The Contemporary China Centre at the University of Westminster is offering two Leverhulme Trust-funded MPhil/PhD Studentships for a three-year research project on “Conflicts in Cultural Value: Localities and Heritage in Southwestern China”.
The studentships are for full-time study starting in September 2013 and include a fee waiver and maintenance grant (£15,600 per annum for Home/EU students, £8,100 per annum for Overseas students). Successful applicants will also receive research training, be eligible to apply for funding to attend academic conferences, and will be expected to devote up to 6 hours a week to teaching and/or assisting in research activities.
This ethnographic study explores the paradox of China’s cultural heritage practice: UNESCO-inspired state heritage projects are widely implemented as part of China’s development strategy, yet are premised on the apparent ‘destruction’ of cultural and natural heritage as part of the preservation process. In contrast, diverse local and private initiatives regard heritage value as the shared ownership and transmission of a cultural past for the public good. Local identifications of what constitutes collective cultural survival imply demands for cultural and ethical recognition, raising crucial questions about concepts and practices of preservation and challenging the European conservation tradition’s monopoly of heritage meaning.
STUDENTSHIP CODE: SSHL1
One Studentship will be for an ethnographically-based analysis of the Jianchuan Museum Cluster, Anren, Sichuan Province, covering its history and vision, its relationship with state, commercial and local interests, through the different stages of its design and construction to the present. It will also examine the Museum’s links with other heritage interests in Anren and Chengdu. The overall aim of this research will be to analyse the Jianchuan museum as a case study of heritage conservation undertaken by China’s largest ‘private’ museum.
STUDENTSHIP CODE: SSHL2
The second Studentship is to undertake a comparative analysis of local heritage initiatives in Yunnan and their role, significance and effectiveness in contributing to the cultural revitalisation of local Naxi communities. Ethnographic fieldwork will be carried out in and around Baidi and Lijiang and will focus on members of the local Naxi communities and the diverse individuals and interests involved in local heritage projects, in order to identify grass-roots, everyday practices of local Naxi culture and their interactions with commercial and official agencies.
Eligible candidates will hold at least an upper second class honours degree and a Master’s degree. Candidates whose secondary level education has not been conducted in the medium of English should also demonstrate evidence of appropriate English language proficiency, normally defined as 6.5 in IELTS (with not less than 6.0 in any of the individual elements), since the thesis will be written and defended in English.
Fluent command of Chinese (Putonghua) is an essential requirement for both scholarships, and some knowledge of Naxi would be an advantage for SSHL2.
Preference will be given to candidates who have a Master’s degree (or its equivalent) in anthropology, modern history, museum and heritage studies, but applicants with backgrounds in archaeology and sociology will also be considered.
Candidates are asked to submit a research proposal of between 3000 and 5000 words, accompanied by a personal statement setting out their educational background, methodological training and the nature of their interest in this project, together with a detailed CV. The research proposal should set out its aims and objectives, background/rationale, main research questions, methodology, indicative bibliography (in English and Chinese) and time plan within the context of the candidate’s understanding of the larger research project.
Candidates are urged to contact Professor Harriet Evans (firstname.lastname@example.org), Director of the Contemporary China Centre, for more information about the studentships and research project before submitting their application.
The deadline for applications is 17:00 GMT on 5th April 2013.