AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Partnership (CDP) PhD Studentship

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Funded PhD opportunity

Published date:

AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Partnership (CDP) PhD Studentship

African American short fiction and magazines in the mid-twentieth century

Start date: 2 January 2024

Application Deadline: 1 September 2023

Interviews will take place online during the week beginning 18 September.


The University of Cambridge Faculty of English and the British Library are pleased to announce a fully funded Collaborative Doctoral Studentship from 2 January 2024 under the AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Partnership Scheme.

The project aims to generate new perspectives on the history of short story writing in US magazines. The British Library holds an important collection of American magazines with a tradition of publishing short fiction. The doctoral project will explore the literary, cultural and historical contexts of these collections, with a particular focus on African American short fiction in the mid-twentieth century.


This project will be jointly supervised by Dr Fiona Green and Professor Kasia Boddy at the University of Cambridge and by Dr Mercedes Aguirre and Rachael Culley at the British Library. The student will be a PhD candidate at Cambridge, and will also spend time at the British Library, where they will be involved in a working group exploring the challenges involved in preserving and improving access to US magazines. As part of this work, they will write a short report with recommendations that will help inform future collection development policies. They will work collaboratively with the Americas & Oceania curatorial team and the Eccles Centre for American Studies on projects promoting magazine collections among academic researchers, creative practitioners, and lifelong learners. They will be part of the wider cohort of AHRC CDP funded PhD students across the UK.


The University of Cambridge and the British Library are keen to encourage applications from a wide range of students and particularly welcome those currently underrepresented in doctoral student cohorts.


The PhD Research Project

The PhD research project will draw on British Library holdings in US magazines, and focus on African American short fiction and magazines in the mid-twentieth century. With the Harlem Renaissance as its immediate predecessor and the explosion of publications and periodicals associated with the Black Arts Movement from the late 60s as its aftermath and inheritor, mid-century African American short fiction emerged as part of a newly complex media ecology consisting of specialist literary magazines, mass market middlebrow publications, and daily newspapers, and in increasingly politicised and internationalist contexts. The project is envisaged as a literary and literary historical study whose focus depends on the interests and aptitudes of the PhD student. Applicants are required to provide a research proposal which might centre, for example, on a case study of a single author; a case study of a particular magazine; a synchronic study of African American magazine fiction in a larger media or cultural context; a diachronic account of mid-twentieth century magazine fiction in the development of African American literature.



Benefits and Opportunities

This collaborative PhD studentship offers the opportunity to combine academic training with practice-based experience and research in the context of a national library. It is a unique opportunity to gain a wide range of transferable research skills.

The successful candidate will be a postgraduate student in the Faculty of English at the University of Cambridge. Cambridge provides opportunities for outstanding postgraduate study in all areas of English Literature. Postgraduates are in regular contact with acknowledged authorities in their chosen field, and have access to research resources which are among the best in the world. The English Faculty admits around one hundred postgraduate students each year; this large and lively community is an essential part of the Faculty’s social and intellectual life. Postgraduate supervision is research-led by scholars at the forefront of their fields, and postgraduate students have access to outstanding resources available across the University, from its many libraries to a wealth of research seminars hosted by faculties, departments and research centres. Postgraduates participate in a comprehensive programme of weekly training sessions on topics appropriate to all stages of their development. Postgraduate students are also members of colleges, which provide further support, accommodation, and community.

At the British Library, the student will become part of a vibrant cohort of collaborative doctoral researchers and benefit from staff-level access to the Library’s collections, resources and in-house training and development opportunities. CDP students also benefit from a dedicated programme of CDP Cohort Development events delivered in tandem with the other museums, galleries and heritage organisations affiliated with the AHRC CDP scheme.

The student will be based in the Americas & Oceania collections section, and will benefit from extensive hands-on access to the Library’s collection of American magazines, as well as regular advice and support from the Library’s curators, cataloguers, and other specialist staff. they will also work with the Eccles Centre for American Studies, which supports research and lifelong learning about the Americas through the collections at the British Library.


Details of Award

The PhD studentship can be undertaken on a full-time or part-time basis.

AHRC CDP doctoral training grants fund studentships for up to 4 years full time or part-time equivalent. AHRC CDP doctoral trainings grants also make provision of funding for student development activities to help the student extend their wider skills portfolio and improve their career prospects.

The award pays tuition fees up to the value of the full-time home UKRI rate for PhD degrees. The indicative fee level for Research Council studentships for 2023/24 is £4,596.

The award also pays full maintenance for all students. The National Minimum Doctoral Stipend for the academic year 2023/24 is £17,668. This is a tax-free training grant which increases slightly each year. An additional London Weighting allowance of £1606/year will be applied for this studentship.

In addition, the successful candidate will receive a CDA maintenance payment of £550/year.

Further details on UKRI funding for doctoral training can be found on the UKRI website: https://www.ukri.org/skills/funding-for-research-training/

In addition, the student will be eligible for an additional research allowance courtesy of the British Library, up to £1,000 per financial year or part-time equivalent, for the duration of the project.



This studentship is open to UK Home applicants.

To be classed as a Home student, candidates must meet the following criteria:

  • Be a UK National (meeting residency requirements), or
  • Have settled status, or
  • Have pre-settled status (meeting residency requirements), or
  • Have indefinite leave to remain in or enter.


Applicant Information

Applicants should have or expect to receive a Masters-level qualification in a relevant discipline or equivalent experience.

Relevant disciplines include, but are not limited to English Literature, American Literature, American Studies, History, Media Studies, Cultural Studies, Library and Information Studies. Equivalent experience might include, but is not restricted to, a strong track record of employment in a library, museum, or heritage institution, that includes responsibility for relevant archival research, collections curation, and/or public engagement activity.

Collaborative doctoral students are expected to spend time at both the University and the British Library.

Applicants should demonstrate an interest in the archives and library sector and potential and enthusiasm for developing skills more widely in these areas.

Applicants must satisfy the standard UKRI eligibility criteria. For further information please see:



How to Apply

To apply, please email the following documents to Anna Fox, Postgraduate Coordinator, Faculty of English, University of Cambridge: af285@cam.ac.uk with the subject line ‘American fiction CDP studentship.’ The closing date is 1 September 2023:

  • A one- to two-page covering letter
  • A Curriculum Vitae
  • A research proposal (800 words) outlining a programme of work for an 80,000-word PhD dissertation on African American short fiction and magazines in the mid-twentieth century. The proposal should specify the project’s engagement with British Library collections, and indicate potential outcomes in collaborative events and outreach
  • A sample of recent written work amounting to around 5,000-7,000 words, such as an undergraduate dissertation, Masters dissertation, or similar extended piece of academic writing
  • The names and contact details of two academic and /or professional referees. Candidates should ask their referees to send references to the Postgraduate Coordinator, af285@cam.ac.uk, by the closing date

Advice on research proposals is available here

Shortlisted candidates will be invited to an online interview in the week beginning 18 September


Informal Enquiries

If you are interested in applying, you are welcome to contact the following for an informal discussion:

Dr. Fiona Green: fmg20@cam.ac.uk

Prof. Kasia Boddy: kjb18@cam.ac.uk