Global history is a popular and expanding field, which seeks both to understand better the connectivity between human cultures, and to understand better individual human cultures through comparison with others. The connective and comparative global study of ancient cultures has, however, traditionally been focussed on the dynamics of empires (e.g. the Roman and Chinese Han Empires); the economics of connective trade routes (most famously the Silk Roads); and the comparative study of particular disciplines within different cultures (e.g.
"The trace is the appearance of nearness, however far removed the thing that left it behind may be. The aura is the appearance of a distance, however close the thing that calls it forth. In the trace, we gain possession of the thing; in the aura, it takes possession of us." Walter Benjamin.
This project is essentially about human traces, and how these are evoked and recorded in different ways that evolve gradually.
Adhesion has a variety of uses in nature. Many organisms attach permanently to surfaces, as climbing plants and barnacles do. Adhesion helps some creatures to get around, for example in the case of the feet of geckos and various insects. Some, such as salamanders and sea cucumbers, use glue as a defence against predators, while others such as spiders and velvet worms use it as a means of attack. Some even use adhesion during reproduction. But despite its frequent appearance in nature and ecological importance to the organisms that use it, biological adhesion remains poorly understood.
Rebekah Higgitt aims to produce a new narrative of the development of a scientific culture within early modern London, as revealed through the city's geographies of knowledge and material culture; exploring the role of technical and scientific artefacts and understanding the institutional spaces in which they were made, used, traded and displayed
When Thomas Sprat wrote his defence of and manifesto for the recently founded Royal Society in 1667, he wrote of its location as the most advantageous possible for an institution such as theirs:
This study looks at the reception of the long two-book love story of Cupid (Amor or ‘Love’ in Latin) and Psyche (‘Soul’ in Greek), which forms the centrepiece of the Latin novel Metamorphoses or The Golden Ass by the second-century CE writer Apuleius, in European literature, art and opera from 1600 to the present day.
Recent work on mountains in modern European culture tends to emphasise the way in which everything changed in the late-eighteenth and early-nineteenth centuries. The standard story is that mountains had before then been viewed as places of fear and ugliness; now they came to be linked with beauty and sublimity, and became places of leisure through the development of mountain climbing as a sport.
Sharon Monteith’s literary-historical study will be the first to analyse the relationship between literary culture and political and social change in the US civil rights movement. It will uncover the significance of literary activism from the post-Civil War Reconstruction era to the present and, by mapping and analysing civil rights literary culture, it will extend civil rights historiography.
Revolutionary ideas often emerge in particular times and places, such as Ancient Greece, Renaissance Italy, England during the Industrial Revolution, or the Silicon Valley today. I will be investigating the geographic and chronologic diffusion of scientific ideas during the twentieth century.
Is evolution driven primarily by the slow action of everyday processes, or do the rare, extreme events – disasters, catastrophes, and sudden environmental shifts – play the defining role in evolution? Darwin saw evolution playing out gradually, with the slow and steady action of competition, predation, and environmental changes driving evolution. Much as the rain slowly wears away a stone, he saw such changes gradually altering species, generation by generation, across millions of years.
Water is essential to life, human health, food production and economic activity. The growth in global population and manufacturing, combined with the impact of climate change, are placing unsustainable demands on water resources. The agricultural sector is the major user of freshwater resources, accounting for >70% of withdrawals globally, and >90% in less-developed countries. By 2050, agriculture must produce 60% more food globally and 100% more in developing countries. The current rate of agricultural water demand is clearly unsustainable.