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What Marsden Fund success means for researchers

Thursday 8 November 2018 12:49pm

Associate Professor Jacob Edmund at a Department of English and Linguistics event celebrating his Marsden Fund success this week.

As the University of Otago reflects on its best Marsden Fund round ever, six Division of Humanities researchers are celebrating after gaining project funding totalling $4 million.
University-wide 41 world-class research projects secured $28.5 million, up from $24 million for 33 projects last year.

Division of Humanities Pro-Vice-Chancellor Professor Tony Ballantyne congratulated recipients Associate Professor Jacob Edmond, Dr Christina Ergler, Professor Merata Kawharu, Dr Karyn Paringatai, Dr Wayne Stephenson and Associate Professor Angela Wanhalla on their success.

“I am delighted with the outcome of Marsden applications for our Division this year and am so pleased for each of the researchers. Winning a Marsden is a huge achievement: it is a great endorsement of their research and the funding enables them to pursue important new lines of investigation for a sustained period.

Professor Tony Ballantyne

“I know that all of us in Humanities at Otago will be delighted for our colleagues and will take pride in what is a great affirmation of our Division's research strength.”

Over the next few days the Division of Humanities pages will feature comment from the six recipients on what the Marsden Fund grants will mean for their research.

Associate Professor Jacob Edmond, Department of English and Linguistics

I’m excited about the opportunity to explore a topic of importance not just to those who study literature but to anyone who cares about how news media shape our understanding of the world at large.

I’m especially pleased that the funding will help support emerging researchers and research that is directly relevant to New Zealand and Te Ao Māori. The grant will assist a student to complete a PhD thesis that uses my global poetics of the newspaper theoretical framework to analyse how Māori-language writing and literature developed in response to news media from the nineteenth-century niupepa Māori to digital media.

I am grateful to the Marsden Fund for their ongoing support, which has already allowed me to complete two major book projects. A Marsden Fast-Start grant (2006–2007) led to the publication of A Common Strangeness: Contemporary Poetry, Cross-Cultural Encounter, Comparative Literature (Fordham University Press, 2012), and a full Marsden grant between 2011 and 2013 resulted in Make It the Same: Poetry in the Age of Global Media (due out from Columbia University Press in June 2019).

Summary of Marsden Project - News of the World: The Global Poetics of the Newspaper

This study asks why our instant access to online news from around the world brings not global understanding but paralysing confusion.

It addresses this question by pinpointing the origins of our confusion in the newspaper, the medium that first juxtaposed news from many places on a single page. By analysing literary works from around the world that respond to news media from the printed daily to the Facebook newsfeed, it seeks to understand how the collage-like structure of the news produces our experience of the world as both instantly accessible and overwhelmingly complex.

The study interrogates literary responses to two key stages in this growing sense of global complexity: the information revolution of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries and the digital revolution of today. Literary responses to these revolutions illuminate the continuities and differences between how we first came to imagine the world through the patchworked form of the newspaper and how we imagine the world today through online newsfeeds.

Without investigating this interrelationship between imaginative texts and news media, we cannot grasp how we have come to view the world as bewilderingly complex and how we might reform our view to address issues of global urgency