Current Research Projects

This page documents some of the research projects undertaken by academics from across the School of Humanities, Religion & Philosophy.

Research in the School is organised around the following subject areas:

Creative Writing

Dr Rob Edgar

I am currently working on a number of research projects:  

The first is a book ‘Adaptation for Screenwriters’ with John Marland.  This is due for publication by Bloomsbury this year.  This text will include textual analysis, consideration of commercial context, instruction and advice and practical examples of original adaptation.

The second research project is an edited collection for Bloomsbury entitled Music, Memory and Memoir.  My co-editors are Dr Helen Pleasance and Dr Fraser Mann.  The book examines contemporary music memoirs and further examines the relationship between popular music and memory.  

I am also co-authoring a research bid with Dr Nathan Wiseman-Trowse at the University of Northampton for a network of Indie Music Scholars. 

In addition to the above I am working with Dr Liesl King on the Terra Two at York St John project.

English Literature

Dr Liesl King

Terra Two: An Ark for Off-World Survival

The Terra Two project is a digital ark(ive) gathering critical and creative responses to science fiction in order to influence the first human settlement off-world. Terra Two’s aims are to contribute to the welfare and preservation of our species and the many species indigenous to the planet, to seed research and creative outputs, and to bring enjoyment and inspiration to readers, viewers and listeners—for recent contributions see Terra Two at York St John.

Additionally, Terra Two runs an allotment in tandem with the YSJ Pollination Project; it facilitates creative/critical writing workshops in the community, and since September 2017, it has been offering monthly project meetings for staff and students based in the School of Humanities Religion & Philosophy. Terra Two partners with Terra Incognito, a Sheffield-based theatre company, as well as the York Environmental Humanities Group, an alliance between York St John University and the University of York.

Terra Two has a presence on social media, with a Twitter address of @YSJTerra2 and an Instagram address of @terra.two.

Editorial team:

Dr Liesl King

Dr Rob Edgar

Dr Adam Smith


Dr Adam Smith

My work explores the relationship between partisan identity and print culture during the long eighteenth century.

I am currently developing my first monograph, which builds on doctoral research into Whig literary culture in order to recast prominent literary figures Joseph Addison and Richard Steele as party propagandists.

I am also directing the ‘Words with Wagtails: York Prison Poetry’ project, which centres on the poetry and writing of political radicals imprisoned in York Castle during the revolutionary 1790s. Our website seeks to build a repository of critical and creative responses to this material, and after the success of our first event at the York Literary Festival we look forward to further public engagement activities in future.

I am interested particularly in the life and writing of James Montgomery, a radical newspaper editor, political poet and hymn-writer from Sheffield. Finally, I am working with Kaley Kramer (YSJ) and Rachel Stenner (University of Sheffield) to establish the ‘Print, Agency and Regional Identity’ research network.

Words with Wagtails


Dr Adam Stock

Adam’s principal research is in Utopian Studies. Working at the intersection of cultural history, narratology and the history of political thought, his most recent project is the monograph Dystopian Fiction and Political Thought: Narratives of World Politics, in press at Routledge (April 2018). This study of the development of dystopia as genre and mode from the early to mid-twentieth century includes analysis of texts by the likes of E. M. Forster, Katherine Burdekin and Margaret Storm Jameson in addition to the more canonical novels of Zamyatin, Huxley and Orwell. Funding from the Leverhulme Trust’s 2014-17 research network Imaginaries of the Future helped support development of parts of this work.

His next project is about non-metropolitan spaces in literary modernism, with a focus on northern England. This forms part of ‘Uplandish’, a project with colleagues in English Literature and Creative Writing including Alex Beaumont, Helen Pleasance and Naomi Booth that has an important public-facing component.

Adam has also published work on literary landscapes and ruination, SF and the apocalyptic, and the cultural history of drug use.


Dr Jo Waugh

I’m planning a conference on ‘The Death of Satire’ with Dr Adam Smith for June 2018. The conference will be a forum to explore the status, effect, and future of satire as conceived from the eighteenth century onwards, inspired by claims that satire is dead in the ‘post-truth’ age. We’re awaiting a decision on Catalyst Funding, but hope that the conference will lead to the publication of an edited volume of essays based on papers given.

I’m also working on a book proposal, ‘The Brontës and Contagion’, which connects the ‘meme’ process in disseminating Brontë mythology and the Brontës’ own engagement with contemporary discourses of miasma and contagion.


Dr Jude Parks

Ethnic minority perceptions of York and York St John University
(with Marije Davidson  and Sarah Lawson-Welsh
We ran a Catalyst funded workshop in January 2017, seeking to gather the views and experiences of participants (from public, private and third sector organisations based in and around York), on the attractions and barriers for ethnic minorities to studying and working in York, and how we can best research this area. We are building on the themes and points raised in workshop discussions to write a proposal for further funding to develop this work and to produce journal articles from it.

Education for Sustainable Development at York St John University
A questionnaire and interviews were conducted with York St John University academic staff to explore perceptions of incorporating ESD into teaching. I am working on a journal article based on the findings.

History, American Studies and War Studies

Dr Robert Barnes

The Commonwealth, the UN and the Early Cold War, 1944-1956

My first research project focuses on the Commonwealth’s role at the UN between the 1944 Dumbarton Oaks conference and the 1956 Suez Crisis. My methodology is based on archival research and the key outputs will be a monograph as well as two journal articles. For this project I have received funding from the Scouloudi Historical Award and the YSJU Faculty of Arts Research Committee. I also intend to apply for a British Academy/Leverhulme Small Research Grant.

The Commonwealth question and the creation of the “Special” Relationship, 1941 to 1950

My second project – supported by the York St John University QR Fund – is being undertaken in collaboration with Dr Matthew Hinds at the Danish Institute for International Studies. It sets out to examine the Commonwealth’s neglected role in the establishment of the Anglo-American ‘special relationship’. This research will result in two journal articles. Dr Hinds and I are also editing a collection marking the 75th anniversary of Churchill’s famous ‘special relationship’ speech on 5 March 1946.

Dr Robert Barnes, Email:

Dr Matthew Hinds, Email:


Dr Elodie Duché

British prisoners of war (POW) on parole in Napoleonic France and Mauritius

This project is a social and cultural history of an estimated 1,500 British captives held on parole in France and the colonial outpost of Mauritius during the Napoleonic Wars. Parole – a form of incarceration predicated on the promise not to escape – led to multifaceted exchanges between captives and captors. By providing the first focused study of these transnational contacts, this project hopes to offer new perspectives on the history of Franco-British relations during the period and the writings these prisoners left behind. It does so by highlighting the impact of travelling – both European and colonial voyages – on the ways in which contemporaries understood and narrated confinement. This research has been funded by the Association of Commonwealth Universities, the National Maritime Museum and the Institute of Historical Research. I am currently preparing a monograph and hope to organise a third event with the POW Network I co-created and co-administer at York St John University.


Dr Ian Horwood and Dr Chris Price

Science and Warfare in the Twentieth Century:

This is an interdisciplinary project conducted by Dr Ian Horwood and Dr Christopher Price here at York St John University, and two mathematicians at the University of York: Prof. Niall Mackay and Dr Jamie Wood, as the York Historical Warfare Analysis Group; it concerns the impact of scientific and mathematical developments on the history of warfare in the twentieth century.  The project has produced a number of published papers and promises to generate more. To that end Dr Horwood and Dr Price recently secured QR funding to conduct research at the US Naval War College concerning the impact of Lanchestrian principles on the development of carrier aviation in the US Navy. They undertook a research trip to the College in July 2017, and are currently working on the collected data with a view to preparing a paper for publication. The project has also generated public events, symposia and several conference papers.


Dr Peter Whitewood

From Liberation to Tyranny: the Fate of the Bolshevik Revolution

This project explores why the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917, carried out in the name of working people - and promising liberation and democracy - ended up delivering a centralised totalitarian state. This has been a question at the core of Soviet studies since its emergence as a discipline. Coordinated by Dr Peter Whitewood (York St John University), Dr James Harris (Leeds) and Dr Lara Cook (York), the project will produce an edited volume that challenges the idea that Bolshevism was inevitably authoritarian; that dictatorship was a product of a power struggle within the Soviet elite or a result of Stalin’s personality. Bolshevism was at once authoritarian and democratic. Moreover, the numerous – and serious – obstacles the Bolsheviks faced in creating a democratic workers state best explain their increasing reliance on authoritarian measures. Supported by York St John University (QR funding). 

The Soviet-Polish War and the Transformation of the Revolution

The project is a reassessment of the Soviet-Polish War, a conflict that shaped Soviet history. This war has typically been viewed as a moderating force on the Revolution. Bolshevik defeat against Poland is said to have encouraged a turn towards a mixed-market economy and away from aggressive attempts to export communism. By contrast, through showing that the Bolsheviks fundamentally misperceived the nature of their defeat in 1920, this project will show how the war encouraged the Bolsheviks to become increasingly authoritarian. The loss of the war created a perpetual war scare; encouraged military build-up and the expansion of a repressive political police. The project will produce a monograph that for the first time fully considers the impact of the Soviet-Polish War. The research has received funding from the Institute of Historical Research; the Hoover Institution; York St John University (QR funding).

Theology & Religious Studies

Professor Pauline Kollontai 


Dr Chris Maunder


Dr Esther McIntosh


Gill Simpson


Revd Professor Andrew Village


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