Funded PhD Studentship, 2012-2015
Supervisors: Dr James Davis (History) & Dr Carl Griffin (Geography)
Modern society faces perennial questions about civic tensions, exclusion and authority, linked to broader problems of identity within urban groups. Recent riots in London, and even in Belfast, demonstrate how urban space and its use are reshaped through the assertive actions of certain inhabitants. This PhD project provides a vital, long-term historical and geographical perspective to consider how the urban fabric itself shapes both identity and conflict.
Historians and geographers have argued that the division and use of urban space is integral for not only how a town operates on an everyday basis, but also for how inhabitants express their identity. Crowds gather in areas for a particular purpose - economic, political, social and cultural. These congregations are sometimes managed, but at other times they are unregulated, even spontaneous, in their amalgamation. Yet, it could be argued that the symbolism and accepted use of certain urban spaces are constantly reasserted by the crowd, even during times of protest. It is important that we understand how our urban environment has shaped our behaviour and attitudes. This project is original in that it considers these trends across five hundred years, thus identifying both continuities and changes in the expression of identity through both commonplace and exceptional occupation of urban space.
This project will be jointly supervised across two schools, employing the disciplinary methods of history and geography. The PhD student will examine the specific case study of Norwich, a town with rich archives across 1300-1800 and a relatively unchanging urban fabric. Four or five specific years (spanning this longer period) will be explored in depth as the basis for a comparison of major themes. These include the crowd’s use of urban space for protest, expressions of authority and ritual. Historical sources, such as records of regulation, enforcement and dispute, will be investigation in conjunction with a mapping of the changing urban space and spatial theory. This case study will help us to understand more fully the factors that underpin urban identity and those that spark conflict.
For further information on the PhD project, please contact: Dr James Davis (email@example.com) or Dr Carl Griffin (firstname.lastname@example.org). For information on the application process and eligibity for funding, please contact: Catherine Boone (email@example.com).
For further information:
How to apply (deadline 7th March 2012)