Archive of Social Sciences stories

Oxford Brookes launches brand new Criminology course


The Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences are pleased to announce the launch of a new undergraduate degree in Criminology.

The course has been designed to tackle fundamental questions behind what makes an act or action a crime and look at how crime can be analysed from both a social and political perspective. It will include topics as diverse as crime and punishment through the ages to Robo-Cops and ASBOs.

The course will be taught from an interdisciplinary perspective spanning the fields of Social Sciences, History and Law and the University’s commitment to research-led teaching will be a prominent feature in this new degree programme.

We are very excited about the launch of this new course. It has been developed in close collaboration with external stakeholders, current students, recent graduates and with advice from expert colleagues in the field.

Richard Huggins, Principal Lecturer, Department of Social Sciences, Oxford Brookes University

Criminological theory expert Richard Huggins, who has over two decades of research expertise around substance use and misuse, homelessness and social inclusion, will act as programme lead for the new course. Speaking about the launch of the new programme he said: “We are very excited about the launch of this new course. It has been developed in close collaboration with external stakeholders, current students, recent graduates and with advice from expert colleagues in the field. The course offers students a varied, interdisciplinary and up-to-date programme in criminology in a global context.”

Professor Anne-Marie Kilday, Britain’s only professor of Criminal History, will offer the historical approach to the teaching of criminology. Anne-Marie specialises in the history of violent crimes and has previously been the recipient of a Brookes Union teaching award for her inspirational lecturing style.

The course will also offers some law options for students especially interested in the policies and processes of the criminal justice system.

The course is currently accepting applications for an enrolment date of September 2017. To find out more or to apply please visit the Criminology course entry page.

Anna Nekaris Discusses Slow Loris Trade in Japan


Professor Anna Nekaris, programme lead for MSc Primate Conservation, has recently returned from Japan discussing policies regarding the illegal trade of slow lorises. The discussions were held with the Japanese Ministry of the Environment, working in collaboration with the Japan Wildlife Conservation Society. Professor Nekaris presented evidence that she hopes will influence the Japanese government to vote to change pet trade legislation.

International trading of slow lorises has been banned since 2007 under the Washington Convention, and any slow lorises that were imported before the ban do not fall under its legislation. Japan is known to be the world’s largest market for slow lorises as pets, and in a report published earlier this year in the Asian Primates Journal, a Oxford Brookes University research group found loopholes and inadequacies in Japan’s enforcement of the ban. Evidence was found of falsified registration certificates for slow lorises, which registered their import date before the ban came into effect.

Professor Nekaris gave five public presentations to audiences of over 200 made up of the public,scientific, and government institutions. A press release led to the work being featured in 13 national newspapers including The Huffington Post Japan and Kyoto News, who featured major spreads in which Professor Nekaris spoke out against the illegal pet trade in slow lorises. Professor Nekaris also commented on the stress that slow lorises suffer being kept as pets.

More information on the MSc in Primate Conservation and Professor Nekaris’ work to protect the slow loris can be found here.


First Year Students receive Ede and Ravenscroft Prize


Five students from across the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences have received prizes for outstanding academic achievement in their first year of studies. The prizes of £500 are donated by Ede and Ravenscroft and are awarded to one student in each department who has achieved the highest grade point average over their first year.

The winners are:

Miriam Manco, Applied Languages, Department of English and Modern Languages

Charlotte Reece, Primary Teacher Education, School of Education

Tatiana Sollis, History of Art, Department of History, Philosophy and Religion

Max Jones, Geography, Department of Social Sciences

Tiffany Heppell, LLB Law, School of Law

Winner Tatiana Sollis commented ‘‘I feel very honoured to have received this prize. I will use this prize to motivate me for the rest of my studies and I will put my winnings towards a trip to New York to visit the Museum of Modern Art next summer, which we studied this year and fired my artistic imagination.”

The English and Modern Languages winner Miriam Manco said “It was such an honour to win the Ede and Ravenscroft prize 2016. The department is a community I feel very close to and has been incredibly engaging. Winning this prize was great and has given me impetus to do even better in the years to come.”

Social Sciences winner Max Jones added ‘’I feel extremely happy to be recognised for all of the hard work I have put in to my Geography course this year. I would also like to thank the lecturers for all of their help and support in guiding me through the first year of university.”

 ‘Congratulations to all of the Ede and Ravenscroft prize winners!’

Dave Ellis, Dean of Student Experience, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences.

Anthropology PhD students bring a Skeletal stall to the Science Bazaar

skele news

Two Brookes’ PhD students ran a skeletal stall at the recent Brookes Science Bazaar on Saturday 5th July. Nikki Lamb and Sophie Edwards’ stall aimed to give children and parents an experience of handling skeletons.

Available for visitors to discover were comparative sets of male and female skulls and pelvis bones,  humerus (forearm) and femur (leg) bones, and a half skeleton which showed the right side of the body, labelled so that visitors could relate it to their own bodies.

The star of the stall was ‘Ernest’, an articulated plastic skeleton who helped to show how the bones in the human body interact.

Nikki and Sophie enjoyed the interaction with visitors, finding that the children were enthusiastic about handling the bones, in particular in  seeing how light they were. Nikki reflected that ‘the children aren’t put off by anything and their appetite for knowledge is amazing’.

Nikki went on to say the best part ‘was seeing the wide eyed response of children and watching them tell their parents what they had just learnt’. Everyone who visited the stall was inquisitive about how bones function in the body, with the most popular question from parents  being ‘how do hip replacements work’!

Find out more about the Science Bazaar  and what’s been going on in the Department of Social Sciences.

Dr Simon Underdown receives Chartered Science Teacher Status

Simon News

Dr Simon Underdown has been awarded Chartered Science Teacher status (CSciTeach) by the Royal Society of Biology.  

The award of this status recognises the unique combination of skills, knowledge, understanding, and expertise that is required by individuals involved in the specific practice and advancement of science teaching and learning. Chartered Status is designed to engender public confidence in teaching professionals in the field of science and reflects a devotion to the continual development excellent science teaching.

Find out more about Anthropology and the Department of Social Sciences at Oxford Brookes University, Dr Simon Underdown’s work, and The Royal Society of Biology.

International Relations, Politics and Sociology annual postgraduate day proves to be a great success

003The International Relations, Politics and Sociology Programme held its Annual Postgraduate Day on 22 June 2016. This mini-conference was a showcase for work being done both by research students and the current MA International Studies cohort. Prospective MA students and online viewers were able to take part via livestream.

Dr Stephen Hurt, course lead for MA International Relations (formerly International Studies), reports that he was delighted to welcome Dr Juanita Elias (pictured, being introduced by Dr Molly Cohran) from the University of Warwick, where she is an Associate Professor in International Political Economy, for a lecture on ‘Gender, IPE and Labour Migration: Perspectives from South-East Asia’. Her lecture covered some of the key findings of her recent academic publications. Starting from the key feminist claim that a focus on social reproduction is vital, Juanita convincingly demonstrated how the role played by domestic workers is central to an understanding of the political economy of South-East Asia. In doing so she argued that social reproduction is becoming increasingly marketised, with states like Malaysia and Singapore encouraging inflows of migration to this effect.

“We are very grateful to Dr Elias for joining us and for prompting a very lively and interesting Q&A session after her lecture”

After the session broke for lunch, guests heard from three current doctoral research students from the department. Kian Pourkemani outlined some of the themes of his project, which is looking at the right of self-determination within international law. Huw Houssemayne Du Boulay set out the design of his research, which seeks to explore the ‘idea’ of Crimea and how this has varied over time in relation to notions of Russian national identity. Emily Cousens then spoke to some of the work she is doing on an interdisciplinary project with Philosophy on the concept of vulnerability within the history of feminist thought.

The International Relations, Politics and Sociology annual postgraduate day concluded with two sets of parallel panels where current MA students gave short presentations on their summer dissertation projects.

These presentations demonstrated the fascinating range of topics that our MA students are conducting research on. The following projects are just a sample to demonstrate the breadth of their interests:

  • ‘To what extent will the continued automation of labour impact social stratification in the global political economy?’.
  • ‘The relationship between scientific knowledge and political ecology in correcting environmental justice’.
  • ‘How a civil society organisation – Pelitit – is promoting food sovereignty and agro-ecological farming practices in Greece’.
  • ‘Producing in/security and its objects: discourse analysis of the reproduction of French citizen after the Charlie Hebdo attacks’.

Find out more about MA International Relations, or research at Oxford Brookes. Keep an eye on the Department of Social Sciences events page to take part in the next postgraduate day in June 2017.

Leading Humanities and Social Sciences academics recognised in new research excellence awards

REX_2016The Research Excellence Awards are a new initiative introduced by the University as part of Oxford Brookes’ commitment to supporting research-active academics.

Professor Gary Browning, Associate Dean Research and Knowledge Exchange, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, explains: “The Research Excellence awards are a timely and positive initiative, allowing some of our most successful researchers to press forward in their research. We are delighted that researchers across the Faculty have been recognised for their outstanding research projects, notably monographs and impact case studies. I am sure that the outputs they produce will be excellent.”

Following a recent application period, the winners of the inaugural Research Excellence Awards from the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences were as follows:

School of Education

Professor Graham Butt

Department of English and Modern Languages

Dr Simon White

Dr Dinah Roe

Department of History, Philosophy and Religion

Professor Roger Griffin

Professor Anne-Marie Kilday

School of Law

Dr Simon Cooper

Department of Social Sciences

Professor Tina Miller

Professor Anna Nekaris

Researchers were able to apply for one of two levels of award worth either £10,000 or £20,000 which would contribute towards research leave or employment of a research assistant in supporting a project. The scheme is funded through the Central Research Fund and is intended to provide enhanced support for research excellence. It complements Quality-Related Funding at Faculty and Department levels which supports research and knowledge exchange more broadly.

The intention of the university is to continue the scheme annually as part of Oxford Brookes’ investment in research excellence and in supporting the aims of the recently revised Research and Knowledge Exchange Strategy 2016-2020.

Royal Anthropological Institute conference success for student society

DSC_0890Wednesday 18 May saw Oxford Brookes University host the 6th annual Royal Anthropological Institute Student Research Conference. The event was open to undergraduate and postgraduate students from all over the UK and provided a fantastic opportunity to explore the broad range of research being carried out within the theme of ‘Anthropology in the 21st Century’. Congratulations go out to Oxford Brookes Anthropology Society for preparing such a successful event!

Students presented papers and posters on a huge range of topics from ‘The Social, Cultural and Educational Dynamics of ‘Change’ in the Lives of 21st Century University Leavers in London and New York City’ (John Loewenthal) and ‘Creating and Navigating LGBT Subjectives in Kingston, Jamaica: an analysis of an ethnolocalised concept of navigating non­normative sexualities as situated in an already globalized world’ (David Lowis); to ‘Red Kites and Rewilding: Exploring how Anthropology and Conservation can come together in the 21st Century’ (Miranda Strubel) and ‘Growing beyond the limits: an analysis of the cooperative underpinnings in the Neolithic Demographic Transition of Southwest Asia’ (Mattia Cartolano).


The day finished with a keynote speech from Oxford Brookes’ own Professor Jeremy MacClancy on ‘Anthropology and the Civil Service’ and the work that anthropologists can do outside of academia. This was followed with a wine reception where students, presenters, and staff had the opportunity to network and socialise.

Oxford Brookes lecturers to convene 2017 British Academy Conference

Carrying child news sizeAn interdisciplinary team of lecturers from the Department of Social Sciences at Oxford Brookes University has been selected to convene one of the prestigious British Academy Conferences, to take place in London in 2017. The theme of the conference will be ‘Vulnerability and the Politics of Care’, a subject that has broad academic and public appeal.

Over the course of the two-day conference speakers will present research and engage in discussions about vulnerability in contexts ranging from eldercare to the war on terror, from epigenetics to phenomenology.

The organisers are Doerthe Rosenow (Senior Lecturer, International Relations), Victoria Browne (Lecturer, Politics), Tina Managhan (Senior Lecturer, International Relations), and Jason Danely (Senior Lecturer, Anthropology) – all of whom are first-time applicants to organise the event. They decided to move forward with their British Academy proposal after a successful two-day workshop on the same topic held at Oxford Brookes University in January 2016, which included participants from across the UK and Italy.

For the British Academy Conference, the four organisers have built upon the success of January’s event and invited even more world-class speakers – not only from the UK, but also the US, Germany, Australia, The Netherlands, Switzerland, and Lebanon. One highlight of the conference will be a talk by Professor Judith Butler (University of California Berkeley), widely recognized as one of the most influential voices in contemporary social theory today. Butler, who is best known for her work on politics, gender and queer theory, has been at the center of developing a politics of vulnerability over the past decade, and was a key supporter of the conference proposal. More information on the conference will be available later in the year.

Oxford Brookes University to host the 6th annual National Student Conference for the Royal Anthropological Institute!


The Oxford Brookes Anthropology Society will be hosting the 6th annual National Student Conference for the Royal Anthropological Institute on Wednesday 18 May.

The annual conference is open to all students nationwide, both undergraduate and postgraduate. Tickets are available here, with the £10 attendance fee including refreshments for the day. The day will begin at 9am for registration, ready for a 10am start in the Union Hall.

The theme for the conference is ‘Anthropology in the 21st Century’, a broad theme that will display the broad range of research being conducted in the field. It will be a fantastic opportunity for students to present their work in the form of papers and posters. The day will finish with a keynote speaker (TBC) and a wine reception.

For more information, contact