Year 1 Presentations: 22nd May 2018

On Tuesday, Landscape Surgery saw the first round of Year 1 surgeons presenting on their research:

Rachael Utting:

Collecting Leviathan: curiosity, exchange and the British Southern Whale Fishery (1775-1860)

My research project is titled Collecting Leviathan: curiosity, exchange and the British Southern Whale Fishery (1775-1860). The project looks specifically at the collecting activities of whalers and whaling surgeons within the BSWF and at the role played by these individuals in supplying the trade in curiosities in Britain during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. My presupposition is that during the regular layovers for fresh food, water and wood, the whalers also engaged in exchange relations to acquire indigenous artefacts which were retained for personal interest or sold as curiosities upon returning home. By analysing these moments of exchange and encounter through whaling logs, journals, auction house records and public and private correspondence, I propose to build an understanding of the networks of exchange spreading out from the London dockside and thereby enhancing our knowledge and understanding of early British collecting practices. To evidence this, I am reviewing journals (and to a lesser extent) logbooks relating to the BSWF to look for examples of cross cultural trade.

Ed Armston-Sheret;

Exploring Bodies: the body in early twentieth-century British cultures of exploration

This paper addresses the role of bodies in British cultures of exploration in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. I argue that explorers’ reputations were shaped not just by their scientific findings or geographical discoveries, but also by how they prepared, used, and represented their bodies. These issues are explored in relation to the outbreak of scurvy on the British National Antarctic Expedition (1901–1904). I demonstrate that the outbreak of scurvy affected both the public and scientific reputations of the expedition’s leadership and medical staff in a way that exposes the role of the body within questions of nationalism, race, and heroism. I then outline my broad research questions for the rest of my PhD project and my future research plans.

Kim Walker:

How a tree spreads: circulation of Cinchona specimens and knowledge in the 19th century 

Malaria has been described by WHO as the ‘greatest killer disease in human history’.  Between the 1630s to 1930s, by far the most effective treatment for malaria used in Europe and its imperial territories were the quinine alkaloids, extracted from the bark of the cinchona tree. Cinchona trees grow high on the eastern slopes of the Andes, and thus for two centuries import of cinchona bark was constrained by uncertain, often monopolistic supply chains, and by limited knowledge of the botany and chemistry of the tree. However, in the period 1850-1870 alkaloid-rich species were identified, analysed, collected and transplanted, leading to the establishment of large plantations in British India, Dutch Java and throughout the tropics. The scientists that drove the development of this medicine and their practices are little researched. My project, founded in the large 19th-century cinchona bark collections within the Economic Botany Department, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, will trace how these barks were used as learning & dissemination ‘tools’, and the networks of exchange and circulation of these specimens by key players to shed light upon the development of this important medicine.

Saskia Papadakis: 

Northerners in London: Englishness, place and mobility

In my PhD, I’m exploring how the identities and experiences of Northerners living in London relate to wider discourses of Englishness, place and mobility. I aim to contribute to debates on the imagined geographies of the nation and their relations to space, culture and identity, particularly in the wake of the Brexit vote and dominant media narratives that pit the Northern ‘white working-class’ and against the London ‘metropolitan elite’. In this talk, I discuss my research so far, including: my proposed research methods, which include life history interviews with self-defined Northerners living in London, ‘returning’ to the North with a small subgroup of interviewees, and reflexive podcasts with participants; potential sampling strategies; participant recruitment; and research ethics.

 Dennis Tam:

Navigating Prejudice: The Strategies of the Filipino Minority in Macau

Macau is a city where ethnic and cultural differences can be easily observed. Being one of the two Special Administrative Regions in China under a post-colonial context, the city enjoys a high extent of autonomy, including to the right of legislating its migration policy. In order to fulfil this labour demand and the demand for domestic workers when more and more local women started working the gambling industry, Filipino workers were introduced by labour agents as a kind of low-cost labour in the last two decades. This has changed the city’s population structure significantly.  However, the Filipino workers, as well as other migrant workers from countries of Southeast Asia, contribute to the city’s labour demand but are invisible in the dominant discourse of local Chinese, being alienated among the society, and even suffering various prejudice in their everyday life. This research focuses on how the Filipino workers in Macau have coped with prejudice that they are suffering in their everyday life through constructing strategies. I suggest that the Filipino workers develop strategies when navigating prejudice in their everyday encounters under different contexts, including encounters with the employers, with the locals and with their compatriots. Such strategies act as some kind of social or emotional support in their transnational life, facilitating their everyday life as members of minority living with difference in the city and eventually modify their ways of occupying or utilising particular spaces in Macau.

Qi Tina Yunting:

Everyday emotional geographies: Overseas returned students to Shanghai, China

Recent years have witnessed an increasing number of students returning to China. The Chinese government takes these returned students (numbering 0.67 million in 2017) as talents and aims to attract them back to China. However, many returned students have encountered problems in the job market, their everyday life, and integration into wider society. This process of return has received very little academic attention. Focusing on returned students, I am going to interrogate their everyday emotional geographies after their return. There are five research themes based on the primary research objective: transnational journeys, social relations, everyday emotional dynamics, everyday governance and the concept of home. Based on existing literature on emotional geographies, everyday geographies and migration research, I adopt the research approach of feminist geographies and the “more-than-representational” approach to uncover everyday emotional geographies of returned students. A one-year ethnographic research in Shanghai will be the primary data-collection method and the semi-structured interview will be the supplementary one. This project can contribute to migration research through focusing on the emotional world of returned students, a less examined group. Also, the project develops the knowledge of emotional geographies through combining everydayness and emotions. In practice, the findings of the project can provide advice to Chinese government in terms of its talent policy and migration regulations.

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One thought on “Year 1 Presentations: 22nd May 2018

  1. Royal Holloway, University of London says:

    As always, the breadth of interests in our SCHG group is so impressive. Can’t wait to hear more about all of them as they develop.

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