Visiting Fellows

The Faculty of Arts will ordinarily host one visiting fellow per year. The fellow is usually based in one of the Faculty's Research Centres and, during the course of a visit, is expected to deliver a public talk, to take part in at least one further Research Centre event (e.g. research seminar), and to lead a workshop with postgraduate students.

Application deadline

The deadline for applications for 2018-19 is Friday 27 April 2018. Potential applicants should contact individual Research Centres in the first instance in order to discuss their application.

Current visiting fellows

Professor Steve Mentz
3rd June - 9th June

Steve teaches Shakespeare, literary theory, and maritime literature and culture with a focus on the “environmental humanities.” Responding in his research and teaching to ecological crisis has brought his work beyond Shakespeare to embrace oceanic culture, environmental philosophy, and artistic performances.

Mentz is author of three books, Shipwreck Modernity: Ecologies of Globalization 1550 – 1719 (2015), At the Bottom of Shakespeare’s Ocean (2009), Romance for Sale in Early Modern England: The Rise of Prose Fiction (2006), and four edited or co-edited collections, The Sea and Nineteenth-Century Anglophone Literary Culture (2017) Oceanic New York (2015), The Age of Thomas Nashe (2014) and Rogues and Early Modern English Culture (2004). He has published numerous articles on Shakespeare, ecological criticism, maritime culture, the history of the book, and related topics.  A sample of his interests, published materials, ongoing projects, and creative work can be found on his blog, The Bookfish. He is currently writing a book on the premodern Anthropocene in oceanic context, and he is also engaged in a long-term project about swimming as a mode of environmental knowledge.

He has received prize fellowships and grants from such bodies as the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Folger Shakespeare Library, the John Carter Brown Library, and the National Maritime Museum in London.

Before arriving at St. John’s in 2003, Dr. Mentz taught for three years in the English Department at Iona College in New Rochelle, NY.  His undergraduate degree is from Princeton University, where his senior thesis won the Francis LeMoyne Page Prize in Creative Writing. His PhD from Yale University.

Steve Mentz’s work reaches across disciplines through its concern with oceanic culture and environmental crisis. His visit to Bristol will see him engage with various groups of scholars and students: undergraduates, post-graduate researchers and staff from across the Faculty of Arts; University of Bristol scholars beyond the Faculty concerned with the sea and with environmental change; scholars from other institutions attending the ‘Marine Transgressions’ conference; and the general public.

Innovative in his bridging of disciplines, Mentz is also a scholar who produces creative as well as traditional scholarly outputs: the author of three monographs and editor of four collections, he has also been involved in exhibitions both physical and on-line; he is the creator of a celebrated blog, ‘The Bookfish’; he contributes to several web-based journals including the Glasgow Review of Books and Stanford’s Arcade;and his scholarly work, including his two most recent monographs, incorporates creative writing. The activities designed for Mentz’s visit to Bristol will reflect this varied and creative approach to academic research: while the conversations he has in Bristol will feed into (and be credited within) future scholarly texts published in academic journals, he will also host a creative writing seminar for undergraduates focusing on the sea and collaborate with Bristol PGRs and staff to produce a web-based piece of research called ‘underwaterbristol’.

The Brigstow Institute and the Cabot Institute will jointly stage and promote his public lecture, provisionally entitled ‘Toxicity, the Ocean, and Urban Space’; the Centre for Environmental Humanities will support his research event for staff and PGRs on underwater Bristol; the Department of English (specifically, Dr William Wootten) will support his maritime-themed creative writing workshop; and the organisers of the ‘Marine Transgressions’ conference (a joint-venture between the University of Bristol and Bath Spa University) have invited him to chair a session at their event. 

Dr Jeppe Sinding Jensen

17th June - 20th June

After completing his studies at Aarhus University Jeppe Jensen held lecturing positions at the University of Odense and University of Aarhus. He is currently Senior Lecturer in the Department of the Study of Religion at the University of Aarhus. He has held visiting lecturer positions at a range of universities, in the UK, continental Europe, Canada and the US. He has held numerous external roles including: Founding member of the Danish Association for the History of Religions; secretary (1985-) and Chairman of the Danish Association for the History of Religions (DAHR) and chairman of the Nordic Commission on Research in the History of Religions (NORREL) (both 1992-1997); co-ordinator for NORREL on joint activities (seminars, workshops etc.) for Nordic Ph.D. / doctoral students (1995-2000); member of the editorial board of 'Method & Theory in the Study of Religion' (Brill, Leiden) and of the Advisory Board for the Journal of the Cognitive Science of Religion. In November 2007 he was elected as member of the board to the North American Association for the Study of Religion. He was co-founder of the cross-disciplinary research project and network: "Religious Narrative, Cognition, and Culture" - funded by the Faculty of Theology and The Research Foundation, University of Aarhus, which was expanded in 2005-2008 as: "Religion, Cognition and Culture" research unit. He has published widely on subjects in the field of the history of religion including the philosophy of religion, social cognition, the contribution of the philosophy of language to cognitive science and many others in both Danish and, the majority, English.  His most recent monograph, What is Religion (London: Routledge, 2014), is a concise and accessible, but also challenging introduction to the study of religion.

During his time as a Visiting Fellow at the University of Bristol, Jeppe Jensen will engage with staff and postgraduate students interested in applying cognitive science to the study of the arts and humanities. Through a number of events he will share with us what he has learnt from his nearly thirty years of experience of working with cognitive approaches in anthropology and history of religions. In particular, he will use his recent work to provide a case study of the cognitive humanities in action. His visit will be of benefit to staff and students in the faculty, whether they are already using approaches drawn from the cognitive sciences or whether they might be interested in the future in doing so in the future. He will give a public lecture on the ‘Cognitive Humanities: On the Traces of Meta-Cognition in Religion and Culture,’ (Tuesday 19th of June), hold a post-graduate workshop on the problems and benefits of using cognitive science for the study of religion (Tuesday 19th of June), and will lead a panel discussion session involving members of the Embodied Mind Cluster on the theme of metacognition: the theory of thinking about thinking (Weds 19th of June). In addition, on Monday 18th of June, he will participate in a workshop on the topic of Cognitive Approaches to Ancient Christianity organized by Bella Sandwell (with the support of the Embodied Minds research cluster and funded by the Department of Classics and Ancient History, Bristol).

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