Three funded PhD studentships on ‘Living With Feeling’ project

The Centre for the History of the Emotions at Queen Mary University of London invites applications from outstanding post-graduate students wishing to pursue doctoral research into aspects of the histories of emotions and health. The deadline for applications is 31 January 2016.

These studentships are offered as a core element of a Collaborative Humanities and Social Science research project funded by the Wellcome Trust. This interdisciplinary project is entitled ‘Living With Feeling: Emotional Health in History, Philosophy, and Experience’. Candidates can read more about the project below.

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Applicants will normally have attained (or expect to attain by the end of the academic year 2015-16) a Masters qualification that will equip them to pursue doctoral research in this area.

The Centre for the History of the Emotions has a strong commitment to undertaking engaged research of a kind that connects with work in other disciplines and with many aspects of contemporary life, including the arts, education, healthcare, and public policy. We will especially welcome applications displaying a similar commitment.

Prior to completing an application, potential candidates should make email contact with Dr Thomas DixonDr Rhodri Hayward, or Dr Elena Carrera, to establish whether a suitable supervisory team will be available.

Up to three studentships will be awarded. These will include tuition fees, a budget for travel and research expenses, and an annual stipend of £22,278. The studentships will commence in October 2016 and run for three years.

Applicants should follow the instructions for how to apply for a PhD place at the QMUL School of History, and indicate their interest in the Wellcome Trust ‘Living With Feeling’ studentships in their online application. You will be asked to provide a one-page personal statement explaining why you would like to pursue a research degree, a research proposal (no more than 1,500 words), and a CV.

Further Information about the ‘Living With Feeling’ Project

In the twenty-first century ‘emotional health’ is a key goal of public policy, championed by psychologists, the NHS, charities, and economists. Those lucky enough to enjoy good ‘emotional health’ are considered less likely to suffer from a range of mental and physical disorders, such as depression, addiction, anxiety, anorexia, irritable bowel syndrome, or heart disease.

But what is the perfect recipe for emotional health? Who decides which emotions we should feel, and when, in order to be healthy? Living with Feeling will explore how scientists, doctors, philosophers, and politicians – past and present – have engaged with human emotions such as anger, worry, sadness, love, fear, and ecstasy, treating them variously as causes or symptoms of illness or health, or even as aspects of medical treatment.

The project will connect the history and philosophy of medicine and emotions with contemporary science, medical practice, phenomenology, and public policy, exploring three overlapping meanings of ‘emotional health’:

  1. The emotional dimensions of the medical encounter between patients and doctors, including the experiences of those suffering from chronic conditions, and the roles of empathy and compassion within this relationship.
  1. The emotional factors influencing physical and mental health, focussing on emotions as contributory factors to both illness and wellness, engaging historically with recent findings in neuroscience, immunology, psychotherapy, and public health.
  1. Emotional flourishing, understood as a state of healthy balance in an individual’s emotions; including historically and politically contingent assumptions about meta-emotional capacities such as empathy, self-control, self-esteem, mindfulness, and resilience.

You can read announcements about the grant on the Centre for the History of the Emotions website, the QMUL News page, and the Wellcome Trust’s website.