Image by Gavin Stewart

The fall of the Berlin Wall in November 1989.

Sub themes

Bodies, Gender and Identity

Sub theme leader: Dr Susannah Cornwall, Advanced Research Fellow

This sub theme examines how sexed and gendered body-identities are constructed, performed, legitimised, normalised and regulated, both ideologically and practically. This area of work has implications for beliefs, policy and practices in medicine, religion and advocacy and is carried out in conjunction with the Medical Humanities theme.

Dr Cornwall’s book, Sex and Uncertainty in the Body of Christ: Intersex Conditions and Christian Theology provides the first major treatment of the theological and ethical issues around intersex identities.

Heroes and Leaders

Sub theme leader: Dr Rebecca Langlands, Senior Lecturer in Classics and Ancient History

Over the course of our lives we mould ourselves and our behaviour by imitating and reflecting on the models provided by others, especially those who are in prominent or authoritative positions, such as family members, leaders in the workplace or celebrities.

This sub theme explores our understanding of the importance and impact of role models in people's lives and life journeys, both in contemporary societies and in other historical settings.

Place, Memory and Identity

Sub theme leader: Prof Nick Groom, Professor in English; Prof Anthony Musson, School of Law

This sub theme explores how identity is connected with ideas of place and memory.

Current research includes the Atlantic Archipelagos Research Project, which aims to imagine, map, and develop the identities, cartographies and cultural ecologies of the Atlantic Archipelago, and also the activities of the Exeter Centre for Literature of Identity, Place and Sustainability (ECLIPSE).

Religious Identities and Encounters

Sub theme leaders: Prof Emma Loosley, Associate professor in Theology and Religion; Dr Morwenna Ludlow, Senior Lecturer in Theology and Religion; Dr Richard Flower, Lecturer in Classics and Ancient History

This sub theme explores how social, cultural and religious frontiers in the period of late antiquity were constructed, negotiated and permeated, both by individuals and communities at the time, and in subsequent analyses of the period by later scholars.

Learning about the nature of religious encounters in this crucial period provides insights relevant to the contemporary challenges of religious dialogue and peaceful co-existence.

Pain, Wellbeing and Identity

Sub theme leaders: Prof Paul Dieppe, Professor of Health and Wellbeing; Dr Sarah Goldingay, Lecturer in Drama

Chronic pain is common and on the rise. Often it cannot be fully controlled by conventional medicine, and so many people have to live with it.

The Pain, Wellbeing and Identity sub theme is part of the Wellbeing Network which explores how people live with chronic pain, how it shapes their sense of their identity, and how they can flourish in spite of it.

Beliefs, Ethics and Activism

Sub theme leaders: Prof Paul Cloke, Professor of Human Geography; Prof Siobhán Garrigan, Associate Professor of Theology

Research in this area explores the 'postsecular' characteristics of faith-based campaigns, and has major significance for social policy. Current projects include Paul Cloke's postsecular geographies, John Heathershaw's peace and conflict studies, and the activities of the Exeter Centre for Ecumenical and Practical Theology (EXCEPT).

Prof Garrigan’s book, The Real Peace Process: Worship, Politics and the End of Sectarianism, examines how sectarian division continues in the real practices of church congregations in Ireland and proposes ways in which such divisions may be overcome.

Migration, Empires and Identities

Sub theme leaders: Prof James Mark, Professor in History; Prof Andrew Thompson, Chair in History; Dr Elena Isayev, Senior Lecturer in Classics and Ancient History

This sub theme explores the patterns of mobility and migration across different continents and centuries that may have given rise to the emergence of new empires. These patterns could have been encouraged or enforced by these empires, or emerged during or after the empires' demise. Research in this area bridges the disciplines of History and Classics, and includes the work of the Global and Imperial Histories group.

Prof Thompson has explored many of these issues in relation to the British Empire in a recent book, Empire, Migration and Identity in the British World.

Religion, Race, Ethnicity and Empire

Sub theme leaders: Dr William Gallois, Senior Lecturer in Modern Middle East History; Prof David Horrell, Professor of New Testament Studies

Race and religion are bound up in complex ways, not least in situations of conflict and violence. Imperial/colonial occupation and violence in particular is often described and legitimated through particular constructions of the ethnoracial and religious identity of the colonised (and the colonisers).

This sub-theme will explore the intersection of these aspects of identity-construction, examining, for example, the links between texts and acts of violence, and the ideological aspects of depictions of 'us' and 'them' in racial and religious terms.

The links between violence and constructions of the other are the subject of Dr Gallois’ book, A History of Violence in the Early Algerian Colony.