Leeds/Science Museum: AHRC PhD studentship on the reception of the stethoscope

Applications are now invited for this fully funded AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Studentship.

Making the Pulse: the Reception of the Stethoscope in nineteenth century Britain, 1817-1870.

The University of Leeds Centre for the History and Philosophy of Science, in collaboration with the Science Museum, invites applications for a fully-funded three-year PhD studentship on the reception of the stethoscope in Britain.

The studentship award has been made by the Science Museums & Archives Consortium under the AHRC’s Collaborative Doctoral Partnership scheme. The project, due to begin in October 2016, will be supervised by Dr Adrian Wilson and Dr Jonathan Topham, at the University of Leeds, and by Dr Oisín Wall at the Science Museum.

The project student will explore the multiple channels of reception of the stethoscope in Britain between 1817 and 1870. The beginning of the stethoscope’s widespread use is widely acknowledged as a foundational moment in the technologization of medicine: little is known, however, about the specific mechanisms through which they came to be accepted, and the different contexts in which they were used and discussed. The project will move beyond the existing focus of social histories of diagnosis by exploring the whole range of practitioners involved in the making of the nineteenth century stethoscope, including manufacturers, purchasers, wholesalers, users, students and patients.

There will be intensive periods of work at the Museum, particularly associated with detailed work in the museum archives and stores, and examination of the material collections of the museum held in reserve collections offsite. During these periods there will be very close advice and guidance given by Dr Wall and supporting expert staff at the museum. This staff support will provide informed access to the collections, and guidance as the student progressively engages increasingly deeply with their project. The student will also benefit from the collaboration over and above a standard PhD programme by extending their 'skills set' and improving their employability. Such skills include curation, public dissemination, and event organization that may open opportunities not just in museums and galleries, but also in the wider creative industries sector.

At the University of Leeds the student will join a thriving group of c. 25 PhD students in the history of science, technology and medicine, several of whom are engaged in collaborative doctoral projects with museums as the partner institution. They will also be involved in the Centre for History and Philosophy of Science, a very active research Centre within the School of Philosophy, Religion and History of Science. The centre runs seminar series and reading groups, and also has its own innovative Museum of the History of Science, Technology and Medicine (whose holdings include a Laennec-style stethoscope), with which the student may choose to become involved, thereby furthering their museum skills.

The main contact and supervisor for this project is Dr Adrian Wilson. For further particulars please email:A.F.Wilson@leeds.ac.uk 

A full project description is available at http://www.leeds.ac.uk/arts/downloads/file/2693/.

The application deadline is 18 April 2016.