Understanding Conflict: Forms and Legacies of Violence

We are inviting applications from around the world for new doctoral studentships for 2013/14.

Applications are invited for three doctoral studentships within this cluster:

If you are looking to study at PhD level, have suitable qualifications and appropriate interests, follow the links above for further details about the studentships. With a commitment to developing interdisciplinary understandings, you will make a substantial contribution to the project within which these studentships are situated. You will be part of a wider group (currently nine) of PhD students working on related topics and helping to further both the cluster's scholarly reputation and its public impact. This will include contributing to our wider activities, including conferences, workshops, public participation and dissemination.

Applications close 4pm, 27 June 2013. Interviews for shortlisted candidates will take place between 15 and 19 July 2013. All those invited to interview will be informed of the outcome by 26 July 2013


About this cluster

Based jointly in the Centre for Applied Philosophy, Politics and Ethics  and theCentre for Research in Memory, Narrative and Histories, this newly established interdisciplinary research cluster in the field of violent conflict brings together established expertise in humanities and social sciences from across the University. Contributing disciplines and areas include: applied philosophy, critical theory, cultural geography, cultural and social history, literature, material culture, politics, psycho-social studies and social anthropology.

The cluster is led by Professor Bob Brecher (applied philosophy) and Professor Graham Dawson (historical cultural studies). It builds a usable understanding of violent conflict and its human legacies, developing two areas of interdisciplinary investigation rooted in the recent work of the two research centres. One area is concerned with ethical and political justifications of violence, based on the principle that the philosophical study and practical implementation of an ethics of suffering have to take on board people's experiences of living with, through and after violent conflict. Here, our interdisciplinary approach constitutes a vision of how ‘applied philosophy’ may be brought to bear on real-world situations, encouraging debate, generating new knowledge and developing ways to move forward after conflict. The other area investigates cultural and historical constructions of past, present and future as experienced, understood and negotiated in cultures and societies undergoing violent conflict or dealing with ‘post-conflict’ legacies.  Here, our interdisciplinary interests focus on the intersection of these temporal dynamics with the spatial locatedness of conflict, the significance of landscapes and sites in conflict and post-conflict geographies, and the role of spatial transformation in building just and peaceful futures.

By developing dialogue between historically and geographically situated studies and more abstract philosophical approaches, and through collaboration with external partners from outside the academy with lived experience and/or practical knowledge of conflict and its transformation, the cluster aims to develop over a number of years a valuable interdisciplinary synthesis for understanding and engaging with the forms and legacies of recent and contemporary violent conflict.   


Research in Arts and Humanities

Students associated with this cluster will be based in the Faculty of Arts where the University’s work in humanities is centred. Across the faculty, research is clustered to provide foci that reflect the richness of our research interests.  We are also engaged in innovative interdisciplinary projects in collaboration with researchers in other schools and faculties, as well as in the wider world.

Within the Faculty of Arts, research is overseen by the Centre for Research and Development. The CRD seeks to:

  • foster and promote research excellence across the arts and humanities;
  • support, encourage and develop staff and postgraduate students;
  • enhance understanding of humanity, culture and creativity, both past and present.


Potential Supervisors

Duncan Barron (Centre for Nursing and Midwifery Research) is Senior Research Fellow and Patient & Public Involvement Lead for the National Institute for Health Research Design Service in the south east. His expertise is in group reminiscence work with older veterans and he is developing interests in psycho-social aspects of war remembrance and commemoration.

Bob Brecher (Humanities) has published widely in this area: Torture and the Ticking Bomb (London: Wiley 2007) is internationally recognised as exemplifying  the approach to the application of philosophy of the cluster. Director of CAPPE, he has  extensive publications in moral and political philosophy, medical ethics, focussed most recently on issues of terror and other forms of violence.

Dora Carpenter-Latiri (Humanities): expertise in language, culture and identity in the Arab world and in history, memory and representations of war, conflict and revolution in North Africa and the Middle East. Research includes the utilization of photography and visual arts. Invited Fellow at Maghreb universities, and convenor of symposium and international exhibition on Arab Spring. 

Thomas Carter (Sport and Service Management) has expertise in cultural history and memories of revolutionary and emergent post-revolutionary Cuba, addressing memories and narratives of celebration, loss, and movement, focusing on the changing urban fabric of Havana and negotiations over Cuban identity. 

Leila Dawney (Environment and Technology) has expertise in cultural geography, ethnographic methodologies and ‘new materialist’ theory; currently working on the commemoration, memorialisation and soldiers’ bodies in British military landscapes. She is developing  relationships with community partners to explore ‘spaces and aesthetics of authority’ with particular reference to military bodies/spaces (AHRC research networking fund).

Graham Dawson (Humanities) is Director of CRMNH and internationally recognised as a leading researcher on war memory and the culture of conflict transformation, with particular expertise in the Northern Ireland conflict and its legacies. His current research addresses questions of memory, story-telling and subjectivity in relation to imaginative geography, historical justice and ‘reconciliation’ in post-conflict spaces. 

Mark Devenney (Humanities) is a senior researcher with expertise in critical theory and contemporary continental philosophy. Concerned with the impact of varying forms of violent conflict on individuals and communities, his current research focuses on the politics and ethics of suicide bombing, the ‘war on terror’ and the uses of political violence. 

Paul Hopper (Humanities) is a senior researcher working on globalization and with interests in conflict and security studies.  He has written on al-Qaeda, Islam and the West and the geopolitical and security impact of the rise of China: current research focuses on relationships between environmental decline and security, and contemporary patterns of conflict. 

Vicky Margree (Humanities) specialises in the Gothic literary tradition and the ghost story and developing research on themes of haunting, the uncanny and unresolved pasts. She has particular interests in the post–Apartheid literature of South Africa. 

Michael Neu (Humanities) is an early career researcher with expertise in humanitarian intervention and Just War Theory and a developing interest in the politics of applied ethics. Has worked on political violence and torture and runs the MANCEPT workshop on Dirty Hands in Politics.

Lucy Noakes (Humanities) is co-founder of CRMNH and a senior researcher whose work focuses on the relationship between the social and cultural history of war and the cultural memory of warfare in postwar societies. Her current research explores the impact of wartime death on the psychic, geographic and cultural landscapes of post-WWII Britain

Catherine Palmer (Centre for Tourism Policy Studies in Sport and Service Management) has expertise in the social anthropology of tourism, space and place, including commemorative landscapes of war and ‘dark’ tourism; and interests in the material culture of war, conflict and peace, with particular reference how tourist sites are developed, 'used' and experienced.

Louise Purbrick (Humanities) is a senior researcher in design history and founder of the Design History and Material Culture Research Group. She researches the material legacies of sites of conflict, working with photographers, archaeologists, artists and community groups to document such sites; her particular expertise is in Northern Ireland.