British Library PhD research placement scheme about North American Migrant Narratives

phd research placement

The North American collection at the British Library covers holdings from the United States and Canada, from 1850 to the present day. The collections are vast, and broadly take in the social sciences and humanities. They include

official government publications, memoirs, diaries, novels, poetry, graphic novels, pamphlets and ephemera, magazines and newspapers, artists’ books, photographs and photobooks, and independently published and small press materials.

What, when & where

British Library PhD research placement scheme about North American Migrant Narratives

The placement holder will take account of the Library’s existing holdings of narratives of migration to the US or Canada post-1850 in the North American collections (in an area to be defined by the applicant); evaluate historic and/ or contemporary publishing trends related to this; and report back on holdings and any gaps that need to be accounted for.

Team is particularly interested in applications that can speak to one of the following areas: East Asian, South Asian, Middle-Eastern, African, or Caribbean migrations to the US and/or Canada. ; in some instances, the trajectory of migration narratives may be more complex and this will be taken into consideration (e.g. formerly indentured servants arriving in the US or Canada via the Caribbean). However, it should be remembered that Library’s primary collections focus is material published in the US or Canada post-1850.


3 months (The placement can take place any time between May 2018 and April 2019. A mutually convenient start date can be agreed with the supervisor).

Deadline & how to apply

Deadline: until filled.


  • Postgraduate level understanding of American/Canadian cultural history, and/or American/Canadian literature. Specific knowledge of North American migration histories is not a pre-requisite, but a broad awareness of and interest in the context and issues related to these would be beneficial.
  • Ability to exercise sensitivity towards the materials and topic.
  • Library team would expect the student to input significantly into the specific focus of the placement and to have done preparatory research on our collections holdings before applying.
Other info, Links & conditions

See expected outcomes and conditions in the complete call.


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