PhD studentship: ‘Body, Self and Family: Women’s Psychological, Emotional and Bodily Health in Britain. c. 1960-1990’

University of Essex

This three-year PhD studentship, available from 1 October 2017, is part of a Wellcome Trust Investigator Award held by Dr Tracey Loughran entitled ‘Body, Self and Family: Women’s Psychological, Emotional and Bodily Health in Britain, c. 1960-1990’. The project as a whole explores women’s experiences at different stages of the life cycle, emphasising the interplay of body, mind and emotion, how women negotiated different sources of expertise and authority, and how new reproductive and contraceptive technologies affected experiences of ‘embodied time’.

The successful applicant will conduct research on depictions of health and illness in magazines aimed at young girls in this period, supplemented by oral history interviews with magazine readers. The researcher will have some freedom to shape the project as she chooses within this remit, but in order to fit in with the broader project will be expected to consider issues such as changing forms of communication around health and illness; approaches to body image and emotional health; and how magazines helped to shape relationships with formal and familial authorities.

Entry requirements and application procedures

The successful applicant must have a 2:1 honours degree (or equivalent) in History or a related discipline, and should hold, or be close to completing, a Master degree in History or a related discipline. Ideally s/he would also be able to demonstrate:

  • Experience of research on magazines/ newspapers and/or oral history interviews;
  • Experience of researching twentieth-century experiences of gender or health and illness;
  • Openness to interdisciplinary methods of working.

Further details of the project, additional questions and queries about the studentship can be addressed in the first instance to The intended start date for this fully-funded PhD studentship is 2nd October 2017. This studentship will be to the value of £19,919 per annum plus Home/EU tuition fees.

Please note: International (non-EU) students need to have additional funding to cover the difference in tuition fees. Evidence will be requested that you have these additional funds.

Applying for the PhD studentship

Please apply via our online application form ( and submit your CV, a covering letter which clearly states how you meet the requirements stated above, and a 1,000 word overview explaining your interest in this PhD topic, including: previous expertise in relation to this topic area, a summary of some key literature, study aims and possible research methods. You will also be required to submit degree transcripts and certificates along with two signed references on letter headed paper, one of these should be from your most recent academic tutor.

The closing date to complete and submit your application is 1st September 2017.

Please note: On the online application form, under ‘Proposed Research Topic’ insert “Body, Self & Family”.

The University of Essex was ranked 19th in the Research Excellence Framework in 2014, in the top 4 in the UK for Social Sciences and 2nd in the 2015 NSS for overall student satisfaction amongst mainstream institutions. We offer world-class supervision and training opportunities and our research students work at the heart of an internationally-acknowledged and well-connected research community.

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