History/Psychology: Fully Funded PhD scholarship at Swansea University: Remembering Disasters: Between Individual and Collective Memory (Joint Research Study)

  • Full cost of UK/EU tuition fees, plus a stipend
  • Deadline: June 29, 2018
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This scholarship is a joint research study between Swansea University and Communauté Université Grenoble Alpes, and funded by SUSPRS (Swansea University) and IDEX (Université Grenoble Alpes).

Start date: October 2018 or January 2019

The field of memory studies is relatively young and has been rapidly growing since the early 2000s, but significant unresolved questions remain. In particular, the interdisciplinary ideal at the core of the field remains largely unrealized: and nowhere is this gap more pronounced than between the humanities scholars who study memory at the collective level, and the psychologists who focus on memory in the individual. This lack of a real interdisciplinary dialogue between those who analyse the nature and function of collective memory, and those who study the process of memory in the individual mind, marks a missed opportunity for the field as a whole to unpick just how individual and collective memory work together.

This doctoral project is a rare opportunity for a student to work with leading teams both in Britain (Swansea University) and in France (Université Grenoble Alpes). The project will draw on case studies from the local and regional histories of these respective regions (South Wales and the Val d'Isère), regions that share a modern history of disasters in the natural environment linked to industrialization. It will explore how coping with the after-effects of such disasters is an important component of local and regional memory cultures. In particular, landslides, colliery waste tip slides, avalanches caused by industrial processes, and similar disaster events have marked the modern history of both South Wales and Isère, and bear striking similarities - witness, for example, the 1966 Aberfan disaster, in which 116 children were killed when a colliery waste tip slid onto a school, and the 1970 Plateau d'Assy disaster, in which 56 children were killed when an avalanche buried a sanatorium. The processes of memory linked to these sorts of disasters have been largely neglected by historians and psychologists alike, even though they have had profound and traumatic effects on individuals, families, communities, and our respective regions as a whole. They make for elegant comparative case studies, and excellent vehicles for digging into the central question of how memory in the individual and memory in the community are linked.


As this is a joint degree, applicants must meet entry/funder requirements of both Universities: a master's degree or equivalent in history or psychology. Candidates must have a working knowledge of French (sufficient to conduct oral history interviews).

Due to funding restrictions, this scholarship is open to UK/EU candidates only.

We would normally expect the academic and English Language requirements to be met by point of application. For details on the University’s English Language entry requirements, please visit – http://www.swansea.ac.uk/admissions/englishlanguagerequirements/

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The scholarship covers the full cost of UK/EU tuition fees, plus an annual stipend of £14,777 (50% Swansea University and 50% Université Grenoble Alpes).

There will be an additional £500 per annum for each of the three years to support international collaborative opportunities, immersive training experiences and cohort building activities.


Please visit our website for more information.