PhD Bursary – Early Modern Fraudulent Bodies

The University of Hertfordshire invites applications for a PhD studentship in early modern history. The studentship is offered on a full-time basis for three years, starting in February 2016. It will provide a tax free bursary of £6,000 per annum and cover the University tuition fees for UK/EU students (international students must pay the difference between UK/EU and international fees, an additional £7,050 for 2015).

The PhD will start in February 2016 and will be addressing the theme of fraudulent bodies in early modern England, 1550-1750.

The project will be supervised by Dr Jennifer Evans and a second supervisor.

About the project:

The project will unpick how people utilised their bodies to commit fraud, and how this was understood by society. Attention will be given to exploring change over time. It will also question whether there was tension between defining a body as faulty or fraudulent and what such distinctions might have meant for the owners of such bodies. The student will also question how far medical practitioners, including physicians and surgeons, were called upon to identify and explain such bodily fraud, and what this might have meant in terms of authority and identity. The project will bring together the medical, social and cultural histories of the body and might consider the manipulation of the body to appeal for alms and charitable support, the use of prosthetics to aid cross-dressing, or the use of props to simulate bodily functions like childbirth. In addressing such topics the project will tackle the issues or poverty, crime, and social order from a decidedly bodily perspective.


We will require you to have a first or 2:1 undergraduate degree (or equivalent) in a relevant subject, together with a MA/MSc in history. Your MA must be completed and signed off by your current institution before the start date of the PhD. We will also require photocopies of your higher exam certificates and transcripts.

Completed UH application form,

Two academic references

Research Proposal:  This should be based on the outline above and explain how the candidate would shape the project in light of their own research interests. It should be a maximum of 1000 words and include: Rationale for the topic of study; Research aims; Methods; Contribution to knowledge and practice. The proposal will be a useful basis for discussion at the interview, and would typically be changed in the process of its continuing development by the successful candidate. The proposal should be submitted by email with the application form, in MS Word format.

Candidates for whom English is not their first language will require certification of English language competence (minimum IELTS 6.5, preferably higher).

Application details:

For an application form and the degree schedule see:

For enquiries regarding research degrees at the University of Hertfordshire, please email Dr Janice Turner

For enquiries concerning the studentship, please email Dr Jennifer Evans

Please send completed applications to both Dr Janice Turner  and Dr Jennifer Evans

Applications must be received by the 30th October.


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