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PhD Research Excellence Award in History

The School of Humanities at the University of Strathclyde is seeking to invest in ground-breaking research into the history of male sterilisation (vasectomy) in Britain, from the 1960s to the present day.

Number of places

1

Funding

Home fee, Stipend

Opens

14 December 2017

Deadline

23 March 2018

Duration

3 years

Eligibility

The student should have a first or second class Honours degree (minimum 2.1) and/or a Masters degree in a closely related discipline.

International students are welcome to apply but must pay the difference between the EU and the International fee each year.

Project Details

The School of Humanities at the University of Strathclyde is seeking to invest in ground-breaking research into the history of male sterilisation (vasectomy) in Britain, from the 1960s to the present day.

While there have been numerous studies of the history of contraception and contraceptive practices in Britain, the history of vasectomy has received limited attention from historians. More broadly, historians of medicine have tended to focus on female centered methods of contraception, in particular, the contraceptive pill and its impact on society and gender relations, and the history of tubal ligation and its association with the eugenics movement. This project therefore seeks to address this gap in the historiography through an examination of the history of vasectomy in Britain, from the 1960s to the present. This project will assess the development and representations of vasectomy and seeks to take an intersectional approach, exploring how attitudes towards the procedure have been influenced by class, race, ethnicity and geographical location. Ultimately, the project seeks to develop our understanding of the procedure and its importance within the history of family planning and make a significant contribution to the history of contraception in Britain.

The project has the following key research questions:

  • What is the early history of vasectomy? How and why did it emerge as a method of family planning in the early twentieth century?
  • Why did vasectomy increase in popularity in Britain from the 1960s onwards? How can we account for the recent decline in numbers of men obtaining vasectomies?
  • What have been the personal experiences and decision-making processes that have led British men to undergo vasectomies? What can the history of vasectomy reveal about changing gender relations in British society?
  • How have attitudes towards vasectomy varied according to class and geographic location?
  • How has vasectomy been represented in British television and literature from the 1960s to the present day?

The project will employ an interdisciplinary methodology which will include the use of archival and medical sources, male magazines, oral history and an exploration of representations of vasectomy in contemporary British television and literature. The student will be supervised by Dr Laura Kelly and Dr Emma Newlands and will be supported by the Centre for the Social History of Health and Healthcare (CSHHH) Glasgow and the Scottish Oral History Centre. The successful candidate will be a full member of the Graduate School in Humanities and Social Sciences and will have access to the resources of both the Scottish Graduate School for the Arts and Humanities and the Scottish Graduate School for the Social Sciences.

For informal enquiries, please contact: Dr Laura Kelly

Funding Details

Home/EU Tuition Fees, plus Stipend starting at £14,917 p.a. (October 2018).  International students are welcome to apply but must pay the difference between the EU and the International fee each year.

How to apply

All candidates must apply online.

In the "Programme Name" field, pleases select “PhD History”

In the "Funding" section, please write ‘REA Scholarship’.

You should upload the following documents with your application:

  • A short research proposal of no more than 1000 words that provides an overview of the research context and proposed research design.
  • CV
  • Covering letter describing in detail your interest in and suitability for undertaking this project
  • Degree transcripts (this may be an interim transcript if you are still studying)
  • Two academic references