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Professors Jane Wills, Rebecca Probert and Susan Banducci

Exeter experts elected to prestigious British Academy Fellowships

Three eminent academics from the University of Exeter have been elected as Fellows of the prestigious British Academy for their outstanding contribution to the humanities and social sciences.

Professor Susan Banducci, Professor Rebecca Probert and Professor Jane Wills are among 85 renowned academics from across the world to be elected to the Fellowship, announced today (Friday, July 22nd). 

The new Fellows, from universities in the UK, North America, India, South Africa, Hong Kong, Lebanon and Tanzania, join a community of more than 1,600 leading minds that make up the UK’s national academy for the humanities and social sciences.  

Professor Banducci, who is Director of the Exeter Q-Step Centre, is an internationally recognised expert in elections, media and political behaviour.  Professor Banducci’s research focuses on how institutions, values and norms - such as the underrepresentation of women in politics, gender stereotypes in the media and misogyny and sexism in election campaigns - influence political outcomes.  

Professor Banducci said: "I am delighted to be elected as a Fellow of the British Academy particularly because the BA understands the complexity of global challenges from climate change to inequalities and the importance of the humanities and social sciences in addressing these challenges. I look forward to continuing to support the work of the BA as a Fellow." 

Professor Rebecca Probert is recognised as being a leading authority on marriage and its relation to family history and genealogy. She has written on all aspects of family law, but the focus of her research is on the history and current law of marriage, cohabitation, bigamy, and divorce. Since August 2019 she has been acting as specialist advisor to the Commission on their Weddings Project, which reported earlier this week. 

Professor Probert said; "It’s an honour and a privilege to be elected as a Fellow of the British Academy and to follow in the footsteps of such eminent family law scholars as my late friend and mentor Stephen Cretney."

Professor Jane Wills is Director of the Environment and Sustainability Institute at the University of Exeter. Her research interests focus on questions of geo-political-economy, the living wage, community organising and localism, and she has recently been exploring public engagement in sustainability policy and practice.  

She has published widely and her recent books include Global Cities at Work (Pluto, 2000) and Locating localism: Statecraft, citizenship and democracy (Policy Press, 2016). Her latest book is an edited volume, The power of pragmatism: Knowledge production and social inquiry (Manchester University Press 2020). 

Professor Wills said: "I am honoured to be joining the Fellowship of the British Academy. The Academy is an invaluable part of the national institutional infrastructure that nurtures our social science capacity and impact. I look forward to playing my part in its work and future success."  

Commenting on the awards Welcoming the Fellows, the new President of the British Academy, Professor Julia Black, said: "I am delighted to welcome these distinguished and pioneering scholars to our Fellowship. I am equally delighted that we have so many new female Fellows. While I hope this means that the tide is finally turning for women in academia, there is still much to do to make the research world diverse and open to all.   

"With our new Fellows’ expertise and insights, the Academy is better placed than ever to open new seams of knowledge and understanding and to enhance the wellbeing and prosperity of societies around the world. I congratulate each of our new Fellows on their achievement and look forward to working with them."

Date: 22 July 2022

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