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Researching the politics of the past in Scotland: heritage, identity, and archaeology in times of political polarization

Department of Archaeology

Dr Elisabeth Niklasson Saturday, May 15, 2021 Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

About the Project

The Archaeology Department at the University of Aberdeen is offering a fully funded (fees plus stipend) PhD position in heritage studies and archaeopolitics. The project is situated within the growing interdisciplinary research direction of ‘the politics of the past’. Drawing on mixed qualitative approaches, it will investigate how heritage sites and archaeological interpretations figure into contemporary questions of identity, representation, and ownership, in Scotland and beyond. Perspectives that take recent political debates into account are of particular interest, including Scottish independence, ideological polarization, social justice, Brexit etc. The successful candidate will develop the specific topic and research design. Full training in relevant methods and theory will be provided by the supervisory team.

The successful candidate will be based at the Department of Archaeology with lead supervisor Dr Elisabeth Niklasson. A secondary supervisor will be assigned based on the profile and interests of the candidate. Based on the interdisciplinary nature of the research, the candidate is expected to drive and coordinate collaboration across relevant departments at the University of Aberdeen, and to contribute to the creation of a new heritage research network.

We are seeking a highly motivated candidate who will hold, or expect to hold by the time of the project start date, a particularly good UK Honours degree (at least a 2.1 or equivalent) and/or an MSc degree in a relevant subject (e.g., Archaeology, Heritage Studies, Anthropology, or related fields). Candidates who, based on previous academic work and experience, can demonstrate an interest in heritage issues or political aspects of archaeology are preferred.

Experience with social inquiry and critical qualitative methods such as discourse analysis, qualitative coding, ethnographic observation, and interviews is highly desirable.


Formal applications can be completed online:

- Apply for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Archaeology

- State the name of the lead supervisor as the Name of Proposed Supervisor

- State the exact project title on the application form

- Cover letter, including your motivation for applying and why you believe your skills and experience makes you well-suited for the position (1-2 pages).

- Include All Degree Certificates/Academic Transcripts (officially translated into English and original)

- Statement of research interests. This should outline your research ideas and interests within the designated topic (1-2 pages).

- 2 Academic References on official headed paper, signed and sent from referees official email address

- Detailed CV

We reserve the right to close the advert earlier should a suitable candidate be found before the advertised closing date (Midnight on Saturday 15 May 2021). The start date for the project is October 2021.

Please contact Dr Elisabeth Niklasson <> with any queries concerning this post.


Funding Notes

The funding from the School of Geosciences, University of Aberdeen, is available for 3 years and includes full tuition fees (N.B. home/UK fees rate only) and a tax-free stipend £15,285/year (2020-2021 rates) paid monthly in arrears.

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