The Conversation

From April 2017, Josephine Lethbridge will be The Conversation’s Interdisciplinary Editor, funded by the ISRF. Josephine’s role will include working with scholars at The Conversation’s member universities, as well as past and present Fellows of the ISRF, to bring interdisciplinary social research to millions of readers worldwide.

Any ISRF Fellows wishing to pitch an idea for an article to Josephine, or simply interested in knowing more, should contact her directly at

Recent Articles

How llamas conquered the world
Helen Cowie, University of York

Llamas recently have become a relatively common sight around the world. With between 2,000 and 4,000 llamas registered in the UK alone, the species has emerged as a popular choice for many aspiring livestock owners and is winning new admirers by the day. Whether you live in Yorkshire or New South Wales, Canada or New Zealand, you don’t have to go too far to find a llama.

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The Grenfell Tower disaster lays bare the true power of social media
Gary Bratchford, University of Central Lancashire

Since YouTube invited us to “broadcast yourself” in 2005, the means and methods to do so have increased exponentially. The rise of accessible digital technologies along with multiple social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram have become key to everyday popular communication. Such platforms also enable users to develop a social and political visibility by attracting attention to events and social groups who may be subject to a system of violence that is not always visible.

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India’s torture record is dire – but Britain has little to crow about
Deana Heath, University of Liverpool

On this 70th anniversary of its independence from British rule, India is being subjected to the sort of assessment that all post-colonial nation-states are forced to undergo on such occasions. How “far” have they come since the end of what their European colonisers liked to view not as a lengthy period of forced occupation, exploitation and violence, but rather of “tutelage” in the values and virtues of European civilisation? Invariably, they are found wanting.

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Why Africa needs a science synthesis centre to tackle complex problems
Christopher Trisos, University of Maryland
Charne Lavery, University of Cape Town
Laura Pereira, Stellenbosch University

Scientific research often requires sophisticated equipment like radio telescopes or laboratories. This infrastructure is essential for scientific discovery. But another form of infrastructure is now essential too: synthesis centres. These specialise in bringing together experts across academic fields and geographies.

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In Victorian Britain the crowds approved of sports doping – with cocaine
Douglas Small, University of Glasgow

The American sprinter Justin Gatlin’s recent victory over Usain Bolt at the World Athletics Championships has brought the storied issue of sports doping back into the public eye.

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My new novel interrogates contemporary Indian politics – with King Lear as a blueprint
Preti Taneja, University of Warwick

The first draft of We That Are Young, my debut novel, was written between 2010 and 2012. For much of that time I was in India, researching in New Delhi and Kashmir. It was after unprecedented anti-corruption protests had swept the country, and before the rape of Jyoti Singhbecame headline news around the world. It was before Narendra Modi, the current right-wing Hindu prime minister, came to power. However, it was some way into the growth of a fierce capitalism that began with economic liberalisation in the 1990s, changing the fabric of Indian society for better and worse.

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Josephine Lethbridge
Interdisciplinary Editor

About Josephine

Josephine Lethbridge became Interdisciplinary Editor at The Conversation after over three years as the UK’s initial Arts + Culture Editor. As well as articles on new research, she also commissioned academics to write commentary on popular culture news and to review films and art exhibitions.

Josephine has an MA in English Literature from the University in Glasgow, and since autumn 2015 has also been studying part-time towards an MSc in Science, Technology and Society at UCL, which she will complete in September 2017. She is mostly looking at the history of the idea of going to war on global warming and visions of geoengineering the climate. These diverse interests mean that she is thrilled to have become The Conversation’s first Interdisciplinary Editor.

In her spare time, Josephine enjoys going to the cinema and exploring London’s industrial history. She is also a trustee of the Queille Trust, which organises a biennial arts festival in the south of France and aims to support the careers of emerging performers. She lives in south east London.