2 Leverhulme Trust funded PhD studentships at Glasgow

As part of 'Collections', the University of Glasgow's Leverhulme Trust Doctoral Award, two PhD scholarships are currently available in the School of Geographical and Earth Sciences, for studies to commence 1st October 2016:   

1. Collecting worlds, dissertating geography: disciplinary history and knowledge production in the undergraduate geography dissertation

2. Lord Kelvin, geographer: Considering the life and work of Lord Kelvin from the perspective of the history of the earth sciences

Fuller outlines for both scholarship projects appear further below.

Details of the University of Glasgow Leverhulme Trust 'Collections' award can be found here:

Each PhD scholarship provides 3 years of maintenance (c. £14,100 in academic session 2016-17), and covers University tuition fees (Home/EU rate only).

Applicants should hold, or currently be studying for, a Masters degree qualification in Geography, History or in a cognate subject area.

Candidates interested in applying for funded PhD study on either of the two projects are encouraged to make informal contact with the supervisor(s) in the first instance. 

Candidates wishing to submit an application should prepare and submit the following documentation: 

The application form, which includes a personal statement where you should detail the particular attributes and/or achievements that make you a suitable candidate to undertake the proposed project.

• Your CV 
• Your degree transcripts 
• Two references in support of your application 

The closing date for receipt of complete applications is Friday, 25 March 2016. 

Applications should be emailed to Adeline Callander, Graduate School Administrator (Adeline.Callander@glasgow.ac.uk). 

Collecting Worlds, Dissertating Geography: Disciplinary History and Knowledge Production in the Undergraduate Geography Dissertation

Supervisors: Prof Hayden Lorimer and Prof Christopher Philo (School of Geographical and Earth Sciences).

How might we keep telling geography’s “small stories” from the bottom-up? This studentship project presents opportunities to think critically about the modern intellectual history of geography through one traditional element of undergraduate degree studies: the student dissertation. 

Generally treated by lecturing staff as a conclusive or defining test of individual ability, the geography dissertation is also reflective of the wider student learning experience, encompassing cultures of fieldwork activity, data gathering, processing and interpreting, and presentational design. Evidently, every geography dissertation has a singular story to tell, and is representative of the student voice in university geography. But each dissertation also speaks to greater questions of disciplinary trends, character, range and change, and the ways in which diverse worlds, peoples and places, have been collected and documented by learning geographical researchers. 

Based on an archival-interpretive approach, studentship activities will be centred on a large, single collection of undergraduate geography dissertations held by the School of Geographical and Earth Sciences, University of Glasgow. The School has retained a near-complete run of hard copy dissertations (regional; physical; human) submitted by final-year undergraduate Geography students, c. 1959-2015. Once chaotic, and only semi-catalogued, the dissertation collection has been recently re-housed and newly organised with a searchable database, making properly accessible a unique archival resource spanning almost sixty years of intellectual and pedagogic change in academic Geography through the praxis of undergraduate students. 

Framed by scholarship in historical geography and the history of geography, the project can variously address matters of knowledge production, spaces of learning, scholastic convention, local tradition, trust and credibility, cultural representation, cartographic literacy, and disciplinary integration and fragmentation. Ultimately, the studentship seeks to understand how the exercise of doing a geography dissertation at University of Glasgow has, variously over time, reflected or resisted canonical disciplinary narratives. 

Lord Kelvin, geographer: Considering the life and work of Lord Kelvin from the perspective of the history of the earth sciences

The successful candidate will be supervised by Dr Simon Naylor (Geographical and Earth Sciences) and Dr Nicky Reeves (Curator of Scientific and Medical History Collections in the The Hunterian).

On 15 June 1896 the University of Glasgow celebrated the jubilee of the professorship of Sir William Thomson, Lord Kelvin, who had been elected to the University’s chair of Natural Philosophy in 1846. Delegates attended from universities and scientific institutions around the world. The Royal Geographical Society was represented by Dr John Murray, veteran of the Challenger expedition and a member of the Council of the Society. In a subsequent account of the event in its in-house publication, the Geographical Journal, the Society justified its participation on the grounds that Kelvin had made a number of important contributions to the sciences of geography and earth science. 

Taking its prompt from the 1896 article in the Geographical Journal, this PhD project will consider the life and work of Lord Kelvin from the perspective of the history of the earth sciences. In doing so it will consider his role in the development of a range of scientific instruments for use in studies of the earth and its processes. The project will examine Kelvin’s work on submarine telegraphy, deep-sea sounding, magnetic variation and marine navigation. It will also consider his contributions to tidal studies, to theories of glacier movement and to relations between polar ice-caps and sea level. The project will make extensive use of the scientific instrument collections and other historical items held as part of the Hunterian’s Kelvin collection, from compass cards to submarine cable charts. The project will benefit greatly from a new purpose-designed Collections Study Centre in the Kelvin Hall development, in which the Hunterian’s objects and specimens will be accessible. 

The project will also utilise the archives held in the University of Glasgow’s Archives and Special Collections, including Kelvin’s correspondence and papers, patents and business papers, the running of his laboratory, correspondence with scientific instrument makers, and lecture notes. This project will improve our understandings of the relations between the geographical and physical sciences in the nineteenth century. It will also contribute to current debates regarding the role of place in the production of scientific knowledge and instrumental practice. Lastly, the project will improve understandings of the Hunterian’s instrument collection and bring them into greater public view.

Nicky Reeves
Curator of Scientific and Medical History Collections (Working pattern: Monday — Thursday)

The Hunterian
University of Glasgow
Gilbert Scott Building
Glasgow G12 8QQ