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14 February 2014
Historians – and husband and wife - Professor Kevin Passmore and Dr Garthine Walker, of the School of History, Archaeology and Religion have been awarded prestigious Leverhulme Research Fellowships to advance their fields of research.
Reader in History, Dr Garthine Walker will research and write a history of rape and sexual violence in England and Wales. Dr Walker will investigate the complex changes in how rape was dealt with legally and culturally between 1500 and 1800. Writing the history of rape has posed problems for historians because sexual acts that were coerced, violent, violatory, and/or unwanted appear to have been known in all historical periods.
By examining a rich array of historical evidence – from court records and legal manuals to private letters, newspaper reports and novels – Dr Walker will show that rape does have a history, but not the one that we might necessarily expect. Even things that superficially look the same may be understood or experienced differently in particular times, places, and circumstances.
Professor of History, Kevin Passmore will start his major research on the Maginot Line in History, Culture and Memory in September 2014. The Maginot Line was built by the French government in the 1930’s. Notoriously, in the summer of 1940, a lightning German attack through Belgium outflanked the Maginot Line, and within a few weeks France had been defeated. The fortifications seemed to be an irrelevance, a symbol of military myopia and refusal to look the imperatives of the modern world in the face.
However, although the fortifications saw little fighting, they were enormously important strategically, socially and culturally not only in France, but internationally. Consequently, the Maginot Line represents an ideal focus for an interdisciplinary study and it provides a window into French and European history.
The Leverhulme Trust’s Major Research Fellowships enable well-established researchers in the Humanities and Social Sciences to devote themselves to a single research project of outstanding originality and significance. Competition is high and successful candidates represent a wide range of exceptionally distinguished researchers.
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