Roehampton confirmed as part of £1.94m research project

Roehampton is pleased to announce its participation in a major new £1.94 million Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC) funded research project looking into Human-Chicken interactions.

Posted: 18 September 2013

image for news story Roehampton confirmed as part of £1.94m research project
Professor Garry Marvin

The University of Roehampton is pleased to announce its participation in a major new Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC) funded research project.

The AHRC has awarded £1.94 million to the project ‘Cultural and Scientific Perceptions of Human-Chicken Interactions’. Led by Bournemouth University this multidisciplinary project brings together teams from the Universities of Roehampton, Nottingham, Durham, Leicester and York spanning archaeology, anthropology, zoöarchaeology, genetics, microbiology, history, literature and visual arts.

The project will explore the relationship between people and chickens over the last 8,000 years. The research will include examining when, and how rapidly, domesticated chickens spread across Europe; the history of their exploitation for meat and eggs; and the ancient and modern cultural significance of the birds in, for example, religious rituals and social interactions. Research will include metrical and DNA analysis of modern and ancient chicken bones to trace the development of different breeds.

The University of Roehampton will be responsible for the social anthropological elements of the project: gender and chicken cultures in Cuba; women, chickens and development in Ethiopia; chickens in religious cosmology and practice; amateur hen keeping in modern Britain; pedigree chicken breeding and exhibition. Five PhD studentships will be offered as part of the project: two will be match funded by the AHRC and the University, and Roehampton is offering three additional Vice Chancellor PhD Studentships.

The research will be undertaken within the Centre for Evolutionary and Environmental Anthropology part of Department of Life Sciences at Roehampton and will be directed by Garry Marvin, Professor of Human-Animal Studies and a social anthropologist.

Professor Garry Marvin said: “I am enormously pleased and proud that Roehampton will be part of this major project. Little has been written in anthropology about the enduring but changing relationships between humans and chickens in different cultures and societies. Having five research students at Roehampton will allow the university to make a major contribution to this project.”

Vice-Chancellor Professor Paul O’Prey said: “To win one of only three major AHRC grants in the Science and Culture stream is a terrific achievement. Roehampton has a strong reputation for its research in Anthropology and this is another important and exciting project in which we are engaged”.

Work is due to begin in January 2014 and the research will be completed in 2017 – coinciding with The Chinese Year of the Rooster. The work is supported by an interactive research network “The Chicken Coop” where the latest information and breaking news about the research can be found.

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