Funded PhD Studentship at the University of Lincoln: Gothic: Literary Travel and Tourism

Posted by Dale Townshend on March 28, 2014 in News tagged with

Project ReferenceRIF2014S-04

This studentship offers the opportunity to work with Professor Lucie Armitt on a contemporary literature project in the field of Gothic, Travel and Tourism. The precise topic for the dissertation will be decided in discussion with the successful applicant, but it is anticipated that the PhD will focus upon one or more of the following areas in conjunction with literary study: monumental Gothic architecture (castles, cathedrals, prisons, workhouses; the city ghost tour; high-rise living and the uncanny); ‘faux-Gothic’ tourism (theme park Gothic; Hotel Gothic; waxworks and dungeons); the uncanny travelogue. The successful applicant will commence in September 2014.

This studentship would run in parallel to, and benefit from, the primary supervisor’s own research project, Gothic: Tourism and Travelogue, which she is working on in partnership with Dr Scott Brewster (University of Stirling) and which will lead to a co-authored monograph planned for completion in 2016 and publication in 2017. Importantly, although this research project will parallel the time-frame of the studentship, enabling the student to derive maximum benefit from the supervisor’s methodological expertise, the studentship will be wholly discrete from it, ensuring optimum benefit for the student in terms of future publication, impact and dissemination.

The supervisor’s project explores the central importance of travel in the Gothic, from its antecedents in the Grand Tour and its manifestation in nineteenth, twentieth and twenty-first-century Gothic literature, to the storytelling function of ghost walks, dark tourism and Gothic theme parks. A range of actual British and European cityscapes provide the architectural focus for the supervisor’s project (including Carcassonne, Edinburgh, London and Otranto) combined with a number of rural, coastal or semi-rural sites, including Alton Towers, Whitby Abbey and the Fens.

The studentship will similarly explore Gothic literature through the lens of travel and tourism. It will be centrally rooted in literary analysis combined with a cultural reading of the storytelling function of the Medieval and High Victorian monuments of Lincoln itself, centred upon the Cathedral, the Castle and the Prison, related ghost tours and other faux-Gothic cultural activity.

For example, community storytelling narratives linked to the haunting of Lincoln Prison could be examined in comparison with ghost narratives of M.R. James, predominantly set around the East coast of England. Thus we see how rural and urban, textual and cultural understandings of haunting can be shaped by environmental factors.

The grounding of this research within a clearly circumscribed geographical space will enable the student to take full advantage of the precise storytelling opportunities afforded by the cityscape, while rooting those ‘stories’ within a comparative literary context.

The precise body of literary texts upon which the project will focus would be determined in discussion with the supervisory team, but some possible examples include D.H. Lawrence’s description of Lincoln Cathedral in The Rainbow (1915), Sarah Waters’s depiction of Millbank prison (now replaced by the Millbank Tower) in Affinity (1999) or Kate Mosse’s re-reading of Carcassonne Castle in her Languedoc Trilogy (2005 – 2012).

The studentship would build on an established body of secondary research on narrative and uncanny urban spaces, written by cultural geographers, philosophers and literary scholars including Bachelard, Duncan, Lefebvre, Rose and Vidler.

Supervisory Team

1. Professor Lucie Armitt, Chair of Contemporary English Literature, Lincoln School of Humanities

2. Dr Rebecca Styler, Senior Lecturer, Lincoln School of Humanities.

3. Dr Martin Eve, Lecturer, Lincoln School of Humanities.

EligibilityAll Candidates must satisfy the College’s minimum doctoral entry criteria for studentships of a Masters degree or equivalent. A minimum IELTS (Academic) score of 7 (or equivalent) is essential for candidates for whom English is not their first language. Funded Studentships are open to both UK/EU students unless otherwise specified.

How to Apply
Please send a covering letter outlining your interest and proposed approach (up to 1 page A4) with an accompanying CV (including names of 2 academic referees) to lengland@lincoln.ac.uk by close of day on 18th April 2014. Candidates will be notified w/c 5th May of the outcome of the process and if invited to interview, these are anticipated to take place w/c 26h May.

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