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British Association for American Studies


Funded PhD Opportunity: "All the Watery Margins": Water and the American Civil War - British Association for American Studies


Funded PhD Opportunity: "All the Watery Margins": Water and the American Civil War

This PhD scholarship is offered by the Leverhulme Doctoral Scholarship Centre for Water Cultures, an interdisciplinary research centre at the University of Hull exploring humanity’s relationships with water in the green-blue regions of the world, past, present and future.

It pioneers a new, humanities-led, interdisciplinary and transhistorical research area – the green-blue humanities – and equips a new generation of PhD students to take this agenda forward and transform our understanding of humanity’s relationships with water.

“All the Watery Margins”: Water and the American Civil War combines approaches from social and environmental history and historical geography to understand water as a destructive, productive, restorative, and symbolic force during and after the American Civil War (1861-65), interrogating responses to and representations of water by a range of groups and perspectives.

The following research questions will interrogate the interplay between the practical and symbolic uses of water during and after the conflict:

  1. How did coastal, inland, and estuarine water bodies and wetlands constitute sites of conflict and danger for military and naval personnel? How did they also function as refuges and routes to safety and liberation for deserters, guerrillas, and self-emancipating enslaved fugitives?
  2. How did the struggle to access clean, safe water shape military and civilian experiences of the war? How did water scarcity and polluted/diseased water threaten the physical and emotional health of civilians and soldiers on both sides?
  3. How was water mobilised in cultural and political debates about cleanliness and purity during the war and in processes of reconciliation and memorialisation after its end?

Entry Requirements

You should have a good undergraduate degree (at least a 2:1 Honours degree, or international equivalent) in a relevant subject such as History, Human Geography, American Studies or Cultural Studies.

A Masters in a relevant subject is desirable, but not essential.

Funding Notes

Doctoral scholars appointed to interdisciplinary projects within the Centre for Water Cultures will be supported by PhD scholarships, funded for 48 months. These cover fees at the UK rate, a maintenance grant of £17,668 per year (2022/23 rate), and a research and training support grant.
The closing date for submissions is January 30th, 2023. For more information on eligibility and how to apply, visit the University of Hull website. If you have any queries about this project, please email .