Legal Violence: Searching for the Clandestine Use of Expanding Dum-Dum Bullets in the Twentieth Century


Professor Maartje Abbenhuis


Humanities; History

Project code: ART002

Project (two students)

In 1899, The Hague Conventions prohibited the military use of expanding rifle bullets – also known as dum-dum bullets – on the grounds that they caused the most horrendous wounds. The prohibition was controversial from the outset because the Anglo-European proponents of this ‘man-killing’ ammunition argued that they needed these bullets to police their empires and to combat any non-European enemies. Critics of the bullets argued that nothing warranted the use of such violent and deadly technology. Still, even today expanding ammunitions remain in widespread use, including by police forces. Whenever they are used, however, they occasion controversy. This project looks to chart some of the ways in which expanding rifle bullets were documented and commented upon in the media after their prohibition in international law in 1899. Using the various newspaper databases available through the University of Auckland’s library system, the successful scholar will work through a range of media reports on the subject to chart the varied uses and abuses of this technology.

Scholar’s Work: This projects helps to train students’ historical research, analysis and report-writing skills. The work is split into the following components: 1. Primary source research (250 hours): using the various newspaper databases available in the University of Auckland library, the scholar will log media reports on the uses (and abuses) of expanding ammunitions, like the dum-dum bullet, from 1899 to 1960. The scholar can choose whether they wish to focus their research on a particular country (eg Aotearoa New Zealand) or time period (eg during the First World War) or both. 2. Secondary source research (100 hours): using the sources available in the University of Auckland library and interloan service, the scholar will find, read and write short commentaries on the existing scholarship on the Hague prohibition on dum-dum bullets and its wider relevance. 3. Research report writing (50 hours): Mobilising all these sources, the scholar will write a research essay reflecting on their research findings, which is due at the end of the project. They can focus this report on a case study or aspect of the research that they find particularly interesting or revealing. The scholar will be expected to attend a weekly meeting with the project supervisor to discuss progress and findings.

Required Skills/Pre-requisites: Pre-requisite: The scholar must have passed a Stage III (or higher-level) History course. This project is best suited to students who have taken courses in History, Politics and IR, or Law and are genuinely interested in working on the history of weapons and wounds. It is particularly suited to students who are looking to go on to post-graduate study in History, International Law or the Masters in Conflict and Terrorism Studies.

Benefits to Scholar: The scholar will gain invaluable primary source research skills, which would be of great help to those wishing to go on to do PG study in History particularly, but also those wishing to go in Global Studies or the MCTS. The project’s findings could form the starting point for a MA or BA(Hons) dissertation, if the student so wished. At the very least, the student will gain valuable experience working with an experienced supervisor on an entry-level PG-appropriate research project. They will also be given some autonomy to decide which case study they might wish to write their research report on.

Expectations: That they are well-organised, eager to do their best and engaged in the project. At bare minimum, they have to be interested in the topic.

Engaging with Tāmaki Makaurau/Auckland's Past


Dr Jess Parr (First point of contact for students)

Professor Linda Bryder


Humanities, History

Project code: ART006

Project (two students)

There are two Summer Scholarships on offer, one of which is designated the Jonathan and Mary Mason Summer Scholarship in Auckland History. The successful applicants will work as a team but will choose individual topics on Auckland History to research. The students will assist to advance the goals of the Auckland History Initiative (AHI), located in History, School of Humanities. The AHI seeks to engage with and capture the historical development, vibrancy and diversity of Tāmaki Makaurau/Auckland and its importance to New Zealand life and beyond. Its aim is to reach beyond the University to build strong and enduring connections with Auckland’s many history and heritage institutions and communities, and to put Auckland’s history at the heart of an energetic conversation about our city. In collaboration with stakeholders including iwi, Council, central government agencies, the GLAMR sector (galleries, libraries, archives, museums and records), research institutes and local historical societies, the AHI aims to ask searching questions about Auckland’s past to understand its present and future directions. The project is also collaborating with the New Zealand History Teachers’ Association, pending the new school curriculum relating to New Zealand history. In all encounters with stakeholders the Scholars will be in a supportive role, with one or both Project Supervisors (Linda Bryder and Jessica Parr) taking a leading role.

Scholar’s Work on the Project: In order to help build an understanding of Auckland’s past in its multifaceted aspects, including urban, transnational, ethnic, cultural, social and environmental histories, the Scholars will work collaboratively to seek out archival material relevant to the study of Auckland history. Preliminary meetings will be held with various sectors who have already indicated a willingness to participate in this programme and have done so in the past. They include the Auckland City Council Heritage Unit, the Auckland City Library Research Centre, the Museum of Transport and Technology, and the Auckland War Memorial Museum. These stakeholder meetings always involve one or both of the Project Leaders (Linda Bryder and Jessica Parr), and Scholars will be there to learn and receive advice on how to proceed with their chosen topic. Each Scholar will select a case study for which there is a set of archival records to draw on. They will spend the ten weeks of the Scholarship exploring these records to develop that case study. The outcome will be a series of short illustrated accounts (usually 3 entries of 1500 words each) that will appear on the AHI website and will be shared with the Auckland City Library Heritage website, a talk in the Auckland City Library seminar series and a podcast, and possibly other talks at the Scholar’s discretion. The contribution of each Scholar is fully acknowledged on the AHI website, with a short biography (written by the Scholar) and an accompanying photograph, with a link to their individual submissions.

Required Skills/Pre-requisites: Some historical training will be a pre-requisite along with basic computer skills. The students will not necessarily have already engaged with primary source material, but will have good analytical and writing skills and be prepared to give an oral public presentation.

Benefits to Scholar: The Scholar will learn to navigate electronic catalogues and other history finding aids, which will prove useful grounding for further historical research at graduate level. The student will learn to read and analyse archival and other primary source material and how to use this material to tell a story. The student will also learn about the history of the local community in which he and she is currently based, furthering an interest in his or her surroundings. The student will gain useful contacts in the GLAMR sector (two former Scholars were subsequently offered contracts by bodies in the heritage sector to conduct further research). Being asked to present the results of their research will also increase their confidence in public speaking and engagement. The Scholar will learn to write history in an accessible way for general readers.

Expectations: The Summer Scholars will research and produce three illustrated short essays for the AHI website on their chosen research topic (with each essay c.1500 words). They will give a presentation in the Auckland Library’s Heritage seminar series, and will present at the annual AHI Symposium in 2023 (which usually attracts an audience of around 100 people) if this project goes ahead.

AKO: Teaching, Learning and Mātauranga Māori in Te Kura Tangata


Associate Professor Aroha Harris 

Leanne Tamaki, Kaiārahi


Humanities, History

Project code: ART014

Project (two students)

This is a project to research, consolidate, revise and update the various components of the Faculty of Arts AKO (teaching and learning) mātauranga Māori strategy (AKO Arts). The research sits at the interface between academic teaching and student engagement. It will inquire into the ways that mātauranga, and Ō Tātou Mātāpono (our Faculty values) in particular, are and can be infused into teaching and learning environments in Arts. It will tease out the intellectual underpinnings of AKO Arts developed in the Faculty over the past five years or so, bring them into conversation with more recent publications about Māori and Indigenous higher education, and showcase best practice and benefits in a variety of outputs.

Scholar’s Work on the Project: The scholar’s work comprises three main tasks: compiling and organising all Ako materials currently held by Associate Professor Aroha Harris and Kaiārahi Leanne Tamaki; completing a targeted review of relevant secondary sources to bring the existing materials up-to-date; and preparing educational resources and online support for kaiako, which may include mini-posters, podcast scripts, and infographics. Depending on the final shape of the project, including the scholar’s own preferences and the time available, the scholar may be invited to co-author an academic article arising from the research. The student will be guided in these tasks by Aroha Harris and Leanne Tamaki, with Aroha Harris taking lead responsibility for supervision.

Required Skills/Pre-requisites: We are looking for a student who: is organised and methodical in how they approach their work, including how they manage their time; can read critically and has a good grasp on how to effectively construct an English-language essay; is a motivated self-starter who is happy to work independently while having the confidence to seek guidance when needed; and can understand written and spoken te reo Māori to an intermediate level and has a nuanced understanding of common Māori concepts such as mana, tapu, and whanaungatanga.

Benefits to Scholar: The scholar will benefit from being exposed to the experience, skills and networks that Aroha and Leanne bring to bear on the project. Aroha is an established author and historian. Besides filling the formidable role of Kaiārahi, Leanne has a background in developing Māori historical digital content for a variety of projects and platforms. So, the scholar can expect expert coaching in the research they undertake and the diverse outputs they work on. The positioning of the project offers an opportunity to experience some of the workings of the Faculty in the critical area of teaching and learning. We also look forward to the knowledge and experience the scholar will bring to the project and encourage them to think about ways the scholarship can be oriented towards their PG aspirations. This approach will be supplemented with invitations to join relevant writing retreats and Waitangi Day events if they arise.

Expectations: We expect the summer scholar to: conduct themselves in a professional manner and represent the project in positive ways; confidently seek support and advice whenever they feel they need it, including if any issues are hampering their ability to work; respond to emails, meeting requests and other communications in a timely manner; engage in the workshops and activities offered by the Summer Scholars Student Support Team.

Concepts, motivations and values in conservation and invasive species management


Dr Emily Parke


Humanities, Philosophy

Project code: ART015


This project will focus on the philosophical and conceptual underpinnings of conservation, and the motivations and values which drive invasive species management. In Aotearoa New Zealand, these issues arise notably in the context of Predator Free New Zealand, the ambitious effort to eradicate possums, rats and stoats in order to protect taonga species (especially birds) and the ecosystems they inhabit. This project will focus on understanding and critically examining the concepts and values underlying invasive species management in Aotearoa New Zealand and in one or two other conservation settings from around the globe, which we will decide upon together. This project will build on work the supervisor has done in recent years on (1) the social, ethical and cultural issues surrounding Predator Free New Zealand – for details see – and (2) how the concepts and values driving invasive species management vary across global conservation contexts.

Scholar’s Work on the Project: The scholar will examine the scientific, philosophical, ethical, social and/or cultural facets of one or two international case studies where invasive species are managed in the interest of protecting native species. And they will examine these in relation to Predator Free 2050 and other conservation efforts in Aotearoa New Zealand. The scholar and supervisor will work together in the initial phase to co-design the details of the project, guided by the scholar’s background and interests in this area. The scholar will read journal articles, book chapters and online sources from philosophy, biology and other disciplines; identify and write summaries of key ideas from those readings; produce annotated bibliographies; and meet regularly with the supervisor to discuss the research. The supervisor will provide some initial reading lists, and the scholar will be expected to conduct independent research to identify and review further resources by searching online databases of published literature.

Required Skills/Pre-requisites: The scholar should demonstrate the potential to (1) conduct independent research using academic databases and other internet resources, (2) efficiently read philosophical and scientific journal articles and other published works, and (3) provide clearly written short summaries of them. It would be ideal for the scholar to have a conjoint major in Philosophy and Biology (or another scientific field relevant to the project), or a major in one with some coursework in the other. Some background in the philosophy of biology, or general philosophy of science, would also be helpful. But these are not required.

Benefits to Scholar: The scholar will gain experience in self-directed exploration of their own interests regarding this project, with guidance from the supervisor. A key focus of the research itself will be on reading written works, writing concise summaries of them, identifying key arguments and themes in the literature, discussing these with the supervisor, and deciding together where to go next. The project will thus give the scholar opportunities to develop and hone independent research skills, including searching academic literature and other resources, focused reading, summarising, synthesising ideas, and written and oral presentation skills. This will provide first-hand insight into, and involvement in, the research process in academic philosophy and interdisciplinary research—a significant asset for anyone considering applying for postgraduate programmes, in philosophy or other fields.

Expectations: I expect the scholar to be conscientious, organized, and to approach the topic with interest and an open mind.

Transdisciplinary Approaches to Touch and Vision


Professor Gregory Minissale


School of Humanities, Art History

Project code: ART018


This is a book project, the third volume on psychological, philosophical, and art historical approaches to contemporary art for Cambridge University Press. The first volume was an overview of cognitive approaches to art: The Psychology of Contemporary Art (2013); the second was entitled Rhythm in Art, Psychology and New Materialism (2021). The third will be The Psychology of Touch in Contemporary Art. There is currently no extant monograph on this topic, and the research is cutting-edge and transdisciplinary.

Scholar’s Work on the Project: The Summer Scholar will help lay the groundwork for one section of this volume: a literature review of scientific journal material in Frontiers, Taylor and Francis, and Springer on how humans neurobiologically perceive and experience touch, particularly regarding art. There is not a large amount of literature on touch and vision, so the student should be able to provide short reports on different areas of research that explore neuroscientific, cognitive, and perceptual explanations of how touch and sight interact.

Required Skills/Pre-requisites: The Scholar will have some experience conducting research and producing reports and literature reviews. Someone with a science background, particularly psychology and art, would be ideally suited, and those with an understanding of the transdisciplinary 'big picture'.

Benefits to Scholar: The Scholar would participate in original research drawing and be fully credited. I would regularly discuss strategies to search for and provide accounts of scientific experiments on the interactions of touch and vision. The student will engage in discussions about transdisciplinary ideas and concepts and best practice in research methods. This research would provide an excellent opportunity for the Scholar to learn about and become a specialist in haptic response. This could form the basis of postgraduate study in art, psychology, philosophy, or a transdisciplinary mix involving these different disciplines.

Expectations: The Summer Scholar will have a mature outlook, will be able to read quickly and accurately, and will have excellent communication skills in discussing the material. They will also be able to check in regularly and report back regarding progress and be relatively self-dependent and motivated.

Asian 8 Web Series Pilot Episode Production Assistant


Associate Professor Sarina Pearson


School of Humanities, Media and Screen

Project code: ART019


This is a production assistant position for the late pre-production, principal photography, and post-production of an eleven-minute pilot episode titled Enter the Dragon for a web series called Asian 8. It is a dramedy about an ambitious teenage girl who wants to be the Head Girl of her posh private single-sex girls’ school where Head Girls have historically been White. Outraged by the school’s ‘benign racism’, she rallies her fellow Asian students to form a gang to support her political ambitions. In exchange for their support, she’ll have to find them dates to the upcoming ball. This is no trivial task when you’ve only ever attended girls’ schools and don’t know many boys. The pilot has been modestly funded by New Zealand on Air’s Episode One initiative which aims to build creative capacity amongst New Zealand’s pan-Asian creative screen practitioners. It will form part of the supervisor’s series’ pitch to New Zealand and international platforms upon completion in 2023.

Scholar’s Work on the Project: The summer scholar will be responsible for assisting in pre-production, production and post-production. They will be involved in supporting scheduling and administering the collection of digital assets for promotion and marketing. They may be involved in conducting research that supports the Art Department and Wardrobe. This would involve producing a dossier about school rowing, orchestras, pre-balls, balls, afterparties and school elections as well as Christian youth groups. The scholar may also assist the Director in shoot prep which will include finding and organising visual references. During the shoot, the scholar will be on set ensuring that communications such as call sheets are clearly written and distributed, scripts are accurately versioned, and reports (expense and camera) are collected and appropriately filed. During post-production, the scholar will produce drafts of credits, liaise with post-production facilities, observe sound mix and grades, minute meetings with funders, assist in assembling deliverables and support the production of platform pitch materials such as the pitch deck (digital and analogue) and the pilot episode in all required formats. Strong writing skills will be required for the pitch deck, pitch materials, and promotional materials such as press releases. The summer scholars’ activities, which essentially involve assisting the producers, director, art department, and wardrobe, with a particular focus on collecting marketing and promotion materials, have not been funded by New Zealand on Air’s Episode One Initiative. The scholar’s work would thus add considerable value to this already-funded project and provide them with professional screen production experience.

Required Skills/Pre-requisites: Ideally, the summer scholar is a media student who understands some of the principles of screen production, however this role would be suitable for any student in an arts, business or systems engineering subjects. The primary pre-requisites are an interest in how television production works, strong writing, digital communication and interpersonal skills, the ability to read efficiently and assimilate information accurately, and the capacity to work quickly under a little bit of pressure.

Benefits to the scholar: This is a relatively rare opportunity to get experience in New Zealand drama and comedy serials production and to work on an Asian focused project. The student will gain real world experience in the screen industry, make connections with professionals, and learn many basic television producing skills from the supervisor. While the student will learn about the workaday world of content production, this experience will likely persuade them that creative roles require knowledge and skills that can be most efficiently and effectively acquired through postgraduate study. The key creatives involved in this project (producers, writers, directors) all have advanced degrees and three out of four are Auckland University alumnae.

Expectations: I expect the summer scholar to be friendly, curious, conscientious, and dependable. Some previous work experience would be preferable. They will need to have excellent reading and writing skills and to be able to work efficiently. The confidence to ask for clarification but to take appropriate initiative is also important.

Eric B & Rakim, "Paid in Full" (Seven Minutes of Madness – The Coldcut Remix)


Associate Professor Nabeel Zuberi


Humanities, Media and Screen

Project code: ART024


The project supports a short book of 30,000 words for the Singles book series, published by Duke University Press, and edited by Joshua Clover and Emily J. Lordi, who have invited me to submit a proposal. Each book in the series 'tells a complex story about a single song... distributed to and heard by millions that creates a shared moment it is bound to outlive, revealing social fault lines in the process.' My book will examine a 12-inch single released by 4th & Broadway and Island Records in 1987, the title track of New York hip-hop duo Eric B. & Rakim's Paid in Full album, remixed by London producers Coldcut. The single reached no.2 on the New Zealand singles chart, as well as charting in the UK, US, Netherlands, France and Germany. In 2012, Rolling Stone named 'Paid in Full' the 10th greatest hip-hop song and 'arguably the best remix in hip-hop.' My project analyses the record around these issues: the 12-inch format in hip hop; cut-and-paste aesthetics and sampling of film, television, radio and many kinds of music; the transnational and racialised dynamics of R&B and hip hop culture, particularly between the US, UK and Aotearoa.

Scholar’s Work on the Project: The scholar would search for, collect, organise and make notes on scholarly literature and media resources (audio, video, journalism) about and around this recording, the artists, and the three areas of focus described above. They will upload files to Google Drive and collate them in hard copy. Scholars would be expected to meet with the supervisor every week for orientation to each stage of the research and discuss work in progress.

Required Skills/Pre-requisites: 1. Searching the appropriate library database for books and journals in media and cultural studies, and popular music studies. 2. Searching for media resources such as sound recordings, films and videos. 3. Note-taking skills and clear and neat presentation of research. 4. Compilation of bibliographies /discographies/ videographies. 5. Some knowledge and/or serious interest in the history and historiography of hip hop, R&B and electronic music. 6. Some knowledge and/or serious interest in critical approaches to race and racialisation in transnational media and cultural studies. 7. NB musicological or ethnomusicological expertise is not expected or required.

Benefits to Scholar: The scholar would develop theoretical and empirical knowledge at the intersection of popular music studies, media studies and transnational cultural studies. They would develop a greater understanding of historical and historiographical research on music. They would gain insights into hip hop and dance music cultures. They would enhance their literature reviewing skills. They would have experience and a credit as a research assistant for a book-length project with a reputable international academic press. With guidance from the supervisor, they would also be encouraged to develop their own research proposal on a related topic for a course paper, dissertation, thesis, independent research project or directed study in their future postgraduate studies.

Expectations: The scholar is expected to have a meeting every 7-10 days with the research supervisor to discuss the research completed. The supervisor will provide guidelines with a timeline for particular research areas and tasks over the 10 weeks/400 hours. The scholar should enjoy discussing research in progress and writing about popular music culture and media.

Mapping tangata whenua stories at University of Auckland Waipapa Taumata Rau 2.0

Dr Rowan Light


Project code: ART027


This project builds on the work of a 2021-2022 summer scholar project to develop a Google Map-based (or similar web-based mapping tools) resource for staff and students that would map and annotate sites of significance to tangata whenua stories around the University of Auckland city campus. The opportunity here is to bring diverse stories together so that we can better educate staff and students about the layered past and present of our campus. The scholar’s role would consist of: 1. Reading through narratives produced by the 2021/2022 project on tangata whenua stories; 2. Researching in archives to add further documentary and pictorial sources; 3. Developing a range of tours and hīkoi using Google Maps or a similar web-based mapping tool. 4. Annotating sites of significance through QR Code, possibly linked to the university’s own Te Kūaha app. This project complements efforts to enrich the University campus’ historical and cultural narratives. Overall, the project fits into my stream of work as project curator at the Auckland Museum building networks of engagement across iwi histories to shape public stories of Aotearoa New Zealand.

Scholar’s Work: My background in digital humanities, and histories of memory and commemoration in spaces, provide the conceptual frameworks of the project. The scholar’s work would consist of taking the set of short narratives developed in 2021/2022 and designing campus tours reflecting different themes and stories. For example, these might relate to the histories of whenua before the foundation of Auckland and/or the university, the development of Māori studies and student support on campus, or anti-racism efforts (such as the Haka Party incident). Locations will be paired with contemporary and historic photographs, as well as ‘learning experiences’ such as prompt questions. The scholar would be thinking a lot about digital education and curation, and what staff and students need to know about particular sites. As supervisor, I will guide the selection and design of these ‘tours’, working with the Office of the Pro Vice-Chancellor (Maori), especially Kaiarataki Michael Steedman so that any output complements the university’s partnership with mana whenua.

Required Skills/Pre-requisites: Writing and research skills are valuable for this scholarship, as well as a desire to think about histories of representation and space. The project will appeal to students with skills and interests in digital media. The scholar will need to set their own goals while working with regular input from the supervisor. The scholar would benefit from a knowledge of Aotearoa New Zealand histories, especially Māori and Ngāti Whatua histories. Some knowledge of archives and databases would also be helpful – though, as supervisor, I can provide direction here. A familiarity with Māori names, places, and common words and phrases – if not language fluency – is essential.

Benefits to Scholar: This project is a great opportunity for a scholar to be part of a research project that combines historical skills focused on developing critical citizenship through public stories, with digital media aimed at public audiences. The chance to ‘curate’ a map of sites, with a focus on short narratives or ‘labels’ will make an excellent addition to a CV for someone wanting to pursue public history inside or outside cultural institutions like a university or museum or in community contexts. The project is an entry-point for thinking about digital history and would make a compelling project for Honours or Postgraduate research, if the scholar wanted to pursue this.

Expectations: I understand the student will be undergraduate and so will deliver work of that level. I believe that, as per my description above, the project can definitely be handled by a suitable undergraduate student and will create exciting pathways for postgraduate history.

Discovering the ‘New Zealand Wars’ collection at Auckland War Memorial Museum Tāmaki Paenga Hira

Dr Rowan Light

Humanities, History

Project code: ART028


This project offers a deep dive into the New Zealand Wars collection at the Auckland War Memorial Museum. The aim is to enrich our understanding of this collection by researching the object files of the Human History archive which spans some hundred years of documentation. The scholar will navigate the archives to collate knowledge relating to New Zealand Wars objects and taonga. The project will consist of: 1. Learning to use the museum’s Vernon database and paper-based filing systems; 2. Collating information found in object files pertaining to the New Zealand Wars objects; 3. Developing a familiarity with the material culture (and its history) of the New Zealand Wars at Auckland War Memorial Museum. The project fits into my stream of work as project curator at the Auckland Museum, helping to create avenues of access for students to the museum’s collections and archive.

Scholar’s Work on the Project: My background as project curator for the NZ Wars at the museum provides the key context of this project. I have been re-developing the museum’s catalogue of NZ Wars objects; the scholar’s work would consist of ‘fieldwork’ by going to the Human History archives and compiling information held on these specific objects and identifying relevant gaps and omissions. This work might entail consulting with experts in different curatorial fields such as documentary, pictorial, and archaeological collecting. On this basis, the scholar would contribute to an overarching collections document that will, in turn, contribute to developing a contemporary NZ Wars gallery over 2024 and 2025. As supervisor, I will provide access to the museum, as well as tutoring on the museum’s filing systems and Vernon database.

Required Skills/Pre-requisites: Writing and research skills are essential for this scholarship, as well as a desire to think about histories of objects and collecting. The project will appeal to students who enjoy a bit of detective work and working through historical documents. It will require lots of piecing together, through disparate files and databases, fragments of information. The scholar will need to set their own goals while working with regular input from the supervisor. It will be real – at times, monotonous – archival work without glamour. Some knowledge of how to use archives and databases would also be helpful – though, as supervisor, I can provide direction here. A familiarity with Māori names, places, and common words and phrases – if not language fluency – is also helpful.

Benefits to Scholar: This project is a great opportunity for a scholar interested in museums, heritage, and material culture. The experience in a museum collection, learning to navigate object files and databases, and synthesise information in an overarching document, will make an excellent addition to a CV for someone wanting to pursue public history inside or outside cultural institutions like a university or museum or in community contexts. The project is an entry-point for thinking about museums and heritage, especially relating to the New Zealand Wars. I am hoping that the project sparks interest in possible postgraduate research.

Expectations: I understand the student will be undergraduate and so will deliver work of that level. I believe that, as per my description above, the project can definitely be handled by a suitable undergraduate student and will create exciting pathways for postgraduate history.

Rebellious women on Catullus

Dr Maxine Lewis

Humanities, Classics and Ancient History

Project code: ART029


I am currently scoping a book project on women’s responses to Catullus throughout the ages, in art, poetry, novels and scholarship. I am especially interested in tracking down and researching such women who were in some ways transgressive in their own time. Catullus was a Roman poet who pushed the boundaries of masculinity in his own era, often writing through women’s voices. He was heavily censored in later periods due to his sexual content. As such, he has offered a transgressive, taboo corpus to women bold enough to engage with him, whether in visual art or via the written word. I have published case studies of women’s responses to Catullus before, in Lewis 2013, Lewis 2018, and Lewis and Robertson 2021. Each of those articles had a narrow temporal, cultural, and geographic focus. I now believe that there are sufficient case studies to warrant a much broader investigation, hopefully leading to a book. Further preliminary work is needed to confirm the scope.

Work on the Project: Part 1. The scholar would first work through existing material on Catullus’ reception, conducting literature reviews to build up a well-rounded knowledge of the field. They will use this knowledge to establish a database of women who have responded to Catullus. English responses are to be prioritised but if the scholar has additional languages they can expand the scope to foreign language materials. The scholar will access the women’s works in original form and create a database categorising each reception (this will be done with the aid of Hardwick’s work establishing a typology of Classical Receptions). It would be very useful if the scholar identifies any specific archives where I might need to do archival research later. Part 2. Once they have completed the preliminary survey and categorisation work, the scholar will be able to choose to research a small number of women responding to Catullus who most appeal to their research interests (I suggest two case studies maximum). They would conduct a deep-dive into bibliographic material on those specific women and build up a well-rounded picture of the women themselves and their work on Catullus. Contenders include: 1. Josephine Balmer, a contemporary translator of Medieval women writers whose own poetic output draws on multiple Greco-Roman texts, including Catullus; 2. Mary Stewart, a Suffragette activist and academic in the US whose heavily censored, 1915 edition on Catullus has been little studied; 3. Celia Zukofsky, who with her partner Louis Zukofsky published an edition of Catullus; the translations are almost always attributed to Louis alone. These are suggestions; in Part 2 the scholar will have the ability to focus on the types of Classical Receptions that most interest them and are relevant to their skill-sets.

Required Skills/Pre-requisites: The student must be a fast reader of English, able to sift through quite a bit of material both primary and secondary. They should be able to sift and analyse material, categorising it into a database. In terms of knowledge of content, it would be useful for the scholar to have some knowledge of any or all of the following: 1. Feminist and/or queer approaches to literature. 2. Women’s literary and artistic responses to earlier traditions; especially but not limited to the outputs of ancient Rome. 3. Familiarity with Catullus’ corpus. 4. Knowledge and understanding of Classical Reception Studies.