Skip to main content

Trinity College Dublin, The University of Dublin

Trinity Menu Trinity Search



You are here Postgraduate > Research Degrees > Irish Research Council Laureate Award PhD scholarships

Irish Research Council Laureate Award PhD scholarships


Three Department of History staff members - Dr Isabella Jackson, Dr Immo Warntjes, Dr Francis Ludlow - have been awarded prestigious Irish Research Council (IRC) Laureate Awards, which include funding for PhD students in the following areas:

 

IFCE: The Irish Foundation of Carolingian Europe – the case of calendrical science (computus) (Dr Warntjes)

CHINACHILD: Slave-girls and the Discovery of Female Childhood in Twentieth-century China (Dr Jackson)

CLICAB: Climates of Conflict in Ancient Babylonia (Dr Ludlow)

Deadline: 11 June.

The Irish Foundation of Carolingian Europe
the case of calendrical science (computus)

TCD

The project lies at the heart of our understanding of the formation of Europe. The fall of the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century and the rise of Islam in the 7th led to a shift from the Mediterranean as the focal point of the known world to a tripartite division with limited interactions (Latin West, Greek East, Arabic South). In the following four centuries, the Latin West developed from its Frankish center to Europe in the form and with the ethnicities and states that we know today. But was the intellectual formation of Europe a development that owed principally to the Carolingian Empire (and its ‘Renaissance’) around the pivotal figure of Charlemagne (†814)? Or were the intellectual achievements of the periphery of the previous century instrumental in shaping European history?

The project prosed here aims at systematically analysing, for the first time, the Irish contribution to the intellectual formation of Europe on the basis of one subject, computus (calendrical science), making accessible still unknown key texts and conducting a comprehensive analysis of the computistical manuscript composed between c. 600 and 900 in key areas of Irish influence.
There will be three main elements: (i) edition, translation, and commentary of the two most important texts, the Computus Einsidlensis (composed c.AD 700) and Dicuil’s Liber de astronomia (written in AD 814-6), with the aim of defining Irish diagnostic features (‘objects’); (ii) a newly developed digital ‘Object Based Catalogue’ of computistical manuscripts which will make it possible to trace the transmission of Irish ideas (the ‘objects’) and reconstruct continental networks of Irish thought; and (iii) a synthesis of the findings and defining the Irish contribution to every aspect of this discipline. Overall, the project has the potential to rewrite the intellectual history of early medieval Europe, and to securely define and contextualise the achievements of the Irish ‘Golden Age’.

The 3 PhD students will be involved in the first two parts of the project:

PhD project 1: First edition, translation, and commentary of the Computus Einsidlensis,
the earliest textbook on the reckoning of time in medieval Europe.

This text was discovered in early 2006 in the Benedictine monastery of Einsiedeln in the Swiss Alps. It is preserved in the codex 321 (647), pp. 82–125 of said monastery. Though this manuscript has been frequently studied by experts on Bedan and Carolingian computistics (Jones 1939, Borst 2001, 2006, and others), the text in question escaped their attention. The Irish authorship is beyond doubt, not least because of the frequent use of Old Irish in the otherwise Latin text. Comparison with the datable Munich Computus (AD 718/9) not only confirmed Irish authorship, it also proved that the Computus Einsidlensis must be the older text, to be dated c.AD 700. This text is one of the central documents of the ‘Irish Golden Age’.

Requirements and research skills:

Essential:

  • Master’s degree / diploma (awarded or pending) or international equivalent (German Staatsexamen, etc.) in a relevant academic area (relevant areas include but are not limited to: Classics, Medieval Studies, History, History of Science, Manuscript Studies)
  • Evidence of solid knowledge in Latin

Desirable:

  • Reading knowledge of German and / or French
  • Knowledge of Medieval Latin palaeography
  • Evidence of engagement with scientific concepts (especially basic mathematical skills)

PhD project 2: First translation and commentary of Dicuil’s Liber de astronomia,
one of the most original and sophisticated scientific texts of the Carolingian Renaissance.

Dicuil received his education in the regions inhabited by the Irish (to use Bede’s phrase), and then worked in the Carolingian Empire under the late Charlemagne and Louis the Pious. The writings ascribed to him show his expertise in grammar, rhetoric, geography, and computus. Of these only the geographical and computistical works have survived. Modern scholars found it easier to engage with Dicuil’s De mensura orbis than with his substantially more complex Liber de astronomia. De mensura is, for its most part, a collection of received knowledge, and Dicuil has therefore been discredited, in generalised terms, as an unoriginal compiler. The Liber de astronomia was introduced into modern scholarship by Esposito’s pioneering transcription of 1907. Since then, it has gone largely unnoticed. Only two publications, by Cordoliani 1960 and Bergmann 2011, attempted to engage with the scientific details of this work. Bergmann demonstrated the unparalleled originality of Dicuil’s work by focussing on his ingenious method for calculating Easter. This is just the tip of the iceberg, Dicuil’s text bristles with innovation and originality, and is one of the most important documents of the Carolingian Renaissance.

Requirements and research skills:

Essential:

  • Master’s degree / diploma (awarded or pending) or international equivalent (German Staatsexamen, etc.) in a relevant academic area (relevant areas include but are not limited to: Classics, Medieval Studies, History, History of Science, Manuscript Studies)
  • Evidence of advanced knowledge in Latin

Desirable:

  • Reading knowledge of German and / or French
  • Knowledge of Medieval Latin palaeography
  • Evidence of engagement with scientific concepts (especially basic mathematical skills)

PhD project 3: The spread of Irish calendrical thought in Carolingian Europe - Object Oriented Cataloguing of computistical manuscripts

The principal aim of this project is the development of a digital tool that allows for a comprehensive study of the spread of Irish thought on the Continent and its underlying networks. A typology for classifying calendrical algorithms, concepts, diagrams, and tables (the ‘objects’) scattered in numerous manuscripts will be developed. This will be turned into a new method of digitally tagging the computistical features of the objects (‘Object Oriented Cataloguing’), which will allow, in a ground-breaking and pioneering way, to statistically measure the popularity of any given concept or algorithm, to map the spread of scientific thought, and to discern networks of intellectual centers.

Requirements and research skills:

Essential:

  • Master’s degree / diploma (awarded or pending) or international equivalent (German Staatsexamen, etc.) in a relevant academic area (relevant areas include but are not limited to: Digital Humanities, Classics, Medieval Studies, History, History of Science, Manuscript Studies)
  • Experience in programming: HTML + CSS + Javascript and / or PHP + MySQL (database)

Desirable:

  • Evidence of solid knowledge in Latin
  • Reading knowledge of German and / or French
  • Knowledge of Medieval Latin palaeography
  • Evidence of engagement with scientific concepts (especially basic mathematical skills)

Application:

Candidates can apply generically for all three positions, or for one in particular.

Applicants must meet the general requirements for a PhD at Trinity College Dublin (TCD).

Candidates have to apply through the TCD system. Applications have to be submitted by following the link for Doctor in Philosophy, History (Full Time) under September 2018 entry here.

The following documents are required (see also these general application guidelines):

  • A motivation letter, to be uploaded under ‘research proposal’
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • Certified academic transcripts for all degrees
  • Certified degree certificates for all degrees
  • A detailed CV, to be uploaded under ‘additional documents’
  • A writing sample (an academic essay, an article, a chapter from a dissertation, or the like), to be uploaded under ‘additional documents’
  • For non-native English speakers without a degree from an English-speaking institution, a language test is required (TOEFL or IELTS); the application can be submitted without the test, but any offer made will be conditional until the required test results are submitted

The application may be followed up by a skype interview in mid-June.

For any questions or informal discussions, do not hesitate to contact Dr Immo Warntjes

CHINACHILD:
Slave-girls and the Discovery of Female Childhood in Twentieth-century China

Photograph by William Armstrong. Image courtesy of Adam Scott Armstrong and Historical Photographs of China, University of Bristol.

A PhD Scholarship is available for a student to work on the Irish Research Council Laureate Award-funded CHINACHILD project in the Department of History, Trinity College Dublin, under the supervision of Dr Isabella Jackson, beginning in September 2018 (or, exceptionally, March 2019).

For much of Chinese history, childhood as a period of education and development when young people should be nurtured and their innocence protected was a category that was applied almost exclusively to elites and boys. Elite girls and poorer boys might access education and some of the other characteristics of childhood, but poor girls were not included. Instead they were treated as small women, often sold in the same way that women could be sold by their families as wives, concubines, or mui tsai/binü, and when they were protected under law or as potential victims of abuse, they were categorised with adult women.
This is the picture that emerges from the current, quite limited, historiography of Chinese childhood, which focuses on the education of elite boys (Saari 1990; Wang 2013) and examines girls only through the prism of women (Kinney 2004, 120-31). CHINACHILD will address how public and official discourse about girls changed between approx. 1919 and 1959 to include the poor and girls in a universal conception of childhood. Dr Jackson’s research as Principal Investigator (PI) will focus on what changing responses to child slavery reveal about conceptions of childhood and girlhood.
The project aims to:

  1. Open a new field of enquiry in modern Chinese history that explains the expansion of the category of ‘child’ to include girls of all social classes between 1919 and 1959. This will dramatically alter the existing landscape of the field of childhood studies, not just in relation to China but highlighting the need for gender to be central to examinations of childhood in all contexts. It will also have ramifications for women’s and gender history and the study of women and gender in contemporary China.
  2. Redraw the line between gender and childhood, showing how women and girls developed into separate categories in Chinese society and challenging scholars to take better account of this in their research.

The PhD student will undertake research that contributes to one or both of these aims. It is anticipated that the student will undertake oral history research examining memories of childhood experiences and attitudes towards childhood, but alternative proposals that address the aims of the project are welcome.

Scholarship:

€16,000 annual stipend + €5,750 towards fees p.a. for four years.

Academic requirements:

  • Excellent English and Chinese language skills.
  • Preference will be given to an applicant who has completed or is completing a Master’s degree in History with a good grade, especially if they have training in oral history methodologies.
  • Applicants must also meet the general requirements for a PhD at Trinity College Dublin, including a good undergraduate degree in History or a closely related subject.

How to apply:

Applicants should contact Dr Isabella Jackson prior to applying. Applications should then be submitted by following the link for Doctor in Philosophy, History (Full Time) under September 2018 entry here.

The following documents are required:

  • Two academic references
  • A research proposal showing how a student’s research plans meet the project aims (proposal guidelines)
  • Certified academic transcripts for all degrees
  • Certified degree certificates for all degrees
  • A writing sample (e.g. an academic essay, article, or dissertation chapter)
  • For non-native English speakers without a degree from an English-speaking institution, a language qualification is required; the application can be submitted without the certificate, but any offer made will be conditional until the required test results are received