Applications are invited for a fully-funded three-year CHASE doctoral studentship, jointly supervised within the Departments of Politics and International Studies (SOAS University of London), History, Classics and Archaeology (Birkbeck College, University of London), and the Arab and African Research Center (AARC) in Egypt.
The studentship will support interdisciplinary (Politics and History) research examining the dynamics and dilemmas of transnational solidarity as exemplified in Egypt’s role as sponsor of South ern African liberation movements during the 1960s. This will be one of the first studies of its kind, contributing to scholarship on the Cold War, Afro-Asian decolonisation, and African liberation struggles’ contemporary legacies.
This project’s overall aims are to retrieve and analyse the shifting motivations, power balances, and mutual influences driving relations between the Egyptian state and the southern African liberation movements which it sponsored during the era of decolonisation, and to engage with theories of solidarity in politics and historical geography to evaluate these.
The successful candidate might focus specifically on one or a combination of the following questions: the nature of Egyptian diplomatic, financial support to, and influence on Southern African liberation movements; the place of Egypt in the political imaginaries of nationalist liberation activists’; the implications of the case study for theories of transnational solidarity; the role of Cairo as a Cold War city.
The three supervisors will be Dr Reem Abou-El-Fadl (Politics, SOAS), Dr Hilary Sapire (History, Birkbeck) and Professor Helmi Sharawy (Director, AARC). This is an opportunity to work with two disciplinary/regional experts, and with both a scholar and former co-ordinator of African liberation movements in Egypt’s presidency (1958-1971).
The PhD will commence in October 2022. The student will spend at least three months each at the AARC, and at archives in South Africa. Fluency in Arabic, a capacity to travel freely in Africa, and a first-class degree in Politics/History are essential.
The candidate will benefit from two world-leading Departments, enjoying specialisms in Middle East and African politics at SOAS, with its internationally renowned research library, and expertise in global history, transnationalism, and African History at Birkbeck. Rigorous methods training will be offered at both institutions. The candidate will join the AARC’s Africanist research network and gain special access to its archives/publications. They will also participate in the University of London Southern African seminar series events and workshops.
For the academic year 2022-23, the stipend will be £18,612 with London weighting. This includes enhanced stipend to cover additional travel costs relating to the project. The funding will cover UK fees.
How to Apply
Applications for this studentship must be made via the SOAS University of London application form, available at this link , by Friday 6 May 2022 at 12 noon. Applicants must provide two references in support of their application.
Candidates will be assessed by a shortlisting process, and shortlisted candidates will be interviewed. Interview outcomes will be received by the Management Board for approval.
Around the World in 80 Snippets: Scissors-and-Paste Journalism in a Global Context
Tuesday 8th March | 1800 – 2030 | Online event
This workshop will introduce participants to the Atlas of Digitised Newspapers and Metadata and explore emerging methodologies for working across multiple digitised collections including the development of the Scissors-and-Paste Database. It will work with participants to develop best practice in searching, browsing, mining, and interrogating online collections and working with a variety of tools to build up a contextualised and robust dataset for a variety of different projects as well as discuss how the history of newspapers and newspaper archives continues to shape our historical scholarship.
Animating Archives are pleased to share the details and open bookings for their third workshop entitled Archivable. Led by Beth Bramich and Hatty Nestor, this session aims to introduce PhD researchers to a range of creative approaches to working with materials held in the Jo Spence Memorial Library Archive. There will be a short presentation by archivist Charlene Heath, who oversees the Jo Spence archive at the Ryerson Image Centre (RIC) in Toronto, Canada.
Thursday 24th March 2022 11:00-12:30 | Online (zoom)
Carolina Orloff, Cecilia Rossi and Polly Barton
Moderated by Ashley Barr
The role of a literary translator is often under-appreciated, but with the International Man Booker Prize and rise in translated works published in the UK, translators are finally being recognised for their creativity. Latin American works-in-translation publisher Carolina Orloff, translator Polly Barton and UEA’s Dr Cecilia Rossi discuss the current boom in translated works and how this is shaping the UK publishing industry. Could this be a professional avenue for researchers able to speak two or more languages?
The value of creative writing retreats and writer’s awards
Thursday 26th May 2022 11:00-12:30 | Online (zoom)
Rachel Humphries and Mary Morris
Moderated by Karítas Hrundar Pálsdóttir
Rachel and Mary discuss the value of their creative writing retreats and residential courses, and how incorporating an online programme has reached writers that otherwise would not have access to retreats. Rachel also discusses the Bridge Awards Emerging Writer prize and the value it has for writers. What careers might centres such as Moniack and Arvon offer Creative and Critical Writing researchers? And what pedagogical considerations are taken into account for the workshops/retreats/courses they offer?Register here
Most of us are doing lots of reading – that’s the easy part, right? But we’re not always reading the most effective way. Although we accumulate lots of material and ideas, we struggle to turn it into academic writing.
In this interactive webinar, we’ll look at several techniques for becoming a more efficient and productive reader.
Are your notes in a mess? Do you lack an effective system for storing and organising your reading material? In this interactive webinar, we’ll explore three methods for imposing order on the chaos. Through demonstrations and discussions, you will learn how you can use them to build an effective process that’s right for you.
New weekly podcast:
Corkscrew – Practice research beyond the PhD
Hope interviews different generations of practice-based research PhD graduates
from different disciplines about why they did practice-based/led PhDs in the
first place and what they went on to do next. The podcast is produced with
assistance from Dr Jo Coleman.
Peer support, finding a place within academia, staying up to date with the latest research, communicating research to wider audiences and navigating life after PhD.Ema Talam andJon Fairburn outline five ways in which social media, and in particular Twitter, can make all the difference to PhD research at a time when regular academic life has been severely disrupted.
Doing a PhD is hard: lack of work-life balance, uncertainty about the future, diminishing satisfaction with the PhD programme over time, isolation, harassment and discrimination are all too common experiences. COVID-19 has only exacerbated these challenges.
Whilst by no means a panacea, at a time when undertaking a PhD is even more of a fragmented and disjointed experience, social media provides an important space for connection. We – a PhD student and an experienced researcher with over 25 years of experience in academia – put forward the five following reasons why PhD researchers at any stage of the process can benefit from engaging with academic social media and why it is more important now than before COVID-19 pandemic.
Let’s start with the peer support. With universities in lockdown and many PhD students working from home, the informal support that comes from working as part of a research community has diminished. Despite its sometimes hostile reputation, peer support is strongly present on Twitter. Readers new to academic Twitter might consider following general academic hashtags, such as #AcademicTwitter, #AcademicChatter and #AcademicMentalHealth, or specifically PhD centred discussions on #phdchat and #virtualnotviral. Whilst a hashtag is not a peer support network, in difficult times they provide pathways to resources and opportunities to meet likeminded people that can make all the difference.
You may even find your peer group is larger than you anticipated. The sudden shift to remote teaching and learning early last year, placed experienced professors and PhD researches running their first classes from all fields in the same position of learning to teach remotely for the first time. The hashtags above as well as being links to a wider research community have also been an invaluable resource for teaching tips and tricks, learning resources and even free training. Do not be afraid to ask questions related to teaching or any aspect of academic life.
Whilst a hashtag is not a peer support network, in difficult times they provide pathways to resources and opportunities to meet likeminded people that can make all the difference.
Finally, Twitter can also be used as a tool for co-ordinating and engaging with existing PhD communities, for instance through organising synchronous and a-synchronous events, such as remote writing retreats.
Navigating your academic discipline(s)
In a similar way hashtags can also be used to find academic communities, for economists #econtwitter is a good place to start as is RePEc’s list of economists on twitter. Learned societies and their social media accounts, e.g. in our fields the Royal Economic Society or Regional Studies Association, also provide useful points for finding the latest news from a particular discipline and often provide tailored advice for how certain disciplines approach social media.
For better or worse, social media is a surveillance network. By following academics whose work you are interested in, you can not only directly engage with them, but by simply following you can develop a sense of the research, networks and events they are interested in. These can help you orient your research towards academic communities and projects that may not be represented within your own institution.
While approaching people at conferences can be intimidating, it is almost impossible on Zoom events due to lack of time dedicated for informal networking or even any breaks at all
Social media can also be a source of inspiration for looking beyond your immediate discipline. The shift to digital as a result of the lockdown, has considerably lowered barriers to attending conferences and seminars. These events are regularly advertised via social media and are a great opportunity for you to attend new areas of research and expose yourself to new ideas and methods that can benefit your PhD.
While approaching people at conferences can be intimidating, it is almost impossible on Zoom events due to lack of time dedicated for informal networking or even any breaks at all. Fortunately, the back channel provided by social media, such as Twitter, can provide a means of keeping the conversation going. Look out for event hashtags, which can be used to preview your work, or just to signal your presence and highlight what you found interesting. Finally, in digital environments where genuine engagement can often be minimal, a considered question or engagement is invaluable and can even lead to future collaboration.
Keeping up to date with the latest research
Not all academic dialogue resides in published academic papers. Many academics post and discuss newly published papers on Twitter. Social media such as twitter, are also central to sharing non-standard research outputs like blogposts, infographics, or even datasets. As COVID-19 has demonstrated much influential research has circulated via social media in the form of preprints, long before final publication. These can all be very useful for PhD students to track new developments in their fields of study.
Communicating your research to wider audiences
COVID-19 has also demonstrated the importance of social media as part of the public sphere and having a profile has become increasingly important for making your work visible to important stakeholders, the media and the general public. Established organisations, such as NGOs, or even your university, are likely to have significant audiences on social media and present opportunities to share your research with non-academic audiences.
This could involve simply tagging potential interested stakeholders in posts or taking part in more structured engagements. Simply being on social media does not guarantee public engagement, but it is a platform that allows you to connect to potential research users, which can be invaluable at a time when social contact of any type is minimal.
Life after PhD
Institutions and academics often share information about the job openings on Twitter. Following academics in your field of study can ensure that you have information about new job openings. Twitter makes it easy for information about job openings to be shared – your network can either tag you in posts about job openings or send a direct message. By building your social networks around your research interests, you are more likely to find relevant information about job openings in the field(s) of interest, whether in or outside of the academia. Many government agencies, firms and universities also have their professional profiles on LinkedIn, where they share information about new job opportunities. Additionally, on LinkedIn, you can easily indicate your openness to work or share your CV should you wish to. Both platforms can be used to seek for advice regarding job applications and help write stronger applications.
PhD students (and their supervisors) are sometimes sceptical about the use of social media and the time that will be spent on social media. Engaging with academic social media does not have to involve huge time investments – it can involve only several minutes per day and directly depends on what you want to get out of it. We would argue the benefits of using academic social media far outweigh the costs.
Note: This article gives the views of the authors, and not the position of the Impact of Social Science blog, nor of the London School of Economics. Please review our Comments Policy if you have any concerns on posting a comment below.
Image Credit: Adapted from Jon Tyson, via Unsplash.
About the author
Ema Talam is a final year PhD in Economics student at Staffordshire University. She is interested in the topics of firm-level productivity, innovation and exporting, as well as innovation policies. Follow Ema on Twitter on @ematalam.
Jon Fairburn is Professor of Sustainable Development at Staffordshire University. He teaches on the MSc Digital Marketing Management amongst other courses. Follow him on Twitter @ProfJonFairburn.
You may be interested in the following announcement from the National Archives which includes information about online ‘Introduction to Archival Research’ sessions.
The National Archives holds one of the largest collections in the world, containing over 11 million historical government and public records. From Domesday Book to the Leveson Enquiry, our records offer students a myriad of untapped research opportunities across a wide range of time periods and disciplines.
With so many options, however, getting started in the archives can be a daunting prospect. Many students have questions which they are too afraid to ask. How will I know where to go? What do I need to bring with me? How do I find records for my research? How do I order documents? Do I need to use gloves? How can I be sure I’m not wasting my time?
This introduction day will explain how to get started with archival research, the importance of knowing the history and structure of a collection to navigate the records, and how to make the most of your time on site.
Our upcoming events
Our next ‘Introduction to Archival Research’ sessions will be held entirely online on the following dates:
These sessions are are aimed at third year undergraduate and postgraduate students. Registration this year will be at a reduced rate of £5. While this workshop will be entirely presented online, we hope that students will be able to join us back at Kew for our Skills and Methodology workshops, which will be held in June 2021.
Dear Members and Contacts of the Birkbeck Graduate Research
We are delighted to share with you a call for papers for our
interdisciplinary AHRC Midlands4Cities-funded virtual seminar series, ‘Culture,
Things, and Empire’. We will be hosting 5 online Zoom seminars (20-minute
papers and 40 minutes of discussion) and 1 masterclass for all registered
participants surrounding issues and themes such as race, gender, class, and
materiality in the fields of imperial, colonial and global studies. The series
will take place between November 2020 and April 2021. Registration to attend
the seminars will also open soon here: https://culturethingsempire.wordpress.com/
Creative writers teach in schools, universities and the community, on retreats, in theatres and in workshops. Teaching is often a key part of a writer’s career, and there are rich possibilities creative arts education across a huge range of contexts. But how do you teach creative writing? Can you? This series offers anyone considering teaching creative writing as part of their career development the opportunity to look in detail at the theory and practice of creative writing pedagogy in a variety of institutional and community settings.
The series will address the historical principles and contemporary critiques of creative writing pedagogy, and how these are responding to wider institutional and societal developments. It will consider in detail the theory and practice of employing these pedagogical skills both within and outside higher education. Attendees will be invited to reflect on future possibilities and challenges for the development of creative writing teaching, enabling a deeper awareness and knowledge of creative writing as a subject of study, a future career, and a creative practice.
Students are not expected to attend all the sessions, but the series has been designed to allow for an arc of learning from theoretical principles to practical engagement.
The sessions will take place online via Microsoft Teams, once a month for the 2020/21 academic year.
You can sign up for individual sessions using the links below:
Kick off your academic year with the Web of Science essential tools for researchers
SEPTEMBER 29 AT 11:00 AM BST
Whether you’re an early-career or well-established researcher, the suite of integrated tools from the Web of Science will supercharge your workflow, making every stage of your research journey a smart one. Learn how to make the most of the Web of Science platform and start off the year on the right foot.