Fully-Funded PHD Scholarship in History/Psychology (Swansea University and Communauté Université Grenoble Alpes)


Fully Funded PhD scholarship:

Remembering Disasters: Between Individual and Collective Memory 

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

Closing date for applications: 14 June 2018

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.

The successful student will be supervised both by historians (Dr. Rebecca Clifford, Swansea; Professor Anne-Marie Granet Abisset, Grenoble; Professor Martin Johnes, Swansea;) and psychologists (Dr. Céline Souchay, Grenoble; Dr. Jeremy Tree, Swansea). The student will spend half of their time in Grenoble and half in Swansea.

FOR MORE INFORMATION visit the Swansea Research webpage.

For enquiries, please contact Dr Rebecca Clifford (r.a.clifford@swansea.ac.uk / +44 (0)1792 602973).


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