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

  • My Friend, the Queen, an historical novel, with an accompanying Critical Commentary, Historical Fiction in the 21st Century: its Purpose and Practice

    Rees, Emma; Wall, Alan; Jones, Sheila (University of Chester, 2022-04)
    1509. On the day of the Coronation of the new young King and his Spanish Queen, eight-year-old Kat Champernowne goes to live and work at Hever Castle. There she strikes up a friendship with the family’s middle child, Anne: it is a lifelong bond that will take her to France, to London, to the birth of a Princess, and to the execution of a Queen. My Friend, the Queen is a feminist novel in the historical literary fiction genre, which presents the story of Anne Boleyn from an original perspective. Its protagonist, Kat Champernowne, more familiarly known by her married name of Ashley, is a real person whose early life has not previously been voiced. Throughout the substantive part of my thesis - the novel - she narrates her own story, closely intertwined with that of Anne Boleyn, from their imagined first meeting at Hever to Anne’s beheading in 1536. My Critical Commentary begins by tracing the trajectory and evolution of historical fiction from 1971. Drawing on the experience of undertaking a practice-based PhD, I then examine the relationship between history and fiction, linking my analysis of historical fiction’s current purpose and practice to the research and methodologies I employ in synthesising ‘fact’ and ‘fiction’ into a cohesive whole. I incorporate both critical and theoretical issues, as well as drawing on the works and methodology of other novelists, to delineate the role and status of historical fiction in the twenty-first century from the viewpoints of both a practitioner and a theorist.
  • Industrial Gentlemanliness: The fin-de-siècle adventure hero in text and image, 1870-1914

    Fegan, Melissa; West, Sally; Hall, Leo J. (University of Chester, 2021-11)
    This thesis identifies and examines representations of English heroic masculinities in imperialist adventure stories at the end of the nineteenth century. It contends that fin-de-siècle adventure stories are products of Victorian industrial, technological, and scientific developments. The chapters trace this context through analysis of Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island (1883), Edgar Rice Burroughs’s Tarzan of the Apes (1912), Jules Verne’s Around the World in Eighty Days (1873), and Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Lost World (1912). A significant aspect of the texts is how their perspectives on the English identities of their heroes are informed by their authors’ ‘outsider’ status, for Stevenson and Conan Doyle were Scottish (the latter of Irish Catholic descent), Burroughs was American, and Verne was French. The Introduction to the thesis argues that central to identifying the relationship between the adventure hero and industrialisation are the original illustrations that were printed with the stories. These create intertextual and paratextual frames, showing how the context of industrial modernity moulds the fin-de-siècle masculine body and mind. The partnership between text and illustrations exposes the complex relationship between industrial modernity and heroic masculinity, particularly, the construction of an idealised gentlemanly identity and gendered performance. Stevenson claimed that penny dreadfuls influenced his development of characters and the action of Treasure Island, and Chapter One traces the impact of nineteenth-century print culture and the growth and dissemination of popular fiction in relation to both Stevenson’s Treasure Island and Burroughs’s Tarzan. Simultaneously, the influence of mid-century discourses regarding ideas of self-help and industriousness are analysed in the portrayals of Stevenson’s characters, especially the pirate Long John Silver. Chapter Two focuses on the topic of mobility and how the industrialised travel space is negotiated by adventurers. Verne’s Around the World demonstrates how international travel became more accessible, and how the speed of travel impacts on the curiosity of the orientalist traveller. Despite Phileas Fogg’s lack of engagement with his journey, a connection is established between the traveller and his immediate industrialised travel space. This is accentuated when Fogg is forced to use ‘exotic’ modes of transport, which ironically serve to delineate his Englishness, especially when placed against the other voices and behaviours of his fellow travel companions. Chapter Three identifies the psychological and physiological impact of science, industrialisation and technology upon Conan Doyle’s adventurers, showing how this is exposed during encounters abroad. The identity of the adventure heroes in these novels is moulded by a Western masculine heteronormative construct that is characterised by a visible gendered performance. This performance includes the body and its clothing and accessories. As the thesis argues, the fin-de-siècle adventure hero has a Janus-faced identity; constructed against a romanticised vision of the past and a nostalgic ideal of gentlemanliness, but also forward-looking in terms of forging a future for Britain through the imperialist dream. The thesis demonstrates that the adventure story is a paradox: an outcome of invention, scientific, technological and industrial progress, yet also a supposed escape from nineteenth-century industrial modernity.
  • Moving 'out' to be 'in': the suburbanization of London Jewry, 1900-1939

    Ewence, Hannah; University of Chester
    Between 1900 and 1939, Jewish Londoners departed the East End for the suburbs. Relocation, however, was not always the result of individual agency. Many Jews became the object of institutional strategies to coerce and persuade them to disperse away from inner-city areas. Simultaneous to this was the emergence of a dominant pro-suburban rhetoric within and beyond Jewish cultural circles, which aimed to raise aspirations towards middle-class lifestyles. This striking suburban ‘urge’ amongst London Jewry, managed by the community's elite institutions and leaders, was far more than a phenomenon running parallel to wider British society. As this article argues, it was a decisive response to an insidious culture of intolerance and antisemitism.
  • Assemblages within assemblages: Understanding mortuary practice through compact contained assemblages

    Williams, Howard; Downer, Abigail C. (University of Chester, 2021-05)
    Amulet-interpretation remains a long-standing practice in early medieval mortuary archaeology that removes mortuary objects from their funerary contexts and cloaks diverse object-meanings under misleading terminology. This thesis presents an original methodology inspired by recent hoard studies and previous studies on the spatial positioning of objects in graves. The thesis aims to explore the multifactorial significance of objects through their spatial-positioning and clustered dispositions (compact contained assemblages, CCAs) with late sixth-, early and/or broadly seventh-century inhumed females from three regions in early medieval Europe: Alsace, Kent, and East Anglia. Specifically, it will explore with whom and how many objects often categorised as ‘amulets’ are deposited. The methodology is devised and deployed in two ways to test its efficacy at understanding mortuary-object meaning. First, the approach is utilised to explore and compare the composition and spatial-placement of CCAs sharing at least one object-type in common with contemporaneous and regionally coherent individuals. Second, the approach explores and compares the spatial-positioning and method of containment of a single object-type/material. The material selected for this second application was amber given the amuletic role its often prescribed by archaeologists in early medieval mortuary contexts. Both approaches of this methodology produced overlapping results. Overall, CCAs were very common across all studied samples suggesting that object containment was a regular feature of late sixth-, broadly and early seventh-century inhumation-burial. Possible explanations for this trend include object-protection, post-mortem transportation, and post-mortem storage. Additionally, the spatial-positioning of CCAs in graves often reflected regionally specific grave-cut dimensions and regional tastes in funerary structures. The two applications also revealed some regular features of CCA-composition. First, similarly positioned, contemporaneous, and regionally congruent female-CCAs often contained similar object-types, indicating that these clusters were deliberate and planned compositions that prescribed to larger contemporaneous and localised inhumation-grave layouts. In these similarly positioned and contemporaneous female-CCAs with similar object-types, the similar objects often exhibited unique decoration, possessed divergent forms, and/or were accompanied by a different object-types and object-quantities. This suggested that CCA-composition were a result of personalisation. The thesis ends with outlining future avenues of research and the utility of this approach in mortuary studies.
  • Paul as Jesus: Luke's use of recursion in Luke-Acts

    Cole, Timothy J. (University of Chester, 2021-04)
    My thesis argues that through the literary technique of recursion, the key stories and major characters in the depiction of Paul in Acts 9-28 were strategically arranged by the author to parallel the key stories and major characters in the portrait of Jesus in the Third Gospel. Recursion is a literary device that has wide currency in the Hebrew Bible, is common to the Hellenistic literature of the day, and is part and parcel of Luke’s literary strategy. The narrative technique of recursion is the author’s conscious shaping of narrative events so that key elements of one narrative are repeated with variation in others. We argue that Luke concentrates on Paul in Acts 9-28 because to some Jewish and Gentile readers, his apostleship was suspect, handicapped by an unknown association with Jesus, an adversary of Jesus, persecuting and attempting to wipe out the church. As part of his larger strategy to sanction Paul, the author shapes selected narrative portions of Acts 1-12 so that the depiction of Peter, the Jerusalem apostle par excellence, well established in the minds of readers, is aligned by recursion to remind readers of his association with Jesus in the Third Gospel. If Jesus raises the dead, heals a man lame from his mother’s womb, and gives the Holy Spirit, so does Peter. Having reaffirmed Peter’s connection to the founder, Jesus, Luke begins in Acts 9 with an extended series of recursions that show Paul as an apostle on par with Peter, performing the same miracles, paving the way to show that Paul is a legitimate apostle to the Gentiles. The major characters and key events of Paul’s ministry to the Gentiles are aligned by recursion to remind readers of the major characters and key events of Jesus’ ministry in the Third Gospel. If there was a Joseph, a key figure in Jesus’ early life, there was also a Joseph in Paul’s early ministry. If Jesus experienced a major event like Gethsemane, so did Paul. As the Acts narrative unfolds, readers are made increasingly aware of Luke’s co-occurring arguments: the pattern of Paul’s apostolic ministry to the Gentiles is a recursion of Peter’s apostolic ministry to the Jews, and the extended depiction of Paul is a recursion of the portrait of Jesus in the Third Gospel. Presented with this comprehensive and compelling series of strategically arranged recursions, validating Paul’s equality with Peter, and repeated imitation of Jesus, Luke’s readers could overcome suspicion about Paul and become certain that he was equal to Peter, a true apostle of Jesus, who guarantees the authenticity and continuity of the Christian proclamation. Luke’s legitimizing of Paul via recursion, then, is one key to understanding the content of Acts 9-28.
  • ‘Roots in the soil’: the evolution of a countryside youth service in Westmorland, 1939-c.1950

    Andrew, Rebecca; University of Chester (Taylor & Francis, 2022-03-04)
    This article traces the evolution of the statutory Youth Service in rural Westmorland (now part of Cumbria), from its establishment in 1939 to the early post-war years. It focuses on how the county’s Youth Service innovated and developed new ways of working with young country people in their spare time, and the challenges of introducing urban-focused policy into rural practice. It argues that to be effective in work outside urban areas, the national Youth Service had to adapt to existing patterns of country life and leisure. Tensions between this external organising body and local communities are also considered. The article draws on official Youth Service records, including minute books, correspondence and annual reports, alongside local press accounts and oral history testimony. In doing so, it enhances our understanding of the professionalisation of informal education, and the leisure habits of rural youth, during and immediately after the Second World War.
  • Personal Daily Reflection And Involuntary Loneliness: A test of Ignatius’ Examen in a Swedish local church context

    Fulford, Ben; Svensson, Bengt S. (University of Chester, 2021-08)
    Involuntary loneliness has been recognised as a health hazard with the potential to cause physical pain in general, specific diseases, and risk premature death. In a culture characterised by highly independent individuals, the question of loneliness also needs to be addressed on a personal level. This research explores the thesis that the practice of Ignatius’ Examen has the potential to decrease involuntary subjective loneliness in the context of a Swedish Christian congregation. To test this thesis, it was necessary to examine both the larger historical and cultural contexts and the milieu of the congregation with reference to loneliness. According to the 2020 version of the Inglehart-Welzel World Cultural Map, Sweden has the most extreme position of Self-Expression Values. This test of the Examen is an example of an ecumenical activity in the frontier between Catholic and Protestant traditions, which adds to the hybridity of the project in a multidenominational congregation applying tools from different theological traditions and social science typical of practical theology. The personal encounter between God and the participant is the locus of the research and provides the paradigm from which the methodology is developed. The research used a mixed method of both quantitative and qualitative methods in a sequential and narrowing manner, beginning with an all-member survey, followed by a pre-test post-test quasi-experiment of the use of the Examen over 30 days, completed with six case studies based on interviews. The surveys indicate that one-third of church members suffer from high levels of involuntary loneliness, similar to Sweden in general. Of the 26 participants who tested the Examen, ten did it daily with a reduction of their loneliness from 43 to 34 (women) and 34 to 31 (men) on the UCLA Loneliness Scale (Version 3). Three themes were examined through a critical conversation with input from social science and theology: Image of God, relationships, and thankfulness. An I–Thou relationship with God seemed to be helpful. Relationships saw limited increases where established ones were maintained and restored. In reference to Mindfulness, both common ground and difference were observed, where the inherent direction of thankfulness was noted. Trust in people in general seemed to play a limited role. A moderate to high inverse correlation between loneliness and thankfulness was observed, as possibly the most significant observation of factors in this intervention to decrease involuntary loneliness. The different relationships, divine and human, were summed up under the concept of persons in relation, including closeness, trust, and gratitude.
  • Victorian Material Culture

    Wynne, Deborah; Yates, Louisa; University of Chester; Gladstone's Library
    This book is one of a five-volume series, Victorian Material Culture (general editors Tatiana Kontou and Vicky Mills), designed to present primary source materials on aspects of Victorian culture. This volume (volume IV) focuses on manufactured things, including textiles (fabrics, clothing, paper, carpets etc.), metal goods (cutlery, pins, locks etc.), and household items (including ceramics, glassware, soap, candles etc.). The volume's editors, Wynne and Yates, offer detailed introductions to each section as well as an extensive introduction to the whole volume, which demonstrates the significance of manufacturing to the political, social and cultural environment of the Victorian period.
  • ‘‘Turning the Wheel of the Dharma’: A translation of Aśvaghoṣa’s Buddhacarita Canto 15 from a recently rediscovered Sanskrit manuscript

    Jones, Dhivan Thomas; University of Chester (Cardiff University Press, 2021-12-15)
    This article offers a first translation into English of the re-discovered Sanskrit text of Canto 15 of Aśvaghoṣa’s Buddhacarita. While Cantos 1–14 of Aśvaghoṣa’s kāvya, or long poem on the life of the Buddha, have survived in Sanskrit, it had been thought that Cantos 15–24 only survived in Tibetan and Chinese translations. But the Japanese scholar Kazunobu Matsuda, working with Jens-Üwe Hartmann, has recently identified the whole of Canto 15 embedded in a Sanskrit manuscript of the Tridaṇḍamālā, attributed to Aśvaghoṣa. While Matsuda has made a translation into Japanese, I offer a translation of the Sanskrit text of Buddhacarita Canto 15 into English. A distinctive feature of this translation is that I present a prose translation, conveying the Sanskrit syntax and vocabulary in an accurate form, alongside a verse translation, suggesting some of the poetic qualities of Ásvaghoṣa’s Sanskrit in the form of English blank verse and unrhymed ballad metre.
  • What Kinds of Meditation Are There in Buddhism?

    Jones, Dhivan Jones; University of Chester (Equinox Publishing, 2021-10-25)
    Answer to the question, What Kinds of Meditation Are There in Buddhism?
  • What Is non-attachment in Buddhism?

    Jones, Dhivan Thomas; University of Chester (Equinox Publishing, 2021-10-25)
    Answer to the question, What Is Non-Attachment in Buddhism?
  • What do we know about the historical Buddha?

    Jones, Dhivan Thomas; University of Chester (Equinox Publishing, 2021-10-25)
    Answer to the question, What do we know about the historical Buddha?
  • Are Buddhists Vegetarian?

    Jones, Dhivan Thomas; University of Chester (Equinox, 2021-10-25)
    Answer to the question, Are Buddhists vegetarian?
  • Peggy the Tutor, Mentor, Colleague and Friend.

    Dossett, Wendy; Burns, Andrew; Schmidt, Bettina; University of Chester; Alister Hardy Society; Religious Experience Research Centre, University of Wales Trinity St David (Religious Experience Research Centre, 2021-08-03)
    Introduction to the Festschrift - Essays in Honour of Peggy Morgan
  • Mission Team Life Transformative discipleship and leadership development in context

    Knowles, Steve; Graham, Elaine; Silk, Ian G. (University of Chester, 2021-06)
    Mission team life - the lived experience of missioning together that is given shape and meaning through relationships, practices, processes and values - is a social reality and modus operandi whose transformational potential has been largely unrecognised. The way discipleship is currently being reimagined for churches is impoverished by this lack of recognition. This study investigates the shape of mission team life in lived experience and its impact on those who participate in it. Using qualitative research methods including semi-structured interviewing, thematic analysis, theological reflection and poetic reframing I draw on the life-stories of thirteen mission leaders in a variety of local contexts to explore both the constituent elements and the overall character of mission team life. As a reflective practitioner and facilitator of mission teams I bring my own experience to the interpretation of their narratives. I demonstrate that mission team life comprises six interweaving relational dynamics: synergia (co-working), koinonia (the sharing of lives), diakonia (serving), pneumatika (spiritual practices), mathemata (lessons learned) and euremata (attending to surprise discoveries). The character of the whole is relational, complex, chaordic, adventuresome and Spirit-filled. Such life together is a way of discipleship in which vocations are mutually discerned and leadership emerges in context. An understanding of the dynamics and character of mission team life can equip the Church’s theological imagination in vital areas. This research addresses debilitating dichotomies highlighted or implied in recent official reports through a robust conceptualisation of discipleship and an account of practice based in lived experience. Reflective practitioners whose values in ministry are formed through mission team living demonstrate an understanding of collaboration, compassion, hospitality, spirituality, co-empowerment and prophetic imagination. When these qualities also become the hallmark of the mission teams they lead the result can be a way of discipleship that is both imaginative and transformative. My conceptualisation of the relational dynamics of mission team life is thus a fresh paradigm, offering to churches, missions and the academy a way of seeing, understanding and living a transformative discipleship rich in spirituality, synergy, community, ministries and leadership potential.
  • Are Alcohol and Drugs ever acceptable to Buddhists?

    Dossett, Wendy; University of Chester (Equinox Publishing, 2021-10-25)
    This short chapter explores the ways in which the fifth precept has been interpreted in different social locations, as well as Buddhist ritual use of entheogens, the association of spirituality and psychedelics, and Buddhist approaches to addiction recovery.
  • What is Pure Land Buddhism?

    Dossett, Wendy; University of Chester (Equinox Publishing, 2021-10-25)
    A short introductory essay on Pure Land Buddhism addressing its history, texts, teachings and internal diversity.
  • Neocolonial Auspices: Rethinking the Ekumen in Ursula K. Le Guin’s Hainish Cycle

    Hay, Jonathan; University of Chester (International Association for the Fantastic in the Arts (Idaho University), 2021-12-01)
    Although the Ekumen in Ursula K. Le Guin’s Hainish Cycle have frequently been read as a utopian social body, their policy of contacting native cultures frequently provokes the erasure of that same cultural multiplicity which they purport to value. Hence, the uneven cultural synthesis enacted by the Ekumen across the galaxy cannot be intended as a positive epistemology of multicultural society. Rather, throughout the Hainish Cycle, the colonial practices of the Ekumen rhetorically contrast the series’ emphasis upon the multifaceted forms of life and culture found across the unassimilated worlds of the galaxy. Accordingly, Le Guin’s series problematizes the colonial practices of the Ekumen through what we might profitably term its mundane dialectic, which consequently engenders a cogent means of neocolonial discourse.
  • A lot of snow out of one cloud: : A Concordance Analysis of Ursula K. Le Guin’s Hainish Cycle

    Hay, Jonathan; University of Chester (Hélice, 2021-12-09)
    Whereas prior academic studies of the Hainish Cycle have been primarily produced by means of textual analysis, I demonstrate that a concordance analysis of its six novels reveals significant, yet heretofore overlooked, ecological aspects of Le Guin’s series. As becomes apparent, snow imagery literalises the Hainish Cycle’s New Wave moves from technological, to biological and sociological concerns, emphasising the series’ significant challenge to the technophilic assumptions and eschatological foundations of the preceding Golden Age. Accordingly, this article demonstrates the primacy of the datum of snow within the narratives of the Hainish Cycle novels, and delineates its important contribution to the series’ SFnal dialectic on aggregate.

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