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

  • (Post)human Temporalities: Science Fiction in the Anthropocene

    Hay, Jonathan; University of Chester
    Although many SF texts proceed from the speculative premise that our species will continue to develop technologically, and hence become increasingly posthuman, our species’ continuance into even the next century is by no means assured. Rather, the Anthropocene exerts a new temporal logic; it is an age defined by an intensification of geological timescales. It is therefore noteworthy that many contemporary SF texts are ecologically interventionist and figure apocalyptic future temporalities which curtail the posthuman predilection common to the genre. This article analyses a tetrad of literary texts, written at various points during the last three decades, which summatively reveal the mutations of the (post)human temporalities figured by cli-fi texts. These four texts are: Kim Stanley Robinson’s Mars Trilogy (1992-1996); Jeanette Winterson’s The Stone Gods (2007); Michel Faber’s The Book of Strange New Things (2014); and Paolo Bacigalupi’s The Water Knife (2015).
  • Toponym matching through deep neural networks

    Santos, Rui; orcid: 0000-0001-5981-9924; Murrieta-Flores, Patricia; orcid: 0000-0001-9904-0288; Calado, Pável; orcid: 0000-0001-6478-229X; Martins, Bruno; orcid: 0000-0002-3856-2936 (Informa UK Limited, 2017-10-31)
  • Hereditary surname establishment in the Gloucestershire Cotswolds: a diachronic analysis

    Parkin, Harry; University of Chester
    A study of the local development of hereditary surnames in the Gloucestershire Cotswolds in the 14th century, looking at how it may differ from the apparent national patterns of hereditary surname adoption, and the implications for further surname research
  • The Gift of Leaven: A new feminist theological praxis for urban church

    Dawson, Claire L (University of Chester, 2019-09)
    This thesis documents my research quest into the post-regeneration community of Bootle, North Liverpool. A Housing Market Renewal Initiative had decimated the area. As a Church of England minister, I was struggling to find signs of life and had no theological paradigm in which to situate my ministerial practice. My argument is that the current arborescent theology and practices of the Church of England have excluded the phronēsis of white working-class women and have failed to deliver a life-sustaining praxis for urban church. I argue for a reprioritisation of the poor and the inclusion of marginalised voices; allowing these voices to shape and define the academy as opposed to letting the academy shape which voices are to be heard. I came to this research holding a feminist and liberative theological standpoint: prioritising and privileging the voices of women and those on the margins. My research design adopts a feminist and narrative methodological framework in its quest to uncover the hidden phronēsis of the Bootle women. The transcripts of their lives are analysed using a thematic network analysis which generates three global themes: hope; placed and particular; and the death space. This thematic network is the main finding of my research quest and is the Gift of Leaven: the distilled phronēsis of the Bootle women. This research project is multidisciplinary. The Gift of Leaven is brought into conversation with voices from social science; public urban theology; feminist theology; and urban geography. Through a spiralling process of theological reflection the strands of a new feminist theological praxis for urban church are defined. What I produce in this thesis is a new feminist praxis for urban church from the underside of life and from voices that are notably absent from academia and ecclesiology. This new praxis is not a carefully-crafted mission action plan of how the Church should engage in urban life. What is offered instead is a new way of seeing and feeling the urban. This is situated within the lo cotidiano and objects of the ordinary and is revealed through fragments; it is new women’s knowledge coming to birth in women’s story and women’s song. It does not readily offer quick social or theological fixes to life’s fissures. It provides a way of flourishing and life from a different paradigm, and that paradigm is the phronēsis of the Bootle women. It is the women themselves who become the heralds of good tidings and the God bearers. They bring the Gift of Leaven for the whole community so that bread may be baked and the wounded body fed. The task is now to make space so their voices can be heard.
  • Sermon listening among the Croatian Baptists: A New Approach Based on Congregational Studies and Rhetoric

    Seba, Enoh (University of Chester, 2019-04)
    The recent homiletical literature reveals the 'turn to the listener' as a widespread trend of attempting to minimize the gap between the pulpit and the pew and indicates the increase in the reappropriation of various rhetorical contributions. At the same time, the development of congregational studies has encouraged practical theologians to conduct empirical studies in order to explore the highly contextual nature of sermon listeners' involvement in the practice of preaching. The investigation of my immediate context, however, proves that preaching holds a precious place in the theology and life of Croatian Baptist churches, but also identifies the absence of empirical research that probes their preaching practice from the hearers' perspective. These are the reasons why this study is motivated by the following research question: What are the real expectations and receptiveness of the Croatian Baptists as sermon listeners, and how can these findings be utilised to improve the quality of preaching? To become able to articulate dependable answers, I conducted a qualitative field study based on a phenomenological approach, using semi-structured interviews with eighteen members of five local Baptist congregations located in four Croatian towns. The gathered feedback was interpreted by means of three rhetorical modes of appeal (logos, ēthos, and pathos) which served a purpose of identifying their actual expectations and (dis)engaging factors that direct their listening participation and sermon reception. The same data was submitted to critical theological reflection, aiming at the theological warrants for the constructive suggestions for the transformation of preaching practice. The findings from the research demonstrate that participants tend to hold a high view of preaching, and yet many of them report the unmet expectations which may lead to lowering their expectations. Among the most prominent interviewees' expectations are: hope that the sermon will provide direction in their everyday life, desire to meet God during the sermon and to have their devotional reading of the Bible enhanced by sermon listening, a longing to have their spiritual batteries recharged, and anticipation that preaching should question their status quo and challenge them to change themselves. Also, the study indicates that triggering the listeners' identification boosts their reception of the message and promotes their engagement. Although these particular findings are not generalisable, they nevertheless point to the possibility of an important implication: backing up the listeners' expectations with their active responsibility for the preaching may transform the entire practice into a constructive enterprise that bridges the gap between hearers and preachers. The specific suggestions, based on the study findings, to the preachers and listeners in Croatian Baptist churches may serve both as an illustration of how preaching can be reestablished as a truly congregational practice and as an impetus for further studies in different contexts.
  • Seeing and Showing the Unseen: Towards a Methodology of Utilizing Cognitive Linguistics in Biblical Preaching that Employs Metaphors and Images

    Szumorek, Adam P (University of Chester, 2018-12)
    This thesis suggests ways in which Cognitive Linguistics can be employed in hermeneutics and homiletics to enhance the methodology of using metaphors and images in sermons to convey the meaning of biblical texts in general and biblical metaphors in particular. Considering the fact that Cognitive Linguistics is a secular and pragmatic science, I begin my study with providing a theological framework for applying it to hermeneutics and homiletics by referring to the idea of God’s revelation. In order to justify using metaphors and images in sermons I show that biblical revelation abounds with images because God revealed himself creating people in his image, that Christ is the perfect image of the Father, and the Holy Spirit conforms us to the image of Christ. In order to show how Cognitive Linguistics can contribute to preaching, basic assumptions of this theory are presented. Some general heuristic principle for the interpretation of biblical metaphors seen as a part of wider discourse are formulated. Finally, the thesis shows the practical implications of applying Cognitive Linguistics to preaching which can be seen in the proposed methodology of reworking existing biblical metaphors and creating new metaphors that convey the meaning of biblical texts that might be non-metaphorical. The whole thesis concludes with a practical scheme of developing macro and micro sermon imagery.
  • (Post)human Temporalities: Science Fiction in the Anthropocene

    Hay, Jonathan (Brill, 2019-09-24)
    AbstractAlthough many SF texts proceed from the speculative premise that our species will continue to develop technologically, and hence become increasingly posthuman, our species’ continuance into even the next century is by no means assured. Rather, the Anthropocene exerts a new temporal logic; it is an age defined by an intensification of geological timescales. It is therefore noteworthy that many contemporary SF texts are ecologically interventionist and figure apocalyptic future temporalities which curtail the posthuman predilection common to the genre. This article analyses a tetrad of literary texts, written at various points during the last three decades, which summatively reveal the mutations of the (post)human temporalities figured by cli-fi texts. These four texts are: Kim Stanley Robinson’s Mars Trilogy (1992-1996); Jeanette Winterson’s The Stone Gods (2007); Michel Faber’s The Book of Strange New Things (2014); and Paolo Bacigalupi’s The Water Knife (2015).
  • Crossing borders in Victorian travel: spaces, nations and empires

    Fegan, Melissa; orcid: 0000-0002-6015-6686 (Informa UK Limited, 2019-09-26)
  • Chinese writing composition among CFL learners: A comparison between handwriting and typewriting

    Zhang, Qi; Min, Ge (Elsevier, 2019-12-01)
    Situated in the context of CFL (Chinese as a foreign language), the current study examines and compares texts produced by twelve pre-intermediate CFL learners using both pen-and-paper and the pinyin input system. The participants were also invited for interviews to investigate their attitudes towards handwriting and typewriting. Because of the ease of use of the pinyin input system, CFL learners tend to prefer it over writing by hand when composing lengthy texts. Based on the evaluations of fifteen professional CFL teachers, the typewritten texts were rated higher than the handwritten ones. Using the self-report empathy test, there was no significant correlation between an evaluator’s empathy and his/her rating for the texts, whether composed by hand or with pinyin input. Pedagogically, typewriting might better assist Chinese language learning after handwriting has been introduced and practised among non-beginner CFL learners. The empathy effect on handwriting reported in previous literature is not found in the study. The study goes beyond the factors influencing typewriting and typewritten essays, to encourage future research investigating when to introduce computer-based writing and how it would best assist in language learning.
  • What is the meaning of equal marriage in the Church of England?

    Henwood, Gillian (University of Chester, 2019-01)
    The Church of England’s traditional theology of marriage between one man and one woman is protected in the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013 from reforms to civil law to include same-sex couples. Within the Church of England, same-sex couples who enter civil unions (of partnership or marriage) are not permitted to have a service in church to celebrate with prayer for God’s blessing. Clergy in civil partnerships are not permitted by the Church of England to convert their union to civil marriage if they hold a bishop’s licence to practice. This research questions the meaning of equal relationships, both marriage and same-sex unions, to test three of the benefits of marriage asserted by the Church to the UK Government: mutuality, fidelity, and the biological complementarity of the couple with the possibility of procreation (Church of England, 2012). A methodology of practical theology, where my practice-based research leads to theory that reforms practice, fosters dialogue among voices of theology within the context of the Church of England. A postliberal interdisciplinary approach recognises plural meanings within my research field and adopts narrative methods for data generation, analysis, interpretation and presentation. Theologies of equal marriage and union, interpreted from narratives co-constructed with my participants, are brought into conversation with premodern liturgies for blessings of unions of Christian harmony and peace, seeking a fusion of horizons expressed through performed ritual. This research argues that two of the Church’s benefits of marriage, mutuality and fidelity, are embodied in all participants’ marriages and civil partnerships, but challenges the Church’s third benefit, because it is stated as derived from acknowledgement of an underlying biological complementarity of the couple. Changes in the legal and social contexts in England, academic research literature in the fields of gender and sexuality, and evidence from research participants’ lived practices lead to reinterpretation of the third benefit as responsible choices for parenting and the nurture of children in a pro/creative relationship. Implications for the Church of England are that emerging theologies in this research mandate policy changes, to lift the Church’s prohibition of services in church after same-sex civil unions and to pilot new liturgies of blessing. For mixed-sex couples to marry each other in a liturgy of Christian equal marriage, this research offers two areas for light revision of the Church’s contemporary liturgy to provide alternative options: gender-neutral language and rubrics, and nuanced language expressing loving intimacy rather than specific emphasis on sexual union. These changes will enable the Church of England to renew Christian marriage based on a recovered and reinterpreted theology of Christian unions of harmony and peace, so that couples can celebrate in church with prayer for God’s blessing either through marriage or a service after their civil union.
  • Notes Towards the Definition of the Short-Short Story

    Chantler, Ashley; University of Chester (Cambridge Scholars, 2008-09-01)
    The first academic study of flash fiction.
  • State Power and 'Everyday Criminality' in the German Democratic Republic, 1961-1989

    Millington, Richard; University of Chester (OUP, 2020)
    Friedrich Engels claimed that communists would ‘take an axe to the root of crime’; the removal of the perceived causes of crime in a society - capitalist economic and societal conditions - would automatically lead to its eradication. This did not, however, prove to be the case in the German Democratic Republic (GDR), where instances of ‘everyday criminality’ such as theft, robbery and assault never fell below 100,000 throughout the period of the state’s existence from 1949 to 1989. This article examines the ruling Socialist Unity Party’s (SED) perceptions of the causes of ‘everyday criminality’ in the GDR. It shows that the SED concluded that crime persisted because citizens’ ‘socialist sense of legal right and wrong’ (sozialistisches Rechtsbewußtsein) was underdeveloped. The regime measured this by the extent to which citizens supported and participated in socialist society. Thus, crime could be eliminated by co-opting as many citizens as possible into the Party’s political project. The SED’s ideological tunnel vision on the causes of ‘everyday criminality meant that it dismissed hints about the real causes of crime, such as poor supply and living conditions, identified by its analysts. Its failure to address these issues meant that citizens continued to break the law. Thus, the Party’s exercise of power contributed to the creation of limits to that power. Moreover, analysis of opinion polls with GDR citizens about their attitudes to criminality shows that they accepted crime as a part of everyday life.
  • Guerre d’Algérie Le sexe outragé

    Obergöker, Timo (Informa UK Limited, 2019-08-23)
  • ‘That bhikkhu lets go both the near and far shores’: meaning and metaphor in the refrain from the uraga verses

    Jones, Dhivan T.; University of Chester (Oxford Centre for Buddhist Studies, 2016-11)
    The uraga (‘serpent’) verses are some early Buddhist stanzas, preserved in different versions, each with the refrain (in Pāli at Sn vv.1–17) so bhikkhu jahāti orapāraṃ, urago jiṇṇam iva tacaṃ purāṇaṃ, ‘That bhikkhu lets go both the near and far shores, like a serpent its worn-out old skin’. The meaning of orapāra, ‘near and far shores’, has posed a problem for ancient and modern commentators, because according to the usual metaphor of ‘crossing the flood’ the bhikkhu lets go the ‘near shore’, which is saṃsāra, to reach the safety of the ‘far shore’, which is nirvāṇa. I discuss some commentarial and recent discussions of the refrain, before presenting two possible solutions to this problem: first in terms of the old binary cosmology, whereby the bhikkhu lets go the ‘near shore’ of this world and the ‘far shore’ of the other, and second in terms of the ‘stream of the Dharma’ metaphor, in which the bhikkhu lets go the ‘near shore’ of the subjective sense spheres and the ‘far shore’ of the objective sense spheres. I conclude with a consideration of metaphor in the uraga verses refrain, and how the refrain may be an example of early Buddhist non-dualism.
  • From Postcolonialism to Decolonial Critique? A Visual Discourse of Dissent

    Griffiths, Claire H.; University of Chester (Postcolonial Studies Association UK, 2019-09-30)
    The article explores the critical discourse developing in contemporary African art around issues of development, economic growth and labour exploitation in sub-Saharan Africa.

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