3 PhD Studentships: The Richard Hoggart Centre for Comparative Cultural Studies

University of Hull

To celebrate the University's research successes, the University of Hull is offering a full-time UK/EU PhD Scholarship or International Fees Bursary for candidates applying for each of the following projects.

Closing date: - Thursday 8th February 2018

Studentships will start on 17th September 2018

For further information, email the Cluster lead, Dr Simon Willmetts S.Willmetts@hull.ac.uk

Summary of Cluster

These scholarships will inaugurate the Richard Hoggart Centre for Cultural Studies at the University of Hull. Richard Hoggart was a foundational figure in the discipline of cultural studies and spent over a decade of his early career teaching at the University of Hull. He wrote his most influential work, The Uses of Literacy, whilst teaching at Hull. The Richard Hoggart Centre for Comparative Studies aims to consolidate existing semi-formal collaborations between scholars at the University of Hull who are all engaged with the discipline of cultural studies. At its heart, cultural studies aims to examine cultural texts and forms as politically and socially embedded phenomena that can both inspire social justice and reinforce dominant ideologies. Cultural studies is a mixed-methods approach to the politics of culture, and incorporates elements of literary criticism, cultural theory, film studies, education studies, American Studies, cultural history and critical theory (among other disciplines). The successful candidates for these scholarships will be expected to play a central role in both the administration and intellectual life of the Hoggart Centre

Summary of PhD Project 1: Race and Surveillance in a Digital Age

We invite proposals for PhD projects that examine the cultural reception of digital surveillance practices and/or the impact of digital surveillance practices upon ethnic minority communities. Increasingly, our data is being used as a means of social sorting, making discriminations among populations that often reinforce existing patterns of inequality. The successful candidate will join a team of researchers interested in the cultural representation and reception of digital surveillance practices and will be involved in the curation and organisation of the Hull-based “Digital Dystopias” festival, which uses cultural texts to explore and provoke public discussion about the impact of technology upon society. A knowledge of critical race theory and surveillance studies is desired but not essential.  This scholar will be supervised primarily by American Studies and Film Studies members of the Hoggart Centre, although interdisciplinary and mixed-methods approaches to the subject of race, surveillance and its representation in cultural texts/forms is encouraged.  

Summary of PhD Project 2: Critical literacy among working class and migrant communities in the North of England

Critical literacy - the learned ability to develop a critical perspective towards contested texts - has regained significance in an increasingly volatile socio-political climate. ‘Brexit’, surging populism, ‘fake news’ opinion making, the liminality and marginalisation of working class and migrant communities, have placed new emphasis on ‘critical literacy education’ as an agent for positive social change. In the UK context, post-industrial urban working-class adults, including members of migrant communities, have been frequently labelled as ‘victims of the knowledge economy’, confronted with educational, social or economic immobility and lack of opportunities. This is accompanied by diagnoses that previously well-established informal adult education networks have largely vanished, thus potentially eradicating critical literacies within these communities.

This project re-evaluates ‘critical literacy education’ as an agent for social and cultural change in the North of England. It envisages informal, community-based educational initiatives that mobilise critical literacy, learning, and civic engagement among seemingly disengaged urban communities. The PhD scholarship - through an emphasis on critical literacy - will bring up-to-date the central role of (adult and community) education, will investigate real and perceived social and educational inequalities and will evaluate cultural literacy and engagement in increasingly diverse and multi-ethnic urban communities in the North of England.

We welcome research proposals from suitable candidates who may have backgrounds in education, cultural studies, anthropology, sociolinguistics. 

Summary of PhD Project 3: Identity, Internationalism and Language Learning on Screen: Foreign Language TV programmes in the UK Context

A recent article in the Evening Standard posed the question ‘Is it a coincidence that just as governments are seeking to close their borders, television is opening them?’ (March 15 2017). Indeed, in post-Brexit Britain, television viewers have access to an ever-increasing number of foreign language programmes. And ‘with the boom in streaming services, a single TV drama can cross borders like never before. Yet still, telling local stories appears to be the secret to international appeal’ (ibid). But what is the relationship between the local, national, and transnational that is presented on screen? And how do these dramas influence viewers’ perceptions of the countries, nationalities and languages which are depicted on screen? This project analyses the way in which ideas of national identity and nationhood are interrogated through French and/or German and/or Italian television drama programmes when they are watched outside of their original national context. It will explore the mise-en-scène, plot and marketing employed, and then analyse their impact on viewers and their perceptions of languages and cultures. Near-native competence is required in at least one of the three language areas. Comparative projects are particularly welcome.

Essential Criteria:

Applicants should have at least a 2.1 undergraduate degree in a relevant field – see the PhD scholarships above for further details. A 1st class undergraduate degree or Masters level qualification is desireable.

To apply for these Scholarships please click on the Apply button below.


Full-time UK/EU PhD Scholarships will include fees at the ‘home/EU' student rate and maintenance (£14,553 in 2017/18) for three years, depending on satisfactory progress.

Full-time International Fee PhD Studentships will include full fees at the International student rate for three years, dependent on satisfactory progress.

PhD students at the University of Hull follow modules for research and transferable skills development and gain a Masters level Certificate, or Diploma, in Research Training, in addition to their research degree.

Successful applicants will be informed of the award as soon as possible and by 2nd April 2018 at the latest.

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