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AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Partnership Centring the marginal: Western medieval manuscript fragments in the Bodleian Library

   Centre for Medieval and Early Modern Studies

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  Dr D Rundle  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

This project will be jointly supervised by Dr David Rundle (Kent) and Dr Matthew Holford (Bodleian Libraries) and will enable a student to champion the broadening of Western manuscript studies through research on overlooked fragments. The successful applicant will have autonomy to shape the project based on their interests and will divide their time between the two institutions, receiving advanced research training and benefiting from experience in a special collections library.

The student will be based in the Centre for Medieval and Early Modern Studies (MEMS) at the University of Kent while also spending time at the Bodleian Libraries, part of the wider cohort of CDP funded students across the UK, and eligible to participate in CDP Cohort Development events.

All UKRI studentships are open to international students and all funded students will receive a stipend for living expenses and fees paid at the ‘Home’ level (£4,596 for 2022/23) for a maximum of four years full-time or eight years part-time study, subject to institutional regulations. The National Minimum Doctoral Stipend for 2022/23 is £16,062, plus a CDP Maintenance payment of £550/year. The student will be eligible for a travel and related expenses grant during the course of the project, courtesy of the Bodleian Libraries, worth up to £2,000pa for up to four years.

International fee-paying students will be required to contribute the difference between Home and International fees (which are set at £17,400 for 2022/23).

The studentship

Traditionally, manuscript studies have concentrated on complete codices, but these constitute a small proportion of what once existed.

How can the evidence of this large body of fragments transform our understanding of medieval manuscript culture? Despite important advances that question remains to be answered in detail. The time is ripe for research that will build on the growing body of scholarship and comparative material to go beyond isolated case studies and address broader research questions. 

The Bodleian Libraries are an obvious place for this research to take place. The combination of Oxford’s resources and the expertise of Dr David Rundle at the University of Kent provides an exceptional opportunity for a student to develop their advanced skills as a manuscript scholar in this developing field. 

Potential research questions include:

·        how can the study of western fragments refine or challenge current orthodoxies about the production, circulation, popularity, and obsolescence of particular texts and manuscripts, both in the medieval period and in the sixteenth century?

·        what has western manuscript studies to learn from scholars studying non-western fragments, in particular from the study of Hebrew fragments?

·        how can the study of fragments contribute to our understanding of the life of medieval books in the early modern period, and to our understanding of the transmission and survival of medieval manuscripts?  

·        what defines ‘fragmentology’ as a discipline?

·        how can fragments, as distinct from whole codices, be used to develop public engagement with medieval manuscripts at a variety of levels?   

Criteria and eligibility

We encourage applications from candidates from diverse backgrounds and ethnicities, particularly from under-represented socio-economic backgrounds. We will guarantee interviews for applicants from UK-resident Black, African, Caribbean or Black British, Asian and Asian British, mixed or multiple and other non-White ethnic groups who meet the minimum essential criteria.

Applicants should have (or expect to receive) a relevant Master’s-level qualification with a focus on manuscript studies, or demonstrate equivalent relevant experience. Ideally, candidates will have a broad familiarity with the history of the book in medieval and early modern England, Latin, palaeography and codicology, and an active interest in fragment studies. If you are interested but do not meet all these criteria, you are welcome to make an informal enquiry.

How to apply

To apply: https://www.kent.ac.uk/courses/postgraduate/152/medieval-and-early-modern-studies

You must indicate in your personal statement by explaining how you might approach the project and how your academic background and experience fits the criteria. Please include the contact details of a referee.

You can append to your personal statement a Widening Participation Statement of any length to provide any contextual explanation of factors that have impacted your progress in higher education.

Interview date: 13th June

For informal enquiries contact Dr David Rundle ([Email Address Removed]).

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