University of Exeter’s College of Humanities PhD Studentships

Publish Date: Apr 10, 2015

Deadline: May 10, 2015

In conjunction with the EU Marie Curie research project, ‘Nature Entangled’, the University of Exeter’s College of Humanities is offering a UK/EU/International Ph.D. studentship to explore the histories of living with nature shared between China and Europe in the discourses of health, psychology, philosophy, literature, and LANDSCAPE DESIGN.

Today living with nature is often considered as the ideal. The Greco-Roman idyll of living with nature has not always been the ideal in European history. In early 18th century Britain, this idyll re-emerged in the natural LANDSCAPE gardening movement. This early modern re-emergence of the idyll reflected changing ideas in European culture and society amidst the shift to modernity. Our research project focuses on the relations between the concept of ‘nature’ in the LANDSCAPE discourse and concurrent conceptual changes in health and wellbeing, psychology, moral philosophy, and/or governance during the early modern. In particular, we are interested in how the re-emergence of living with nature engaged with concepts and images, not only of ancient Greece and Rome, but also of imperial China, such as natural landscape, natural body, natural reason, natural religion, and/or natural government, for all of which China, as held by some, was the point of reference in the 17-18th century.

We are seeking candidates with an interest in exploring the intercultural relations associated with the idea of living with nature and the concurrent conceptual changes in LANDSCAPE DESIGN, health and wellbeing, psychology, moral philosophy, and/or governance linking early modern Britain, classical Europe, and China. Candidates should develop their own research proposal to address some aspect of the broad subject area. Preference may be given to candidates with previous knowledge or interest in environmental, medical, cultural history or literature of Europe and/or China of the 17th -18th centuries. The PhD student will benefit from joint supervision from a cross-cultural landscape specialist, Dr Yue Zhuang (Chinese studies, University of Exeter), a classicist John Wilkins (Professor in Greek culture, University of Exeter), and a historian in Sino-European cultural exchange, Professor Shaoxin Dong (Fudan University).

The main PhD study will be based in the natural landscape of the Streatham campus of the University of Exeter. The student may spend half a year in Fudan University for research and fieldwork. Language skills such as Chinese, ancient Greek, Latin, Italian, French, or Dutch are desirable.

The start date of this three-year studentship is 21 September 2015.

Application deadline: 10th May 2015

Number of awards: 1

Value: Tuition Fees and Annual Stipend of £13,863

Duration of award: per year

Contact: Humanities Graduate School Office, 01392 725306

How to apply

Entry criteria

Successful applicants normally have a good first degree (at least 2.1 or international equivalent) in a relevant field of Humanities, and a Masters degree at Merit level or international equivalent, in a relevant field of Humanities. If English is not your native language then you will also need to satisfy our English language entry requirements

To apply

To be considered for this Doctoral award, you must complete an online web form where you must submit some personal details and upload a covering letter setting out your suitability for this project, a full CV, research proposal, transcripts, details of two referees and, if relevant, proof of your English language proficiency, by 10 May 2015.

Your research proposal should be no more than 4 sides of A4 in length, and should be related to intercultural relations associated with the idea of living with nature and the concurrent conceptual changes in LANDSCAPE DESIGN, health and wellbeing, psychology, moral philosophy, and/or governance linking early modern Britain, classical Europe, and China.

In addition you must also ensure that your referees email their references to the Postgraduate Administrator at by 10 May 2015.  Please note that we will not be contacting referees to request references, you must arrange for them to be submitted to us by the deadline.

References should be submitted by your referees to us directly in the form of a letter. Referees must email their references to us from their institutional email accounts. We cannot accept references from personal/private email accounts, unless it is a scanned document on institutional headed paper and signed by the referee.

All application documents must be submitted in English. Certified translated copies of academic qualifications must also be provided.

More information

For more information contact:

Dr. Yue Zhuang, Department of Modern Languages, University of Exeter. Email:


Postgraduate Administrator

College of Humanities Graduate School, University of Exeter
Queen's Building, The Queen's Drive
Exeter, Devon, EX4 4QH

Visit for more information.

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