Employment: Two PhD Studentships, ‘Negotiating the Boundaries of Justice: Britain and Ireland, c.1100-c.1750’

Closing date 31st October 2014

Two PhD Studentships,
‘Negotiating the Boundaries of Justice:  Britain and Ireland, c.1100-c.1750’,
Cardiff University and the University of Glasgow.

The deadline for applications is the 31st October and all the details are available at the link below (bottom of the page).

Dr Deborah Youngs, an Associate Professor in the Department of History and Classics and Deputy Head of the College of Arts and Humanities at Swansea University, is the Principal Investigator on an Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) funded project – worth £854,599 – along with her Co-Investigators: Dr Garthine Walker, Reader in the Department of History, School of History, Archaeology and Religion at Cardiff University, and Dr Alex Shepard, Reader in the School of Humanities at the University of Glasgow.

This 48 month project explores women’s relative access to justice in various parts of Britain and Ireland between the twelfth and eighteenth centuries. While much excellent historical research on medieval and early modern women and the law exists, most studies have focused on single jurisdictions or regions. English cases have dominated the field: if Irish, Welsh or Scottish materials have been explored at all, it has been on rigidly national lines.  This exciting new project will develop our understanding by its comparative focus. We do not ask simply about women’s access to justice and the legal process, the choices they had, the obstacles and opportunities with which they were confronted as ‘women’. Rather, we shall explore the extent to which the answers to these questions were determined by and varied according to national boundaries, language, ethnicity, confessional identity, and social status. In which judicial and cultural contexts were women more or less legally disadvantaged? How and with what success did they negotiate these limits? How did this change over time?

Answers to these questions will be sought by analysing evidence from England, Ireland, Wales and Scotland between 1100 and 1750. The comparison across borders and time, including Jewish, Irish, Welsh and Scottish women operating in courts where their first language was not spoken, and processes imposed by a dominant or colonial power, is a new approach to the subject.

Resources for the project will include records from both secular and church courts, encompassing civil, canon and criminal jurisdictions. Samples will range from the Anglo-Norman state where Jewish women will be considered alongside Christians; the English colony in Ireland; local courts in Wales and the Welsh use of central courts; the English and Scottish church courts; and women in the varied legal landscape of Highland and Lowland Scotland. The period studied reflects a time of significant political change and social upheaval in British and Irish history, when the state’s physical boundaries, administrative structures and religious identity were all shifting and evolving. The law, to a degree, provided some continuity through this period, but the complexity of jurisdictions, overlapping, competing, local and central, religious and secular, meant that similar courts in different regions might differ a great deal.

The project brings together a team of experienced researchers whose combined expertise can deliver a genuinely comparative study of women’s participation in the legal process across multiple jurisdictions in medieval and early modern England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland. Attached to this project are two Research Fellows, including  Dr Sparky  Booker, who joins us from the University of Dublin, and two fully-funded AHRC PhD students (one based at Cardiff University and the other based at the University of Glasgow).  Details of these studentships are available as follows:

Cardiff:  http://courses.cardiff.ac.uk/funding/R2343.html
Glasgow:  http://www.gla.ac.uk/schools/humanities/latestnews/headline_364329_en.html

(Deadline:  31 October 2014)

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