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AHRC/Techne-funded PhD Studentship: Cold War Spies: (Counter-) Espionage, Surveillance, and the National Security State in Cold War Britain

University of Roehampton - History in the School of Humanities and Social Sciences

Qualification Type: PhD
Location: London
Funding for: UK Students
Funding amount: Not Specified
Hours: Full Time
Placed On: 9th December 2022
Closes: 27th January 2023

(University of Roehampton and The National Archives)

“Cold War Spies: (Counter-)Espionage, surveillance, and the national security state in Cold War Britain

Applications are invited for an AHRC/Techne-funded, three-and-a-half-year PhD studentship to be hosted jointly by The National Archives and History in the School of Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of Roehampton. The studentship will commence in October 2023, with an option to study part time if required. This opportunity is full funded

The National Archives contains unique documents, rich in detail, relating to British espionage and Cold War spycraft, including MI5 Security Service files, Prime Minister’s Office and Foreign and Commonwealth Office records, and propaganda/disinformation policy documentation. This PhD presents a unique opportunity to explore the evolution of Britain’s Cold War security state, utilising The National Archives’ collections under expert archivist guidance to explore the development of modern surveillance techniques, ‘profiling’ of ‘enemies of the state’ and the cultural and political ramifications of espionage during the Cold War.

The specifics of the PhD topic will be decided in consultation with the student and supervisors, but it is expected that the project will make a significant contribution to British history in its wider Cold War entanglements and explore previously under-researched questions on the state construction of ‘the spy’ and ‘traitor’ with a strong focus on overlooked archival sources held at The National Archives.

Research context

We invite applications for PhD research aiming to provide an everyday history of espionage and surveillance in Cold War Britain. In exploring the rich surveillance files of suspected spies, traitors, and subversive persons in the MI5 files held at the National Archives, the successful candidate is encouraged to use these materials as a lens into wider historical themes of the era such as the transformation of (secret) policing, notions of public and national security at home, and the transformation of criminal justice as well as “profiling” of dangerous persons threatening the political stability of early Cold War Britain. Based on access to previously under-exploited archival materials, the successful candidate will explore the history of British security services and their public perception in redefining public and national security in a new social and political situation that historians have called the ‘semi-mobilisation’ of societies in the face of the new Cold War threat.

Potential themes can be found here:

The supervisory team will be Dr Sebastian Gehrig, Dr Rotem Giladi, and Mark Dunton (Principal Contemporary Specialist, The National Archives). Further expertise will be available from The National Archives Team.

We encourage applications from candidates of all backgrounds and identities, and we are especially keen to hear from candidates of global majority ethnicities who are currently underrepresented. We welcome applications from candidates with a masters in a relevant subject and/or equivalent professional experience. Roehampton’s EDI policy here; National Archives EDI policy here.

Scheme notes and award holder Terms and Conditions can be found here.

For expressions of interest and general inquiries, please contact Dr Sebastian Gehrig (Sebastian.Gehrig@roehampton.ac.uk) by 6th January 2023. Applicants please note that the final deadline for applications via the University of Roehampton portal is Friday 27th January 2022.  with interviews scheduled to take place the following week. Please also note that interviews will be held virtually.

Please view full detailed advert found on Roehampton website here

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