Petitioning Parliament: two PhD studentships

One of our former colleagues, Dr Henry Miller, has recently secured a major grant to further his work on petitioning, as part of an important new project with Dr Richard Huzzey at the University of Durham. Petitioning has long been overshadowed by elections in the study of British politics, yet before the 1880s many more constituents (including women) often put their names to petitions than actually cast a vote at the polls.

A 'Monster' Petition being carried to Parliament, 1842

A ‘Monster’ Petition being carried to Parliament, 1842

As well as the landmark campaigns that used and refined the art of petitioning – slavery abolition, the agitation for the 1832 Reform Act, corn law repeal and Chartism – petitions also served as a continuous safety valve for airing local gripes and grievances on a vast range of issues, both public and private. Parliament kept records, including a entire series of volumes issued by a special select committee on public petitions. Relating this resource (once digitised) and others to digitised newspaper accounts and Hansard will provide new insights into how petitioning was organised and its long-term impact in helping to shape local and national political culture right across the UK.

This exciting new study is now looking for two PhD researchers – for full details see below or click here. As historical projects go, it could hardly be more topical.

Durham University and Warwick University are pleased to announce that we have two funded PhD studentships available as part of the ‘Re-thinking Petitions, Parliament, and People’ project generously funded by the Leverhulme Trust (RPG-2016-097). This new initiative, led by Dr. Richard Huzzey (Durham) and Dr. Henry Miller (Durham), explores the powerful role of parliamentary petitioning in the development of modern Britain and exploits the under-used records of the House of Commons Select Committee on Public Petitions. One student will be based in Durham while the other will work at Warwick with Dr. Sarah Richardson, a member of the project’s advisory board.

For full details, including the process for applying before the 19 August 2016 deadline, please see the webpages for these two studentships:

Petitions from Ireland: https://www.dur.ac.uk/history/postgraduate/funding/leverhulmepppd/

Petitions from women: https://www.dur.ac.uk/history/postgraduate/funding/leverhulmepppwd/

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