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School of Social and Political Science: About


SPS Politics Professor elected to British Academy

Professor Christina Boswell has been announced as a fellow of the UK’s national academy for the humanities and social sciences.

She is one of three University of Edinburgh academics among 76 distinguished scholars newly elected to the British Academy. Professor Boswell, professor of Politics at the School of Social and Political Science, is joined by the University’s Professor Caroline Heycock and Professor Simon Kirby.

They join a community of more than 1,400 leading minds, which includes the classicist Dame Mary Beard, the historian Sir Simon Schama and philosopher Baroness Onora O’Neill. Historic fellows include the historian Dame Frances Yates, Sir Winston Churchill and the poet Seamus Heaney.

Edinburgh Fellows

Professor Boswell has been elected for her contribution to understanding the relationship between knowledge and public policy. She has investigated how politicians and civil servants produce and draw on different kinds of knowledge to tackle policy problems.

Her main area of work concerns immigration and asylum policy, linking migration to issues of economic development, labour markets, human rights and security.

Caroline Heycock, Professor of Syntax, was elected in recognition of her significant contributions to two distinct areas of Linguistics: the study of the morphosyntax, or grammar, of the Germanic languages and to the development of linguistic theory.

Simon Kirby is a Professor of Language Evolution and the Director of the Centre for Language Evolution. He has been influential in developing the so-called iterated learning paradigm of cultural evolution, which explores how biological evolution, individual language learning, and cultural transmission overlap and interact in human populations. 

Outstanding scholars

As well as giving fellowships, the British Academy is a funding body for research, nationally and internationally, and a forum for debate and engagement. 

Professor Sir David Cannadine, President of the British Academy, said: “I extend my warmest welcome and heartiest congratulations to all our new fellows, corresponding fellows and honorary fellows. I look forward to working with these outstanding scholars to build on the Academy’s excellent and ever-expanding record of achievement.”

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