Tag Archives: social sciences

PhD studentships now available for September 2016 start!

8460 800 by 430The Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences at Oxford Brookes University is pleased to offer a number of full-time PhD Studentships across a range of subject areas for a September 2016 start.

The successful candidate will receive an annual payment of £14,000 as a stipend towards living expenses for a maximum of three years.  Home/EU fees will also be covered by the relevant Department for a maximum of three years.

The Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences spans a diverse range of disciplines that include social sciences, history, philosophy, religion, education, law, English and modern languages, and has a long tradition of producing world-class research. The REF 2014 results confirm our ‘world-leading’ and ‘internationally excellent’ research status in a range of subjects, and serve as official recognition of the expertise, dedication and passion of our academic community. We are now accepting applications for the following PhD studentships:


Department of Social Sciences

Applications are invited for a PhD Studentship in ‘Lemurs as protectors of the forest: Lemur seed dispersal, forest regeneration and local livelihoods in the littoral forest fragments of Madagascar’ The supervisory team will be led by Dr Giuseppe Donati (Primatology/Biological Anthropology), with Professor Kate Hill  (Anthropology). This proposed PhD project will examine the assumed role of lemurs’ forest regeneration and the likely value of this to local human populations.

Applications are invited for a PhD Studentship in Challenging Security Anew: Probing the Bases and Limits of Critical Security Studies. The supervisory team will be led by Dr Tina Managhan (International Relations) with Dr Doerthe Rosenow (International Relations). This proposed PhD project will explore the ontological and philosophical underpinnings of post-structuralist Critical Security Studies with the aim of furthering its critical ethos and politics.

Applications are invited for a PhD Studentship in Exploring family, care work and fatherhood in the ‘age of migration’. The supervisory team will be led by Professor Tina Miller (Sociology) with Dr Maja Cederberg (Sociology). This proposed PhD project will investigate the role of fathering and examine the emotion work involved in transnational migration, focusing on fathers who are migrants coming to the UK. In particular it will explore how men who are fathers navigate expectations of paternal care and associated emotion work across their home and host country, and how parental obligations and responsibilities are understood, maintained and practiced over time and across borders.


Department of English and Modern Languages

Applications are invited for a PhD Studentship in ‘Avant-Garde Writing, Technology and the Everyday’. The supervisory team will be led by Professor Alex Goody (Twentieth-Century Literature), with Dr Eric White (American Literature).  We are interested in proposals that examine the interactions between the avant-garde writers of modernism and its aftermath and the technological world of the twentieth century. The proposed research should aim to produce a new account of the relationship between the modernist ‘revolution of the word’ and the contingencies and externalities of living in a modern world radically reconfigured through technology (such as transport, inscription, information, communication, surveillance, prosthesis, augmentation and warfare).


Department of History, Philosophy and Religion

Applications are invited for a PhD Studentship in ‘The Art of Pre-Raphaelite Criticism’. The supervisory team will be led by Professor Christiana Payne, (History of Art) with Dr Dinah Roe (19th Century Literature). The proposed project will examine the role of contemporary criticism in the development of the Pre-Raphaelite aesthetic, with particular reference to the work of William Michael Rossetti and Frederic George Stephens.


Sociology Lecturer receives funding award from the British Academy

DSC_0018 news cropDr Tamsin Barber, senior lecturer in Sociology, has been successful in receiving a grant from the British Academy for her project: Becoming East Asian: Race, Ethnicity and Youth Politics of Belonging in Superdiverse Britain (with Dr. Diana Yeh, City University, London).

Tamsin’s research project examines emerging East Asian youth identities and social spaces in urban Britain to investigate the changing significance of race and ethnicity in superdiverse contexts (a mix of ethnic and migrant minorities).

The concept of superdiversity has become widely adopted to describe and analyse the ordinary multiculture of everyday urban life in the context of new migrations, but it has been criticised for neglecting issues of power, inequality, exclusion and racism . Her project addresses these absences by examining the significance of race and racism for invisible minorities.

Due to migration, East Asians in Britain are now one of the fastest growing ‘ethnic’ groupings, with the highest percentage of international students; yet they remain invisible in both academic and policy debates on citizenship, integration and multiculturalism. This project investigates how and why young people in London and Birmingham are engaging in racial and pan-ethnic ‘Oriental’ group-making when recent social surveys suggest that race is losing its significance as a dominant identity.

The research will be divided between London and Birmingham, two cities with significant East Asian populations, to allow for a comparative analysis. The research team will conduct in-depth interviews with young Japanese, Thai, Filipino, Korean and Malaysian men and women who use East Asian social spaces, such as events aimed specifically at East Asian youth as well as research on social networking sites.It will provide rich multifaceted data to show how and why young people are ‘becoming East Asian’, as they negotiate the politics of belonging in superdiverse Britain.

Her work will contribute to debates on how political mobilization and belonging are changing under superdiversity, and lead to a research agenda on emerging East Asian youth politics in Britain whilst contributing significant new knowledge on the hitherto ‘uncharted territories’ of invisible youth, who until the 2011 Census were classified as a subcategory of ‘Chinese’, as ‘Chinese: Other’. 


If you’d like to find out more about studying Sociology at Oxford Brookes University, take a look at the subject page.

Geography academic to feature on BBC4’s Oak Tree

Oak-TreeAn Oxford Brookes academic will feature in the BBC 4 programme, ’Oak Tree: Nature’s Greatest Survivor’ due to be aired at 9pm on Thursday 1 October on BBC 4.

The 90-minute programme sees presenter George McGavin embark on a year-long study of the oak tree and its sophisticated biology. He investigates how the tree has adapted to the ever-changing environment and discovers how it became an important part of British culture and history.

By looking in detail at the pollen grains, micro fossils and other features preserved in peat, we can see how the climate has warmed and cooled at different times, how humans have cleared woodland and planted food crops

Dr Helen Walkington, Principal Lecturer in Geography, Oxford Brookes University

The programme’s study centres on a 400 year-old oak in Wytham Woods near Oxford and spans a year to chart the oak tree’s journey through the four seasons.

Dr Helen Walkington, Principal Lecturer in Geography at Oxford Brookes is called upon during the spring phase of the programme to explain how pollen can be used to understand the development of the landscape over the last 12,000 years. Dr Walkington said: “My research uses soils and sediment to explore changes in climate, vegetation and human impact in the past.

“By looking in detail at the pollen grains, micro fossils and other features preserved in peat, we can see how the climate has warmed and cooled at different times, how humans have cleared woodland and planted food crops, for example.

“Oxford Brookes students have been engaged in research on the peat core too as part of their geography degree.”

‘Oak Tree: Natures Greatest Survivor’ airs at 9pm on Thursday 1 October on BBC 4. The BBC trailer can be viewed below.

More information about the undergraduate geography course at Oxford Brookes University can be found on the Department of Social Sciences webpages.


Professor showcases research in week-long feature on BBC Oxford

Tina-Miller_Bio_Pic_2015Tina Miller, Professor in Sociology at Oxford Brookes University will be taking part in a series of short radio features all next week on BBC Oxford to highlight her research into managing modern family lives (21-25 September)

Tina was awarded a one year British Academy Mid-Career Fellowship in 2014 to carry out a project entitled Managing modern family lives: public understandings and everyday practises of caring and paid work.

Professor Tina Miller said: “Societal ideas about who cares for children have often assumed that women are naturally more able to care than men. These ideas arise from arguments about women’s biology and destiny, and men’s historical association with paid work.

“But as more women contribute in significant ways to the workplace and may decide not to have children, ideas of biologically-determined capacities to care come under scrutiny and provide opportunities to think in new ways about men as carers too.”

As part of the project, Tina has collaborated with BBC Radio Oxford to put together a series of short features on managing work and family life, with a particular focus on family experiences in Oxfordshire.

The live features will be included in BBC Oxford’s mid-morning show with presenter Kat Orman starting Monday 21 September and concluding on Friday 25 September with a phone-in from listeners on their experiences of managing work and family life, child care issues and so on.

The features will take the listener through the social, political and historical changes which have led to the family configurations and patterns of paid work and caring responsibilities that are seen today. The ways in which other countries, such as Sweden, support families organising care and paid work will also be explored as well as the current, often complicated, child care arrangements that working families in the UK have to negotiate.

She continues: “This is a fascinating opportunity to share topical research findings with a large audience of radio listeners, many of whom will have first-hand experience of the daily challenge of combining paid work and caring responsibilities. Is a balance possible, who’s involved in providing care and could new policies support families in more helpful ways? These are some of the questions we will be exploring.”

Guest contributors will also include Professor Lars Plantin of Malmö University in Sweden and the historian Professor Joanne Begiato (Bailey) also from Oxford Brookes University.

Tune in to BBC Radio Oxford from 10am all next week. You can also listen online and listen again to any features you miss via their website.

Rare footage of young orangutan and gibbon’s playtime captured by Oxford Brookes postgraduate student

InterspeciesPlayBlogPotential4Rare video footage of a young wild orangutan and gibbon playing together has been captured by an Oxford Brookes postgraduate student. The two youngsters can be seen enthusiastically tickling, wrestling and chasing each other in the canopy of the rainforest.

Tom Lloyd captured the footage in the Borneo jungle while taking part in a long-term research and conservation project by the Orangutan Tropical Peatland Project (OuTrop) in the Sabangau peat-swamp Forest in Indonesian Borneo.

The intelligent primates are normally competitors, sharing habitat and food in the jungle, but usually preferring to stay out of each others way. When they meet they are far more likely to fight than to play, so researchers were surprised to discover these two young apes – affectionately known as Fio the orangutan and Chilli the gibbon – apparently having such a great time together.

Tom, who is studying a master’s degree in Primate Conservation at Oxford Brookes said: “What started off as a typical day in the forest, turned into something special when an Indonesian field researcher and I came across the pair play-fighting. We stood there in awe; amazed by these two individuals from different species just doing what youngsters do…having fun!”

Dr Susan Cheyne, OuTrop Director of Gibbon Research, has worked at the Sabangau research site for over 10 years; “Having spent so much time studying these apes you would think you’d have seen everything that the forest has to offer, but it never ceases to surprise us! We believe this is one of the first times that play between these two primate species has been videoed in the wild. It is an exciting discovery. It reminds us that we still have a lot to learn about these popular species, particularly orangutans which some may think are well-studied.”

One of the most important rainforests left of the island of Borneo, the Sabangau Forest is home to the world’s largest population of orangutans and many thousands of gibbons. Both these species are highly endangered because of the rapid destruction of their forest home for the international trade in palm-oil and timber. Despite legal protection, the forest is threatened by dry-season forest fires that are expected to be especially fierce in 2015. Left unchecked, these fires will put all of Sabangau’s wildlife in danger.

Dr Cheyne is mindful of the threats: “Fires in tropical rainforests aren’t a natural occurrence, but are the result of human activity from clearing adjacent land for development. Fires get out of control and spread quickly, so all of our efforts right now are going into supporting a local community fire-fighting team to find and put out these fires. At times like this, when we are facing serious threats, we worry about the orangutans and gibbons like Fio and Chilli who we have come to know.”

More information about primate conservation postgraduate courses or research can be found on the Department of Social Sciences webpages.

You can read Tom’s blog post about this amazing encounter and see the video footage at

Image credit: Tom Lloyd, OuTrop