The Ralph Gibson Bursary

The Society for the Study of French History offers an annual bursary of £3000 to a fourth year PhD student, to facilitate the completion of a PhD thesis in French history. Eligible postgraduates will be registered at a UK or Irish university, will normally have completed no more than three years of full-time doctoral study, or be at an equivalent stage of part-time study, at the time of application, and will be expected to satisfy the judging panel that their thesis will be submitted during the academic year following the award of the Bursary.

The bursary may be used towards fees charged by the recipient’s institution; to defray subsistence costs; or to fund research trips or attendance at conferences. It is designed to offer some financial support to candidates who are no longer eligible for support from other funding bodies.

Applications should be made to the Secretary of the Society and consist of i) a covering letter containing a summary (up to 1,000 words) of the applicant’s doctoral thesis ii) a CV iii) details of any other funding which the candidate is receiving towards their studies iv) two academic references and v) a sample of written work of not more than 6,000 words. Applications should be submitted as a single PDF file (references can be sent separately, though it is the applicant’s responsibility to ensure they arrive on time). Candidates will be notified by early July of the outcome of their applications, which will be assessed by a panel of judges nominated by the Society’s steering committee.

Deadlines are listed on the Grants summary page:

Applicants for the Society’s awards should be members of the Society at the time of application. Research grant applications may be accompanied by applications for membership, full details of which can be found here. It is a condition of the award that successful candidates present a report on their research. A 400-word report should be sent to the Society’s News Editor, Dr Jack Rhoden at and copied to the Secretary of the Society, Dr Luc-Andre Brunet ( The report may be published in French History and in the News section of the website.

Assessment Panel:

Dr. Sara Barker (Leeds), Professor David Hopkin (Oxford), and Professor Kevin Passmore (Cardiff).

The Ralph Gibson Bursary Award winners:

2020: Exceptional Multiple Awards (Read the report here)

Aaron Clift (Oxford) ‘Anticommunism in French Politics and Society, 1945-1953’

Christa Lundberg (Cambridge) ‘The Cult(ure) of Dionysius the Areopagite: Patristic Scholarship and Religion in Paris 1490–1540’

Blanche Plaquevent (Bristol) ‘Inventing a Sexual Revolution in France, 1945-1970’

Sasha Rasmussen (Oxford) ‘Sensory Experience and “Modern Women” in Paris and St Petersburg, 1900-1913’


Merve Fejzula (Cambridge) ‘When Negritude was in Vogue: Black Cultural Citizenship between State and Nation, 1947-66’


Fanny Louvier (Oxford) ‘A comparative study of the Dress, Food and Leisure of Domestic Servants in France and Britain, 1900-1939’

2017 (Double Award)

William Clement (Oxford) ‘Workers’ housing in nineteenth-century Mulhouse

Avner Ofrath (Oxford) ‘Colonial Algeria and French republicanism, c. 1870-1940


Daniel Callwood (QMUL) ‘Re-evaluating the French ‘gay liberation’ moment 1968-83

2015 (Double Award):

Ellen Crabtree (Newcastle), ‘The historical militancy of Madeleine Réberioux (1920-2005)’.

Erika Graham (York), ‘Negotiating Princely authority in Late Medieval French Society: Jeanne de Penthièvre, Duchess of Brittany (1325-1384)’.

2014 (Double Award):

Robin Macdonald (York) ‘Inhabiting New France: Sensing Bodies, Spaces, and the Sacred, c. 1632-1740’, and

Fabio Morabito (King’s College London) ‘Performing Sociability: Ideas of Authorship in Parisian Chamber Music Culture under the Bourbon Restoration’.

2013: Will Pooley (New College, Oxford) ‘Misery in the Moorlands’: Lived Bodies in the Landes de Gascogne, 1870-1914

2012: Louise Seaward (Leeds). The French Government and the Policing of the Extra-Territorial Print Trade, 1770-1789.

2010: Alex Fairfax-Cholmeley, Queen Mary, University of London: ‘Justice, the State and the Individual under the Terror in France, 1793-1794.’ [thesis summary]

Samples of recent awards