2 AHRC-funded PhD Studentships at Cambridge (ref GL24062)

Applications are invited for two PhD studentships covering the period 1 October 2013 to 30 September 2016, working under the general supervision of Professor Christopher Young and Dr Mark Chinca in the Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages. Each student will also be assigned a co-supervisor from the University of Marburg, Germany. These awards have become available as a result of an AHRC Research Grant “Kaiserchronik: Literature and History in the German Middle Ages”. Successful applicants are expected to begin PhD study on 1 October 2013 and will receive a student stipend sufficient to meet the fees and maintenance requirements in accordance with AHRC regulations. The project studentship offers tuition fees and a maintenance grant in accordance with Research Council eligibility criteria, which means that the studentship is not available to citizens of non-EU countries.

The Project

The Kaiserchronik (c.1150) is one of the great monuments of medieval literature. Chronicling the reigns of Roman and German kings and emperors, from the earliest times to the twelfth century, it projects a magnificent historical sweep in which the German-speaking peoples and their rulers feature as actors on the stage of ancient history and heirs to the legacy of Rome as capital of the Christian West. It is the first verse chronicle to have been written in any European vernacular. Yet despite its importance for literary and historical studies alike, it has been surprisingly neglected. This project is intended to yield a complete understanding of the extraordinary cultural resonance of the Kaiserchronik, and offer a transformative reassessment of the place of history-writing in the development of German literature in the Middle Ages.

The project has attracted funding of c.£950,000 from the AHRC. The team is based in Cambridge and assembles experts in the fields of medieval literature, language and history, with special collaborations with the University of Marburg and Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore. Over its lifetime, the project will produce the first-ever complete edition of the Kaiserchronik, accompanied by English translation, full introduction and commentary. 
In addition, the project will research the historical and literary background to the chronicle: the twelfth-century context from which it emerged, and the reasons for its enduring appeal over the following four and a half centuries. The results will be presented through major events in Cambridge, international conferences, and special issues of academic journals.

The Studentships

Applicants are invited to submit an advanced research proposal on a topic of their own choice, provided it falls within the general area of the project and takes one of the following descriptions as its guide.

PhD 1

The thesis will deal with some aspect of linguistic history or the history of metrical form / stylistics, or the overlap between the two, either in the 12th century or longitudinally, from the 12th century until any time up to the late 16th century. An over-reliance on 19th-century edited texts that levelled out linguistic variation led to a quantitative decline in research on Middle High German language compared with that in other periods. The return to the manuscript base over the last 20 years has reinvigorated the area, but there is still much work to do. The significant temporal and geographical spread of the Kaiserchronik's transmission as well as the existence of three different recensions (two of which were updated on linguistic, stylistic and metrical grounds) provide the basis for a variety of questions and approaches. Examples of possible topics include:

• The language of the original (in all its aspects), which has still not been examined in any detail.

• Morphological or syntactical changes introduced by recensions B and C.

• (Scribal) dialects of Middle High German.

• Vocabulary (particularly the tension between courtly and non-courtly terms, and the use of French loans).

• The metre and style of recension A in the context of Early MHG texts.

• Metrical and rhythmic developments in literary language between c.1200 and c.1250.

• A synchronic or diachronic study of any major linguistic feature on the basis of the Kaiserchronik corpus (agreement phenomena, serialization of pronouns, negation, use of genitive as object case).

PhD 2

The thesis will deal with the relationship between the Kaiserchronik and the writing of world (or universal) chronicles that flourished from the 13th century and became a dominant genre in the late Middle Ages. The rise of chronicle writing is well acknowledged, but our understanding of it is far from complete. There is good (if not abundant) work on Rudolf von Ems's Weltchronik and Heinrich von München's world chronicle compilation; less is known about the Christherre-Chronik (although recently edited) and Jans Enikel's Weltchronik. However, these popular texts, which between them amassed some 180 manuscripts, deserve much more attention than they have hitherto received from scholarship. They are, critically, the context for the C recension of the Kaiserchronik. Examples of possible topics include:

• The relationship between the Kaiserchronik C and any or all of Rudolf von Ems's Weltchronik, Christherre-Chronik and Jans Enikel's Weltchronik.

• The relationship of key manuscripts from recensions A, B, and C to specific historiographical contexts.

• An investigation of specific manuscripts and their socio-literary / historical background, e.g. Berlin Staatsbibliothek, mgf 923 Nr 12 (which combines the Kaiserchronik with Rudolf von Ems) or the 1594 Tegernsee manuscript (Munich BSB, cgm 965).

• The relationship between the Kaiserchronik and other forms of historical transmission (in Latin and the vernacular) in the late Middle Ages (annals, letters, chronicles of all sizes, legal documents).

Qualification requirements

Candidates should hold a Master's degree (or equivalent) in a relevant subject, with a specialization in medieval German literary and / or linguistic studies, and expect to attain or have attained a mark of distinction.

Application Procedure - Candidates may be one of two types:

1. You may already be applying/have applied for a PhD in the Department of German and Dutch, and be timing your application to meet funding deadlines such as that set for the AHRC (11 January 2013).

2. You may only be interested in applying for this studentship.

If you have already made an application for the PhD through the Board of Graduate Studies, please email Louise Balshaw (lb358@cam.ac.uk) and provide your Application Number. Please note that applicants who have already submitted a PhD application will need to write a 500-1000 word research proposal specifically for this application, along the lines outlined above and below. ALL supporting documents must be uploaded by 8 February 2013 at the very latest.

Applications from candidates who intend to apply only for this studentship should be made directly to the Faculty of Modern & Medieval Languages. Successful candidates will be asked to make a formal application through the Board of Graduate Studies. Applications should be made on the University graduate application form (GRADSAF), available at: http://www.admin.cam.ac.uk/offices/gradstud/prospec/pdf/gradsaf1213.pdf, and include the following supporting documents: two academic references transcripts or degree certificates English Language Score Report (if English is not your first language) 500-1000 word research proposal. Completed applications should be emailed or posted to Ms Louise Balshaw, Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages, Sidgwick Avenue, Cambridge CB3 9DA, tel: (01223) 760823, email: lb358@cam.ac.uk, by the closing date of 8 February 2013. Incomplete applications will not be considered .

In the Research Statement, candidates are required to outline their original research proposal and explain how it will fit the “Kaiserchronik” project. Applicants should specify Professor Christopher Young (history of language; cjy1000@cam.ac.uk) or Dr Mark Chinca (literature; mgc1000@cam.ac.uk) as supervisor on their application forms: both supervisors will be happy to offer further advice if needed

Details of which documents to submit are listed on the Faculty webpages (see:


Dual nationalities Applicants with dual nationality, who want to be classed as Home/EU students, should consult the Board of Graduate Studies website for eligibility criteria: http://www.admin.cam.ac.uk/offices/gradstud/funding/costs/status.html. There are a number of requirements that must be met in order to be eligible for Home or EU fees. Students must meet the requirements of both 'settled status' and 'ordinary residence': * Settled status/nationality means that students must be nationals of the UK or another EU country, or have the right of permanent residence or indefinite leave to remain in the UK ie they must not be subject under immigration laws to any restriction on the period for which they may stay in the UK. Students may also be the 'relevant family member' of an EU national (a relevant family member is generally a spouse or civil partner, a direct descendant, or a dependent). * ‘Ordinary residence' means that in addition, students must also have been ordinarily resident in the UK, the EEA (defined as the EU together with Iceland, Lichtenstein and Norway), Switzerland or the Overseas Territories for the three years prior to the start date of the course for which they are applying, and that residence should not have been wholly or mainly for the purposes of receiving education. If an applicant has both EU nationality and overseas nationality, the applicant must still meet the criteria for ordinary residence in order to be classified as a home student.

Closing date

Friday 7 February 2013

Interview date

Thursday 7 March 2013

Published on: 
18 Dec 2012