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Dr Sophie Heywood – University of Reading

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Dr Sophie Heywood

Research Endowment Trust Fund Best Research Output Prize 2012 

This competition was created to acknowledge the continuing importance of high quality research to the University. Competitions were run at Faculty level, with nominees generated via competitions within the schools and departments. Each award winner has received £1000.

Dr Sophie Heywood, from the School of Literature and Languages, describes her research which won the Faculty of Arts, Humantities and Social Science prize.

 

Heywood book coverThis is the first book-length history of the classic French children's author, the comtesse de Ségur. It brings to light the work of an author who is virtually unknown in the English-speaking world, but a national icon in France. It appeared in December 2011, with extremely positive readers' reports behind it. It will be an extremely strong contribution to the Department's REF submission.  

The book:

  • is based on extensive primary research, including new archive material that offers important correctives to current knowledge on Madame de Segur's writing and political ideas
  • makes an original contribution to several of the major themes in modern European history: the 'culture wars' waged by the Church in the face of secularisation, changing views on children, the development of the modern publishing industry and women's roles in the public sphere
  • provides new insights into key debates in modern European history surrounding the role of religion in society and politics, by showing how the role of women writers has been overlooked
  • launched a prestigious new series published by a leading university press.

One of the judges commented: "Sophie Heywood's book was accessible and well-constructed … I felt that Sophie's book offered depth of analysis and I was impressed with the way she examined the work of the comtesse by locating and assessing her story in its broader gendered, religious, historical context."

Reference

Heywood, S. (2011) Catholicism and children's literature in France: the comtesse de Ségur (1799-1874). Studies in Modern French History. Manchester University Press, Manchester, pp240.

Runners-up

Christina Hellmich, Politics, Economics and International Relations

Hellmich, C. (2011) Al-Qaeda: from global network to local franchise. Rebels. Zed, London, pp224

Emma Aston, Humanities

Aston, E. (2011) Mixanthropoi: animal-human hybrid deities in Greek religion. Supplément, 25. Kernos (Centre International d'Etude de la Religion Grecque Antique), Liege, pp383. ISBN 9782960071788

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