The Social and Spatial Worlds of Old Bailey Convicts, 1785-1875

Applications are invited for a PhD Studentship on the topic of 'The Social and Spatial Worlds of Old Bailey Convicts, 1785-1875’.

Background

This studentship is attached to the AHRC funded Digital Transformations project, ‘The Digital Panopticon: The Global Impact of London Punishments, 1780-1925’, a collaborative project between the Universities of Liverpool, Sheffield, Oxford, Sussex, and Tasmania. The project seeks to use innovative digital methodologies to investigate the penal outcomes of those convicted at the Old Bailey, by comparing imprisonment in Britain with transportation from Britain to Australia. The project will assemble large and complex bodies of criminal justice, genealogical and biometric data and use sophisticated visualisation and data-linking methodologies to map and analyse convict lives at both the collective and individual level. In addition to a wide range of publications, the project will create an electronic resource which will provide an integrated publicly available search engine for searching datasets containing life course data for the 66,000 Londoners who experienced the two penal regimes. The project is led by Principal Investigator Professor Barry Godfrey, Liverpool University, and Co-Investigators Professor Robert Shoemaker, University of Sheffield, Professor Tim Hitchcock, University of Sussex, Dr Deborah Oxley, Oxford University, and Professor Hamish Maxwell-Stewart, University of Tasmania. Shoemaker will be the principal supervisor of this PhD, with a secondary supervisor chosen from among the project team.

The doctoral project will constitute an independent piece of research on a topic related to the overall project. The student will be able to use evidence and electronic resources generated by the project; attend project meetings, workshops and conferences; benefit from working closely with the investigators and Research Associates; and be given the opportunity to co-write publications. Nonetheless, in consultation with the supervisors, s/he will be given the latitude to shape their own direction of research.

Studentship Description

The studentship will investigate the social and geographical origins and destinations of men and women convicted at the Old Bailey between 1785 and 1875, in order to shed light on patterns of mobility, the causes of crime, and understandings of identity in early industrial Britain. Using evidence of origins from judicial records, the project will trace convicts from their places of origin, through residence and work in London before their arrests, to (if imprisoned) places of imprisonment and subsequent life histories. Analysis of the language used in trial testimonies can provide an indication of how identities were shaped by complex backgrounds, and evidence of criminal and convict mobility has the potential to contribute to our understanding of geographical mobility and social integration before and after the introduction of the railroads. This is an exciting opportunity to use newly assembled data to study the lives of non-elite people. The studentship will appeal to researchers interested in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century social history, the history of crime, and geographical and social mobility.

Award Details

The award will cover the cost of UK/EU tuition fees and provides an annual maintenance grant (£13,863 in 2014-15) for three years. The studentship will commence on 1 October 2014.

Eligibility

To apply for the studentship, applicants need to apply directly to the University of Sheffield for entrance into the doctoral programme in History.

The general eligibility requirements are:
• Students applying for a doctoral studentship should normally have, or be studying for, a Master's degree, or equivalent qualification, in History or a related discipline.
• Applicants should also have a 2.1 in a BA degree, or equivalent qualification, in history or a related discipline.
• Awards are open to UK, EU and international applicants who are applying to study either full or part-time.

How to apply

• Complete an application for admission as a postgraduate student at www.sheffield.ac.uk/postgraduate/research/apply.
• Applications should include a CV including academic record (max. 3 pages); supporting statement (max. 3 pages); academic transcripts and two references.
• In your supporting statement please state you are applying for this project and outline your reasons for doing so.
• Supporting documents can either be uploaded to your application or sent by email or post to Miss Claire Williams, Department of History, University of Sheffield, Sheffield, S3 7RA. Claire.williams@sheffield.ac.uk.

The application deadline is 28 July 2014. Interviews will take place on 11 or 12 August 2014.

Any academic enquiries should be directed to Professor Robert Shoemaker: (r.shoemaker@sheffield.ac.uk).