History Ref: 4145
About the award
Primary Supervisor – Professor Richard Noakes
Secondary Supervisor – Dr Stacey Hynd (University of Exeter) and Ms Anne Archer at BT Archives. Mr James Elder will provide cover for Anne Archer prior to her anticipated return from Maternity Leave shortly after the start of the studentship.
Applications are invited for a PhD studentship on race, ethnicity and telecommunications in the British empire from 1850 to the present at the University of Exeter in partnership with BT Archives (London). The studentship is awarded by the Science Museum and Archives Consortium under the AHRC’s Collaborative Doctoral Partnership scheme.
This project is a systematic study of the Black, Middle Eastern and South/East Asian people who worked for the British domestic and overseas telecommunications services from the 1850s to the present.
It examines their working experiences and their significant contributions to the construction, operation and technological development of telegraphic and telephonic services – questions largely overlooked by historians. By close and critical study of a wealth of underexplored texts, images and other sources in BT Archives, PK Porthcurno Museum of Global Communications and other collections, as well as the engagement with retired and active telecommunications workers, this project aims to plug this historiographical gap and contribute to the decolonizing of histories of telecommunications in Britain and its empire.
It will also raise the profile of significant materials within British telecommunications archive collections.
The student will produce a highly original piece of historical research and contribute to the enrichment of BT Archives’ catalogue (by providing context and other details to records) and to its physical displays and related activities in telecommunications heritage.
The project focuses on the following questions, but the student will be encouraged to pursue other, related questions that reflect their particular areas of expertise and strengths of the research materials:Continue reading “PhD Studentship: Race, Ethnicity and Telecommunications in Britain and its Empire, 1850-Present”
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Lori Lee Oates
Memorial University of Newfoundland
It has long been established by historians such as Christopher Bayly and scholars of post-colonialism such as Leela Gandhi that theosophy was an important nineteenth-century intellectual current. Bayly, for example, credits theosophy with diffusing the Bhavagad Gita throughout India and bringing it to the attention of the wider world. However, what has been less well-established is how those ideas were moving across international lines or the links between theosophy and empire.
My recently published article in The International History Review drew on new primary sources to demonstrate that the Theosophical Society was actively building print networks to expand and move their occult philosophies across the globe. The article paid closer attention to how theosophical texts were moving internationally than previous research. It also demonstrated how Theosophical Society leaders were using expanding imperial networks such as steam ships, telegraphs, and international banking to grow the society across the globe.Continue reading “The Theosophical Society and Transnational Cultures of Print”