Monday, 14 December 2009

18C Book History Studentship

Details of the following appeared on the SHARP list:

Applications are invited from eligible candidates for a University of Leicester fees-only PhD Studentship “National identity, popular culture and eighteenth-century chapbooks.” The successful candidate will be based in the School of Historical Studies.

Applications are encouraged from candidates with a background in eighteenth-century studies, book history, or any field of early modern social or cultural history. Applicants will be expected to have completed a relevant Masters degree by 1 October 2010. This studentship offers an exciting opportunity for research in eighteenth-century cultural history through an analysis of eighteenth-century chapbooks.

Chapbooks were small, cheap, publications aimed at a popular market, sold by booksellers but also distributed by chapmen and pedlars. They were generally printed on poor paper, often with old type and woodblocks, cost 6d or less and were highly ephemeral. Their survival rate is low, but they were consumed by a far broader section of the population than other more expensive forms of print culture in this period. Their subject was wide-ranging, including ballads, city cries, dreadful, fables, fairy tales, garlands, nursery rhymes and primers and abridgements of novels and works of history or natural history.

Their purpose could be moralising, entertainment, didactic or a combination. Chapbooks have already been used by historians such as Tessa Watt and Margaret Spufford in studies of seventeenth-century popular culture, and in particular, popular religious belief, but they have been largely neglected as a genre by historians of eighteenth-century culture.

This PhD will build upon an interdisciplinary pilot project on chapbooks undertaken in 2009, funded by the Bibliographical Society, led by Prof Roey Sweet (Historical Studies), Dr Kate Loveman (English) and Dr John Hinks (Historical Studies).

The PhD will investigate the ways in which chapbooks articulated a sense of national identity (for example, through recounting historical narratives, or the celebration of national achievements) or reflected themes such as naval or maritime traditions which have already been strongly identified with the expression of eighteenth-century national identity.

This research will make an important contribution to the study of national identities in the eighteenth century and, more broadly, the extent of mediation between elite and popular culture during this period.

The successful applicant will be guaranteed teaching in the School of Historical Studies for which a fee is paid. They will also be encouraged to able to apply for funds to cover research expenses from external sources, for example, the Bibliographical Society or the Economic History Society.

The studentship will cover tuition fees (at the UK/EU rate only) for three years starting in October 2010. International students will need to pay the difference between this and the international tuition fee rate.

Details here; Further information: Prof Roey Sweet,

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