used the snowballing sampling technique to locate families that met my inclusion criteria. I collected data from myself through introspection and from my participants via one-to-one in-depth interview using semi-structured questions, and real-life observations. Then, I conducted a thematic analysis on all data types I collected. “Being beyond body in bodies” emerged as my overarching interpretation of my findings. Two complementary but inter-related themes supported the articulation of this interpretation and are: “being beyond body” and “being in bodies”. “Being beyond body” was expressed through three analytical sub-themes namely, “abilities”; “circumstance”; and “essence”. Esan women’s abilities in terms of body responsiveness, connectedness to body, and comfort in body, influence their innate image that transcends corporeal representations. In addition, they expressed their innate beliefs of how life circumstances, like nature events and socio-economic events, rationalise their views of being beyond body. Still, they derived an innate essence from both spirituality, mostly demonstrated through religion; and being human. “Being in bodies” echoed the body as a social phenomenon described as “slim”, “average” and “fat” by my participants. These are socially-fluid categorisations of body size. Furthermore, four analytical sub-themes created contexts for understanding these body sizes and are: “nourishment and youthfulness”; “health and wellbeing”; “attractiveness”; and “respect and personality”. Together, these cultural perceptions of body size and image by my participants are embedded in the intersections of the multiple social spaces which they occupy. I conclude that my study is beneficial to the academic discipline of Public Health for understanding the connections between socio-political locations, resultant cultures, and body image. This research was also an opportunity for me to gain skills relevant for my learning how to learn about the diverse world via discourses of gender constructs; culture and bodies; politics of knowledge; sociology of health; and the autoethnographic research methodology as a critical social research approach.
  • Interpreting Wat’s Dyke in the 21st Century

    Williams, Howard; University of Chester (Archaeopress, 2020-11-26)
    Linear monuments offer special challenges in the context of the public archaeology of frontiers and borderlands. This chapter tackles the interpretive neglect of Britain’s second-longest early medieval earthwork, Wat’s Dyke, showing how its sparse and sporadic archaeological attention is reflected in poor and out-dated public archaeology and heritage interpretation. I evaluate the current media and mechanisms by which various publics – including global digital audiences, visitors to the Anglo-Welsh borderlands through which the monument runs, and local communities living in the Dyke’s environs in Flintshire, Wrexham and Shropshire – can access, experience and learn about Wat’s Dyke. Having identified how Wat’s Dyke is fragmented and obscure in the landscape despite its monumental presence, and how its digital resources are inadequate, I then propose new avenues for developing innovative interpretations of Wat’s Dyke for both existing and new audiences which aim to provide up-to-date and engaging resources and connect the monument to the rich cultural landscapes, past and present, through which it runs. I argue these recommendations provide the basis for both enhancing awareness and knowledge. I also argue they provide a more robust resources for current and future generations of research and public engagement. I also suggest they serve to combat the risk of pseudo-archaeological narratives and extremist political appropriations of Wat’s Dyke.
  • Envisioning Wat’s Dyke

    Williams, Howard; Swogger, John G.; University of Chester (Archaeopress, 2020-11-26)
    In response to the challenge set by one of us (Williams this volume), this chapter explores new avenues for a public archaeology of Wat’s Dyke. A host of digital and real-world initiatives for public and community engagement are suggested, but the focus is upon one new initiative: the What’s Wat’s Dyke? Heritage Trail which aims to envision Wat’s Dyke within the town and suburbs of Wrexham using a comic medium. From this basis, the potential is explored for using the linearity of Wat’s Dyke as a gateway to explore the complex historic and cultural landscapes of the Welsh Marches from prehistory to the present.
  • The Biography of Borderlands: Old Oswestry Hillfort and Modern Heritage Debates

    Williams, Howard; McMillian-Sloan, Ruby; University of Chester (Archaeopress, 2020-11-26)
    Responding to the recently published edited collection exploring the hillfort and landscape context of Old Oswestry (Shropshire, England) by heritage professionals connected to the Hands off Old Oswestry Hillfort heritage protection campaign (Malim and Nash 2020), this chapter reviews and reflects on the significance of the overall ‘life-history’ or ‘biography’ of Old Oswestry hillfort and its immediate environs to the present-day emotive and mnemonic significance of the monument. It argues that this biographical dimension fosters the hillfort as a locus of borderland identity, which explains the affinities of local inhabitants to Old Oswestry and frames the ongoing debates and conflicts regarding its significance and setting. Giving greater attention to researching and communicating this biography promises to inform and foster future public engagement and community action.
  • Undead Divides: An Archaeology of Walls in The Walking Dead

    Williams, Howard; University of Chester (Archaeopress, 2020-11-26)
    In 2010, the zombie horror genre gained even greater popularity than the huge following it had previously enjoyed when AMC’s The Walking Dead (TWD) first aired. The chapter surveys the archaeology of this fictional post-apocalyptic material world in the show’s seasons 1–9, focusing on its mural practices and environments which draw upon ancient, biblical, medieval and colonial motifs. The study identifies the moralities and socialities of wall-building, dividing not only survivors aspiring to re-found civilization from the wilderness and manifesting the distinctive identities of each mural community, but also distinguishing the living from the undead. The roles of the dead and the undead in mural iterations are also explored. As such, dimensions of past and present wall-building practices are reflected and inverted in this fictional world. As part of a broader ‘archaeology of The Walking Dead’, the chapter identifies the potentials of exploring the show’s physical barriers within the context of the public archaeology of frontiers and borderlands.
  • Editorial and Contents of Flash Fiction Magazine (11.2)

    Blair, Peter; Chantler, Ashley; University of Chester (University of Chester, 2021-10-01)
    Editorial and Contents.
  • Postliberal positions in public theology

    Fulford, Ben; University of Chester (Bloomsbury, 2022-06-30)
    In this chapter, I seek to show that, contrary to widespread caricatures as fideists eschewing publicly intelligible critical scrutiny, or sectarians advocating Christian disengagement from the public realm, postliberal theologians have a deep commitment to publicness in both these senses, which arises from their commitment to the irreducible particularity of Christian beliefs, practices and the stories which norm them. It is, I argue first, because of this commitment to Christian particularity and the orientation to the public it entails, that they are critical of attempts to establish the public status of Christian belief and practice on a putatively universalist foundation or general theory of human existence or religion. They pursue this critique in order to preserve the public character of Christian faith. Second, to different degrees, they seek to mobilise what they take to be core resources of Christian tradition, not least its central scriptural narratives, in order to frame, orient and exemplify constructive Christian engagement with public issues and events. Third, they have sought to find ways to articulate the modes and terms of critical public accountability for Christian beliefs and practices without lapsing back into the very modes of theological and ethical argument against which they protest. These tend to liken the public intelligibility of Christian meanings to those of the culture of a community, to combine realist, coherentist and pragmatic understandings to describe what it means to call Christianity ‘true’, which admit of a range of public ways of assessing Christian discourse without subordinating it to a distorting set of criteria.
  • A New and Living Way A Study of Leviticus as Rhetoric A Multi-Disciplinary Critique of Moshe Kline’s Approach to the Reading and the Writing of the Book

    Alexander, Philip; Morgan, Jon; Collins, Matthew; Hocking, Paul J. (University of Chester, 2021-09)
    This research is focused on the rhetoric of Leviticus as a bounded book, and on the different ways that scholars argue for its structure and purpose. In so doing, it examines the validity of Milgrom’s words that “structure is theology,” asking if the compositional structure of the book indicates its ideological thrust. The thesis question is epistemological—how can one know? How can one know if the book of Leviticus has a coherent literary structure (its composition), and, if so, what purpose that structure is meant to serve (its suasive intent)? The thesis method is empirical—on what evidence is knowing based? The thesis conclusion is that the final form of the book of Leviticus does indeed show strong evidence of an internal literary structure with suasive intent. However, given that a series of scholars since Milgrom have proposed various literary structures and purposes for the book, how can one know which are most plausible? Are there rhetorical-critical tools one can use to appraise any proposal, to gain evidence of its plausibility? This thesis takes the form of an empirical Case Study, and models a multi-disciplinary, rhetorical-critical approach to appraising a proposal by Moshe Kline, evaluating his reading based on his understanding of how the writing was structured. The thesis intends to test and evaluate the validity and reliability of the exemplar proposal, not to defend it. My main contribution to the field is therefore both specific and general: specifically, to evaluate, using literary-critical tools, the plausibility and significance of Kline’s composition proposal in the context of others, and, then generally, to demonstrate how these tools may be used by scholars to appraise the adequacy of other composition proposals. The assumption here is that the use of a range of tools will limit researcher bias and increase the validity of conclusions in rhetorical-critical studies. In simple terms, use of a suite of methods can help in discerning whether any specific proposal of literary composition constitutes an adequate explanation of the evidence regarding the structure and purpose of the text. The evidence from the specific Case Study is sufficient to confirm the plausibility (the validity and reliability) of Kline’s composition proposal, though a number of provisos are indicated. It concludes that the composition of Leviticus projects a sanctifying journey, “a new and living way.” Further depth is added to the study because Kline’s model of Leviticus’ composition proposes not just a new reading of Leviticus but also argues for a new paradigm of writing in certain ancient texts. Therefore, this thesis not only evaluates Kline’s reading of Leviticus but also his paradigm of writing itself.
  • Objects as Dynastic Agents: Burgundian Inventories of Philip the Bold and Margaret of Flanders

    Wilson, Katherine Anne; University of Chester
    At the start of the fifteenth century, two dynastic inventories were compiled, prompted by the death of two key European rulers. The first came into being on the death of Philip the Bold, duke of Burgundy in 1404, the second on the death of his wife Margaret of Flanders, less than a year later in 1405. These two dynastic inventories, preserve references to thousands of moveable objects, but still remain underexplored by historians. This article will reassess these inventories in light of the ‘material turn’ to reconstruct the political ‘theatres’ and ‘actors’ involved in their construction. In addition, it will examine the objects of the inventories to reveal the ways in which they operated as agents of dynastic power, maintaining and creating networks of social relations at a critical political moment for the Burgundian dynasty.
  • The Gülen Movement: Between Turkey and international exile

    Tee, Caroline; University of Chester (Brill, 2021-06-24)
    This is a chapter introducing the Gülen Movement to a general scholarly readership, as part of a Handbook of Islamic Sects and Movements.
  • Disruption and Disability Futures in Captain America: The First Avenger (2011) and Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)

    Tankard, Alex; University of Chester
    Marvel superhero movies celebrate the transformation of disabled people into weapons. First Avenger depicts a disabled man rebuilt by military technology into a patriotic superhero. In Winter Soldier, the Soviet cyborg’s brutal, non-consensual modification serves to emphasise Captain America’s wholesomely perfected body. At first glance, both films seem incapable of critiquing the historical ableism that made Captain America’s modification a desirable image of disability-free future in 1941 – let alone its modern manifestations. However, re-watching First Avenger after Winter Soldier reveals a far less stable endorsement of eliminating disability: now alerted to the series’ precise anxieties about bodily autonomy, one can perceive an undercurrent of disability critique running through First Avenger too – often literally in the background. The film exposes the historical ableism that shaped Steve’s consent to modification, and begins to establish his sidekick Bucky Barnes as a persistent critical voice capable of envisioning a different disability future. This essay is therefore not only about ableism in a pair of superhero movies, but also about how these ableist films contain seeds of an unexpected critique of their own disability representation.
  • Disrupting the Rituals of Grief: Conflict, Covid-19 and the Fracturing of Funerary Tradition

    Critchell, Kara; University of Chester (Peter Lang, 2021-09-01)
    This chapter considers the disruption of the funerary ritual during the Covid-19 pandemic and reflects on the connections between these disruptions and state intervention in funerary practice during the Second World War. Through an analysis of how such intervention has occurred, and the language of sacrifice that has been evoked in both instances, it will be suggested that the fracturing of the formal rituals of death and commemoration has not only led to complicated grief amongst individuals, but that it could also result in long- term societal trauma.
  • Eastern Presence: Metropolitan responses to the Indian Army, 1914-15

    Grady, Tim; Ewence, Hannah; Dawson, Owen J. (University of Chester, 2021-08)
    The mobilisation of the British empire during the First World War created new spaces for encounter between British and Indian society. Between August 1914 and December 1915, the Indian army dispatched over 100,000 Indian servicemen to the Western Front as part of Indian Expeditionary Force A. The thesis’s objective is to improve understanding of how Western and, more specifically, British society responded to the presence of these Indian servicemen. It reconsiders British perspectives of the Indian solider, reflects upon how these perspectives impacted the discourse which surrounded the sepoys, and the effect it had on the Indian army’s colonial hierarchy. As a result, ‘Eastern Presence’ furthers understanding of British conceptions of racial identity and colonialism within the context of the First World War and demonstrates the impact that these conceptions had on the Indian army’s hierarchical structure. To achieve this goal, the thesis uses the geographical and locational settings experienced by Indian servicemen during their stay in Western Europe to analyse their interactions with various parts of British and Western society. Through its analysis of these interactions, ‘Eastern Presence’ challenges much of the existing historiography by arguing that variances in conceptions of race can be identified, depending on the part of British society which experienced the encounter. It consequently concludes that British society demonstrated varying degrees of knowledge, empathy, and perception towards the colonial ‘other’ in its midst.

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