Exploration of Indigenous diplomacy among $2m Marsden Fund awards for the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences

The use of British Romantic poetry in Indigenous negotiations over treaties and land claims will be explored among the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences projects to receive more than $2 million from the Government’s Marsden Fund for innovative thinking by top researchers.

Associate Professor Nikki Hessell of the School of English, Film, Theatre, and Media Studies has been awarded $563,000 over three years in order to complete a groundbreaking project that will shine a light on the strategic use of quotations from fashionable poets such as Wordsworth or Byron within Indigenous-settler diplomacy.

“[This project] brings literary studies to bear on the field of colonial diplomacy, and diplomatic and Indigenous histories to bear on literary studies, to challenge our understandings of each of these fields,” Associate Professor Hessell explains.

As part of the project, Associate Professor Hessell will convene Indigenous studies and Romantic studies scholars for an international symposium to further examine the relationships between poetry, politics and diplomacy in the nineteenth century.

The Marsden Fund is administered by the Royal Society Te Apārangi. Other Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences-led projects supported in the 2018 Marsden Fund round include:

Dr Inge van Rij (New Zealand School of Music – Te Kōkī), Hidden women on the public stage: Gender and culture in the nineteenth-century symphony orchestra, $614,000: Dr van Rij’s research will make visible the women who challenged nineteenth century gender norms by playing in public orchestras.

Dr Valerie Wallace (School of History, Philosophy, Political Science and International Relations), Scots Law and British Colonialism, $378,000: Dr Wallace will examine the hidden influence of Scots law on the settler societies of nineteenth-century Australia and New Zealand.

Dr Lynzi Armstrong (School of Social and Cultural Studies), Stigma, discrimination and sex work laws: an international comparative study, $300,000 (Fast-Start Grant): Dr Armstrong will explore the relationship between legislative change and the stigma of sex work.

Dr Rolando Coto Solano (School of Linguistics and Applied Language Studies), Development of Tonal Metacognition in Vietnamese and Me’phaa, $300,000 (Fast-Start Grant): In a project that aims to contribute to Indigenous language revitalisation efforts, Dr Solano will investigate whether literacy development is hindered in children learning an endangered language.

Associate Professor Rhonda Shaw (School of Cultural and Social Studies) is co-leading a project with Associate Professor SLG Davies from Auckland University of Technology on Accessing Assisted Reproduction: Social Infertility and Family Formation.

Professor Sarah Leggott, Deputy Dean (Research) for the Faculty says this is an excellent result: “It is wonderful to see the strength of our research recognised by these awards. Many congratulations to the researchers involved in these projects.”

The University’s full list of researchers leading projects supported in the 2018 Marsden Fund round can be seen here.