Historian to work with BBC to explore the hidden world of eighteenth-century male bodies

Posted by ap507 at Feb 22, 2018 09:26 AM |
Dr Sarah Goldsmith selected as a ‘New Generation Thinker’ for 2018 by the Arts and Humanities Research Council and BBC

Issued by University of Leicester on 20 February 2018

Images of Dr Sarah Goldsmith are available here: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/y12b793nwa6qads/AAAMki_MycLTo_t2qDVWZEFpa?dl=0

An historian from the University of Leicester has been selected as a ‘New Generation Thinker’ for 2018 by the Arts and Humanities Research Council and the BBC.

As part of the award, Dr Sarah Goldsmith, a Leverhulme Early Career Research Fellow from the University of Leicester’s School of History, Politics and International Relations, will be working closely with the BBC and the AHRC to gain skills in disseminating research to the public and to share her research on men’s bodies in the eighteenth century.

Dr Goldsmith’s research examines eighteenth-century concepts behind masculinity and the body. She questions what eighteenth-century men did with their bodies, what physical forms they idolised or mocked, and what value they placed on attaining the ‘body beautiful’.

Dr Goldsmith said: “I am absolutely delighted to have been selected for the AHRC and BBC’s New Generation Thinkers 2018. The scheme offers a wonderful opportunity to work with BBC Radio 3 in exploring the best ways of communicating my research to the public and to hone my communication skills in all areas of my work. The selection process itself has already been a fascinating and challenging experience, so I very much look forward to seeing what the year brings. 

“The award also offers a fantastic opportunity to contribute to important contemporary discussions about gender, the pressure to pursue an ‘unattainable’ body beauty, and self-worth. The contemporary body is a contested site that is simultaneously a deeply private matter and subjected to widespread judgement. Despite a countervailing culture that celebrates bodies of all shapes and sizes, women and men face body ideals driven by competing cosmetic, aesthetic and health concerns, where the line between healthy bodies and unattainable ideals is often confused. 

“Eighteenth-century body cultures are by no means the same. I continually find that our contemporary preoccupations with sculpted male bodies are both deeply rooted in that period and distorted beyond all recognition. Because of this, I hope my research will provide a valuable historical contextualisation of the issues surrounding men’s body image and physicality that stimulates men of today to reflect on their own bodies and identities.” 

The ‘New Generation Thinkers’ scheme aims to develop a new generation of academics who can bring the best of university research and scholarly ideas to a broad audience through working with the media, providing early career researchers with the opportunity to communicate their research findings to those outside the academic community. 

Dr Goldsmith, who is the first recipient of the award at the University of Leicester, will join other successful applicants in developing their media skills, including contributing programme-making ideas with experienced BBC producers at a series of dedicated workshops. 

Professor Andrew Thompson, Chief Executive of the AHRC, said: “This scheme is all about helping the next generation of academics to find new and wider audiences for their research by giving them a platform to share their ideas and allowing them to have the space to challenge our thinking.

“The New Generation Thinkers scheme is also one of the AHRC’s major vehicles for engaging the public with the inspiring research taking place across the UK. More than ever we need the new insights and knowledge that come from arts and humanities researchers to help us navigate through the complexities of our globalised world and address the moral and ethical challenges of today and tomorrow.”



Notes to editors:

Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC)

The Arts and Humanities Research Council funds world-class, independent researchers in a wide range of subjects: history, archaeology, digital content, philosophy, languages, design, heritage, area studies, the creative and performing arts, and much more. This financial year the AHRC will spend approximately £98 million to fund research and postgraduate training in collaboration with a number of partners. The quality and range of research supported by this investment of public funds not only provides social and cultural benefits and contributes to the economic success of the UK but also to the culture and welfare of societies around the globe. You can find out more information via www.ahrc.ac.uk or following us on Twitter at @ahrcpress 

Leverhulme Trust:   

The Leverhulme Trust was established by the Will of William Hesketh Lever, the founder of Lever Brothers. Since 1925 the Trust has provided grants and scholarships for research and education. Today, it is one of the largest all-subject providers of research funding in the UK, distributing approximately £80m a year. For more information about the Trust, please visit www.leverhulme.ac.uk



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