PhD Decolonizing Collections: Uncovering British and Indian Collectors' Networks behind British Numismatic Collections [closing ] at SCIENCE-COMMUNITY.ORG

Country: United Kingdom;
City: Exeter
Vacancy added:07.04.2021
Employer: University of Exeter - College of Humanities
Vacancy type: PhD position;
For whom: For researchers;

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Resumes due: 04.05.2021
The studentship is offered as a Positive Action Targeted Studentship for UK researchers from ethnic minority background/s, as a route for addressing identified under-representation in doctoral training for the cultural and heritage sector (see Students from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) backgrounds have been under-represented in our doctoral programme within the College of Humanities, University of Exeter, in recent years. To encourage more students from these backgrounds to apply, we are offering this studentship as a positive action measure under s. 158 of the Equality Act 2010. Eligibility is restricted to candidates from Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic (BAME) backgrounds who meet the eligibility criteria for UKRI studentships (
‘Decolonizing collections’ is a collaborative project of the University of Exeter and the Ashmolean Museum, funded by the AHRC CDP. It offers a PhD studentship to study the history of four collections of Indian coins, currently held in major museums of the UK, including the Ashmolean, the British Museum and the Fitzwilliam. The principal collections to be studied in this project are those of Jose Gerson da Cunha, H. Nelson Wright, Alfred Master and R. B. Whitehead – all of them professionally associated with the British empire in India.
While each of these collections is named after a European male collector, the aim of the project is to uncover the role of indigenous Indian scholars and collectors in creating the collections, and in producing expert knowledge about the Indian past on their basis. The project arises in response to calls to ‘decolonize’ UK museums, and intends to do so by uncovering a fuller story of the history of South Asian coin collections.
The PhD student will study the coins themselves, related hand lists and the archival materials consisting of detailed correspondence among collectors – European and Indian – in order to reconstruct the collectors’ networks that lie obscured behind these collections. While focussing on the four name collections, they will link these to further collections and networks, enabling richer and more inclusive narratives for UK cultural repositories. They may use spreadsheets and other data collation and visualisation tools in order to reconstruct such networks.
The project is in partnership with the Ashmolean Museum, and the student will be co-supervised by a multi-disciplinary team, consisting of the HEI first and second supervisors Prof. Nandini Chatterjee (History, Exeter) and Prof. Nicola Thomas (Geography, Exeter), and by the Lead Ashmolean Museum supervisor, Dr Shailendra Bhandare, Senior Assistant Keeper of Oriental and Far Eastern Coin Collections.
The student will be expected to spend time at both the University of Exeter and the Ashmolean, as well as becoming part of the wider cohort of CDP funded students across the UK. The successful candidate will be eligible to participate in CDP Cohort Development events. All new CDP students will be expected to attend the CDP Student Launch Event in September 2021.
The student will need to work intensively onsite with collections in the Ashmolean and the other relevant museums. The student will also be encouraged to interact actively with the repositories that hold these collections, listening to their needs and priorities, and feeding into the project as it progresses.
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