3 Fully Funded PhD studentships, 'Imagining and Representing Species Extinction'
Applications are invited for three fully-funded doctoral research studentships in a new Research Network funded by the White Rose College of the Arts & Humanities:
"Imagining and Representing Species Extinction"
Application Closing Date: 5pm BST on Wednesday 17 May 2017
Imagining and representing species extinction – both currently witnessed and projected into the future, including human extinction – has become a powerful social and cultural discourse, the study of which is the domain of no single discipline. This network brings together researchers in environmental conservation, English literature, interactive media, management, philosophy and religious studies in order to contribute critically to the cross-disciplinary study of extinction in all its different biological forms and socio-cultural functions today. Whilst historically extinction has evoked the disappearance of iconic species of animals and plants, it is just as likely to be discussed today in the context of macro-scale considerations of global ecological crisis and the interdependence of human and nonhuman life in an era of anthropogenic climate change. From reporting on climate tipping points (which include rapid biodiversity loss), suggestions that we are living in the 'Anthropocene epoch' and an associated 'sixth mass extinction event', to a recurrent 'eco-apocalypse' and ‘animal apocalypse’ theme in cinematic and literary narratives, the studies of human and non-human life have become radically intertwined. Greater input is thus urgently needed from arts and humanities to work alongside, as well as to critically engage with, the scientific discoveries and ethical imperatives of contemporary wildlife conservation studies.
Alongside a concern with how and why we value and protect biodiversity, individual species and ecosystems, the network addresses questions that have been hampered by disciplinary boundaries. For example: in what sense is extinction a harm, and to what or whom? Why do people lament the loss of some species and not others? How do they communicate the significance of that loss at an individual and / or collective level? How do people connect the loss of nonhuman species with fears of human extinction?
Studentship 1: University of Leeds
Last Whales: Extinction and the Contemporary Cetacean Imaginary
Whales and other cetaceans have been among the most consistently mythologised of living creatures, while some species currently count among the most endangered on Earth. This PhD studentship will chart contemporary representations of a ‘cetacean imaginary’, combining literary (possibly also film and television) studies with research in marine conservation biology.
Studentship 2: University of Sheffield
Theories of loss in cultural representations of extinction
This studentship will explore contemporary literary and other cultural portrayals of species extinction (including the extinction of the human animal). It will interpret them in the context of critical-theoretical approaches to loss—for example beliefs about death and the afterlife; life, vitalism and biopolitics; or memory, mourning and melancholia—to better understand how we value human and nonhuman existence in contemporary cultures.
Studentship 3: University of York
A World Without Bees? the role of our social and cultural imagination in responding to bee extinction.
This studentship will look at the role of innovative design techniques and methods, as well as visualisation and increasing stakeholder engagement in the prevention of pollinator extinction. This may involve shaping and identifying collective and conflicting narratives by which individuals, communities and corporations project, plan for, or attempt to avoid, a world without bees. We encourage applications from a wide range of disciplines including interaction design and speculative design, social and environmental accounting, and related fields.
For more information on any of these studentships, please contact:
Dr Stefan Skrimshire: email@example.com