Tag Archives: Humanities and Social Sciences

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.

Brookes in the Bronx

PA-image-resizedSenior Lecturer in Education Patrick Alexander shared an account about his research trip to a school in New York with the Oxford Mail.

Picture a 17 year-old girl who was shot in the head at a Freshman party, now wheelchair-bound, struggling to graduate. A young Latino man with ‘Game Over’ tattooed on his eyelids, leaving his gang affiliations behind to focus on schooling. A hard-working, smiling, first generation, migrant teen from Ghana, on his way with a full scholarship to a prestigious, private American university. Middle class kids from relatively stable families pursuing a well-known but increasingly fragile version of the American Dream that leads from college to job satisfaction and security in the future. Picture an immense, castle-like structure in The Bronx where these people exist together, carving out aspirations and imaginings of their distinct but interconnected futures amidst the pulsing, chaotic, inspiring, roaring mechanism of New York City.

This is a list of just a few of the incredible individuals who I was fortunate enough to meet as part of my experience as a Fulbright Peabody Scholar conducting research into aspirations and schooling in New York City during the academic year 2014-2015. I wanted to ask high school seniors what they wanted to be when they grew up, and then unravel the complex set of sociological factors that led them to aspire to that particular future. In short, I wanted to better understand what young people in contemporary British and American society consider to be the building blocks of a meaningful life and why they think this way. These are the issues at the heart of much political and popular conversation in the UK and the US.

In 2014/15 I spent several days each week capturing the everyday lives of seniors and their teachers at a school I call Bronx High School. I hoped to immerse myself in the everyday life of the school documenting mundane, cumulative, momentary articulations of ideas about aspirations and the future, mainly through observation, conversation and interviews. Fortunately for me, schools are inherently future-gazing spaces and this meant that every day at Bronx High School was a good day for exploring the future aspirations of young people.

Bronx High was home to a range of students, many of whom were much more familiar with the generational patterns of entrenched disadvantage in The Bronx than they were with the sparkling affluence of near-distant Manhattan. In reconciling their experiences of disadvantage with the powerful message of potential future success and happiness, many students would at once imagine a future as pro basketball players, rappers, lawyers, philanthropic business people or simply as college graduates, while also conveying their fear and frustration at the likelihood of much less opulent futures ahead. Some spoke of their aspirations for the future in keeping with a traditional pathway from hard work at school, to college and on to employment, wealth, and the happiness that comes with social and economic security. Others still has no clear vision of what the future would be like, but were on the way to college because that was their normative framework for navigating early adulthood.

In June 2014, as I attended the high school graduation ceremony for seniors at Bronx High (including some of those mentioned above), I had cause to reflect on the truly profound impact that my Fulbright experience had on me, both personally and professionally. I learned a lot from the gracious, welcoming high school seniors and teachers who allowed me into their lives during the school year. This was not only in terms of their particular future aspirations, but also in terms of developing a critical perspective on the concept of aspirations which is crucial when helping young people challenge and overcome certain barriers which stop them from achieving their future goals.

The article was published in the Oxford Mail on Wednesday 9 December and can be read on the Oxford Mail website. More research news and features from Oxford Brookes University can be found in the latest issue of Research Forum.

Patrick Alexander, Senior Lecturer in Education, Oxford Brookes University:

“I wanted to better understand what young people in contemporary British and American society consider to be the building blocks of a meaningful life and why they think this way.”

Celebration of newly published authors in Humanities and Social Sciences


The Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences recently celebrated the launch of six new publications across various subjects. Ranging from using indigenous knowledge in modern science to the concerns and consequences of counter-terrorism, the books present a range of research interests across the Faculty. Each author briefly explained the main themes of their book and their process of writing.

Mary BriggsCreative Teaching: Mathematics in the Primary Classroom (School of Education) enables teachers to see and teach in creative ways that will develop their pupil’s mathematical thinking potential. It encourages students, trainees and practicing teachers to envision and develop a classroom where children can take risks, enjoy and experiment with mathematical thinking, and discover and pursue their interests and talents in an imaginative yet purposeful way.

Science and Sustainability: Learning from Indigenous Wisdom (Social Sciences), by Joy Hendry, is a personal account of an anthropologist, originally trained as a scientist specialising in physics and astronomy, with extraordinary examples of long-standing scientific knowledge held by Indigenous peoples in several countries of the world. Although often ignored by settlers and national governments, this knowledge offers sustainable solutions to living within a range of local environments, and the book considers subjects such as fire, water, architecture, health, calendars and climate change, astronomy and navigation skills. It also reports on recent efforts of education systems in Australia, Canada and New Zealand to include this traditional knowledge within the regular curricula.

Constantine SandisCultural Heritage Ethics: Between Theory and Practice (History, Philosophy and Religion) provides cutting-edge arguments built on case studies of cultural heritage and its management in a range of geographical and cultural contexts. This intra-disciplinary book bridges the gap between theory and practice by bringing together a stellar cast of academics, activists, consultants, journalists, lawyers, and museum practitioners, each contributing their own expertise to the wider debate of what cultural heritage means in the twenty-first century.

The Commonwealth Caribbean comprises a group of countries (mainly islands) lying in an arc between Florida in the north and Venezuela in the south. Varying widely in terms of their size, population, ethnic composition and economic wealth, these countries are, nevertheless, linked by their shared experience of colonial rule under the British Empire and their decision, upon attaining independence, to adopt a constitutional system of government based on the so-called ‘Westminster model’. Derek O’Brien’s The Constitutional Systems of Commonwealth Caribbean (School of Law) examines the constitutional systems of these countries in their context and questioning how well the Westminster model of democracy has successfully adapted to its transplantation to the Commonwealth Caribbean.

Michael Lister’s Critical Perspectives on Counter-Terrorism (Social Sciences) examines the rationale, effectiveness and consequences of counter-terrorism practices from a range of perspectives and cases. Drawing on a range of timely and important case studies from around the world including the UK, Sri Lanka, Spain, Canada, Australia and the USA, it focuses on three questions of vital importance to any assessment of counter-terrorism. First, what do counter-terrorism strategies seek to achieve? Second, what are the consequences of different counter-terrorism campaigns, and how are these measured? And, third, how and why do changes to counter-terrorism occur?

Marius Turda’s Latin Eugenics in Comparative Perspective (History, Philosophy and Religion) offers a comparative approach to eugenics as a scientific programme as well as a cultural and political phenomenon. It examines the commonalities of eugenics in ‘Latin’ Europe and Latin America. As a program to achieve the social and political goals of modern welfare systems, Latin eugenics strongly influenced the complex relationship of the state to the individual. Drawing on a wide range of primary and secondary sources in many languages, this book offers the first history of Latin eugenics in Europe and the Americas.

In closing, Professor Gary Browning, Associate Dean (Research and Knowledge Exchange) noted:

“The range of books celebrated at the launch showcase the breadth of what we offer. Academics produce interesting things to read and we certainly do in this Faculty”.

Law lecturer blogs for UK Constitutional Law Group

Derek O'Brien

Dr Derek O’Brien, Principal Lecturer and Programme Lead for academic programmes in Law  has this week been published alongside Se-shauna Wheatle of Baliol College, Oxford, in the ‘UK Constitutional Law Group Blog’.

In the blog Dr O’Brien addresses, in the context of the Commonwealth Caribbean, the problems and benefits that arise when judges engage in transnational judicial conversations concerning human rights.

The blog can be found at

Brookes lecturer publishes Rossetti family biography

Lecturer in Nineteenth-Century literature, Dinah Roe, has just published a family biography of the Rossettis: The Rossettis In Wonderland: A Victorian Family History (Haus, October 2011).

Using unpublished archival material, and funded by research grants from Arts Council England and the Society of Authors, The Rossettis In Wonderland describes the Rossetti family and their rise to fame and influence against the vividly realised background of Victorian London.

Each member of this Anglo-Italian family, and their social circle, has an interesting story to tell individually, but collectively, their stories paint a portrait of an era.

Dinah will be appearing on the BBC Radio 3 poetry programme The Verb in December to talk about the Rossettis’ poetry.

Oxford Brookes collaborates with Pegasus Theatre

Oxford Brookes student in action at Pegasus Theatre

A creative partnership between Oxford Brookes University and the Pegasus Theatre has already benefited a number of Brookes students. Now more students of Drama, as well as Oxford residents, are set to enjoy the fruits of further collaboration over the coming year.

Pegasus will be offering work placements to Brookes students in Arts Administration and Youth Leadership this year, as well as opening its spaces for 2nd and 3rd year Drama teaching.

In the longer term, the planned expansion of Drama at Brookes will be greatly enhanced by the partnership with Pegasus, which has already resulted in a joint bid being submitted to the EU for a European wide training programme for young media professionals.

In addition, May 2012 sees a week of exciting events open to the Oxford community when Brookes occupies Pegasus to offer displays of student work (in Drama and Creative Writing), workshops, lectures and much more.

Pegasus has been established in Oxford for nearly 50 years and recently celebrated the opening of newly refurbished facilities at its site on Magdalen Road, including a theatre, dance and rehearsal studios, technical facilities and a cafe.

Eleanor Lowe, Senior Lecturer in Drama, says: “It is fantastic to be able to enhance our offering to both students and the wider community through our collaboration with Pegasus. This is a very exciting time for students and staff working in Drama at Oxford Brookes and we are privileged to be involved with such a highly regarded local amenity and to enjoy its excellent facilities.”

Last year, Oxford Brookes 2nd year Drama students enjoyed studying their Renaissance Tragedy & Comedy module at Pegasus, making use of the mirrored rehearsal studio for exploring mask work in Commedia dell’arte.

For further information please contact Eleanor Lowe at