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School of English and Drama


Since 2008 a number of QMCECS alumni have gone on to careers in academia and beyond. In this section you will find profiles of recent postgraduates who discuss their experience as part of QMCECS.  


Stephanie Howard-Smith:

"Between between 2014 and 2018 I was a PhD student in the School of English and Drama at QMUL. My dissertation, supervised by Markman Ellis, was on the cultural history of the lapdog in the long eighteenth century.  

I attended the QMCECS seminar throughout my time as a PhD student at QM. The seminars themselves attract speakers from a range of disciplines — including leading scholars in their fields — and I found myself exposed to approaches and areas of research I would not necessarily have come across through reading alone. The post-seminar discussions were also enlightening and afforded me the opportunity to observe and model question-asking in a friendly environment. The co-convenors actively promote postgraduate voices during the discussion. 

The seminars are marked by their conviviality in the group introductions, the discussions following the paper and at the post-seminar dinners. Because the seminars are relatively intimate, postgraduates have the opportunity to talk to academics across career levels, including the numerous visiting scholars the seminars attract.  

I came to rely on the QMCECS seminars as my main opportunity for socialising as a postgraduate. Studying for a PhD can be a lonely enterprise, but I found the seminars gave a sense of structure to the academic year and allowed me the chance to meet members of other departments, including PhD students and early career researchers. The Centre for Eighteenth-Century Studies was helpful in other ways, too — as I got to know its members through attending these seminars, they would send me information relevant to my project they had come across during their own research. 

Although my time at QMUL has now finished, I continue to attend the seminars not only because of the intellectual stimulation they offer, but for the feeling of community too." 

Elin Jones: 

"I completed my PhD in 2012 whilst based at QMUL and the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich. This Collaborative Doctoral Award allowed research which straddled disciplines and collections, drawing on letters, journals, court martial records, ship’s logs, ship plans and objects to explore shipboard masculinities, materiality and space on British naval vessels between 1756 and 1815. After finishing my doctorate, I worked in a variety of public history roles at the University of Edinburgh and the BBC, before returning to academia as a Lecturer at the University of Exeter.

Whilst at QMUL, my involvement with the QMCECS network and seminar series was essential in fostering an interdisciplinary approach and in meeting other like-minded academics. Discussing my research with colleagues who worked on gender identity in eighteenth-century literature, or explored the historical geography of the Atlantic world during this period, allowed me to make connections which would have been very difficult without access to such a thriving research centre. The seminar series in particular was always convivial and welcoming (and an essential source of free wine particularly during my fourth year). Without research centres such as QMCECS, silo-working and isolation in the humanities become all too easy, especially for PhD students and ECRs. More than ever now, centres which inspire connections between disciplines, and which foster lively intellectual debate are much needed. I look forward to returning to speak and to listen in the near future!"


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