Institute of Archaeology


PhD Studentship: Evaluating the Cultural Cost of Development in the New South Africa

28 September 2021

Applications are invited for a Leverhulme Trust-funded PhD studentship at the UCL Institute of Archaeology focusing on cutting-edge, global concerns about heritage and restitution (Ref: 1879293).

Leverhulme Trust logo

The UCL Institute of Archaeology invites applications from eligible candidates (including graduates from South African MA programmes) for a full-time PhD studentship, fully funded for 3 years by the Leverhulme Trust. The project will be principally supervised by Rachel King, with secondary supervision from Dr Keneiloe Molopyane (University of Witwatersrand).

The deadline for applications is 22 October 2021.

The proposed PhD research aims to take a historical and anthropological approach to understanding how South African heritage institutions have attempted to decolonise their treatment of human remains, especially those accessioned after being disturbed by development projects. Restitution, reconciliation, and reparation are major, active themes in defining heritage justice within African contexts; the PhD will interrogate these through detailed investigation of how democratic heritage policy instruments articulate with legacy institutions like major museums to decide how the dead should be salvaged, honored, or warehoused.

The doctorate forms a core part of a Leverhulme Research Project Grant led by Rachel King, which aims to achieve a detailed, diachronic understanding of how the South African state has valued heritage when it is at odds with development.

The PhD project is designed to contribute novel data to cutting-edge global concerns about heritage and restitution, while providing employable skillsets like ethnographic data collection and analysis, audio/video production, developing public engagement strategies, report-writing for a policy audience, database management, and familiarity with the development industry. These skillsets are transferrable across the UK and South Africa.  

Candidates should hold a Masters degree with an overall grade of 70% or better, with at least 70% for dissertation; or South African equivalent. Applications are invited from candidates with a demonstrable background in southern African archaeology and heritage or in possession one of the following South African MA/MSc degrees: MA Archaeology (Wits), MSc Archaeological Heritage (Wits), MA Archaeology (University of Cape Town).

Further details