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  Cultural and Indigenous rights surrounding mass graves


   Faculty of Media & Communication

   Sunday, May 05, 2024  Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

The recent discovery of suspected mass graves at Canadian residential schools designed to systematically assimilate Indigenous children, thereby destroying cultures, languages and possible ties with the land, indicates the issue is both pressing and current. An Indigenous approach to mass graves may, for example, require legal protection that extends to the material artefacts in these graves, which, like human bodily remains, may be significant in relation to ancestors (they may be considered ancestors themselves). Equally, the way information is stored or displayed may require consideration. In addition, First Nation, Indigenous or Aboriginal community borders will not always align with country borders, therefore potentially attracting differing protection levels domestically. 

Investigations and their outcomes are also affected by the context of social and religious norms, a factor which is of direct relevance to EU and European Convention on Human Rights Member States: when investigating in Afghanistan to establish the number of civilians killed in an attack, for example, the European Court of Human Rights accepted that ‘[i]t was not possible to clarify this matter further as the social and religious mores of the Afghan population prevented use of the modern forensic investigation techniques, including the exhumation of bodies or DNA analyses, that would be required’. Furthermore, an examination must also be mindful of temporal factors resulting in potential shifts in a community’s acceptance of scientific investigations. 

The cultural, Indigenous, religious and societal context of an investigation is therefore highly relevant. This project will develop a clearer understanding of potential impacts and responses to enable effective and victim-sensitive investigation strategies for the benefit of all engaged parties. 

How to apply: 

Applications are made via Bournemouth University’s website by clicking ’institution website’ button. If you have an enquiry about this project please contact us via the ’Email institution’ button, however your application will only be processed once you have submitted an application form as opposed to emailing your CV to us. 

Candidates for the PhD Studentship should demonstrate outstanding qualities and be motivated to complete a PhD in 4 years and must demonstrate: 

  • Outstanding academic potential as measured normally by either a 1st class honours degree (or equivalent Grade Point Average (GPA) or a Master’s degree with distinction or equivalent 
  • An IELTS (Academic) score of 7.5 minimum (with a minimum 6.5 in each component, or equivalent) for candidates for whom English is not their first language and this must be evidenced at point of application. 
Anthropology (2) Forensic and Archaeological Sciences (16) Law (22) Philosophy (28) Politics & Government (30) Sociology (32)

Funding Notes

A fully-funded Studentship includes a maintenance grant of £18,622 per year to contribute towards living expenses during the course of your research, as well as a fee waiver for 36 months. Associated costs, such as for fieldwork and conference attendance, will also be met under the Studentship.

Register your interest for this project


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