About the Leverhulme Centre for Water Cultures
The University of Hull's Leverhulme Doctoral Scholarships Centre for Water Cultures pioneers a new, humanities-led, interdisciplinary and transhistorical research area, the ‘green-blue humanities.’
It equips a new generation of PhD students to take this agenda forward, transforming our understanding of our relationships with water and shaping future research agendas, methods, and approaches within and between disciplines.
Join our webinar – Thursday 11 March 2021
We are hosting a free webinar to help you find out more about funded postgraduate research at the Leverhulme Centre for Water Cultures. Join us to hear from programme leaders, supervisors, students and researchers and ask any burning questions at the Q&A. Register here
About this project
This is an exciting opportunity for an ambitious, talented and enthusiastic researcher to conduct interdisciplinary research in order to advance thinking within the area of blue-green humanities through identifying and exploring the roles of culture and history in shaping historical flood attitudes and behaviours.
Flooding is an urgent societal problem estimated to affect 160 million people a year. By 2050, an estimated 2 billion people will be vulnerable to flood disasters, and hundreds of millions of others will likely be displaced by water shocks and stresses (UN, 2004; Global Water Institute, 2013). Coastal, estuarine and delta populations are particularly vulnerable and are facing an increasingly uncertain future.
Within both academic and policy circles, there is a growing emphasis on pursuing flood resilience and its narrative of ‘surviving and thriving’. Yet not everyone is able to ‘survive and thrive’ equally (Forrest et al., 2020). Some people and communities have greater vulnerabilities and lower capacity to manage their flood risk compared with others, leading to what researchers have called ‘flood injustices’.
While discussion about justice in Flood Risk Management (FRM) are starting to appear in the academic literature (e.g. Thaler and Hartmann, 2016; Kaufman et al., 2018), the role of culture has to date received minimal investigation and exploration. Cultural aspects reflect the lived experiences of flooding and are important in shaping the people, places, and policies that can, over time, contribute to the production of ‘flood injustices’.
This interdisciplinary PhD project grapples with these important issues in order to identify and explore the roles of culture and history in shaping historical flood attitudes and behaviour that lead to present-day flood injustices. The project will offer international comparative research, focusing on three cities with long histories of FRM practices. Case study cities might include Hull (UK), Rotterdam (The Netherlands) and/or other appropriate global locations. Methods will include historical research to understand attitudes to flooding and how they shaped people, places, and policies in the past, as well as document analysis, surveys and interviews incorporating participatory approaches.
Crucially, by growing our understandings of the importance of culture in producing flood injustices, we can support policymakers in addressing these underlying vulnerabilities. This has implications not only for those currently at flood risk, but also for future generations living and working in flood-prone areas.