Monthly Archives: July 2015

Professor Davina Cooper wins Charles Taylor Book Award 2015

Kent Professor Davina Cooper has been awarded the Charles Taylor Book Award 2015 for her book Everyday Utopias: The Conceptual Life of Promising Spaces.

The annual award recognizes the best book in political science that employs or develops interpretive methodologies and methods and has been made by the American Political Science Association (APSA).

APSA is a leading professional organisation for the study of political science, with more than 13,000 members in countries across the world. The selection committee for the award, named in recognition of the contributions of Charles Taylor to the advancement of interpretive thinking in the political and social sciences, consisted of Professor Gerry Berk (University of Oregon), Professor Gary Herrigel (University of Chicago), and Professor Paul Amar (University of California-Santa Barbara). Professor Cooper has been invited to receive the award in person at the annual business meeting of APSA in San Francisco on Friday 4 September.

In her book, Everyday Utopias, Professor Cooper challenges the common assumption that utopia means a perfect but unattainable place that is far away, both in time and geography. She describes how everyday utopias are present and near to hand, aspirational but also imperfect spaces, that are open and accessible. Research for the book took place over 11 years, focusing on six sites dedicated to very different kinds of everyday activity including governing, trading, and schooling, appearing in public naked, debating, and having sex. It was conducted through first-hand observations and interviews with 150 participants, including those at Speakers’ Corner in London, the famous “free school” Summerhill School in Suffolk, and the Toronto Women’s Bathhouse.

Professor Davina Cooper is Professor of Law and Political Theory at Kent Law School.

Dunstan Lowe is elected to the Roman Society

Dr Dunstan Lowe from the Department of Classical & Archaeological Studies has recently been elected to the council of the Society of the Promotion of Roman Studies.

The Society for the Promotion of Roman Studies, generally known as the Roman Society, was founded in 1910 as the sister society to the Society for the Promotion of Hellenic Studies and is the leading organisation in the United Kingdom for those interested in the study of Rome and the Roman Empire. Its scope is wide, covering Roman history, archaeology, literature and art down to about A.D. 700.

The sister society, The Society for the Promotion of Hellenic Studies (the Hellenic Society) was founded in 1879 to advance the study of Greek language, literature, history, art and archaeology in the Ancient, Byzantine and Modern periods. Dr Anne Alwis was elected to the council of the Hellenic Society in 2014 making the Department at Kent the only one in the UK with council members in both.

Both societies have an extensive programme of publications including annual publication of the Journal of Roman Studies, which contains articles and book reviews dealing with the Roman world in general, Britannia, which has articles and reviews specifically on Roman Britain, the Journal of Hellenic Studies and its supplement Archaeological Reports. They also maintain a joint library of over 130,000 volumes and arrange public lectures, conferences and visits to sites and museums as well as supporting schools, university students and young researchers.

Further information about the Roman Society can be found here:

Further information about the Hellenic Society can be found at:

Student Prize for Feminist Scholarship 2015

The results of the Student Prize for Feminist Scholarship 2015 have just been announced.

The competition was organised by Dr Carolyn Pedwell (SSPSSR), Dr Rachel Calegoro (Psychology) and third-year Psychology BA student, Hannah Elderfield, as part of the Radical Women: 50 Years of Feminism Project at Kent, organised by Dr Heejung Chung (SSPSSR).

Postgraduate Essay Competition

Winner: Sara Janssen, PhD Film Studies
Essay: ‘Sensate Vision: From Maximum Visibility to Haptic Erotics’
Award: Certificate and £200 in prize vouchers.

Runner-up: Jessica Elias, LLM in International Law with International Relations
Essay: ‘Hysterical Deleuze: From Autoscopia to Becoming Woman’
Award: Certificate and £100 in prize vouchers.

Undergraduate Essay Competition

Winner: Lois Donnelly, BSc Psychology
Essay: ‘“I am a woman, not a traffic jam”: The effect of street harassment, self-objectification and safety anxiety on perceived risk of rape’
Award: Certificate and £200 in prize vouchers.

Runner-up: Leah Ringwood-Hoare, LLB Law
Essay: ‘Compare representations of gender in Nightwood and The Lover’
Award: Certificate and £100 in prize vouchers. 

For more details about the competition, see:

Study support for mature and part-time students

VALUE MaP is a short programme of free workshops for mature and part-time students wanting to extend and develop their study skills. It is open to all students but will be of particular interest, perhaps, to those returning to study after a long break. These informal workshops aim to look at all the tools of the trade, from researching and preparing essays and assignments through to referencing and learning from feedback. Students from previous VALUE MaP workshops have frequently commented on the way in which the relaxed and friendly atmosphere not only helped them to focus on the work in hand but also enabled them to meet other mature students from other departments and form some important friendships. VALUE MaP runs at both the Medway and Canterbury campuses, and full details of dates, times and how to book can be found at

Axel Sthäler co-edits companion to Jewish fiction

Dr Axel Stähler, Reader in the Department of Comparative Literature, has just co-edited with Professor David Brauner (University of Reading), The Edinburgh Companion to Modern Jewish Fiction (Edinburgh University Press, 2015).

The collection of essays presents a new departure for, and a potentially (re)defining moment in, literary Jewish Studies. It is the first volume to bring together essays covering a wide range of American, British, South African, Canadian and Australian Jewish fiction. Moreover, it complicates all these terms, emphasising the porousness between different national traditions and moving beyond traditional definitions of Jewishness.

The volume is divided into three parts American Jewish Fiction: British Jewish Fiction; and International and Transnational Anglophone Jewish Fiction. Although this presents a clear structure, many of the essays cross over these boundaries and speak to each other implicitly, as well as, on occasion, explicitly. Extending and redefining the canon of modern Jewish fiction, the volume juxtaposes major authors with more marginal figures, revising and recuperating individual reputations, rediscovering forgotten and discovering new work, and in the process remapping the whole terrain. The book opens windows onto vistas that previously had been obscured and opens doors for the next generation of studies that could not proceed without a wide-ranging, visionary empiricism grounding their work.

For more details of the collection, please see the publisher’s webpage.

Academic Peer Mentoring training

New for 2015: SLAS is piloting a new extra-curricular module for Academic Peer Mentors. This will be available to all registered mentors online via Moodle and face-to-face via weekly workshops. The training will support mentors in their role and provide them opportunities to share ideas and reflect on their experiences. Topics covered by the module include; the role of mentoring at Kent, active listening and communication skills, equality and diversity and student-centred learning approaches.

Academic Peer Mentoring at Kent has grown from strength to strength; the scheme is now running in 18 schools across the Medway and Canterbury campuses. Last year SLAS worked with approximately 350 mentors, this year it is anticipated that there will be even more. The idea behind the scheme is that experienced students provide academic and social support to newer students. This gives mentors invaluable employability skills such as; communication, time management leadership and team work whilst also benefiting mentees by providing them with a friendly face to ask questions about their course and university life. The focus of APM is on improving student achievement and as such it targets difficult modules rather than failing students.

Being a mentor is a fantastic way to ‘give something back’ to the university and it looks great on your CV. To find out more about mentoring please contact

Staff offer at Coopers

Starting on Monday 3 August, Coopers – based at Medway campus – will be introducing a special ‘Staff Offer’.

The August offer will be a Jacket Potato with any filling for £2.50 (the offer will exclude the chilli topping).  Choices of filling available includes:

  • Cheese
  • Tuna Mayo
  • Tuna/sweetcorn
  • Beans
  • Cheese/Beans

Staff will need to show their ID card if they wish to get this discount price.

Coopers will also start to sell milk, tea and coffee. This will be on a trial basis (to identify demand) and if staff would like to buy these items they will need to request them from the bar counter.

Bemused by bOing?

Summer is here and fluffy clouds with bOing! on them are appearing all over the campus.Its the countdown Kent’s newest (and brilliant-est) family festival (29 and 30 August).

If you are still uncertain what bOing! is, take a look at the newly launched bOing website, where you can flick through the packed programme of events and buy tickets to theatre performances, film screenings and creative workshops across the campus.

Or if you have any questions about bOing! you can email the Box Office.

Team Kent iGEM 2015

iGEM, the International Genetically Engineered Machine Competition, is the largest synthetic biology community and the premiere synthetic biology competition for both university and high school level students.

iGEM inspires learning and innovation in synthetic biology through education, competition and by maintaining an open library of standard biological parts, the Registry of Standard Biological Parts.

Combining molecular biology techniques with engineering concepts, students work in an interdisciplinary team to create novel biological systems.

The University of Kent is participating for its third year in a row with a team of eight Biosciences students, two Electronic and Communication Engineering students and a Physics student.

Our aim is to manipulate the DNA of E.coli in order to produce nanowire that could be used in consumer products.

Read the project webpages.

Follow our progress on Twitter and Facebook.


SAUL Staff Presentations

Staff presentations, aimed at helping members understand the proposed changes to SAUL, are being held on:

Canterbury Campus:

  • 7 August 2015, Marlowe Lecture Theatre 1 at 10.30am (Final Salary members) and 12.00 (CARE members)
  • 13 August 2015, Jennison Lecture Theatre at 9.30 (Final Salary) and 11.00 (CARE)
  • 25 August 2015, Keynes Lecture Theatre 5 at 14.00 (Final Salary) and 15.30 (CARE)

2 September 2015, Darwin Lecture Theatre 1 at 9.30 (Final Salary) and 11.00 (CARE)

Medway Campus:

  • 11 August 2015, Rochester Building R2-09 at 9.30 (Final Salary) and 11.00 (CARE)

To check which presentation you should attend, please check your payslip. Those who joined SAUL before 1 July 2012 will be in the Final Salary section of the scheme and payslips will read ‘SAUL’ against the pension contribution deduction. Members who joined after this date will be in the CARE section (although there are some exceptions). CARE member payslips will read ‘SAUL_CRB’ against the pension deduction. Eligible members would go into the CARE section of the scheme.

The presentations on 7 August will be delivered by a SAUL representative, other presentations will be given by Alan Gazzard from the University Pensions Team.

For individual pension queries or more information about the proposals, book a one to one appointment at one of our Pension Clinics:

Canterbury Campus:

  • 10 August 2015, Estates Conference Room from 9.00
  • 19 August 2015, Keynes Seminar Room 2 from 13.00
  • 3 September 2015, Darwin Seminar Room 11 from 9.30

Medway Campus:

  • 11 August 2015, Rochester Building, R2.05 from 12.00

To book a place at a presentation or Pension Clinic email Individual appointments are also available at other times.