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At The Open University:

See below for external links.

In alphabetical order:

Commodity Histories Project

Commodity Histories is a public forum for research postings, news and information about the history of commodities. Our aim is to raise public awareness of the rich histories and cultures of Africa, Asia, the Caribbean and Latin America via their crucial role in the growing of crops and the production of commodities that have become an indispensable aspect of people’s daily lives throughout the world.
Commodity Histories website

Contemporary Religion in Historical Perspective
Contemporary Religion in Historical Perspective was established as a research group in the Department of Religious Studies at the Open University at the end of 2000. It aims to invite exploration of questions relating to the centrality of belief vis à vis experience and outward observance, and the location of boundaries between the 'alternative' and the 'mainstream' at historical, institutional, definitional, traditional, geographical, methodological, and transnational levels.

The group intends to facilitate the production of research in those religions and spiritual groups which fall outside the remit of mainstream or traditional religion (as temporally or geographically defined), both contemporary and historically, constituting observable religion outside what is conventionally regarded as religion. Such religions include (but are not limited to): Paganism; New Age; New Religious Movements; spiritualism; traditionally Eastern beliefs in a Western setting (e.g. Western Buddhism); Hinduism and Islam in diaspora; vernacular religion; diaspora religion. 
Contemporary Religion in Historical Perspective website

Cross Cultural Identities Research Group
The aim of this group is to promote the study of cultures and identities at The Open University, to facilitate collaborations and dialogues between staff and to provide an open forum for the presentation of research. Promoting one of the Arts Faculty Research Themes, the group is particularly interested in research that approaches cultures and identities through the prisms of power, mobility and change.
Cross Cultural Identities Research Group website

Digital Humanities at the Open University
Our goal is to develop collaborative Humanities research across the University. We are especially interested in studying how the use of digital technologies is shaping the research process, and how they can enhance the University’s mission of ‘openness’.   
Digital Humanities at the Open University website

Development Policy and Practice
DPP challenges traditional thinking about international development - what it is, who drives it, and where it happens - to help create more effective development interventions. We are driven by a desire to generate real improvements in the lives and prospects of people across the globe.

We work collaboratively with other organisations and institutions globally and in the UK, as well as with other teams within the Open University studying, teaching and promoting international development.
Development Policy and Practice website

Empire and Postcolonial Studies Research Group
The Empire and Postcolonial Studies Research Group promotes research into the history and impact of empires and imperialism. Our aim is to facilitate collaboration between scholars in the History Department, and between them and the Ferguson Centre, English and Geography Departments, and other parts of the Open University. The group encourages seminars and conferences and mutual support of research students. In the first instance, we hope to support potential synergies between Empire and the OU’s development of a Heritage Studies curriculum, and between Empire and the History Department’s strengths in policing and security.
Empire and Postcolonial Studies Research Group website

Ethics Centre
The environment... Globalisation... Poverty... War... Corporate fraud... New technologies... Ethical debate has moved to the very top of the world agenda in the 21st century. The Open University's Vice-Chancellor, Professor Brenda Gourley, has established a visionary new international and interdisciplinary Ethics Centre which will meet these needs". Professor Timothy Chappell, previously Director of the Arts and Humanities Research Council's Scottish Ethics Network, has recently been appointed as Director of the OU Ethics Centre. Under his direction the Centre is developing a range of potentially high-impact projects.
Ethics Centre website

Globalization, Identity Politics, and Social Conflict: Contemporary Texts and Discourses
" an international collaborative research project" which examines "the relationships between socio-political and economic phenomena such as globalization, identity-politics and different forms of social conflict... encountered and expressed in social/cultural discourses and texts in the public domain"
Globalization, Identity Politics, and Social Conflict website

Indian Ocean: narratives in literature and law Project
The Indian Ocean: Narratives in Literature and Law project examines how the Indian Ocean has been represented in literary and legal texts from the sixteenth century to the present. Beginning with the literary and legal texts which narrate and attempted to legitimise Portuguese expansion into the Western Indian Ocean, the project examines key subsequent literary and legal texts which have inscribed the Indian Ocean as a defining locale. The project’s research extends from the study of early texts – European literary works like Camões’s Lusiads (1572) and European legal texts like Grotius’ The Free Sea (1609) and legal and literary texts produced from within the lands and islands of the Indian Ocean like Ibn Majid's The Book of Profitable Things (1490) to recent postcolonial literary works like Abdularazak Gurnah’s novel By the Sea (2001) and legal disputes such as the Chagos Islanders’ suit against the British government. In all these cases, the interplay between literary and legal discourses is foregrounded: literary texts are analysed with an eye to how they narrate the rule of law or indeed absence of law in the governance of Indian Ocean spaces; and legal texts are analysed with an eye to how they deploy literary tropes in regulating or legitimising conduct in the Indian Ocean.

This project was initially supported by the Ferguson Centre while the Principal Investigator Dr Stephanie Jones worked for the Centre between 2004 and 2006. The project Co-investigator is Dr David Johnson of the English Department.
Indian Ocean: narratives in literature and law project website

International Centre for the History of Crime, Policing and Justice
The International Centre for the History of Crime, Policing and Justice aims to promote and facilitate research into criminal justice history around the world and to generate the exchange of ideas between academics, criminal justice practitioners and serving policemen. This is achieved via seminars, conferences, publications and the provision of specialist archive facilities.The Centre has research specialisms in:

  • the history of crime, including the history of violence
  • juvenile delinquency in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries
  • the history of policing in Europe and in the colonies from c.1750
  • international (UK) policing, including a focus on contemporary policing
  • the history of the criminal justice system, including issues of access and representation
  • the rights of the poor; poverty and welfare; and the Rule of Law
  • the representation of crime and its punishment in cultural forms, including the media and genres of entertainment

the history of punishment, from public bodily punishments to prisons. 
International Centre for the History of Crime, Policing and Justic website

International Development Office (IDO)
The Open University has been working with partners across Sub-Saharan African since 1992. We work with developing countries to:

  • help build human capital and capacity (strengthening existing infrastructure and building for the future)
  • directly impact the socio-economic development of the region
  • assist Sub-Saharan countries to meet their Millennium Development Goals

Find out more about the OU's Development Programmes in Africa, Education in Africa and Research in Africa. 
International Development Office website

Innovation, Knowledge and Development Research Centre (IKD)
The IKD: Innovation, Knowledge and Development Research Centre is a major contributor to ID@OU: the Open University's international development activity. ID@OU brings together research, teaching and programmes in international development across the university.

The IKD: Innovation, Knowledge and Development research centre explores the dynamics between technology creation and diffusion, business behavior, government and non-governmental actors. A primary focus is on exploring ways that knowledge and innovation can contribute to inclusive and sustainable patterns of development. IKD's strength comes from its diversity and its ability to cross traditional discipline boundaries. This permits research relevant to that primary focus in the following areas for example: Governance and conflict; education; migration and diaspora; health; medical and agricultural biotechnology; innovation and industry dynamics; capabilities and capacity development; public-private partnerships; regulatory frameworks; social justice, complexity and enterprise development and entrepreneurship.
Innovation, Knowledge and Development Research Centre website

Open Arts Archive
The Open Arts Archive is a major website and archive, hosted by the Art History Department at the Open University, which provides open access to a wealth of artistic, cultural and educational resources, featuring work from the ancient to the modern period. These resources include seminars, study days, artist interviews, research projects, curator’s talks and exhibition archives produced by a wide national network of museums and galleries in collaboration with the Open University.
Open Arts Archive website

Open Arts Journal
The Open Arts Journal is a new, peer-reviewed journal launching in autumn 2012.  It will be published online and be accessible to all.  Our dissemination is open, spanning diverse cultural, social and academic communities.  We are committed to cross-fertilisation between communities – academics, curators, practitioners of art, architecture and design – as well as among academic disciplines.  We emphasise innovation.  Each edition of the journal engages with a key theme, issue or critical debate.
Open Arts Journal website

OpenSpace Research Group
The OpenSpace Research Centre promotes research on geographical and environmental concerns. Our research aims to be conceptually and empirically innovative, and designed to engage with diverse publics. The Centre encourages a vibrant research environment, drawing on research expertise both within and beyond The Open University and academia.
OpenSpace Research Group website

Post-Colonial Literatures Research Group
Founded in 1992, the Postcolonial Literatures Research Group represents an active community of scholars who work on a wide range of individual and collaborative projects, both within the Open University and in partnership with other academics and organisations. The group is organised as a research collective, and its activities are co-ordinated by its current director, Alex Tickell. 

The predominant focus of the group is on Anglophone literatures from South Asia, Africa and the Caribbean, and forms of colonial and neo-colonial experience represented in these literary traditions, but group members’ interests also encompass the writing of the Caribbean and South-Asian diasporas; colonial cultural and literary history; anti-colonial political thought, and wider global literary systems. Members of the group also work on poetry, film and drama, anthropology, postcolonial theory, and the publishing and reception of literature in the post-colony.

In the past five years members of the group have directed and participated in several externally-funded AHRC projects (see Projects), organised numerous conferences and seminar series (see Events) and disseminated its research through the international journal Wasafiri. In the past two decades the group has published extensively and has shaped and informed the field of postcolonial studies.
Post-Colonial Literatures Research Group website

The Magazine of International Contemporary Writing
Wasafiri is a literary magazine at the forefront in mapping new landscapes in contemporary international literature today. In over 20 years of publishing, it has continued to provide consistent coverage to Britain's diverse cultural heritage and publishes a range of diasporic and migrant writing worldwide. Since its inception in 1984, it has focused on writing as a form of cultural travelling (Wasafiri is Kiswahili for 'traveller') and extended the boundaries of literary culture.
Wasafiri website


External Links:

In alphabetical order:

Africa Desk
The Africa Desk is a new portal designed to support collaboration between UK and African researchers by enabling them to locate and make contact with colleagues sharing similar research interests and to identify potential future collaborators. The Africa Desk also aims to provide a central source of advice and information for African scholars interested in the activities of the UK Africanist research community, or who wish to apply for research funding or fellowships, establish collaborative projects with UK academics, or get their work published in UK Africanist journals.
Africa Desk website

DISA - Digital Imaging South Africa Project
A joint project run by the Killie Campbell Museum and University of KwaZulu-Natal. The aim of the DISA project, which is expected to last three years, is to make accessible to scholars and researchers world-wide, South African material of high socio-political interest which would otherwise be difficult to locate and use. In addition the project aims to provide experience and develop knowledge and expertise in digital imaging amongst archivists and librarians in South Africa. It is intended that DISA be the first in a series of projects dealing with South Africa's fascinating social and political history.
Digital Imaging South Africa Project website

Leeds University Centre for African Studies
LUCAS brings together people of different disciplinary backgrounds who share interests in Africa. We aim to promote African studies in the University and city of Leeds and further afield.
Leeds University Centre for African Studies website

Moving Worlds Journal
Moving Worlds is a forum for creative work as well as criticism, literary as well as visual texts, writing in scholarly as well as more personal modes, in English and translations into English. It is open to experimentation, and represents work of different kinds and from different cultural traditions. It reappraises acknowledged achievements and promotes fresh talent. Its central concern – the transcultural – is the movement of cultures across national boundaries, and the productive transformations resulting from these crisscrossings. Its outreach is regional, national and international, that is, towards the diversity and richness of global/local communities.
Moving Worlds Journal website

Oecumene, Citizenship after Orientalism
Oecumene: Citizenship after Orientalism explores how the concept of citizenship is being refigured and renewed around the globe. At a time when tumultuous world events, from Israel to India, call for a deeper understanding of the purpose and power of citizenship, the project opens up the boundaries of citizenship by exploring political subjectivities outside of Europe.
Oecumene, Citizenship after Orientalism website

Royal African Society
The Royal African Society is Britain’s prime Africa organisation. Now more than 100 years old, its in-depth, long-term knowledge of the continent and its peoples makes the Society the first stop for anyone wishing to know more.

  • We foster a better understanding of Africa in the UK and throughout the world - its history, politics, culture, problems and potential
  • We disseminate knowledge and insight to make a positive difference to Africa’s development
  • We celebrate the diversity and depth of African culture

Membership is open to all. Among our members are Africans in Africa and in the diaspora, business leaders working in Africa, academics, politicians, civil servants, teachers and students, health professionals, journalists and writers, artists and musicians, charities and non-governmental organisations and anyone interested in Africa and its future.
Royal African Society website

Tibet Visual History Online
The Tibet Album presents more than 6000 photographs spanning 30 years of Tibet's history. These extraordinary photographs are a unique record of people long gone and places changed beyond all recognition. They also document the ways that British visitors encountered Tibet and Tibetans.

Featuring photographs taken by Charles Bell, Arthur Hopkinson, Evan Nepean, Hugh Richardson, Frederick Spencer Chapman, Harry Staunton and the previously unidentified photographs of Rabden Lepcha.
Tibet Visual History Online website

World Oral Literature Project in Cambridge
For many communities around the world, the transmission of oral literature from one generation to the next lies at the heart of cultural practice. Performances of creative works of verbal art - which include ritual texts, curative chants, epic poems, musical genres, folk tales, creation tales, songs, myths, legends, word games, life histories or historical narratives - are increasingly endangered. Globalisation and rapid socio-economic change exert complex pressures on smaller communities, often eroding expressive diversity and transforming culture through assimilation to more dominant ways of life. As vehicles for the transmission of unique cultural knowledge, local languages encode oral traditions that become threatened when elders die and livelihoods are disrupted.
World Oral Literature Project in Cambridge website