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AHRC-funded Collaborative PhD Studentship with the University of Exeter and BT Archives: The Cultures of Radio Research in India, circa. 1890-1947 Ref: 2152
About the award
Applications are invited for a three year AHRC-funded Collaborative Doctoral Award with the University of Exeter and BT Archives to research and study the history of radio research in India from the late nineteenth century to independence. The project seeks to challenge assumptions that scientific research into, and the technical development of radio in India during this period was lacklustre. A common claim is that these enterprises did not really start until the foundation of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research of India's Radio Research Board in 1942. This is surprising in light of recent studies suggesting that there was a culture of overland and undersea telegraph cable research in India by 1900 and that radio research flourished elsewhere in the British empire from the early twentieth century onwards. Moreover, a few studies have identified a wealth of source material relating to radio research undertaken in India before 1947 although this literature does not embody detailed historical analysis. ‘The Cultures of Radio Research’ builds on and moves significantly beyond this literature in depth and scope and will plug significant gaps in our understanding of Indian radio science, and the larger questions of research and development in the British empire before the Second World War and the relationships between imperialism and telecommunications.
The project will address the following questions:
1. Where and how was radio research and development (R&D) pursued in India? Was it confined to academic, commercial, government and military organisations, or were there less formal research cultures elsewhere such as in amateur radio clubs?
2. What did radio R&D in India achieve? How did it advance scientific understanding and technical mastery of radio wave propagation? Why did some projects succeed and others fail?
3. Why was radio R&D in India pursued and how did particular centres develop? To what extent did such centres depend on international movements - e.g. of Indian-born scientists and engineers training overseas and British-born scientific practitioners hired to work in India?
4. To what extent was radio R&D in India shaped by issues relating to culture, society and politics at local and national levels?
5. How far was radio R&D in India hampered by financial, ideological and other 'non-technical' constraints that we know seriously affected All India Radio, Marconi Wireless, Cable and Wireless and other relevant telecommunication organisations?
6. To what extent did radio R&D in India follow the models developed in Britain and colonies such as Australia, Canada and New Zealand? Were there complex and often difficult relationships between the academic, government and commercial sponsors of this kind of R&D?
The project will involve the close and systematic analysis of a wealth of under-researched primary source material, and a critical study of the extensive secondary literature in the fields of the history of science and technology, the history of India, and global and imperial history. By far the largest amount of primary research material for this project is located in Britain and was primarily written and/or published in English. However, it is anticipated that the successful applicant may need to make at least one trip to India to study material in repositories there. The principal research collections are in the British Library, BT Archives, University of Exeter, Porthcurno Telegraph Museum (Cornwall), Bodleian Library (Oxford), Calcutta University Library, the Indian Institute of the Sciences (Bangalore) and All India Radio Archives (Mumbai).
The successful applicant will be spending a considerable amount of time in BT Archives where they will be studying some of the collection’s underexplored and uncatalogued materials and gaining experience of professional archive management and public engagement activities associated with BT Archives and the Science Museum. They will also be expected to present aspects of their research in workshops, seminars and conferences organised by the University of Exeter and by BT Archives.
The dissertation supervisors are Dr Richard Noakes (University of Exeter), Dr Gajendra Singh (University of Exeter) and Mr. David Hay (BT Archives, London). The successful applicant will also receive support from Dr. Alison Hess (Science Museum, London).
Application deadline: 20th November 2016
Number of awards: 1
Value: £14,296 plus UK/EU tuition fees for eligible students
Duration of award: per year
Contact: Dr Matt Barber, Graduate School Administrator [log in to unmask]
How to apply
We invite applications from candidates with a strong academic background in modern history, preferably the history of modern science and/or technology. Successful applicants should normally have a good first degree (at least 2.1, or international equivalent) in a relevant field of humanities, and have obtained, or are currently working towards a Masters degree at Merit level, or international equivalent, in modern history, preferably the history of modern science and/or technology, or Indian history. If English is not a candidate’s native language, he or she will also need to satisfy the English language entry requirements of the University of Exeter.
Please note that the award is subject to the AHRC’s terms, to which applicants should refer before applying (see the Research Funding Guide at the bottom of this page on the AHRC website http://www.ahrc.ac.uk/funding/research/researchfundingguide/). Note that overseas students are not eligible for AHRC awards (except under specific circumstances) and EU students need to assess whether they are eligible for fees and maintenance or fees only. Details of current maintenance and fee rates can be found on the ‘Current Research Awards’ page on the AHRC website (http://www.ahrc.ac.uk/funding/research/)
Applicants should complete an online web form and upload a full CV, a sample of recent work and details of two referees and, if relevant, proof of English language proficiency, by 20 November 2016.
Applicants should ensure that the referees email their references in the form of a letter to the Postgraduate Administrator at [log in to unmask] by 20 November 2016. The responsibility for ensuring that references are received by the deadline rests with the candidates. Referees must email their references to us from their institutional email accounts (references sent from personal/private email accounts will not be accepted unless in the form of a scanned document on institutional headed paper and signed by the referee).
If you have any queries or would like to discuss this opportunity before applying, please contact Dr. Richard Noakes at [log in to unmask]
If you have any queries regarding the application process please contact:
Postgraduate Administrator at: [log in to unmask]
College of Humanities Graduate School, University of Exeter
Queen's Building, The Queen's Drive
Exeter, Devon, EX4 4QH
Visit http://humanities.exeter.ac.uk/ for more information.