School of Humanities
Research

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Leading Historian and TV presenter Dr Suzannah Lipscomb is unearthing the voices of ordinary women in 16th century France, by using church court documents that have previously been unstudied.

Her research into the records, which date from 1560 to 1615, is revealing previously unknown information about the lives, motivations and values of ordinary women in early modern France, which due to the high rate of illiteracy at the time has been until now largely hidden.

Her book, The Voices of Nîmes: Women, Sex, and Marriage in Reformation Languedoc was published in 2019.

Dr Michael Cullinane published Theodore Roosevelt's Ghost: The History and Memory of an American Icon, the first comprehensive examination of the legacy and the public’s understanding of one of the most famous US presidents.

His wide-ranging study revealed how successive generations shaped the public memory of Roosevelt through their depictions of him in memorials, art, academic enquiry and popular culture, frequently refashioning his memory.

Professor Fiona Sampson has published a renowned new biography of Mary Shelley's life, In Search of Mary Shelley: the girl who wrote Frankenstein, two hundred years after the creation of the literary masterpiece.

Professor Sampson used diaries and letters written by Shelley, as well as newspaper articles and meteorological reports from the time to create an intimate narrative of the writer's life, which was published in 2018.

Professor Ted Vallance works on the political and religious history of seventeenth-century England, especially during its two revolutions.

He has researched and published on political and religious radicalism (including its subsequent influence and public memory), questions of allegiance/obedience/loyalty, and the role of the conscience and the use of casuistry in political debates. His most recent book, Loyalty, Memory and Public Opinion in England, 1658-1727 examines the role that loyal addresses – texts that expressed the loyal sentiments of English communities to the Crown – played in developing a ‘political public’. His current research focuses on the trial and execution of Charles I, and in particular on the role of witness testimony and ‘witnessing’ in the proceedings.

Dr Michael Brown is leading a Wellcome Trust funded project which explores the role of the emotions in surgery from 1800 to the present day.

As well as studying the emotions of surgery in the pre-anaesthetic era, when operations were a physically and emotionally gruelling ordeal, Surgery & Emotion also explores the role of emotions in surgery today. It has engaged with professional bodies such as the Royal College of Surgeons and Royal College of Nursing, as well as with the public, and members of the project team have featured on BBC radio and in other media outlets.

Professor Glyn Parry discovered twenty-one previously unknown documents concerning William Shakespeare's father John, in The National Archives, throwing new light on Shakespeare’s early life and developing political views.

These documents reveal new information about Shakespeare’s life and political context, and also show that there are still discoveries waiting to be made about the playwright.

Professor David Harsent, winner of the world-renowned TS Eliot Prize, writes extensively and collaborates with leading musical composers. His work has been performed at the Royal Opera House, Carnegie Hall, BBC Proms and on Channel 4.

His most recent work includes a libretto for the Judas Passion, a passion play which focuses on the role of Judas Iscariot, which was performed by the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and the Philharmonia Baroque of San Francisco.

The Before Shakespeare research project, led by Roehampton’s Dr Andy Kesson, has been exploring the origins of London’s commercial theatre, which dates back to the mid-sixteenth century.

In partnership with leading organisations such as Shakespeare’s Globe, and taking advantage of the archaeological remains of the original playhouse, the £250,000 project is helping change people’s understanding of the beginnings of theatre and playhouses in the UK.