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Queen Mary Institute for the Humanities and Social Sciences (IHSS)

Inaugural Director’s Welcome

Welcome to the new Queen Mary Institute for the Humanities and Social Sciences (IHSS). The Institute was established in January 2017, with the primary aim to facilitate cross-disciplinary dialogue and research collaborations in the Humanities and Social Sciences within Queen Mary and beyond. The Institute aims to become a hub for intellectual cross-fertilisation and interaction, building upon the key Queen Mary values of social justice and inclusion and upon our global outlook. The Institute will be the anchor for a vibrant and world-class intellectual community on our Mile End campus, establishing channels of communication and co-operation with partners in academia and industry in the UK and Europe in a global context.

Valsamis Mitsilegas

Welcome to the Queen Mary Institute for the Humanities and Social Sciences (IHSS)

Upcoming events

September 2017

The Centre for Small States in the Department of Law would like to invite you to a two-day workshop taking place in the Colette Bowe room on 18 and 19 September. The workshop brings together academics from across the UK, Europe and the Pacific to discuss topics such as governance and sovereignty, migration, the environment and economic growth and development with an eye to submitting multidisciplinary grant applications in these areas.

If you are interested, please contact Dr Caroline Morris at c.morris@qmul.ac.uk for more information.

The Small States and Brexit roundtable discussion will follow the workshop on 18th Sept. This is a free event, open to the public. Please register at www.eventbrite.co.uk.

Past events

May 2017

Inaugural IHSS Public Lecture:
'Constitutional Panics and Imperial Power' - 17-05-17

CLSGC and IHSS Annual Lecture [PDF 148KB]

April 2017

Global Challenges: Connecting the Disciplines - Workshop 28-04-17

GCRF workshop [PDF 116KB]

Interdisciplinary Workshop on the Creative Economy - 03-04-17

Workshop [PDF 121KB]

The Institute is an ideas generating hub for the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences at Queen Mary University of London.  It seeks to enable inter-disciplinary and cross-disciplinary conversations, by bringing together the expertise of some of the world’s finest scholars from within Queen Mary University of London and from outside.

The activity of the Institute is focused each year on a thematic programme.  Subsequent years will be framed around other thematic foci.

The Institute enables engagements between the fifteen Research Centres which are supported by the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences and led by members of our distinguished academic staff.

The Institute is also home to a dynamic group of visiting fellows (both junior and senior), whose research interests align with the annual thematic programme.

Inter-Disciplinary Research Centres

The Queen Mary IHSS  hosts and supports fifteen cross-School, inter-disciplinary research centres, which are each led by a member of our distinguished academic staff.  In addition, the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences supports a wider array of inter-disciplinary activity through:

Mile End Institute a public policy, politics and governance institute based at QMUL.

Peoples’ Palace Projects a charity supported by QMUL which focused on the role of arts projects and performances in supporting people to transform their worlds in the contexts of risk, violence and crisis.

Digital Initiatives Network a support network for those working on digital technologies in research and the digital humanities.

Faculty Research Centres

Visiting Fellowship Scheme

The Queen Mary IHSS was established to showcase the disciplinary, cross-disciplinary and inter-disciplinary research strengths of humanities and social sciences research at Queen Mary University of London, and to enable leading scholars from around the world to engage and contribute to this research environment.

A key part of the Institute’s activity is the Visiting Fellowship programme.  This scheme enables scholars from around the world to spend up to one month visiting the Institute and the Faculty to engage with the particular thematic programme of activity.

For many years, the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences has run a successful Distinguished Visiting Fellows programme and the Queen Mary IHSS scheme builds on that and extends it to more junior scholars.

The scheme is most suited to those wishing to spend part of a sabbatical leave period at Queen Mary University of London.  The scheme covers the on-campus accommodation costs for Visiting Fellows.

In addition, applications from those wishing to be considered for either the British Academy or Leverhulme Early Career Fellows schemes are strongly encouraged to consider the Queen Mary Institute for the Humanities and Social Sciences (IHSS) as an intellectual base.

Leverhulme Early Career Fellows

School of Languages Linguistics and Film

Dr Michal Murawski - An anthropologist of architecture and cities, who completed his PhD at Cambridge before taking up a Mellon Postdoctoral Research Fellowship at The School of Slavonic and Eastern European Studies (SSEES), University College London, 2014-16. His work focuses on the complex social lives of monumental buildings, and on the architecture and planning of Eastern European communism, particularly its continuing impacts on 21st-century cities.

Dr Jonathan Kasstan: A variationist sociolinguist with research interests in French, the regional languages of France (esp. language death theory), and phonetics and phonology more generally. He completed his PhD at the University of Kent, and has taught at Kent, QMUL, and the Université Sorbonne Nouvelle – Paris 3. His work focuses on linguistic diffusion and change in obsolescent dialect communities.

School of Geography

Dr Casper Laing Ebbensgaard: Luminous Verticality: The changing geographies of East London at night
263 high-rise buildings are planned for construction across London, and 47% will be located in London’s East End. This project examines these newly designed residential high-rises within their wider context at night, by questioning to what extent the lived experience of the night is taken into account when designing them. The research questions the role of lighting design to how residents living in and nearby these new high-rises feel at home, or not at home at night. The research draws on ethnographic methods and will involve collaboration with a photographer and The Geffrye Museum of the Home.


Dr Edyta Materka: Peasant Struggles in the Age of Disaster Capitalism
How do peasant societies put themselves back together again after natural disasters? Drawing from exploratory fieldwork and relief work experience in post-disaster Thailand, Haiti, Malawi, Nepal, Fiji, and the Philippines since 2005, Peasant Struggles examines how, in recovery efforts, subsistence-based communities are increasingly jeopardised by resurgent colonial labour systems, land-grabbing, and humanitarian utopianism. It explores how post-disaster zones, monopolised by public and private sector interests alike, are emerging sites of agrarian transformation as peasants recalibrate old strategies of accommodation and resistance to access ever-conditional aid whilst devising new ways to reclaim agency over their land, labour, and way of life.

Dr Claudia Soares: An emotional History of Institutional Childcare in Britain, Australia and Canada
Recent government inquiries into children's institutional care have highlighted the failings of historical childcare systems in Britain, Australia and Canada. However, our understanding of the history of these institutions is partial. This transnational study explores children’s social and emotional experiences of institutional care and ‘aftercare’ in Britain, Australia and Canada. Taking a child-centred approach and adapting a ‘history of emotions’ perspective, the project draws on children's and carers' written testimony to shift the scholarly debate to offer a more balanced assessment of these institutions that sets examples of trauma and abuse alongside more positive experiences of care.

Dr Ashok Kumar: End of Sweatshops? China's labour scarcity and a rise in monopoly garment firms
In recent years, South China’s labour shortage, rising costs, and unrest have led to garment firm consolidation, potentially signalling an end to the Chinese sweatshop and altering the power of workers worldwide. Until now, the sector’s outsourcing structure left firms stunted and incapable of upgrading, preserving its ‘sweatshop’ legacy. I argue that burgeoning monopolistic garment manufacturers are finally bridging the spatial divide between value creation (producers) and value-capture (brands/retailers), with workers demanding a larger share. I aim to complete a monograph for a university press by the end of the fellowship that will contribute to ongoing debates both academically and practically.

School of Law: Thomas MacManus

School of Politics and International Relations

Lisa Tilley is currently working in PAIS as Research Associate on the Newton Funded project: The Everyday Political Economy of Urban Resettlement. She is also co-convener of the Raced Markets collaborative research project with QMUL and Associate Editor of the Global Social Theory pedagogical resource. Her wider research explores material approaches to ‘the colonial question’, as well as regimes of racial and gendered difference in relation to processes of accumulation and dispossession in economies of extraction. She has published work in relation to debates within political economy, political ontology, post/decolonial thought, and decolonial methodology, and her latest article on the ethics and economics of research methods, Resisting Piratic Method by Doing Research Otherwise, will soon be published with the journal Sociology. Lisa also won a 2016 Warwick Award for Teaching Excellence for her decolonial pedagogical innovations in PAIS.

Eleanor Bindman is a specialist in Russian politics and will be a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow at QMUL from 2014 to 2017. Prior to this she was a Lecturer in Politics at the University of Manchester.  Her PhD in Russian and EU Politics, which was completed at the University of Glasgow in 2013, looked at the role played by human rights issues within EU-Russia relations. She is a fluent Russian-speaker and has worked and travelled extensively in Russia and elsewhere in the Former Soviet Union. She is a specialist in Russian and Ukrainian politics and public policy and will be a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow at QMUL from 2014 to 2017. Prior to this she was a Lecturer in Politics at the University of Manchester. Her PhD in Russian and EU Politics, which was completed at the University of Glasgow in 2013, looked at the role played by economic and social rights issues within EU-Russia relations. Her current research explores welfare reform processes and welfare governance in contemporary Russia and Ukraine, focusing on recent policies aimed at increasing the outsourcing of traditionally state-provided social services to commercial and non-governmental organisations. On a wider level her research interests include issues relating to social rights, social justice and citizenship in the Former Soviet Union.

School of English and Drama

Dr Harriet Phillips is Editor on the AHRC-Funded project The Complete Works of Sir Thomas Browne, based in the School of English and Drama at Queen Mary University of London. She arrived at Queen Mary in 2013 after completing her Ph.D. at the University of Cambridge on cheap print and the popular past. She has published on Shakespeare, on Thomas Browne and popular culture, and on early modern broadsides and the public sphere, and is currently revising her doctoral thesis into a monograph.

School of History

Dr David Kennerley has received a Leverhulme ECF and will be joining the School in September 2017. He is currently a PDF on an ERC grant attached to the Music Department at King’s College London. He took his degrees at Oxford University. His Leverhulme project is entitled, ‘A sonic history of Chartism: Music, sound and politics in Britain, c.1838–1848’, and he will be working under the mentorship of Dr Rob Saunders.

Dr Laura Tisdall will be joining the School in spring 2018 to take up a Leverhulme ECF. She will be joining us from a temporary post at Durham University. She took her degrees at Cambridge. Laura’s Leverhulme project is entitled ‘Adolescents’ conceptions of adulthood in Britain, c. 1950 to the present day’, and she will be working under the mentorship of Dr Rhodri Hayward.

Dr Oskar Cox Jensen - was awarded a Leverhulme ECF in 2016. He joined up from King’s College London, where he working as a PDRA on an ERC research grant. He took his degrees at Oxford University. His topic is ‘Life in London: a biography of street in indigenes in Seven Dials’, and he will be working under the mentorship of Professor Colin Jones.

Postgraduate Engagement

A key element to the activity of the Queen Mary IHSS involves engagement with the Queen Mary University of London post-graduate community in the humanities and social sciences. The Institute will establish a number of PhD studentships to focus on thematic programmes and to support the activity of the Institute.

The Queen Mary IHSS People

Director: Professor Valsamis Mitsilegas, Faculty Dean for Research, Humanities and Social Sciences

Annual Programme Director:  TBC

Faculty Administrative Officer: June Ryde

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