PhD Research

In thinking about the imagining of a city through its water, my attention has been drawn to two pieces of travel writing situated in Calcutta. The writings both emphasise the noble qualities of Calcutta’s waterways.

Lady Maria Graham writes in her ‘Journal of a Residence in India’ (Edinburgh: Ramsay and Company, 1813) of the Hoogly (sic) river,

‘…There is something in the scenery of this place that reminds me of the beauty of the banks of the Thames ; the same verdure, the same rich foilage, the same majestic body of water’.

Utilising the same adjective,  Deville’s, ‘Lettres sur le Bengale ecrites des bords du Gange’ (Paris: Briere, 1826) describe the banks of the ‘fleuve majestueux’ which he urges the fictitious recipient of his letters (Florine) to come wander along.

This genre of writing provides a particular entry point into understanding the role of water in building a narrative of a place.



PhD Studentship:

If you would like to pursue a PhD that relates to our understanding of the Indian City then please consider applying for this studentship.

Further details can be found on the link above.

The main objectives of ETIC are to examine the following broad areas of inquiry:

(1) how and why the city has functioned as the focus of cross-cultural exchanges in both colonial and post-colonial India;

(2) the nature of the marks that such exchanges have left on the socio-cultural and imaginative identities of the cities in question;

(3) the ways in which they have shaped, and been shaped by, the urban space and the physical fabric of the city in each case; and

(4) the ways in which the nature of such exchanges vary both synchronically, across geographical regions in the same period, and diachronically, across historical periods (sixteenth century till the present).

ETIC involves scholars from English literature, History, Architecture and Modern Languages, with specialisms covering the sixteenth century till the present. The exact PhD topic is open to discussion with potential applicants, but must be related to furthering our understanding of the Indian city. Projects that work across disciplinary boundaries (such as attending to both cultural and spatial/architectural traces of encounter in sixteenth century Goa or twentieth century Pondicherry or Chandigarh, for instance), or those that work across one or more of the selected cities, are especially welcome. Responsibilities will also involve providing some support to the ETIC project, such as helping with meetings, organising reading lists, helping to organise small symposia and gathering source material, uploading data to blog/website.

Applications are invited from students with a good first degree (First, 2:1 or equivalent) or a post-graduate degree in a relevant discipline.

The Doctoral scholarship is available for up to three years full-time study starting on or before September 2013 which will cover the cost of University tuition fees at UK/EU rates, as well as providing tailored early career development training within a thriving intellectual and social community of over 800 researchers and 300 postgraduate researchers.

For more information or to discuss possible research projects further, please contact

PhD Funding Opportunity

We are looking for a PhD student to join us on the ETIC project, based at Liverpool University. We are indebted to UKIERI and the School of the Arts at Liverpool University who have generously provided funding to enable the creation of a ‘fees paid’ studentship. If you have a research idea that aligns with our aims to further understanding of the Indian city, and want to work on this project then please get in touch.

We will be advertising this studentship soon (and will post details here), but wanted to spread the word as soon as possible through this blog.

Potential applicants from a variety of academic backgrounds and disciplines including, but not limited to, Architecture, English & French are very welcome.