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

  • Charlotte Brontë's Gothic Fragment: 'The Story of Willie Ellin'

    Wynne, Deborah; University of Chester
    Charlotte Brontë’s eighteen-page fragment, ‘The Story of Willie Ellin’, written shortly after the publication of Villette in 1853, combines the gothic and realism and uses multiple narrators to tell a disturbing story of cruelty towards a child. The generic instability and disordered temporal framework of this fragment make it unlike anything Brontë had previously written, yet it has attracted the attention of few scholars. Those who have discussed it have condemned it as a failure; the later fragment ‘Emma’, also left incomplete by the author’s premature death, has been seen as the more likely beginning of a successor to Villette. ‘The Story of Willie Ellin’ reveals Brontë at her most experimental as she explores the use of different narrative voices, including that of an unnamed genderless ‘ghost’, to tell a story from different perspectives. It also shows Brontë representing a child’s experience of extreme physical abuse which goes far beyond the depictions of chastisement in Jane Eyre (1847). This essay argues that ‘The Story of Willie Ellin’ affords rich insights into Brontë’s ideas and working practices in her final years, suggesting that it should be more widely acknowledged as a unique aspect of Brontë’s oeuvre, revealing the new directions she may have taken had she lived to complete another novel.
  • Charlotte Brontë: Legacies and Afterlives

    Wynne, Deborah; Regis, Amber K.; University of Chester; University of Sheffield
    This edited collection offers a timely reflection on Charlotte Brontë's life and work in the context of the bicentenary of her birth in 2016. Brontë's legacy continues to evolve and the new essays in this volume, covering the period from her first publication to the present day, explain why she has remained at the forefront of global literary cultures. Taking a fresh look at over 150 years of engagement with one of the best-loved novelists of the Victorian period, the volume examines areas such as genre, narrative style, national and regional identities, sexuality, literary tourism, adaptation theories, cultural studies, postcolonial and transnational readings. The contributors to this volume offer innovative interpretations of the rich variety of afterlives enjoyed by characters such as Jane Eyre and Rochester in neo-Victorian fiction, cinema and television, on the stage and on the web. Bringing the story of Charlotte's legacy up to date, the essays analyse obituaries, vlogs, stage and screen adaptations, fan fiction and erotic makeovers, showing that Charlotte Brontë's influence has been manifold and an enduring feature of the feminist movement.
  • Utopia’s Extinction: the Anthroposcenic Landscapes of Ursula K. Le Guin

    Hay, Jonathan; University of Chester
    In the Anthropocene epoch, the utopian prospect which has structured civilizational development throughout recorded history is extinguished almost entirely. Our anthropocentric fantasies of dominion over the natural world have proven harmful not only to the biosphere we inhabit, but to the continued existence of our own species. Instead, new conceptualizations which foreground the role of humanity within its environment must take precedence. Intricate portrayals of humanity’s interdependence within its planetary environment—and illustrations of the damage that our daily lives inflict upon the natural world—have long been apparent in the Science Fiction genre. By emphasising the importance of fostering and recognizing our species’ symbiotic relationship with its natural world through practices of daily life, the Anthroposcenic landscapes of Ursula K. Le Guin’s Science Fiction texts exert a posthuman vision which refutes anthropocentric ideologies, and decenters the notion of progress as an eschatology. Accordingly, this article closely analyses three texts of Le Guin’s Hainish Cycle which particularly exemplify her Anthroposcenic objective; The Word for World is Forest (1972); Planet of Exile (1966); and City of Illusions(1967). These texts extrapolate the Anthropocene epoch into a cosmic paradigm, and so demonstrate the extinction of utopian potential it personifies vividly.
  • The Airborne Forces Experimental Establishment: The Development of British Airborne Technology, 1940-1950

    Jenkins, Tim; Univeristy of Chester
    The evolution of British airborne warfare cannot be fully appreciated without reference to the technological development required to convert the detail contained in the doctrine and concept into operational reality. Airborne Forces Experimental Establishment is a detailed investigation of the British technological investment in an airborne capability and analyses whether the new technology was justifiable, or indeed, entirely achievable.
  • Fortress Salopia: Exploring Shropshire's Military History from the Prehistoric Period to the Twentieth Century

    Jenkins, Tim; Abbiss, Rachael; University of Chester
    Fortress Salopia is the culmination of contributions from heritage and historic professionals, practising archaeologists and academic historians that explores the unique military past of the county of Shropshire from the prehistoric period to the 20th century. Shropshire is one of the most characteristic counties of the Welsh Marches and occupied a strategic position between England and Wales. Consequently, the county boasts the highest numbers of Iron Age hillforts in England and the greatest density of Motte & Bailey castles. The archaeological remains that adorn the landscape are a prescient reminder that Shropshire was once a frontier battleground, although such reminders are often lost amongst the picturesque rural landscape that prevails today.
  • Archaeologies of rules and regulation: between text and practice

    Williams, Howard; orcid: 0000-0003-3510-6852 (Informa UK Limited, 2020-04-30)
  • Black French women and the struggle for equality, 1848–2016 edited by Félix Germain and Silyane Larcher, Lincoln, University of Nebraska Press, 2018, xx + 261 pp., £33 (Paperback), ISBN 978-1-4962-0127-0

    Griffiths, Claire H.; University of Chester (emerita)
    This articles reviews fourteen essays focusing on the often unacknowledged contributions Black women have made, and are continuing to make in the fight for equality in metropolitan and 'overseas' France.
  • Novum Decay

    Hay, Jonathan; University of Chester
    This article springs from the claim that representations of mundane human life are just as prominent as nova in contemporary sf, and that through their generative interplay the genre figures a transient dreamscape for visitation by the (post)human mind, via which the reader gains an expanded perception of not only their own empirical environment, but also of posthuman possibility. The presence of the quotidian in sf confirms the capacity of the (post)human mind to transcend the presumptions of traditional humanism. By deconstructing the rhetorical role of nova in Duncan Jones’s Source Code (2011), I demonstrate that the novel content of sf fades intratextually, just as nova within the genre tend towards entropy intertextually; an accumulative process I term novum decay.
  • Upaniṣadic Echoes in the Alaggadūpama Sutta

    Jones, Dhivan Thomas; University of Chester
    Scholars have already identified verbal echoes of the Upaniṣads in the Alagaddūpama Sutta (‘Discourse on the Simile of the Water-snake’, M 22 pts i.130–42). In this article I argue that the Alagaddūpama Sutta also contains muffled verbal echoes of the famous story of Indra’s search for the self in Chāndogya Upaniṣad 8.7–12. By making this echo audible, I add to the evidence that the Alagaddūpama Sutta as a whole can be understood in terms of the Buddha’s rejection of an Upaniṣadic soteriology.
  • The Underground Cabaret

    Seed, Ian; University of Chester
    The fourth and final volume in a quartet of prose poems and flash fictions, following on from New York Hotel (Shearsman, 2018), Identity Papers (Shearsman, 2016), Makers of Empty Dreams (Shearsman, 2014).
  • Three Ways of Denying the Self

    Jones, Dhivan Thomas; University of Chester
    Buddhist philosophers have tried to work out the implications of the Buddha’s teaching of non-self (anattā). I characterise the teaching of non-self in the Pāli discourses, noting that, although the Buddha denied the existence of a ‘metaphysical’ self, he did not completely deny the ‘everyday’ self but presupposed the ‘I’ as a continuously identical moral agent. I go on to explain three attempts to explain the Buddha’s teaching. (1) Nāgasena in the Milindapañha uses the chariot argument to show that the self, like a chariot, is a conventional designation for a functional arrangement of parts. (2) The Yogācāra philosopher Vasubandhu argues that the self is a cognitive mistake and that in reality there is only non-dual awareness. (3) The Madhyamaka philosopher Candrakīrti argues that there is the appearance of a self but it does not exist in the way that it appears. I conclude that these ways of denying the self are distinct and that Candrakīrti’s way seems closest to the Buddha’s as recorded in the Pāli canon.
  • Love and Monsters: gender, Autonomy and Desire in Modern Golem Literature

    Vincent, Alana; University of Chester
    This chapter traces the development of the figure of the golem from its early appear- ance in Jewish text to its presentation in modern literature, as a test case for the bound- aries between human and non-human. Unlike the rabbinic literature in which the golem first appears and attracts questions of legal ramifications, modern literature in- vestigates questions of emotion and eros. In the literary treatments reviewed, the golem is narratively acknowledged as an autonomous being when it exhibits the ca- pacity for emotional attachment and agency.
  • Convergence and Asymmetry: Observations on the Current State of Jewish-Christian Dialogue

    Vincent, Alana; University of Chester
    Drawing on a survey of forty-five statements on the status of Jewish- Christian dialogue, this article argues that the theme of convergence which underlies a substantial portion of this dialogue programme arises from an asymmetric power relationship, in which Christian institutions have been insufficiently attentive to the issue of Jewish self-understanding.
  • Plants as persons: perceptions of the natural world in the North European Mesolithic

    Taylor, Barry; University of Chester (Taylor and Francis, 2020-09-08)
    Amongst many hunter-gatherer communities, plants, animals and other aspects of the ‘natural’ environment, are bound up in, and gain significance and meaning from, specific cultural traditions. These traditions intricately bind the natural world into broader ontological understandings, which include concepts of animacy, the origins of the world, its structure and composition, and the behaviour of supernatural beings. Through these traditions, elements of the environment are imbued with an ontological significance that informs the way people perceive them, and how they interact with them through economic or ritual practice. There is a growing body of evidence that comparable traditions also structured the ways that hunter-gatherers interacted with their environment during the European Mesolithic. Much of the research has focused on the significance of animals, but this paper argues that plants were perceived in a similar way. Through a series of case studies from the North European Mesolithic, it shows how trees in particular were understood as powerful forces, playing active roles in people’s lives, and how interactions with them were mediated through prescribed forms of social practice
  • Towards a New Homiletic

    Shercliff, Liz (SAGE Publications, 2020-09-11)
    Feminism’s contribution to homiletics so far has arguably been restricted to exploring gender difference in preaching. In 2014, however, Jennifer Copeland identified a need not merely to ‘include women “in the company of preachers” but to craft a new register for the preaching event’. This article considers what that new register might be and how it might be taught in the academy. It defines preaching as ‘the art of engaging the people of God in their shared narrative by creatively and hospitably inviting them into an exploration of biblical text, by means of which, corporately and individually, they might encounter the divine’ and proposes that in both the Church and the Academy, women’s voices are suppressed by a rationalist hegemony. For the stories of women to be heard, a new homiletic is needed, in which would-be preachers first encounter themselves, then the Bible as themselves and finally their congregation in communality. Findings of researchers in practical preaching discover that women preachers are being influenced by feminist methodology, while the teaching of preaching is not. In order to achieve a hospitable preaching space, it is proposed that the Church and the Academy work together towards a new homiletic.
  • Cosmopolitan Practical Theology and the Impact of the Norming of Whiteness on Chapel Cosmopolitanism

    Knowles, Steve; Graham, Elaine; Cameron, Helen D.; Marsh, Jill (University of Chester, 2020-09-10)
    In the context of increasing cosmopolitanism across the UK many church congregations are becoming increasingly ethnically diverse, creating what I am calling ‘chapel cosmopolitanism’. This lived experience of congregations calls for a Cosmopolitan Practical Theology. I use Nowicka and Rovisco’s definition (2009:2) of cosmopolitanism as “A practice which is apparent in things that people do and say to positively engage with the ‘otherness of the other’”. From my professional experience I outline the factors that make a Cosmopolitan Practical Theology and argue for a positive engagement with the ‘otherness of the other’ in order to live out the Gospel imperative to ‘Love your neighbour as yourself’. In an ethnographic study of the chapel cosmopolitanism of one particular church, I observed the complex layers of interpersonal dynamics within one congregation. In particular I engaged with the work of Marti (2010) on ‘havens’, and also the work of Jagessar (2015) on ‘intercultural habit’, observing the inter-play between the needs for both of these practices. Using a multi-method approach I began to notice the reluctance of older White participants who chose not to be interviewed. While recognizing the need for both ‘havens’ and ‘intercultural habit’ my fieldwork data showed me that, while all my participants had these two needs, yet the need for havens of their own was not recognized by many of my White participants. This White privileging of their own experience as the ‘norm’ prevented the ‘mutual inconveniencing’ that Jagessar considers to be an essential component of intercultural habit. After consideration of the impact of the invisibility of White privilege within this particular congregation, I conclude that the norming of Whiteness becomes an obstruction to the development of a Cosmopolitan Practical Theology. In my conclusion I spell out some of the implications of my research for church life, Practical Theology and my own practice.
  • Mission in Suburbia: Theological Resources to Empower Missional Practice Within Small, Suburban Congregations

    Wilson, Keith G. (University of Chester, 2020-09-10)
    The practice of mission within small, suburban congregations has been widely overlooked by academic and Church institutions. Marginalised by their cultural context and struggling to maintain an already weak position, such churches could be dismissed as having little to offer contemporary missiology. This research believes that small, suburban congregations have an important missional role that, once resourced, is of value to the wider Church. The aim of this research is to reflect upon theological resources which could empower missional practice within small, suburban congregations. This reflection adopted a cyclical process of theological reflection. This reflective cycle or ‘Doing Theology Spiral’ used experience, reflection, exploration and action to create an ongoing pattern for missional reflection. This research began with an analysis of the missional experiences of selected small, suburban congregations. The gathered data highlighted aspects of the missional experiences of these congregations such as varied understandings of mission and tensions regarding the context for missional practice. In addition, the perceived strengths of such congregations were not commonly regarded as missional assets. This data was compared to published research. In the literature review, the practice of mission has received sustained attention over a long period. However, the mission of small, suburban congregations in Britain was largely absent from contemporary missiological debates. A range of theological resources were considered. The resources were regarded as important to the missional practice of congregations but, frequently overlooked or undervalued. These included context, activism, social action, and a sense of belonging. The sense of missional crisis suggested a need for other theological resources, notably missio Dei and a focus on the mission of God. This research discovered that a radical re-interpretation of missional practice within small, suburban congregations is required to challenge widespread stagnation and decline. In this research, it emerged that congregations required greater clarity and confidence regarding the theological resources available to them which could empower their missional practice.
  • The Heirloom Factor Revisited: Curated Objects and Social Memory in Early Medieval Mortuary Practices

    Williams, Howard; Costello, Brian (University of Chester, 2020-09-10)
    In the early 20th century, Baldwin Brown’s investigation of early Anglo-Saxon burials stated that the low ratio of deposited swords was likely caused by the inheritance of the weapon by a family member. This became known as the heirloom factor and has been a generally accepted summary of early AngloSaxon curation ever since. Chronologically older material culture originating from the early medieval period, however, has been consistently noticed within burials but overall neglected. Instead, researchers have focused on the reuse and recycling of Roman and Iron Age artefacts in early medieval furnished inhumation graves. Heirlooms, however, are biographical objects, imbued with the stories and events in which they had been present. Heirlooms from the early medieval period would have a known biography to their owners, families and wider social networks, whereas the biographical history of Roman or Iron Age objects would have been lost and unknown. Furthermore, the mortuary deposition of older objects would likely have made them noticeable and significant effect as a mnemonic device of social remembrance by participants and audiences. This thesis implemented an original combination of methods to contextually identify curated objects, or heirlooms, within the early medieval burials of Kent. The study subsequently interprets their roles in terms of social remembrance during the funerary rituals. Evidence from both archaeological and historical sources have indicated that swords and brooches were socially significant and distinct objects, presenting them as likely candidates as possible heirloom status objects. Early medieval cemeteries of Kent (5th–7th centuries AD) were chosen for this study because of the higher ratios of the number of swords and types of brooches found within burials compared to other areas of early Anglo-Saxon England. Kent is also the region where the first written laws are recorded in the beginning of the 7th century AD, with certain codes directly involving the inheritance of property. The study also responds to recent work on Kent’s graves in terms of grave re-opening. This research has analysed 1743 graves from 20 cemeteries in Kent to identify curation characteristics of either swords or brooches. Graves containing these objects were analysed for a series of characteristics to decipher chronological disparities within the entire grave context. This thesis has discovered that the deposition of curated objects within early Anglo-Saxon Kentish burials was a rare but discernible practice in which known biographical objects were utilised for several different funerary reasons. Swords and brooches were significant objects chosen to continue their circulation within a family or kin group for a period prior to their inclusion within a grave. A number of swords, however, have provided evidence that pieces of their hilts were likely inherited and continued while the rest of the sword, such as the blade, was included within a burial. The thesis argues that these practices facilitated the social remembrance of the significant weapon to be present during the funeral, as well as continuing its biography through its hilt fittings within the community. It has also been interpreted that the deposition of older brooches within subadult burials provides evidence of the effort to bolster the idealised identity of the deceased during the funeral or negotiate the relations between familial or kin groups. As the 5th—7th centuries AD were a period of social stratification, the utilisation of heirlooms within furnished burials has been found as a strategy to significantly influence the social remembrance of the mourners present at a funeral.
  • Light and Darkness - IV. Christianity

    Fulford, Ben; University of Chester
    A survey of the treatment of themes of light and darkness in the use and interpretation of biblical texts in Christian liturgy and theology from the early church to the present.

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