PhD Studentship: Atlantic Stories, Colonial Legacies and the Bodleian Library, 1650-1800 – PHD OPPORTUNITY

Date / time: 27 May, 11:59 pm

PhD Studentship: Atlantic Stories, Colonial Legacies and the Bodleian Library, 1650-1800 - PHD OPPORTUNITY


Fully funded PhD Studentship, including tuition fees and stipend/bursary.

This project examines the legacies of English transatlantic colonialism as preserved in the collections of the Bodleian Libraries. It investigates the history of the Bodleian collections and the Library’s own institutional history, bringing to light the forms in which the Library has preserved an archive of colonial history and imperial power. This project responds to an ‘archival turn’, in which archives, methods, and practice are being interrogated. Much of the impetus for this comes from recent attention to institutional colonial legacies, precipitated by the British manifestation of the American Black Lives Matter movement and movements for post-colonial justice such as ‘Rhodes Must Fall’. These national and international movements have forced new, urgent attention on public legacies of colonialism.

Project details

In response, this project proposes a series of case studies from within the Bodleian’s collections 1650-1800, to highlight early modern Atlantic colonial legacies and curatorial practice. Research questions include: what can an archival object or set of objects tell us about colonial activity? How has information about these objects been represented in Bodleian finding aids, both historically and currently? How has that created absences or silences relating to the history of empire?

The researcher will benefit from a multi-disciplinary team of supervisors and advisors. It is anticipated that the student will follow a two-month internship at the Bodleian to produce a mini research project that will support the dissemination of the PhD research and enhance future employability.


The successful candidate will receive comprehensive research training including technical, personal and professional skills.

All researchers at Coventry University (from PhD to Professor) are part of the Doctoral College and Centre for Research Capability and Development, which provides support with high-quality training and career development activities.

Entry requirements

A minimum of a 2:1 first degree in a relevant discipline/subject area with a minimum 60% mark in the project element or equivalent with a minimum 60% overall module average.


The potential to engage in innovative research and to complete the PhD within a 3.5 years.
A minimum of English language proficiency (IELTS academic overall minimum score of 7.0 with a minimum of 6.5 in each component).

Additional specifications

The successful candidate will have excellent training and expertise in either history, literature, library studies or a related discipline. Expertise in early modern culture, working with primary documents, and/or knowledge of colonial history is especially desirable.

Click here to apply:

All applications require full supporting documentation, a covering letter, plus a 1000-word supporting statement showing how the applicant’s expertise and interests are relevant to the project.

Eligibility: UK/International (including EU) graduates with the required entry requirements
Duration: Full-Time – between three and three and a half years fixed term
Application deadline: 27 May 2024
Interview date: Will be confirmed to shortlisted candidates
Start date: September 2024
For further details contact: Dr Alice Leonard