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School of History

Funded PhD studentship on ‘Euroscepticism in Britain from the 1970s to the 1990s'

The School of History at Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) and the German Historical Institute London (GHIL) invite applications from outstanding postgraduate students for a funded doctorate on ‘Euroscepticism in Britain from the 1970s to the 1990s’. The deadline for applications is 17.00GMT on 4 January 2021. Interviews will be held on 10 February 2021.

This studentship is part of the interdisciplinary project entitled ‘Resistance against Europe, Europe in resistance: Eurosceptic entanglements from the beginnings of European integration to the present day’, which is forthcoming, subject to final approval, and funded by the Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung (BMBF). Applicants will normally have attained a Masters qualification that will equip them to pursue doctoral research in this area. They must be Home/EU students (EU students enrolling before August 2021 will still be subject to Home fees).

The PhD student will be enrolled at Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) and will be jointly supervised by Prof. Christina von Hodenberg (GHIL)Dr James Ellison (QMUL) and Dr Robert Saunders (QMUL). Potential candidates should direct inquiries concerning eligibility and feasibility of their research proposal to Hodenberg, Ellison and Saunders. For practical inquiries regarding the application, please contact Dr Claire Trenery (QMUL).

The studentship covers tuition fees for three years, a budget for travel and research expenses, and an annual salary. It is anticipated that the student will begin the programme of study full-time on 1 April 2021. The successful applicant will receive a fixed term working contract with the German Historical Institute in London on a 26 hours per week basis. The salary, which is based on the German Embassy’s pay scheme, is GBP 2633,80 per month. Applicants must be able to demonstrate their legal right to work in the UK. The salary at the GHIL will be taxable in Germany, unless the applicant is a UK citizen and does not also hold German citizenship.

Applicants should follow the instructions for how to apply for a PhD place at the QMUL School of History, and indicate their interest in the BMBF-funded ‘Euroscepticism in Britain from the 1970s to the 1990s’ studentship in their online application. Applicants will be asked to provide a one-page personal statement explaining why they would like to pursue a research degree, a research proposal (no more than 1,500 words), and a CV.

Further Information about the PhD studentship ‘Euroscepticism in Britain from the 1970s to the 1990s’ Project

This collaborative project, which brings together experts from the Hamburg Institute for Social Research and the German Historical Institutes in Rome, London, and Warsaw, and the School of History at Queen Mary University of London centres on the concept of Euroscepticism. Hostility to European integration in Britain has a long and complex history. It has sprung from multiple sources, crossed party lines and taken different ideological forms. Its support base has varied across time: in the 1970s, Scotland and Northern Ireland were the most Eurosceptic parts of the UK; by 2016, its fortresses were mainly to be found in England and Wales. At different times and under different conditions, its backing has been drawn from the Bennite Left or the Powellite Right. Its supporters have ranged from economic nationalists to enthusiasts for globalisation, and from the anticolonial Left to the Imperial Right. Eurosceptic organisations, such as the Anti-Common Market League, the Campaign for an Independent Britain, Get Britain Out, and the National Council for Anti-Common Market Organizations, adopted different political stances and often clashed.

The progress of Euroscepticism has never been linear. Before 1975 and after 2016 it was powerfully represented at the heart of government; yet during the intervening period, it was often pushed to the political margins. While the press became increasingly Eurosceptic during the 1980s, trade unions, the centre left, female voters and the young became more supportive of membership. Within this context, the PhD project could approach the subject of ‘Euroscepticism in Britain from 1975 to the Present’ from any angle of research enquiry that applicants believe to be historically significant. For example:

  • What was the role played by civil-society organizations and non-party elites in mobilizing Euroscepticism from the 1970s to the 1990s?
  • How did different forms of Euroscepticism respond to processes of decolonization, de-industrialization, the end of the Cold War, and the rise of Welsh and Scottish nationalism?
  • What visions of Europe, empire, global free trade, and British identity were they based on?
  • Which arguments and methods did campaigners apply in order to gain supporters and more effectively anchor themselves in the media, politics, and society?
  • How did Eurosceptics deploy different visions of the past in pursuit of their goals, whether drawn from British, European, global or Imperial history?
  • How important were changes in demography, media culture and employment in shaping the fortunes of Euroscepticism?