Cultures of Consumption in Early Modern Europe: PhD Studentships Announced

Cultures of Consumption
Cultures of Consumption

Cultures of Consumption in Early Modern Europe: White Rose College of the Arts and Humanities

We are delighted to announce three fully-funded PhD studentships on ‘Cultures of Consumption in Early Modern Europe’, starting in autumn 2014.

Each studentship will cover Home/EU tuition fees and provide a stipend paid at standard Research Council rates (£13,863 for 2014/15).

Closing date for applications: 5pm, Friday 13th June 2014.

The network

Collectively, the three studentships will explore the transmission, interpretation and transformation of texts, ideas, beliefs and practices about food, drink, and consumption between geographical locations, cultural contexts and historical moments, and by diverse social groups. Each project will be primarily based at one of the three White Rose universities, but students will be co-supervised by staff from two institutions and will benefit from the input of the wider network team.

Each of the three successful applicants will be expected to participate fully in the activities of the network. They will also have access to all the additional opportunities provided by the White Rose College of the Arts and Humanities, including Research Training Mobility funds, Researcher Employability projects, and Knowledge Exchange Projects. Further details about the doctoral training and opportunities offered by WRoCAH can be found at:

Queries about the network should be directed to the network co-ordinator, Prof Cathy Shrank, Queries about individual projects should be directed to the project supervisors (listed below).

Studentship 1 (based at Leeds): ‘Diet, health, and identity in early modern England and Italy: A comparative study of the application and understanding of Galenic principles’

Supervisors: Dr Alexandra Bamji (History, Leeds),; Prof Cathy Shrank (English, Sheffield),

Studies of early modern medicine tend to homogenise the reception of Galen. Scarcely no comparative work has been done on how climate, culture and religion affected the interpretation of classical views on diet and informed local and regional dietary practices; the assimilation of Galenic practices in domestic settings also needs work. The successful student will develop their own topic in this area, drawing on a broad range of material in manuscript and print to explore the varied appropriation of Galenic medicine and its impact on what people ate to restore and maintain health.

Studentship 2 (based at Sheffield): ‘The invention of addiction in early modern England’

Supervisors: Prof Phil Withington (History, Sheffield),; Dr Tania Demetriou (English and Related Literature, York),

Scant attention has been paid to the emergence of an English language of ‘addiction’, which powerfully frames much modern medical and social discourse surrounding consumption. The successful student will trace the translation of classical medical, philosophical and legal concepts surrounding consumption and moderation within the context of changing fashions in food and drink, and to explore the utilisation of these concepts in public and private discourses. Sources available include sermons, medical treatises, civil and ecclesiastical court records, literary texts.


Studentship 3 (based at York): ‘Cultural encounters from the ambassador’s court to the English kitchen: Anglo-Iberian networks and the exchange of medical and culinary knowledge’

Supervisors, Dr Helen Smith (English and Related Literature, York),; Dr Iona McCleery (History, Leeds),

This studentship examines the importation of Iberian foodstuffs and recipes into England. Owing to religious and political tensions characterising English-Iberian relations throughout this period, scholars have largely neglected the trading, familial and diplomatic networks that brought together Spanish, Portuguese and English cultures; equally, little work has been undertaken into patterns of consumption within the Iberian peninsula or the extent to which Iberian foodstuffs were recognised and marked as such in English contexts. The successful student will develop their own project in this area, drawing on a wide variety of sources – from recipe books to travellers’ accounts and ambassadorial papers – that chart the translation of Iberian techniques and commodities into England.


The application process

Applicants should have an undergraduate degree (2:1 or above, or equivalent) and be studying for, or have completed, a Masters degree with a substantial focus (e.g. a dissertation) in one or more of the following areas: early modern history; medieval history; early modern literature or language; medieval literature or language; classics.

Studentship 1 (Leeds):  complete the PhD application form available at as well as the studentship application form at return this to

Studentship 2 (Sheffield): complete the PhD application form available at

Studentship 3 (York): complete the PhD application form available at

IMPORTANT: In addition to submitting the form to the individual institutions, you must send a copy of your application to the network co-ordinator,, by 5pm on Friday 13 June 2014.

On the application forms for each institution, you should state that you are applying for one of the studentships in the WRoCAH-funded network ‘Cultures of Consumption’. You should also indicate how you will develop your project within the areas outlined in the descriptions of the studentships (above) and detail how your previous academic experience has prepared you to undertake that project. Note that relevant foreign languages (Italian, Latin, Portuguese, Spanish), or a willingness to learn them, are desirable. Where relevant, indicate any training needs (e.g. languages, palaeography), on the application form.

Note: You may apply for more than one of the studentships. If you wish to do so, please submit a separate application for each studentship that you are interested in, to the lead institution for that studentship. If you submit more than one application, you should also contact Cathy Shrank ( to advise on your order of preference for the studentships you have applied for.