Our teaching staff are active researchers working at a global level. Their work has been funded by the British Academy, the Arts and Humanities Research Council, the Wellcome Trust among others, and the results published with major publishers and in leading scholarly journals.
This research forms the basis of our teaching and our research interests are broad and dynamic. We draw upon an extensive network of national and global connections and collaborations, working with academics and creative practitioners from around the world on exciting and innovative projects. This means that you, our students, have access to the very latest information during your studies.
Click on the tabs below to read about some of our latest research projects.
Anglo-Norman Dictionary (AND)
The Anglo-Norman Dictionary (AND) project studies and documents the Anglo-Norman language – a dialect of medieval French which was introduced in Britain after the Norman Conquest in 1066. This language was used extensively in all areas of medieval life in Britain, such as literature, law, religion, commerce, science, education and administration, until the end of the Middle Ages. As a result, Anglo-Norman had a major impact on the development of the English language which cannot be overstated: Modern English words, such as exercise, literature, petty, frail, place or dragon, all originate as loanwords from Anglo-Norman. It has been estimated that Anglo-Norman shaped more than half of the English vocabulary as recorded by the Oxford English Dictionary.
The Anglo-Norman Dictionary was conceived eighty years ago as a comprehensive account of the vocabulary of this language and culminated in a series of volumes printed between 1977-92. A programme of digitization and revision started at Aberystwyth University in 2003 to produce a widely expanded, online second edition of the dictionary (https://anglo-norman.net/), which is still ongoing. The research, carried out by an editorial team at Aberystwyth University, has been funded by five consecutive AHRC grants, and currently focuses on the revision of T-Z. Since 2006 the resource has been freely accessible to the general public. The online AND has established itself as the authoritative resource on Anglo-Norman lexis, providing an essential tool for a wide range of users: academic specialists (including linguists, literary scholars, archivists and historians), as well as non-specialists interested in the life and languages of medieval Britain.
Colonial Influencers: The Forgotten History of a Student Expedition to Indochina
This research project, funded by the British Academy, explores a ‘forgotten’ moment of French colonization. In 1924, in order to promote colonial ideology, several groups of elite students were sent to various parts of the French Empire, to witness the excellence of France’s ‘colonizing mission’ and to become its promoters upon their return – today we would call them ‘colonial influencers’. However, the expeditions failed to reach their aim, and had no tangible results. These expeditions were ultimately forgotten, and were previously unknown to scholarship as well.
Dr Gelléri discovered archival evidence of one of these expeditions, an all-female group travelling to Indochina, today’s Vietnam and Cambodia. Subsequently, he identified the participants of the expedition, and met their descendants, who shared with him a variety of unpublished materials: several travelogues, and hundreds of photographs. Through these accounts, we discover a fascinating story. On the one hand, the students were travelling in luxury: they were kitted out in designer clothes, met the local elites, and marvelled at the sights of Angkor and Halong Bay. On the other hand, the travel was marred by conflict: there were internal clashes, disagreements with the organizers and the students also discovered the darker sides of colonialism.
This unique case study provides an insight into a variety of topics. We gain a better understanding of the experience of colonialism and of its afterlife, and of the early days of colonial tourism. But the project also offers an insight into what it meant to be a female student in the 1920s, in France itself and in the colonies. The project’s aim is to create, beyond scholarly publications, an exhibition and a documentary film.
Contemporary Cuban Cinema: New Spaces, New Histories
This research project by Dr Guy Baron was aimed at achieving a greater understanding of the link between Cuban film and society post-1990. Many studies have been conducted that develop the understanding of Cuban film and society before 1990. These studies develop the link between the development of a revolutionary consciousness across Cuban arts and the attempt to deliver expressions of that consciousness through the medium of film.
However, post-1990, when Cuba suffered the worst crisis in its revolutionary history due to the collapse of European communism, many points of ideological reference shifted and therefore new expressions of that shift were developed in Cuban cinema in order to come to terms with the enormous economic and social changes that took place. The purpose of this investigation is to examine the expressions of these changes to determine to what extent the state integrates such filmic expressions into the official ideology in a continuously evolving process.
It has been twenty years since the collapse of Communism in Eastern Europe had such a profound effect on Cuba’s economic, social and cultural wellbeing. During that time Cuban cinema has developed in a distinct way, operating both within and without the official state film institute to express both its satisfaction and dissatisfaction with the continuing revolutionary process.
In Cuba, cinema has always been, and still is, part of the cultural foundation of the revolution and continued research in this area is necessary in order to continue to understand such a globally significant process. A series of seminars were held to develop that understanding and to foster a sustainable cultural relationship between Aberystwyth University and the University of Havana.
The Kindertransport 1938/39: History and Memory of a British Phenomenon
During the last decade and especially during the time of its seventieth anniversary the Kindertransport has received increasing public attention in Britain, manifesting itself in TV programmes, films, newspaper articles and the unveiling of public monuments.
This project by Dr Andrea Hammel investigates the history and memory of the former members of the Kindertransport who are, according to the historian Tony Kushner, the most comprehensively documented group of refugees who have entered Britain.
The term Kindertransport is usually applied to the rescue of nearly 10,000 unaccompanied minors with Jewish backgrounds from Germany and Austria, and their transport to Britain between December 1938 and the outbreak of the Second World War in September 1939. Employing sociohistorical methods as well as cultural criticism, this study will look at archival records, autobiographical material and media representations. The project seeks to bring together several strands of research: (a) the history of National Socialist emigration policy and its effect on the development of the Kindertransport, (b) the history of British immigration policy and its effect on the admission of the children to Britain, (c) the memorialisation of the Kindertransportthrough autobiographical documents, the organisation of events and public memorials, as well as (d) a discussion of the Kindertransport in British historiography and public consciousness. The project is supported by the Claims Conference and the British Academy.