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Two Postdoctoral Positions: Books and Borrowing 1750-1830

The AHRC-funded project ‘Books and Borrowing 1750-1830: An Analysis of Scottish Borrowers’ Registers’ is currently advertising for two postdoctoral researchers (one full-time for three years, one part-time for one year).

Applications are invited for two posts as Research Fellows for the ‘Books and Borrowing, 1750-1830: An Analysis of Scottish Borrowers’ Registers’ project funded by the AHRC, in the Division of Literature and Languages, University of Stirling. The posts offer early career researchers the opportunity to lead and conduct research on historic libraries in Scotland. The project is led by Dr Katie Halsey, University of Stirling, with Dr Matthew Sangster of the University of Glasgow, and fifteen partner and supporting organisations across Scotland. The successful applicants will collaborate closely with the PI, the investigating team, and the project partners in terms of the project deliverables and high impact outputs.

The successful candidates will be responsible for the following specific duties:

1) photographing, transcribing, digitising and interpreting historic library borrowing records drawn from specified historic libraries across Scotland;
2) in conjunction with the rest of the project team, analysing this data and producing excellent research outputs relating to it, including journal articles and database paratexts;
3) knowledge exchange and public engagement work relating to specific partner libraries and other stakeholders
4) working with the two other Research Fellows on the project to organise a major international conference on the latent potential of digital archives;
5) liaising with the Digital Humanities Research Officer as needed to develop the project webpage, interface, and database.

The research will contribute to uncovering and reinterpreting the history of reading in Scotland from 1750 to 1830, reshaping our understanding of a key period in Scotland’s past. Scotland’s high rate of literacy in the period means that it is unusually rich in extant library borrowers’ registers, possessing more surviving records than any other nation in the UK, despite having less than one-tenth of England’s population. As a whole, the project will photograph, transcribe, publish and analyse an extensive corpus of at least 150,000 historic library borrowing records drawn from thirteen diverse libraries across Scotland.

In so doing, the project will complete pioneering new research in the histories of reading and the ideas. Our corpus will be the largest yet constructed in this field. Building on previous smaller-scale work by the PI and CI, the Books and Borrowing project will extrapolate the impacts of the Scottish Enlightenment, Romantic ideologies and disciplinary specialisation from a large-scale evidentiary base. This research will test previous narratives that over-emphasize the secular character of the Scottish Enlightenment and privilege the ‘Big Six’ Romantic poets over writers such as Buffon, Rollin and Tillotson, whose works were much more widely read.

The richness of the records also offers an unrivalled opportunity to interrogate a central tenet of Scottish identity and nationhood: the often unquestioned assumption that Scotland offered greater opportunities to ‘lads o’ pairts’ –talented labouring-class readers – than the other British nations. This assumption continues to dominate educational and political discourse today. The project will pay proper attention to previously ignored or marginalised communities of readers, including women and the young, in its revealing hitherto lost histories of book use and knowledge communities in Scotland.

Full details regarding both jobs can be seen on the University of Stirling website here.

The closing date is the 1st of March 2020.  We’re particularly interested in researchers with completed PhDs demonstrating advanced expertise in one or more of the following fields: Romanticism, Eighteenth-Century Studies, Library History, Book History or Scottish Studies.

For more information, or for an informal chat, please feel free to contact the Principal Investigator, Dr Katie Halsey (, or the Co-Investigator, Dr Matthew Sangster (

Techne Collaborative Doctoral Award 2020

The Keats House Collections: Constructing Romantic Lives and Afterlives

Applications are invited for a fully-funded, three-year PhD to be hosted jointly by Keats House and the Centre for Research in Romanticism at the University of Roehampton, London, UK. The PhD will begin in October 2020. This is an exciting opportunity to work with an internationally famous museum which celebrates the life and works of one of Britain’s greatest poets. Situated in Hampstead, London, Keats House contains many precious artefacts including correspondence, books and portraits. Its non-displayed collections are cared for by London Metropolitan Archives, who work with the House to provide access for researchers and anyone with an interest in Keats and his circle.

The aim of this project is to investigate the ways that a writer’s house and its collections can actively contribute to the cultural memory, reputation and appreciation of a canonical author. The exact topic of the PhD will be decided by the student in conjunction with supervisors, but we expect the development of the collections to provide an outstanding opportunity to put new research insights into practice through actual and virtual curation of the collections. The project provides excellent career opportunities and will provide relevant training in archives, heritage work and digitization. The student will contribute to ‘Keats200’ and the future plans of Keats House and the Keats Foundation.

The supervisory team will be Professor Ian Haywood and Dr. Dustin Frazier Wood (Roehampton) and Rob Shakespeare (Director, Keats House). Further expertise will be available from London Metropolitan Archives and the Keats House team.

Expressions of interest and any other queries: please contact Professor Ian Haywood no later than 1 December 2019:


Applications Open: Research Associate, ‘Unlocking the Mary Hamilton Papers’

Research Associate in Reading Practices


Placed On:  30th August 2019
Closes:  1st October 2019


Please click here for the full job advertisement via

This post will support the exciting Arts and Humanities Research Council funded project Unlocking the Mary Hamilton Papers. This ambitious Digital Humanities project will use a uniquely rich, but largely unexplored, archive to explore a diverse – yet related – set of research questions on reading, letter-writing and language practices in Georgian England.

This post will explore the commonalities and differences in the operation and the relevance to reading, writing and everyday language of the social networks around Mary Hamilton, and how textual traces of reader circulation, reception and response contained in the Hamilton Papers help us to think differently about eighteenth-century literature.

You should have completed a PhD (or equivalent) in English Literature, or History, or Art History or other allied field focusing on the period 1740-1830, and have a strong grasp of recent debates in at least one of the following fields; gender studies, Bluestocking culture, social networks, digital humanities, public humanities.

You should have excellent analytical and writing skills, experience of working with a variety of archival sources in archives and libraries and strong palaeographic skills.

You should also be well organised and be able to work both independently and as part of a team. A record of publication, of presenting your research to academic audiences, of promoting research via social media and of public engagement or impact are desirable, as it familiarity with Digital Humanities and using software applications for research.

We expect to hold interviews for the post between 8 and 10 October 2019

As an equal opportunities employer we welcome applicants from all sections of the community regardless of gender, ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation and transgender status.  All appointments will be made on merit.

Please note that we are unable to respond to enquiries, accept CVs or applications from Recruitment Agencies.

Enquiries about the vacancy, shortlisting and interviews:
Name: Dr Sophie Coulombeau or Professor Hannah Barker
Email: or 
Technical support:
Tel: 0161 850 2004
General enquiries:
Tel: 0161 275 4499

This vacancy will close for applications at midnight on the closing date.