About this project
Applications are invited for undertaking research for a PhD research project entitled ‘Language in Corona Times’. This project will explore literature and language expressing suffering and finding healing through grief and mourning during/after the COVID-19 outbreak.
The lead PhD project supervisor will be Dr Catherine Wynne, Reader in the Department of English, Creative Writing and American Studies at the University of Hull.
In the project the successful applicant will address the following research questions:
- How is published prose and poetry being used (differently) to commemorate loss?
- How has literature and language been adapted in previous pandemics?
- What language (if any) is useful/comforting in unprecedented times?
- How is the language of memorialisation and eulogies, adapted/ changed in online funerals and commemorations?
It is anticipated that a range of research methods will be used including discourse analysis to examine languages of loss and how language /literature are (or not) adapted to the pandemic. The successful candidate will carry out data collection via the cluster project website, blogs, webinars and an online questionnaire (target N=500) including space for individuals to post poems and writings. This approach builds on the Legacies of Loss (2019) poetry and prose collection (editors Wynne et al, supported by the University of Hull) and the PhD project will involve the collation of a new anthology to be distributed to death workers in assessing responses to the literature of loss, with a vision of new words for Corona times.
This is an interdisciplinary project. The successful candidate will be a member of the Department of English and American Studies, with an additional supervisor from the School of Education. They will also have a base in the cluster's home Department of Geography, Geology and Environment.
The supervisory team for this doctoral project also includes Dr Bethan Jones (English, Creative Writing and American Studies) and Dr Duncan Hunter (School of Education).
For informal enquiries, please contact Dr Catherine Wynne.
About the 'Living with Death – Learning from COVID’ research cluster
Since spring 2020 the UK has experienced unprecedented waves of premature deaths with the COVID-19 pandemic. Dying has been taking place under circumstances far from ‘normal’. Modes of remembrance associated with a ‘good death’ have been impeded by public health measures. More than 17 months of infection control restrictions and limited funeral arrangements are associated with many emergent – but largely un-researched – socio-economic consequences including for mental health and well-being (e.g. complicated grief, post-traumatic stress) for health, social care and death professionals, bereaved relatives, friends and co-workers.
This multi-disciplinary research cluster programme with five PhD projects will investigate, identify, understand and suggest mitigations for the unintended medium-longer term consequences of socially distanced death. In collaborating across social sciences, health and humanities the cluster will engage with and evaluate approaches (e.g. funeral practices, story telling) to alleviating the intense suffering, grief and bereavement of COVID-19.
The ‘Living with Death – Learning from COVID’ research cluster is led by PI Dr Elsbeth Robson, Reader in Human Geography.
Click here to watch a recording of our recent webinar about this funded postgraduate research opportunity. You'll hear from programme leaders, supervisors, and students and listen to queries from other applicants in the Q&A.
Other PhDs in this cluster
Place, Death and Inequalities
Dealing with Socially Distanced Death on the Frontline
Digital Dimensions of COVID-19 Death Across Communities