Lucy Cavendish 2015 Graduate Research Day: Humanities and Social Science Abstracts
* Elizabeth Forbes. Researching Creative Writers’ Self-Identities
The focus of my research is the development of creative writers’ self-identities in the context of mentoring and HE teaching relationships. Fieldwork and analysis were undertaken using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) in a narrative framework. I am now in the depths of writing my thesis. This short presentation will focus on key aspects of the argument for my thesis including the implications of this research for our understanding of the nature of creative writers’ identities and the significant qualities of such developmental relationships.
* Stephanie Guy. Racial Histories and Everyday Lives: ‘Mixed-race’ experiences in Australia and the United Kingdom
This research is concerned with how State (mixed-)racial histories and policies influences social perceptions of mixed-race young people and their own self-concept, and how this effects their day-to-day lives. Grounded in critical mixed-race studies, this research takes a phenomenological approach to critically view the differences in Australian and United Kingdom social and racial histories and policies, and their impacts on the social value placed on mixed-race lives. ‘Mixed-race’ people, those who are descended of two or more groups socially understood to constitute distinct ‘races’, are a fast growing demographic, and evaluating the way each country attends to this population is an insight into differing approaches to issues of ‘race’ in general. Through historical and policy comparison, this research will attempt to locate the point where the United Kingdom (and not Australia) promoted mixed-race as a social policy issue, and how state and social validation of mixed-race identity as a legitimate racial self-ascription impacts on mixed-race experiences.
* Joyce Lau. Iran and the International Politics of Oil
At the turn of the twentieth century, Iran was home to nearly 10 million people of which ninety percent were employed in agriculture. A pawn in the Great Game between Russia and Great Britain, the country found its political policies defined by the interests of world powers rather than by the needs of its domestic constituents. By 1979, this dynamic had drastically changed. The Iranian Revolution replaced the proWestern government installed by Allied troops in 1953 with an anti-Western Islamic Republic. Its economy underwent a similarly radical transformation with rapid growth in trade and increased investment in manufacturing funded by revenues from the exploitation of oil. Although interest in Middle Eastern oil had already started by the late 1800s, it was not until 1909 with the formation of the Anglo-Persian Oil Company (APOC), now British Petroleum, that the Iranian oil industry as it is today was truly born.
My MPhil dissertation will explore the relationship between the prolific rise of the oil industry and Iranian diplomatic bargaining power from 1909-1979. It will examine exchanges between the Foreign Office to British legations in Iran and documents from the US Secretary of State, focusing on the creation of APOC in 1909, the revisions to the oil concession in 1933, the nationalization of the Iranian oil industry in 1951, and the oil crisis in 1973.
*Lucia Linares. The high cost of peace – tackling the issue of sexual exploitation and abuse in United Nations peacekeeping operations; design failure or implementation disaster?
Despite the good intentions of United Nations peacekeeping operations, the large deployment of personnel can oftentimes have serious unintended consequences on both the economy and society of the host country. This has been largely under-researched by scholars and practitioners alike. With a history of being under acknowledged, one of the most negative consequences of peacekeeping operations is the involvement of UN personnel (military, police or civilian) in sexual exploitation and abuse (SEA).
Since 2003 a number of measures have been taken by the United Nations to tackle SEA by UN personnel in peacekeeping operations and yet the issue still persists. The question arises whether these are isolated incidences of individuals not following the UN codes of conduct or is there a larger underlying structural issue in UN initiatives to date? Intersecting at the legal, economic, political and cultural level this issue highlights the complexities of the United Nations and raises serious questions of responsibility and accountability for the state and International Organisations.
Using feminist methodology, this paper will engage in a critical discourse analysis of official policy reports, pre-deployment training guidelines as well as interviews with UN personnel and survivors of sexual violence in order to assess whether the issue of sexual exploitation and abuse by UN personnel can continue to be tackled at the policy level or if there are deeper root causes that have yet to be properly addressed.
* Amina Saleh. Classical Islamic normative philosophy: A study of reason and religion in Miskawayh’s ethics
What makes a system of ethics Islamic or religious, and what is its relationship to reason?
I am applying this question to the works of one of the most prominent writers of early Islamic moral philosophy: Miskawayh, a 10th – 11th century philosopher and historian who spent his life in present-day Iran and Iraq.
A brief discussion of the tradition of Western scholarship on Arabic and Islamic philosophy will be followed by an examination of the terms ‘normative philosophy’, as well as ‘reason’ and ‘religion’. Using the example of Miskawayh’s main ethical work, The Refinement of Character, I introduce Medieval Islamic philosophy in the context of its major intellectual influences, namely Ancient Greek philosophy and Islamic theological debates. While some of the scholarship classifies Islamic ethics according to the extent to which ethical reasoning is primarily based on scripture or rational discursive and syllogistic methods, other models distinguish between normative and analytical ethics, each of which can be secular or religious. Locating Miskwayh in these categories, I examine why he has been called an ‘Islamic humanist’ and whether his intellectual interest is leading him to explore religious aspects of ethics or whether his motivation is to seek the philosophical rationale behind the revelation he believes in.