Royal Society Research Fellowships awarded to UC academics
University of Canterbury History Professor Katie Pickles
has been awarded a prestigious 2017 James Cook Research Fellowship by the Royal Society Te Apārangi, while two
early-career UC researchers will receive postdoctoral fellowships, it was announced today.
Professor Pickles was one of three New Zealand researchers recognised for their sustained research excellence today
while five highly promising researchers at the early stages of their careers have also been awarded fellowships.
Receiving the prestigious James Cook Research Fellowship means Professor Pickles will be supported to undertake her
research for two years, examining heroines in modern global history. She will research what these exceptional
individuals reveal about women’s changing roles and status over the past 200 years, focusing on Aotearoa New Zealand.
Social Sciences: Professor Katie Pickles
, School of Humanities and Creative Arts, College of Arts, UC, for research entitled: “The Heroine with a thousand faces”:
Over the past two centuries, women’s status has undergone revolutionary change on a global scale. Change has been
uneven, contested and often surprising. Aotearoa/New Zealand is a world-leading example of rapid change, most notably
being first in the world to grant all women the right to vote in 1893. At the beginning of the 21st century, it is
timely to look back on two centuries of change, deepening, questioning and creating new knowledge about women’s evolving
place in society.
In this fellowship, Professor Pickles will examine heroines in modern global history. She will research what these
exceptional individuals reveal about women’s changing roles and status over the past 200 years. Focusing on Aotearoa New
Zealand, she will explore women’s place in our nation and the world through a series of archetypes of modern global
heroines: mother, warrior, queen, imperialist, technologist, politician, and celebrity. Examining heroines in their
historical context will open up diverse and innovative historical themes. These range from cross-dressing and glamour to
spirituality and religion, death and martyrdom to domesticity, fertility and motherhood, courage and adventure to
imperialism, war, and governance.
As well as the first country to grant women the right to vote, Aotearoa/New Zealand has a proud heritage of ‘firsts’ for
women in areas of education, politics, governance, sport and business. Despite this, the heroic ‘man alone’ and the
ANZAC soldier remain among the most popular and researched national stereotypes. This research will recover often
forgotten female heroines such as sea heroines Grace Darling, Ada Lewis and Huria Matenga. More broadly, it will
question what it means for diverse women to be heroic, considering masculinity, femininity and sexuality in new ways and
across different eras and cultures.
The Royal Society Te Apārangi Rutherford Foundation Trust also announced five, two-year, postdoctoral fellowships, two
of which were awarded to UC academics:
• Dr Robin Lee, UC, for research entitled: “Earthquake-induced ground motion prediction: Realising the paradigm shift from empirical relations to physics-based
• Dr Daniel Preston, UC, for research entitled: “Building bigger and better cages: a novel approach to large and complex molecules”