Humanities thread


Seeing as some of the research related worries and advice doesn't really apply to what we're studying, I thought that it might be really helpful to start our own little humanities thread! :-)
I'm not sure if there are many of us out there in the wild, but if we regularly check this thread we might be able to help each other out a bit...


Avatar for Eska

Sounds like a plan Cobweb; I look forward to it unfolding.

I have a question! What kind of post docs can humanities people expect to be applying for on completion? The posts in my field all seem to be lectureships, fixed term contracts of .5s, so what are the choices there, anyone know?


I'm another humanities student (history). Used to be a science PhD student, but that was half a lifetime ago. Now I've turned from the dark side - or is it the other way around?!


I'm in!

I don't know much about postdocs either but I'd like to find out.


I'm a historian too. The following is lifted shamelessly off my own department's blog. All hideously competitive, of course, but you've got to be in it to win it! Some open to all humanities, others more history focused.

British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowships, deadline in November, for three years:

Leverhulme Early Career Fellowships; spring deadline; for two years; institution must pay half of the costs:

ESRC Postdoctoral Fellowships; rolling deadlines; for one year:

Institute of Historical Research Fellowships; March deadline; provides support (ca. £10,000) to allow students to complete their theses: listings include postdoctoral fellowships (including Oxford/Cambridge Junior Research Fellowships, as well as positions in research centres and historical societies;

European Science Foundation; lists postdoctoral opportunities throughout Europe ( , as does Academic Jobs EU ( and the Marie Curie Actions section of the European Commission Research site (

In the U.S., the H-Net Job Guide fulfils the same functions as does in Britain; see: Some leading postdoctoral fellowship programmes are found at Harvard’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (, Columbia’s Society of Fellows in the Humanities (, and at the University of Michigan’s Society of Fellows (

Avatar for Eska

Thank you CeCef for that fabulous array of post doc possibilities.

I'm mostly wondering what their purpose is, and if they are something we have to do, i.e. is it possible to get a lecturing post (fixed term or otherwise) without doing this, is it obligatory, or is it just a way of upping your research and funding profile if you finish without those things being strong enough?

Thanks to anyone who can help with this, and here's a mince pie - it's cyber so one will be enough for everyone, promise!



It's definitely the darker side Bilbo. Sometimes you get little pockets of fuzzy white light (when you finally understand something), but most of the time I feel IN the dark. I suppose that's the fun of humanities though - clawing through the sub-subjects blindly until you eventually get to the light at the end of the tunnel, where you can see how it all magically relates back to your own subject. I'm doing literature, but somehow I've got myself muddled up in Aristotle's 'Physics'. Oh boy. No moths fluttering around in circles here...


Has anyone else got themselves sooo stuck in a rut, whereby you've spent AGES studying something thinking that it might be relevant, only to find that you've completely wasted your bloody time!!!!!? :-s :-s


Some wise poster once said to me Cobweb that during the Phd you kind of circle your central subject, venturing away all the time but constantly coming back to the middle, hopefully with more and more knowledge and understanding. I know how it feels though, I still have days when I think, 'what exactly is my PhD about again?!'


Hi Eska, I was reading another thread and noticed that you're studying national identity in film. I was wondering about what types of identity theories you are looking at. Is it all mathematical/based on logic (qualitative sameness, etc...), or are you looking more into personal identity? I'm trying to get to grips with different ideas about identity and I'm not too sure where to look. My knowledge on the subject is quite poor, so I was wondering if you knew of any good books that might be worth reading.

Avatar for Eska

Hi Cobweb, No, I'm not doing any maths! Not my forte and I do want to finish in this life time. I've been looking at cultural and personal identity within a particular nationality and how it's represented in conjunction with ideas from a specific arts movement, and how that has formed a significant strand of a particular nation's identity on screen.

Benedict Anderson's 'Imagined Communities' is a good book on national identity, but I'm focussing quite specifically on one phenomena in representations of one nation, so I don't have a wealth of references on identity to hand.

As for chasing your tale... I spent most of my first year doing that. I thnk the first year can be a process of elimination as much as anything else, so I wouldn't worry. You are first year? I did remember that right?


Your research sounds quite interesting. Thanks for the suggestion too!
Well remembered - I am in my first year. Enjoying the work so far but it's a bit daunting because everything is so shiny and new to me. My research is quite philosophical and very, very specific to one small area, so I can't give too much away, but I'm sure more will be revealed as this forum evolves. :p

*A wrapped up present from a relative just fell off the dining table (!) and something inside it sounded like it smashed into a million pieces :$ *


Hello! I'm in the humanities too (English Lit/Literary History); this thread is a really good idea. (tree) M,x


Welcome aboard Maria! I'm doing literature too! What year are you in/what stage at?


Hi Cobweb, I'm in my first year (three months in). At the moment I haven't really done much yet so kind of feel like it must be the calm before the storm. It's going well though (so far). I'm doing 18thC. British Lit, what about you? M,x