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I am currently beginning a new, Leverhulme-funded research project, “World Literature and Commodity Frontiers: The Ecology of the ‘long’ 20th Century.” The project is offering a PhD studentship -- please see below for details on how to apply.

Apply for a Leverhulme PhD Studentship

Applications are invited for a PhD studentship to work on the Leverhulme-funded research project “World Literature and Commodity Frontiers: The Ecology of the ‘long’ 20th Century.” The studentship would commence in October 2018.

Project description: Since the turn of the century, the field of comparative literature has been profoundly impacted by two key developments. One is the resurgence of debate around the concept of world literature, arising from a sense that ‘globalization’ has thrown the received disciplinary protocols of literary studies into question. The other is the continued headway made by ecocritical paradigms, which, in the context of urgent concerns over the planetary biosphere, have pioneered new ways of thinking about the interconnections between global literatures. Situating itself at the intersection of these areas of study, the project will pursue a form of literary comparativism grounded in the ecological changes entailed by the movement of specific commodity frontiers in a select range of locations.

Focusing on the period from 1890 to the present, the project will compare the relationship between literature and the sugar, cacao, coal, tin, gold, and stone frontiers in Brazil, the Caribbean, West Africa, and the UK. It will investigate how fiction and poetry mediate the lived experience of frontier-led ecological change, and how cultural imaginaries have been impacted by or contributed to such change. The project combines a materialist approach to world literature (understood in terms of its relationship to global capitalism) with new approaches to global ecology.

The successful applicant will be working at the intersection of world literature and the environmental humanities. You will be expected to develop a specific research project focused on a comparative analysis of the relationship between literary texts and commodity frontiers in the UK and the Caribbean. The PhD candidate will be working under the supervision of Dr. Michael Niblett. The project team also includes Dr. Chris Campbell (University of Exeter) as Co-Investigator.

Eligibility: Candidates must have a 1st or 2.1 UK Honours degree or equivalent and must have completed a Masters degree or equivalent in a literary field by the date of commencement of the studentship. Applicants with a background in one or more of the following are particularly welcome: world literature, postcolonial studies, ecocriticism, Caribbean Studies, and the energy humanities. Familiarity with world-systems thinking and world-ecology is advantageous.

Funding: This studentship offers an annual stipend at the standard RCUK rate (currently £14,553) and covers full tuition fees at the Home/EU rate for 3 years. International candidates are encouraged to apply but would need to self-fund the difference between the fee rates.

How to Apply: Eligible candidates should submit applications for this studentship to Dr. Michael Niblett ( Your application should include: a cover letter of no more than a 1000 words that details your specific research interests and proposed PhD topic, and explains why you should be considered for this award; a CV; letters of reference from two referees. In addition you will be required to submit an application to study via the university’s online application system at

Closing date for applications: Monday 11th June.

Informal enquiries to Dr Michael Niblett (