Featured research projects

Women and Entangled Things

Dr Chloe Wigston Smith has been awarded Mid-Career Fellowships from both the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art and the British Academy for 2018-2019. Her interdisciplinary book will look at how eighteenth-century novels set in early America, West Africa and the West Indies reimagined the relations among women, property and colonialism.  The study examines portable, handmade goods to illuminate how women joined forces via the items they touched, made, consumed and exchanged in life and literature.  Tuned to the interconnectedness of objects and print culture, their fissures and tensions, the book investigates women and their things in the eighteenth-century Atlantic world.  A portion of the book appeared in the March 2017 issue of the Journal for Eighteenth Century Studies.  The British Academy fellowship will also support a conference on Small Things to be held in June 2019 at the Centre for Eighteenth Century Studies.  

Cultures of Care

Dr Alice Hall's project, 'Changing Cultures of Care', is funded by the Academy of Medical Sciences/Wellcome Trust, via the Springboard - Health of the Public 2040 scheme. The project explores the cultural history of care in the UK since 1965, through an analysis of archival materials, novels, poetry, film, theatre, media and policy documents. 'Cultures of Care' is developing an interdisciplinary literary-historical approach to care, drawing on feminist care ethics, disability studies, medical humanities scholarship, and theories of democratic citizenship. The project focuses particularly on so-called informal, non-institutional care (care in the home), and changing structures and concepts of care in contemporary society. 

Dr Hannah Tweed is the postdoctoral research associate for the project.

Storying Relationships

Claire Chambers is a Co-Investigator for Storying Relationships, an Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC)-funded project. Storying Relationships examines how young men and women in British Pakistani Muslim communities understand and explore relationships in terms of both attitudes and practices, through the stories they consume and produce. The Principal Investigator is Professor Richard Phillips of the University of Sheffield, from where the project is run. The project team also comprises Dr Nafhesa Ali, Professor Peter Hopkins, and Dr Raksha Pande. The project asks how young British Muslims (aged 16-30), particularly those with Pakistani heritage, talk and think about their personal relationships. It additionally explores the role of stories and storytelling in this, focusing on relationship stories that are told in everyday life (with friends, for example) and also media such as fiction, films, and radio. At the moment the project team is conducting individual interviews with young people and organisations across Tyne and Wear, Glasgow, and Yorkshire. They will be starting creative workshops in Stage 2 (commencing May 2017) where young people involved in the project will work alongside published authors to create and share stories.

Remembering the Reformation

Professor Brian Cummings, together with Professor Alex Walsham of the University of Cambridge, has been awarded AHRC funding for a major project on 'Remembering the Reformation'.  The full value of the award is £831,000.
The project will launch on 1 January 2016, and run for three years, coinciding with the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther's protest against the Church in 1517. The Faculty of History at Cambridge and the Department of English at York will work together on this prestigious project in partnership with York Minster Library, Cambridge University Library, and Lambeth Palace Library.
The Reformation was a pivotal event in the history and heritage of England, Europe and the world, which has decisively shaped politics, culture, and society in the centuries since. The violence and turmoil of its intense conflicts continue to divide communities and have left a lasting imprint upon the landscape, physical environment, and literature of Europe. Memory of the events and individuals has been embodied in a vast array of material objects, images, rituals, traditions and texts. Yet little critical attention has been paid to the process by which enduring assumptions about the significance of the Reformation came into being.
This project will contribute significantly to the lively critical and theoretical discussion of memory and its formation in past societies. Bringing together historians and literary scholars, it will deploy approaches and methods from a variety of disciplines to forge new insights about the formation and fragmentation of cultural memory. It will illluminate the process by which public and private memory was forged and assess its role in the creation of religious, political and social consensus, conflict and identity.
The 500th anniversary of Martin Luther's protest against the Church of Rome in 1517, which falls in the middle of the project, provides an opportunity to examine the role of the Reformation in shaping modern historical consciousness, and to interrogate its lasting legacies. In its focus upon the agency and influence exercised by the public and private, official and unofficial memory of past events, the project raises questions of enduring concern and contemporary relevance.

Centre for Medieval Literature

The Centre for Medieval Literature (CML) works to establish theoretical models for the study of medieval literature on a European scale, set within wider Eurasian and Mediterranean contexts, from c. 500 CE to c. 1500 CE. Our research is interdisciplinary and multilingual, combining literary study with history, history of art, history of science, and other disciplines.

CML is a Centre of Excellence founded in 2012 and funded for ten years by the Danish National Research Foundation. It is based at the University of Southern Denmark (Odense) and the University of York. At York, it is directed by Prof Elizabeth Tyler working with Dr George Younge.











 Image credit: Florence Winterflood, 'Alzheimer's disease, artwork'. CC BY.