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Gardening as a force in ecological history

Department of History

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Dr M Jenner No more applications being accepted Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

About the Project

Supervisors (from): Dr Mark Jenner (History), Dr Helen Cowie (History), Dr Sabine Clarke (History), Professor Sue Hartley (University of Sheffield)

A PhD studentship is available to investigate the histories of garden plants, their origins, and the motivations that led to them being collected and planted in new parts of the world. You will be based in the Leverhulme Centre for Anthropocene Biodiversity at the University of York (, and supervised by leading experts in environmental history and plant science.

Introduced plants represent the largest group of species that have ‘invaded’ other parts of the world, commonly having been transported by people and then grown in gardens, before ‘escaping’ into the wild. Your PhD will investigate the reasons – whether medical, culinary, aesthetic, commercial or ecological – for this transplantation into botanical and private gardens. Your work will contribute to an understanding of the roles of colonial and post-colonial movements of peoples and cultures on the transport of horticultural species, with a particular focus on transport and biological invasions in the tropics and subtropics. In conjunction with your supervisor(s), you will develop and research new areas of inquiry, which could include: the impact of botanical gardens in the global south, the importance of migration between and within Africa, Asia and Latin America, and the role of islands, particularly in the Caribbean, as key staging posts for plant transport.

You should wish to combine historical, biological and social perspectives, and be excited about developing and answering fundamental research questions. LCAB will provide you with a wide range of opportunities to interact with other PhD students and researchers, in a supportive environment. You will be part of the LCAB research programme, which will provide additional support and training, as well as facilitating interactions with PhD students across York, and with other universities and research organisations.

Funding Notes

This studentship covers UK/EU fees for 4 years and a stipend of £15,009 per year for 3.5 years. EU students starting October 2020 will continue to pay UK fees throughout their PhD, even if the UK exits the EU.
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