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Research Students associated with the Centre

This page lists current students whose research is associated with the Centre. To see alumni students associated with us, click here.

Department: English
Supervisors: Karen Edwards and Nicholas McDowell
Funding: Vice Chancellor's Scholarship

Find out more about Tessa here.

Department: History
Supervisors: Henry French and Ben Jervis
Funding: AHRC

I am looking at 17th century trade tokens: small change issued by thousands of individuals and institutions across England, Wales and Ireland between 1648 and 1679. They acted as a credit instrument, privately issued money and advertising. I will combine historical and archaeological resources, including the tokens, town minutes and evidence of distribution, to examine how people at the time thought they worked and how they seemed to be used in practice. I will also examine the decisions made by issuers and how this arrived across England and Wales, what influenced this and what influenced which issues were 'successful' or not.

Department: History
Supervisors: Henry French and Ryan Handley

The Wase collection comprises around 1,000 manuscripts sent to Christopher Wase in reply to a questionnaire that he distributed between 1673 and 1677. As such these documents represent the results of the first national survey of schools in England but they have never been analysed in depth. I am stripping out relevant information and using it to populate a database for analytical purposes.

Department: History
Supervisors: Maria Fusaro (Exeter), Andrea Addobbati (Pisa)
Funding: European Research Council

General Average (GA) is an aspect of maritime law with a long history, with origins stretching back to the ancient world. A type of mutual insurance, it was compulsory for all traffic in the Mediterranean, European, and European-colonial spheres, and required that all involved in a maritime voyage contribute to the restitution of certain damages. Inherently international by nature, there were nevertheless significant regional variations in the way it was understood during the early-modern period. My research examines the impact of GA on the structure of international exchange, and explores the diplomatic, legal, and cultural clashes that it produced. The free port of Livorno, both intensely cosmopolitan and a pivotal node in international exchange, provides an excellent case study.

Find out more about Jake here.

Department: History
Supervisors: Jonathan Barry and Peter Elmer
Funding: The Wellcome Trust

An examination of the working practices of English astrologer-physicians, as they were shaped and informed by the Astrological Figure (a ‘horoscope’). The aims are broadly twofold: firstly, to reconstruct the organisation, routines, rituals, encounters and processes of an early modern astrological-medical practice; secondly, to interrogate the astrologer-physicians’ understanding and application of the evidence contained within the Figure. A unique combination of source material is analysed and integrated: astrological guides, casebooks, almanacs, papers and personal correspondence, together with Greek, Arabic and Latin astrological material in translation. The evidence generated by the Figures is critical to our understanding of early modern medicine and it is hoped that the results of my research may prompt a re-examination of the premises of existing astrological-medical scholarship.

Department: English
Supervisors: Felicity Henderson (Exeter) and Paddy Bullard (Reading)
Funding: AHRC (SWW DTP)

Research summary: My project focusses on parish libraries in early modern Devon to uncover the local cultures of reading, sharing and collecting books that created them, and to reflect more widely on parochial book use among the clergy and middling sorts. Parish libraries have been neglected in studies of early modern reading but are rich sources of evidence for looking at book use outside of educational centres such as the universities, and beyond the collections of the very wealthy.

Find out more about Anna-Lujz here.

Department: History
Supervisors: Henry French and Jonathan Barry

This project aims to construct career profiles of speculative house builders in London. It focusses on the period between Nicholas Barbon (1637-1698), considered the first modern property developer, and Thomas Cubitt (1788-1855), founder of the first integrated building firm, and questions the apparent absence of major entrepreneurs in the industry in the intervening period. It looks particularly at how speculative builders financed their operations and seeks to identify the factors that made them successful or otherwise.

Department: English
Supervisors: Chloe Preedy and Karen Edwards

My thesis examines Christopher Marlowe's plays in their religious and historical context. It focuses on how Marlowe's drama confronts the audience with issues caused by the fragmentation of Protestantism in the late 1580s and early 1590s.

Department: History
Supervisors: Jonathan Barry and Richard Ward

Robert's research seeks to uncover the forgotten experience of some of the many thousands of people who became bankrupts in eighteenth-century England. Sources drawn on include: legal records, personal correspondence, newspapers, advice literature, novels and plays.

Department: English
Supervisors: Pascale Aebischer and Chloe Preedy

I am studying the dialectical relationship between four plays (Westward Ho, Eastward Ho, Northward Ho, The Isle of Gulls) and, in particular, their versions of contemporary London.

Find out more about Jim here.

Department: History
Supervisors: Nandini Chatterjee & Jonathan Barry
Funding: Commonwealth Scholarships Commission

Law and gender in the 18th-century Maratha Empire in India, looking at the role of community institutions as well as state tribunals.

Department: History
Supervisors: Jane Whittle and Henry French
Funding: ESRC

Amy's PhD will be a comprehensive analysis of wage labour and poverty on the Kingston Lacy estate in east Dorset. As such, it will help bridge the gap in current literature by directly linking these two topics. It will consider how individuals and households managed to survive at the subsistence level and what happened if they did not manage to 'get by'. Account books will be triangulated with poor relief records to try to ascertain whether there were certain periods when estate workers were reliant upon relief.

Find out more about Amy here.

Department: English
Supervisors: Philip Schwyzer and Joanne Parker

My project examines change and continuity in the perception and use of these wells in the West of England and Wales, tracing their social significance across time, and continuing on into their relationship to modern society.

Department: French/English
Supervisors: Melissa Percival, Henry Power, Helena Taylor
Funding: Niklaus-Cartwright Scholarship

My doctoral work, using the framework of John Locke's epistemology, charts the subjective nature of the experience of characters across Voltaire's 'Contes philosophiques' and selected novels of Samuel Richardson, contending that the truth as is discovered by each character is different according to context, action, 'a priori' (or innate) and 'a posteriori' (or based on experience) ideas.

Department: English
Supervisors: Pascale Aebischer and Ranita Chatterjee

My thesis argues for and aims to bring to light the methods employed by Vishal Bhardwaj in adapting William Shakespeare’s plays in Bombay cinema. It will draw on the plays of Macbeth, Othello, and Hamlet, which were adapted in Maqbool (2004), Omkara (2006) and Haider (2014) respectively. The methodological approaches being used involve close reading of source texts and watching films based on them. I will also take the Transcultural Adaption Theory and the Theory of Indigenisation into account, as the overall focus of my thesis is determining how Shakespeare has been recontextualised in the Indian setting. The thesis aims to offer a nuanced understanding of the various approaches undertaken by Bhardwaj to translocate the Shakespearean play in the Indian setting.

Find out more about Pankhuri here.

Department: History
Supervisors: Sarah Toulalan and Alun Withey

Department: English
Supervisors: Corinna Wagner and Andrew Rudd
Funding: Vice Chancellor's Scholarship

My research investigates representations of the female breast within satirical prints, specifically tracing contemporary constructions of natural and unnatural femininity. Through close consideration of the political, medical and cultural contexts in which images of the breast appeared, it seeks to analyse the relationship between maternal ideologies and female identity, focusing especially on sexuality. Situated within the medical humanities, my thesis draws upon a wide cultural body of work - I use poetry, novels, medical texts, diaries and magazines in additional to satirical and pornographic prints.

Find out more about Katie here.

Department: History
Supervisors: Maria Fusaro and Nandini Chatterjee
Funding: European Research Council

I am studying the activities of what were, on the surface, state-sponsored insurance institutions established during the reign of Louis XIV. I hope to shed light on how Colbertian economic policy influenced maritime trade during a period of both military struggle for the French state and growing French commercial momentum in the Mediterranean and Atlantic worlds.

Find out more about Lewis here.

Department: English
Supervisors: Karen Edwards (English) and Matthew Wright (Classics)
Funding: Exeter International Excellence Scholarship for Postgraduate Research

My dissertation is concerned with Milton and the concept of the sublime. Though the notion of Milton as a sublime poet is so common as to be almost a cliché, scholarship has never fully explored Milton in relation to the sublime, no doubt because it has been perceived as a largely post-Miltonic concept first formulated in the context of eighteenth-century aesthetic theory. My research, building on recent scholarship on the sublime in classical antiquity and the Renaissance, provides both a historical exposition of the sublime as a pre-aesthetic concept and an exegesis of the sublime in Milton's works.

Find out more about Thomas here.

Department: History
Supervisors: Sarah Toulalan & Nandini Chatterjee
Funding: University of Exeter (College of Humanities)

My proposed research will examine the history and construction of human sexualities and gender identities vis-a-vis the body in medieval north India. I will do so through an interdiscplinary study of literary compositions and their accompanying visual representations, produced between c. 1526 and 1748, in Persian, Hindavi, Braj and nascent Urdu.

Department: History
Supervisors: Sarah Toulalan and Hester Schadee
Funding: Wellcome Trust

My thesis will analyse diet and exercise advice and practices to investigate attitudes to ‘healthy bodies’ in Dutch and English printed medical literature, physician’s casebooks, patient-physician correspondence, and recipe books between 1650 and 1800. With modern concerns around increasing obesity rates and an ever-growing body of dietary advice in both medical and popular literature, a study of diets and exercise in the past can help us understand where our current ideas and ideals concerning body and health originate. The key goals of this project are to locate the health values and practices that were being promoted at this time; to assess to what extent dietary advice and ideals reached lay society; to analyse to what extent patients followed advice and made dietary and exercise considerations part of their ‘lifestyle’; and to examine attitudes to ‘healthy’ or ‘unhealthy’ bodies and bodily ideals in late seventeenth and eighteenth-century Dutch and English society. Examining manuscript and printed sources in a geographically comparative study will provide a rich and in-depth understanding of contemporary ‘health cultures’ and bodily ideals. In so doing the thesis will analyse how far we can identify the development of a modern ‘health culture’ in this period.