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  Philosophy of History in the Anthropocene

   Faculty of Politics and International Relations

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  Dr Callum Barrell  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

As part of a major investment, Northeastern University London (NU London) has multiple, fully-funded PhD studentships available to accelerate its interdisciplinary research in the humanities, social sciences, and computing, maths, engineering and natural sciences. Each scholarship is fully-funded for three and a half years (UKRI rates) and includes full course fees, an annual stipend (including an additional London allowance) and associated costs, such as training.

NU London is both a UK university governed by UK higher education regulations, and the European campus of Northeastern University – a large, top-tier research intensive, Bostonbased institution. Founded in 1898, Northeastern University is known for its high-impact research, aimed at solving problems across the globe. Interdisciplinarity, experiential learning, and connection to partners beyond academia are at the heart of the Northeastern University ethos. Northeastern received $230.7m of external research funding in 2022 and is the recognized leader in experience-driven lifelong learning. It has campuses across the United States and Canada (in Boston; Charlotte, North Carolina; Portland, Maine; Oakland, California; San Francisco; Seattle; Silicon Valley; Arlington, Virginia; the Massachusetts communities of Burlington and Nahant; Toronto and Vancouver). Whilst the PhD will be a UK qualification, students will have the opportunity to engage with and visit the Northeastern University network overseas as part of their London-based doctoral studies, providing a truly unique and highly sought-after dimension to their research training.

The Project

The Anthropocene hypothesis argues that human beings have become a collective geological agent with serious consequences for the habitability of humans and non-humans alike. This proposed new epoch of geological time has transformed normative political theory and its relationship to philosophy of history. The project will examine ways in one or both fields have responded to the provocations of the Anthropocene hypothesis. It could focus on one or several problems the abstract, perhaps even contradictory figure of the (post)human that often characterises Anthropocenic discourse; regimes of historicity; the political theory of New Materialism; the implications of the Anthropocene for the history of political thought; and the challenge of framing political agency within the immensity of geological time. The successful candidate will bring to the project their own ideas, perspectives, and lines of enquiry. They will have a proven track-record in one (or more) of the following fields: normative political theory, intellectual history, and philosophy of history. They will be selfmotivated, intellectually curious, collegial, and enthused by the prospect of joining a new PhD programme at a growing institution.

The successful candidates will:

  • Have a strong, proven academic background in political theory and/or intellectual history, or a related subject (see eligibility criteria)
  • Demonstrate an intellectual enthusiasm for thinking and writing about the Anthropocene and philosophy of history
  • Be disciplined, self-motivated, and committed to completing the programme
  • Demonstrate enthusiasm for working within a new, developing programme at a burgeoning university
  • Demonstrate strong written and verbal communication skills

The successful candidates will benefit from a brand new campus on the banks of the River Thames next to Tower Bridge. This is an interdisciplinary, vibrant research environment with international collaboration and networking opportunities and dedicated research space. It will form the hub of a highly experienced, multi-institution supervisory team from NU London, Northeastern University and the University of Kent. In addition, successful candidates will benefit from the unique connection to the wider Northeastern University network in North America, providing a range of additional research opportunities and learning resources.

Shortlisted candidates will be interviewed by the end of October. Candidates are welcome to contact the NU London supervisor with informal enquiries before the application deadline: Dr Callum Barrell ([Email Address Removed])


  • Bachelor's degree in a relevant subject - 2:1 or 1st (essential)
  • Master’s degree in a relevant subject (optional)

English Language requirements:

If applicable – IELTS 6.5 overall (with a score of at least 6.5 in each individual component) or equivalent.


Applications are open to UK and international students. Please indicate if you are likely to require a visa on your application. We are unable to support visa costs.


This scholarship covers the full cost of tuition fees, an annual stipend, and an additional London allowance (set at UKRI rates) for 3.5 years. For the 2023/2024 academic year the annual stipend is £20,622. Annual increments will be in line with UKRI rates. International travel Students will have the optional opportunity to travel to Northeastern University in North America to further their research training and experience.

How to Apply

Please submit a CV and a Covering Letter stating how you meet the requirements and why you are interested in the proposed research project by clicking on this link. Please reference your application “PHDA0923

History & Archaeology (19) Politics & Government (30)
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 About the Project