AHRC research project ‘Understanding cities in the premodern history of Northeast Asia, c. 200-1200’. University of Birmingham

Applications invited for a PhD scholarship funded by the AHRC research project ‘Understanding cities in the premodern history of Northeast Asia, c. 200-1200’. University of Birmingham

Cities are claimed as one of the things that made Chinese civilisation superior to mobile pastoralist societies, but in the grasslands of Northeast Asia there were cities too. ‘Understanding cities’ will trace changing activities at three city sites under both sedentary and nomadic rulers. We will compare the sparse textual record against new stratigraphic archaeological evidence from augering and magnetometry. The project will challenge the distinction between ‘grasslands’ and ‘Chinese’ cities, will require a rethink of socio-political organisation and human interactions in Northeast Asia, and will locate both China and the grasslands within a wider world.

The student will develop their own project to study Northeast Asian cities (e.g. forms, affinities, origins) using archaeological and historical material, with a concern to compare these cities with examples from the Central Plains. The PhD should plan to employ the project’s methods to analyse new archaeological data and reports, historical texts, museum collections and site visits. The research for and conclusions of the PhD will feed back into the main project to generate modifications or confirmations of field methods and textual strategies.

The student will be supervised by Professor Naomi Standen and a co-supervisor in Archaeology. The student will receive training in advanced and Northeast Asia-specific historical skills and in geophysical methods including use of equipment, recording, analysis and interpretation, and will work as the project geophysicist’s primary assistant for the spring fieldwork season each year. The studentship also includes a secondment to McGill for up to 6 months for specialist archaeological training necessary for the research of both student and project. The student will contribute to the project impact by undertaking training on maximising the policy impact of research, and will be employed to create content for research banners.

The successful candidate will be expected to have training in a relevant discipline (preferably History or Archaeology), and a knowledge of modern and preferably also Literary Chinese. A Masters degree and experience of field research are desirable. Additional language training can be provided for an otherwise well qualified candidate.

Candidates should submit an application for study via the UoB on-line system http://www.birmingham.ac.uk/sch…/calgs/howtoapply/index.aspx
before 12 noon GMT on 4 March 2015. Applicants MUST also apply directly to Prof Standen (calpg-research@contacts.bham.ac.uk) by the same date, providing a covering letter, CV, research proposal (1000 words max.) and a writing sample (e.g. MA dissertation), to ensure that their applications are considered for this specific opportunity. Shortlisted candidates will be interviewed on 16 March 2015.

AHRC funding provides fees and maintenance for UK students. A bursary may be available for a successful EU or International applicant.

The University Code of Practice on Admission of Students can be found at http://www.birmingham.ac.uk/…/policies-…/codes-practice.aspx.

Informal enquiries: Professor Naomi Standen (n.standen@bham.ac.uk)

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