2018 Annual Report

Page 1

Independent Social Research Foundation


Annual Report

Independent Social Research Foundation


Annual Report

First published January 2019 Copyright Š 2019 Independent Social Research Foundation Cover Photo Credit: Matt Smith

ABOUT THE ISRF The Independent Social Research Foundation (ISRF) is a public benefit foundation funded by a group of private philanthropists with interests in academia and social science, founded in 2008. It is dedicated to advancing the social sciences through the promotion of new modes of inquiry and the development of interdisciplinary expertise and methods, and through better understanding of social entities and processes. To achieve this objective it intends to provide a series of research grants, enter into partnerships with academic institutions and support research activities that promote development in its field. ACADEMIC BACKGROUND & OBJECTIVES There is an increasing recognition — both within and outside academic organisations — that the most pressing social and research challenges are beyond the scope of a single discipline or area of research. There is evidence of this in universities, key funding bodies and the users of social science research. This is particularly true of fundamental questions in the social sciences: How do societies evolve? Why does hunger persist? How do people make decisions? What are the causes of war? These questions are inherently complex and call for diverse insights. A particular challenge created by this complexity is the need to understand the implicit content of the models employed in social science and to ensure that it is appropriate for social analysis. The ISRF believes that interdisciplinary research — understood here as not just the simple combination of traditional approaches, but the conversation between established disciplines and the introduction of new modes of inquiry — is critical for the advancement of new knowledge and for solving contemporary theoretical and practical problems.



Sheila Dow

Elizabeth Frazer

Emeritus Professor of Economics, University of Stirling

Associate Professor of Politics, University of Oxford

(From 1st January 2018)

Kostas Gavroglu

Emmanuel Lazega

Professor of History of Science, University of Athens

Professor of Sociology, L’Institut d’études politiques de Paris (From 1st June 2018)


Jayne Raisborough

William H. Sewell Jr.

Professor of Media, Leeds Beckett University

Emeritus Professor of Political Science & History, University of Chicago

(From 1st June 2018)

Charles Stewart Professor of Anthropology, University College London and UCLA

Marilyn Strathern Formerly William Wyse Professor of Social Anthropology, Cambridge University



THE ISRF FOUNDATION BOARD Dr Lorenzo Bernasconi Kohn Treasurer

Mr Edmond Hartsuiker Secretary

Dr John Latsis Chairman

THE ISRF EXECUTIVE TEAM Dr Louise Braddock Director of Research Louise Braddock works with the ISRF’s Foundation Board to direct all academic work within the Foundation, in consultation with its Academic Advisors. She proposes, implements and assesses the Foundation’s funding strategy and activities.

Dr Rachael Kiddey Academic Editor (until November 2018)

Dr Lars Cornelissen Academic Editor (from October 2018) The Academic Editor is primarily responsible for the ISRF Bulletin, assists in the running of grants competitions, workshops, and leads on generating content for the ISRF website.

Stuart Wilson


Administrator Stuart Wilson oversees the general administration of the ISRF’s operations. He supports the Director of Research in the implementation of the Foundation’s funding strategy and activities, and is the first point of contact for all general enquiries.

2018 Annual Workshop Clockwise from Top-Left: Francesca Gagliardi; Jürgen Renn & Martin Thomas; Deana Heath; Matt Burch; Anke te Heesen; audience. Photo Credit: Matt Smith



2018 Annual Workshop Clockwise from Top-Left: Sebastian Felten; Oche Onazi; a coffee break; Jayne Raisborough; Sherrill Stroschein. Photo Credit: Matt Smith


2018 Annual Workshop Clockwise from Top-Left: Edna Bonhomme; Sarah Marie Hall; group work in the garden; Lars Cornelissen; Alexander Stingl. Photo Credit: Matt Smith



2018 Annual Workshop Clockwise from Top-Left: Athena Hadji; the work of Jill Gibbon; Catherine Charrett; the Harnack-Haus; Chris Hann; audience. Photo Credit: Matt Smith


2018 ANNUAL REPORT ISRF GRANTS COMPETITIONS POLITICAL ECONOMY RESEARCH FELLOWSHIPS In January 2018, the ISRF launched its second Political Economy Research Fellowship competition. Having received a number of strong proposals, the Selection Panel met in June 2018, and voted to make six awards. The recipients were: Dr Ivano Cardinale (Goldsmiths, University of London) Understanding Unimagined Events Dr Francesca Gagliardi (University of Hertfordshire) - The Political Economy of Cooperative Firms: Historical and Comparative Perspectives Dr Sarah Marie Hall (University of Manchester) - Lived Experiences of Childbearing in Contemporary Austerity: Advancing Feminist, Geographical and Political Economy Approaches Dr Chris Hesketh (Oxford Brookes University) - Indigenous struggles in the context of neo-extractivism: A comparative analysis of Mexico and Bolivia Professor Peter Newell (University of Sussex) - The Political Economy of Low Carbon Energy Transitions Professor Alan Thomas (University of York) - Plebeian Finance



MID-CAREER FELLOWSHIPS In January 20178 the ISRF launched its fourth Mid-Career Fellowship competition. Having received a number of strong proposals, the Selection Panel met in July 2018, and voted to make six awards. The recipients were: Professor Annelien De Dijn (Universiteit Utrecht) - Freedom: An Unruly History Dr Beth Epstein (NYU Paris) - An Ethnographic Inquiry into Shifting Discourses of Diversity and Social Inequality in France Dr Rita Floyd (University of Birmingham) - Emergency Politics: Security, Threats and the Duties of States Dr Cian O’Driscoll (University of Glasgow) - Victory: The Triumph and Tragedy of Just War Dr Jonathan Saha (University of Leeds) - Empire and Accumulation Professor Mark Whitehead (Aberystwyth University) - ReThinking Freedom in a Neuroliberal Age’

INDEPENDENT SCHOLAR FELLOWSHIPS In July 2018, the ISRF launched its fifth Independent Scholar Fellowship competition. Having received a number of strong proposals, the Selection Panel met in December 2018, and voted to make four awards. The recipients were: Dr Izabela Orlowska - Ethnicity, Conflict and Festivalisation of Politics in Ethiopia


Dr Ilay Ors - Overlapping waves of migration in the Aegean: contextualizing hundred years of disconcerted displacement with an interdisciplinary, comparative, and ethnographic approach Dr Elisa Vecchione - The poetry of science: restoring the role of imagination in mathematical modelling Dr Michael Waite - Reflections, lessons and directions: Race relations, class and politics in a northern English town

FLEXIBLE GRANTS FOR SMALL GROUPS In September 2018, the ISRF launched its fifth Flexible Grants for Small Groups competition, now seeking applications either for one-week Residential awards or for 12-month Flexible awards. It is intended that a number of Residential awards (to take place in Berlin in August 2019) and Flexible awards be made by the end of January 2019.

ISRF ESSAY COMPETITIONS 2018: ECONOMICS The ISRF and the Cambridge Journal of Economics launched the 2018 ISRF Essay Prize in Economics in the spring of 2017. Following consideration of submissions, no essay was judged prizeworthy, and no award was made.

2019: INTERDISCIPLINARITY The ISRF intends to award the 2019 ISRF Essay Prize in Interdisciplinarity for the best essay on the topic ‘Interdisciplinarity: the new orthodoxy?’. The competition launched in the summer of 2018 and closed on 31st December 2018. 13


ISRF-SUPPORTED PROJECTS ECONOMICS: PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE. AN INTERVIEW PROJECT July 2016 Economics education has been debated for a long time, but since the Global Financial Crisis it has come under public scrutiny. This project aims to provide an accessible way for new generations of economics students and scholars, as well as the general public, to get acquainted with different schools of economic thought and their bearing on economics teaching. PI’s Dr Constantinos Repapis and Dr Ivano Cardinale have interviewed distinguished economists on the plurality of analytical traditions within economics and how these have informed their own work. The interviews range from longstanding debates to current issues, and provide first-hand access to the thought of key contemporary economists. Video interviews published in 2018: Tony Lawson on Economics & Social Ontology Tony Lawson is Professor of Economics and Philosophy at the Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge. Julie Nelson on Feminist Economics Julie Nelson is Professor of Economics at University of Massachusetts, Boston and a Senior Research Fellow at the Global Development and Environment Institute at Tufts University. Ha-Joon Chang on Economic Development


Ha-Joon Chang is Reader in the Faculty of Economics and Director of the Centre of Development Studies at the University of Cambridge

LIMITS OF THE NUMERICAL September 2015 - August 2018 The Limits of the Numerical project at CRASSH in Cambridge is now completed. A book - provisionally titled ‘Limits of the Numerical: Perspectives from Humanities and Social Science’ is expected to be published in 2019. ISRF Research Fellows: Dr Gabriele Badano & Dr Trenholme Junghans (Girton College, University of Cambridge) Co-principal Investigators: Dr Anna Alexandrova (University of Cambridge) & Dr Stephen John (University of Cambridge).

 Since April 2017, Josephine Lethbridge has been The Conversation’s Interdisciplinary Editor, funded by the ISRF. Three ISRF-sponsored writing workshops were conducted - at the University of Warwick, Leeds Beckett University, and Queen Mary University of London - by Josephine in 2018, and further such workshops are planned for 2019.

 26-28 September 2018 At the ISRF Annual Workshop the ISRF’s Fellows reported on their work, to each other and to a wider audience drawn from the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, who cohosted the event at the Max Planck Society’s Harnack-Haus in Berlin. The Workshop focused on the ISRF’s requirement that the research should be interdisciplinary, innovative and critical. The topic for this year’s Workshop was ‘Relating Pasts and Presents: History of Science and Social Science’, and the three-day event combined Fellows’ research presentations with panel discussions and audience participation.



OTHER ISRF WORKSHOPS The ISRF supported two smaller workshops in the second half of 2018: on 15 June, a workshop on ‘Law: Social Organisation and Social Control’ took place at All Souls College, University of Oxford, in association with former ISRF Mid-Career Fellow Ian Loader; and on 2-3 October, two linked workshops on the theme of ‘Referenda & Euroskepticism’ took place at the University of Leiden and VU Amsterdam, in association with former ISRF Early Career Fellow Patrick Overeem, and Stephen Khan (Editor-in-Chief of The Conversation UK).

ISRF BULLETIN The termly Bulletin presents the interdisciplinary research of Fellows, and other aspects of the ISRF’s work. Each issue is themed around a topic or debate of interest for the social sciences, with articles by ISRF Fellows on their research, as well as by ISRF Academic Advisors and others. 2018 issues were:

Issue 15: Site Responsive Archaeology - Between Place, Things, and People The papers in this volume stem from those margins of archaeology that seek to do something more with archaeological practice than those perhaps more easily recognisable processes of excavation, analysis and formal reporting of objects, sites and landscapes. Guest edited by James Dixon (Royal Holloway, University of London), and featuring contributions from Oscar Aldred (University of Cambridge), Nishat Awan (Goldsmiths, University of London), Laura McAtackney (Aarhus University), Christopher McHugh (Belfast School of Art, Ulster University), Angela Piccini (University of Bristol), and Marilyn Strathern (University of Cambridge).

Issue 16: Law - Social Organisation & Social Control


“What is the law? How is it created and enforced? As a system of culturally attuned rules designed to control behaviour that is upheld through a variety of state-endorsed institutions, the law affects everyone – the living and the dead.” Featuring

contributions from Julien-François Gerber (Erasmus University Rotterdam), Deana Heath (University of Liverpool), Ian Loader (University of Oxford), Julie Parsons (University of Plymouth) & Sarah Hocking, and Illan Wall (University of Warwick).

Issue 17: The Past in the Present Based on the 2018 Workshop ‘Relating Pasts and Presents: History of Science and Social Science’. Featuring contributions from Edna Bonhomme (MPIWG), Jessie Hohmann (Queen Mary, University of London), Susanne Schmidt (Freie Universität Berlin), Sherrill Stroschein (UCL), and Martin Thomas (University of Exeter).


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