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Evolution and the Hygienic City: Darwinian Medicine in fin-de-siècle Belfast Funded by: Strategic DEL Studentship

23 Dec 2014
Evolution and the Hygienic City

The project will examine the arguments and activities of an influential group of medical practitioners who advocated public health measures strongly shaped by evolutionary theory in the period 1880-1925. Attention will be given to medical professionals such as William Graham (1859-1917), James Alexander Lindsay (1856-1931) and Johnson Symington (1851-1924) and public health activists like Henry O’Neill (1853-1914). Their promotion of evolutionary medicine will be set within specific spaces of medical inquiry and practice and traced across more diffuse scientific, political and print/periodical debates about public health and evolution. There is scope to revise these parameters and explore other spaces crucial to the pursuit of evolutionary medicine in Britain and Ireland between 1880 and 1940. 

The project will be supervised by Dr Diarmid Finnegan (School of Geography, Archaeology and Palaeoecology (GAP)), Dr Caroline Sumpter (School of English), and Dr Michael Pierse (Institute for Collaborative Research in the Humanities). As well as benefiting from being part of the Society, Space and Culture research cluster in the School of GAP and from cross-faculty supervision, the project will also connect with the priority theme of the Institute for Collaborative Research in the Humanities on Health, Wellbeing and the Humanities

The strategic DEL award covers fees (EU/UK only) and provides an annual maintenance grant (UK residency criteria apply) at RCUK rates. Applications should include an academic CV, details of two referees, transcripts of qualifications and a 300-word statement detailing what the applicant will bring to the project.  In addition to an undergraduate Honours degree in geography, history or cognate subject such as English literature, a relevant Masters degree (for example history of science or Victorian studies) in process or completed is desirable. Prospective applicants should discuss the project with the principal supervisor (Dr Diarmid Finnegan: before submitting their applications. The deadline for applications, submitted via the Queen's University online portal [], is 26 January 2015 by 5pm.  

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