SOAS University of London

Registry

ERC PhD studentship: Literature in the Horn of Africa

Deadline: 30 March 2017

The Project

PhD studentship: literature in the Horn of Africa (Supervisor: Martin Orwin)

The Horn of Africa case study will examine the history of literary production, circulation and reception in multilingual Horn of Africa. The main focus will be Ethiopia and Ethiopian languages, but candidates working on Eritrea, Somalia and/or Djibouti will also be considered, particularly if their research project has a strong comparative dimension. The PhD research may focus on any period within the project’s timeframe, which spans from the mid-19th century to the present day.

The PhD student will have a background in literary, historical, philosophical or cultural studies, and will be familiar with the intellectual and aesthetic traditions, whether oral or written of Ethiopia/the Horn. They will have to be able to read literary texts in Amharic and ideally another language of the Horn of Africa, preferably Geez, Oromo, Tigrinya or Somali.

The PhD project may explore the “significant geographies” (imaginative and real) and “multilingual local” (Orsini 2015) of the literary traditions of the Horn and their co-constitution with African, Middle Eastern and/or European traditions. Possible topics may include: intellectuals who operated in more than one language; the history of translations from one language to another; the various forms of exchange and interaction between different language traditions; or the interface between orature and written texts. The project may focus on a single author, a set of authors, or trace the history of one or more genres, such as, for written literature, the history of the novel, theatre or poetry, and, for oral literature, praise poetry, war songs, or folktales. It may also compare, for example, the development of the novel in two or more language-traditions. Research projects able to contextualise literary texts within the broader intellectual history of Ethiopia/the Horn are particularly encouraged. From this point of view, applicants may propose to study the role of language in the development of cultural infrastructures such as schools and newspapers; the history of a specific institution (a theatre, a library, a publishing house); the relationship between artists, the state and governmental language policies; the history of specific platforms (such as literary magazines or literary associations) which championed interlingual and interliterary contacts; the history of a specific “multilingual local” (like a city); or a history of intellectual debates and discussions surrounding issues of literature, arts and multilingualism.

For more information please contact Dr Sara Marzagora at sm137@soas.ac.uk

Criteria and Requirements

  • Minimum Entry Requirements: We welcome applications from qualified students holding a good Master's-level degree (or overseas equivalent) in a relevant subject. The successful candidate will have a background in literary, historical, or cultural studies, and will have to be able to read literary texts in Amharic and preferably another language of the Horn of Africa (preferably Geez, Tigrinya, Oromo or Somali).
  • Only new applicants (ie those starting in September 2017) may apply: those already enrolled on a research degree programme at SOAS are not eligible.
  • Your on-line admission application should include a research proposal outlining how you would fulfil the provisional project aims described above and a personal statement indicating how you would contribute to the overall aims of the project and the way in which you are qualified to carry it out.
  • Shortlisted candidates may be interviewed in person at SOAS or remotely via skype during the week of 15 May 2017.
  • The studentship is for a duration of 3 years and will cover course fees in full and a student stipend at the UK Research Council rate (the UKRC rate for 2016-17 is £16,296)
  • The studentship is open to both UK/EU and overseas applicants.

Candidate Assessment

  • Candidates will be assessed on academic merit by a Selection Panel consisting of three academic members.
  • The assessment of your application will be based on the information in your on-line application for admission. Selectors will be looking at your degree results and also at academic references, personal statement, research proposal and other relevant information.

Scholarship Application Deadline

  • Scholarship applications must be received no later than 17:00 (UK local time) on Thursday, 30 March 2017.
  • In order to be considered for this studentship, you are also required to submit a complete admission application for the research degree by the scholarship deadline

Notification of Results

Successful candidates will be notified by mid-June 2017. If you have not heard from us by mid-June, you should assume your application was unsuccessful.

Scholarship Application Procedures

Applicants should follow two steps:

STEP 1: Apply for the research degree (MPhil/PhD) Cultural, Literary and Postcolonial Studies at SOAS

Applicants must submit a COMPLETE on-line application for admission to the research degree (MPhil/PhD) in Cultural, Literary and Postcolonial Studies as soon as possible but no later than the scholarship deadline of 17:00 UK time, 30 March 2017.  Applications are not considered complete and will not be assessed by academic selectors if they are missing any of the following items:

-A formal application form
-A supporting statement
-An up-to-date CV or Resumé
-A Research Proposal
-Full academic transcripts of your College/University studies to date (with official translations from the institution or provided by a recognised translator if not in English)
-Copies of your degree certificates (with official translations from the institution or provided by a recognised translator if not in English)
-Evidence of your English language proficiency or intention to take a recognised English Language Test
-Two academic references - confidentially submitted by your referees.

IMPORTANT: Please clearly state in the admissions application that you wish to be considered for the ERC PhD studentship: Literature in the Horn of Africa and state Dr Martin Orwin as your Proposed Supervisor.  Your research proposal should take account of the project title and project outline above, and indicate how you would aim to carry out the research.   In your personal statement, please indicate how you would contribute to the overall aims of the project and the way in which you are qualified to carry it out. 

For any queries regarding the programme application procedure, please click here

STEP 2: Apply for the scholarship

You must apply for this scholarship via the scholarship on-line application as soon as possible but no later than the scholarship deadline of 17:00 (UK time), 30 March 2017.