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RA5a: Structure,environment and staffing policy

Within the Department of Language Studies, Spanish is one of five sections (with French, German, English, The English Language Centre and a shared Computer Assisted Language Learning facility). The two full-time teaching staff for Spanish language are not currently research active. However, the interdisciplinary culture of the university has resulted in many R.A.E. contributors participating in units of assessment remote from their main teaching area or administrative departments. The DLS endorses this policy by collaborating with Spanish-speaking researchers in other departments. This has meant that research activities in the department are currently managed by two Departmental Research sub-Committees, for DLS, and for the Sir John Cass Dept. of Art, in which the bulk of Dr Cooper’s undergraduate teaching is situated. Cooper's smaller research grant from the British Academy detailed in RA4, for research on the fortification of Spain in the 14th century, was routed through the budget of the Sir John Cass Dept. of Art.

Cooper has endeavoured to maximise readership for his research by writing all pieces intended for publication in Spain directly in Castilian, and establishing contacts with Spanish commercial publishers, cultural foundations, professional bodies, learned societies, museums, local authorities and government agencies, constituting collectively a range of experience valuable to research students. He has also become increasingly involved in conservation issues in Spain. This diversity is reflected in the variety of his research methods, in particular photography, palæography, computer imaging and the study of material remains, and allows a diversity of research projects that DLS is competent to foster via another department’s facilities.

Staffing Policy

It was through research supervision that Cooper's convergence with the Dept. of Language Studies began, paradoxically with a French theme, in his successful supervision of a Ph.D (the University's first in the area of Art) on the Romanesque Sculpture of Languedoc, awarded in 1993. He subsequently became supervisor to an ongoing Ph.D. in Modern French Studies, registered in October 1998, and entered in UoA 51. Another current Ph.D. candidate Cooper is supervising, F. Javier López Martín, previously a part-time conservationist at the Army Museum in Madrid, with a project on the evolution of early gunpowder-activated artillery, using Museum holdings and archival material in England, Spain and Portugal, is funded by the University’s Sir John Cass Dept. of Art, and entered in UoA. 64 (Art & Design). This project offers links with research institutions and resources in Spain, and was awarded on 1 July 2000 additional funding of 1,700,000 ptas. (p.a., renewable) by the Instituto de Crédito Oficial (Madrid).

Until the end of 1994, Cooper co-ordinated with the Course Leader in Spanish, Dr. L. White, a historian of the period of union with Portugal, both having been Cañada Blanch Senior Research Fellows at London University. However, her departure coincided with the creation of MA programmes in contemporary French and German Studies, leaving Cooper the option of submitting his research in a less appropriate U.o.A. in the 1996 R.A.E., as, without Dr. White, there was deemed to be insufficient cohesion for a DLS submission in Iberian etc. Languages.
An allocation from the limited DLS research funding allowed Dr. White’s replacement, Dr. Nair, to complete her Ph.D and achieve some research outcomes, along with colleagues from French and German. The intention for R.A.E. 2001 was to balance Cooper's research with the Critical Theory orientated material of Dr. Nair, creating a choice of post-Graduate pathways. However, her departure in October 2000, without an immediate replacement, has prompted a revision of overall research strategy for DLS, by developing the research potential of fractional and part-time staff, and in duplicating in its other language provisions the type of interdisciplinary research link offered by Cooper’s programme. Conversely, his expertise in archival research is likely to involve him in decision making in research programmes detailed in UoA 64.
Cooper’s research has systematically contributed to the local history of all the mainland regions of Spain. This regional focus is compatible with not only the regionalist specialisations of researchers in the other language areas of DLS, but also with the department’s international symposium on Basque Studies (29 June to 2 July, 2000), and the departmental siting of the web-server for a proposed Institute of Basque Studies (http://ibs.lgu.ac.uk/).


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Last updated 17 October 2003

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