Science in the trading zone: the School of Environmental Sciences, UEA, 1967-2007 (MAHONYM_U18SCI)

University of East Anglia
September 12 2017
Position Type
Full Time
Organization Type

The enduring significance of the sciences of environmental change, and their impact global politics, has increasingly attracted the attention of historians of science (Edwards 2010; Howe 2014). Yet the definition of ‘environmental science' is often taken for granted. In the post-war period the idea of ‘the environment', and of a distinctive ‘environmental science', began to take root across science and public policy. Disciplines were encouraged to work together, new tools and ideas were generated, and a whole new way of doing science was created. Environmental science could be understood as a ‘trading zone' (Galison 1997), where different scientific cultures interact, building new languages and techniques of cooperation. We can also understand the politics of environmental change as a trading zone where diverse forms of knowledge rub-up against disparate political beliefs and commitments. This project seeks to understand the historical development of environmental science within the wider context of an evolving local, national and global politics of environmental change.

The School of Environmental Sciences at the University of East Anglia provides an ideal case study through which to understand this history. Founded in 1967, the School developed an international reputation for challenging disciplinary boundaries, and for changing the way ‘the environment' was viewed in science, politics and society more broadly. Working with published and unpublished archives and oral histories, this project will reconstruct the history of the institution and its interactions with the wider world, while contributing towards developing and maintaining an institutional archive within the School itself.

This PhD project would be suited to applicants with a background in history of science, historical geography or related fields, and with some knowledge of the environmental sciences. The student will sit within the Science, Society and Sustainability (3S) Research Group, but will interact with colleagues from across the School and University.

Interviews will be held w/c 22 January 2018.

Funding notes

This PhD project is in a Faculty of Science competition for funded studentships. These studentships are funded for 3 years and comprise home/EU fees, an annual stipend of £14,553 and £1000 per annum to support research training. Overseas applicants may apply but they are required to fund the difference between home/EU and overseas tuition fees (in 2017/18 the difference is £13,805 for the Schools of CHE, PHA & MTH (Engineering), and £10,605 for CMP & MTH but fees are subject to an annual increase).


This job comes from a partnership with Science Magazine and Euraxess