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Local Business, Global Empire: A study of the interactions of the local and the global British Empire in the nineteenth and twentieth century

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round
  • Self-Funded PhD Students Only
    Self-Funded PhD Students Only

Project Description

The interplay of the global and the local have become major themes in global and imperial history, In recent years scholars studying the history of the British empire in particular, have sought to push beyond the study national units to consider how particular localities and regions engaged with and were shaped by their interactions with a global empire. Studies by scholars such as John Mackenzie and Brad Beavan have tended to focus on culture. Rather less has been said about the way in which the global political economy of empire impacted on particular locations, notwithstanding exceptions such as Jim Tomlinson’s work on Dundee. Exploring the economic history of a global empire through the prism of the local has clear advantages. It can highlight how local economies interacted with and gauge the extent to which they relied on and were enriched by global imperial (or indeed other international) connections. It can show the role played by local business leaders in promoting a civic culture of empire in a particular locale. Finally, this approach can tease out the way in which the local and the global interacted with the national.

This project provides an opportunity to examine these issues through a case study how particular localities interacted with the politics, culture and economy of Britain’s global Empire. This will be done through the lens of local business associations such as chambers of commerce, which bring together businesses to mobilize at local, national, and even international level. This opportunity can be taken up either as an on-campus or distance learning opportunity. If undertaken in Aberdeen. The project would involve a case study of key Aberdeen business associations such as the chamber of commerce or the Seven Incorporated Trades and their interactions with empire. Alternatively, if a distance learning approach is favoured, the similar themes can be pursued drawing on source materials local to the candidate.

Within the broad thematic umbrella outlined, there will be considerable flexibility to tailor the study to the successful candidate’s interests as the historiographical focus of the project is refined and by selecting the best case study/studies, and by focusing on a period of particular interest. For example, the study might focus on the interaction of business and empire during the First World War, or during the years of the Great Depression.

Business Associations more broadly have been understudied and provide significant possibilities to enrich our understanding of the history of empire, and indeed of global politics and economics more broadly. Aberdeen’s Centre for Global Governance and Security and Dr Andrew Dilley’s own research are strongly engaging with these neglected organisations, not least as a part of his AHRC-funded Early Career Fellowship (‘Commerce and the Commonwealth’). Thus this scholarship offers an opportunity undertake PhD research in a particularly fruitful context and at an opportune juncture.

Funding Notes

The successful applicant will be expected to provide the funding for tuition fees, living expenses and maintenance. Details of the cost of study can be found by visiting View Website. There is no funding attached to this project.
Selection will be made on the basis of academic merit.

Related Subjects

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