Dr Marianne Hem Eriksen
The ERC funded project ‘Body-Politics: Personhood, Sexuality and Death in Iron and Viking Age Scandinavia’, based at the School of Archaeology and Ancient History at the University of Leicester, explores the politics of late prehistoric Scandinavia (here: first millennium CE) through the battleground of the body, combining archaeological evidence, bioarchaeological methods, material culture and textual analyses to answer fundamental questions about the nature of bodies and beings in the past. You can find more about the project at https://body-politics.com/
The PhD Researcher will develop and conduct a programme of research on images of the body in Iron and Viking Age Scandinavia (e.g. gold foil figures, bracteates, depictions on runestones and picture stones, figurines, animal styles, etc.).
This research will seek to explore Iron and Viking Age Scandinavian societies using depictions of bodies: for example investigating personhood, sexuality, social performance and body technology. You will design a research agenda in collaboration with the project PI (Dr Marianne Hem Eriksen, who will be your primary supervisor), and there is scope to tailor the research to your own interests. Example research questions could include:
• How did depictions of the body regulate or shape the life-course and outlooks of diverse persons in the Viking age?
• What kinds of bodies are depicted in body imagery (male/female/ambiguous, old/young, conventionally or otherwise able) and how did representations and omissions shape politics in Iron and Viking Age communities?
• How were figural objects made, used, circulated, and deposited?
• How do dimensions of body depictions like posture, dress/ornamentation, and activity relate to social dynamics?
You will take a lead in shaping your research agenda, deliverable within the time constraints of PhD studies, that will complement other team members’ activities in the project. As part of your PhD project, you will collate data on anthropomorphic imagery in a project database, as well as analyses of that data, and the writing of a PhD dissertation. You will be encouraged and supported to present your work at academic conferences; to be involved in collaborative authorship of project publications with other PhD students, postdoctoral researchers, and the PI; and ultimately to publish your work as lead author. As part of your PhD studies you will have opportunities to seek experience, e.g. potentially in public dissemination of research, organisation of academic conferences and meetings, teaching in higher education, and similar, in alignment with your own aspirations and possibilities open in the School of Archaeology and Ancient History.
The PhD studentship may include some travel for artefact studies.
We endeavour to be inclusive and flexible regarding applicants with caring obligations, disabilities and other considerations.