PhD/Masters Scholarships 2018: 'Violent States, States of Violence'

Violent States, States of Violence

Principal Investigators: Prof Garth Stevens (Department of Psychology) and Prof Karl von Holdt (SWOP)

Call for Applications for 2018 Postgraduate Scholarships ___________________________________________________________

The Violent States, States of Violence Research Project at the University of the Witwatersrand invites applications from MA and PhD students for scholarships in the field of violence studies for the 2018 academic year.

Violence remains one of the most vexing, recalcitrant and embedded features of our time – in South Africa, Africa and globally. Violence raises macro-questions about history, modernity and the state, but also raises intimate questions that warp and scar multitudes of individual lives – regarding self, subjectivity, relationality, sex, safety and home. Violence can be tacit, everyday, symbolic, background, concealed, or registered in fear and hatred rather than incident. It can be event, spectacle, systemic, a form of insurgent politics that calls attention to deeper social, political and economic challenges facing the nation-state – or simply call attention to itself. Colonialism, as the darker side of modernity, was the central historical process in this expansion and deepening of global violence. In this regard, it could be argued that the entire modernist project and its associated colonial matrix of power were constituted through violence. Violence is thus profoundly implicated in the constitution of strategic relations of power, ways of being, and knowledge in the modern world. Mainstream social theory continues to ignore the centrality of colonialism and the post-colonial to Western civilisation, and the centrality of violence to the constitution of social order and social subjects.

To this end, the project is interested in the connections and dynamics between violence and large-scale structures, histories and institutions, and the more micro-level formation of citizenship, subjectivity and the intimate productions of selfhood. The modern state produces, and is the site of, a vast range of violences – a state that is indeed a violent state, and is reciprocally implicated in multiple states of violence through which embodied, actional and agentic subjects, and persons are interpellated into violent encounters. We are particularly interested in how violence reticulates along varied structural, social, political, communal, collective, interpersonal, cultural, embodied, moral, affective and emotional conduits in constituting a matrix – one in which there is an ongoing interplay between structural conditions that enable violence, and processes of subject and self formation in which violence comes to play a formative and reproductive function. Here, encounters of violence represent not only the sites of convergence for persons, social subjects, citizens and social structures, but also provide opportunities to understand the mechanics, processes and dynamics of violence (i.e. the ‘how’ of violence) that should offer a deeper understanding of the ‘why’ of violence.

The project objectives and analytic framing will be operationalized through eight cross-cutting research themes, including: (1) State Violence; (2) Socio-Economic Transformations and Violence; (3) Violence and Collective Action, (4) Communities and Violence; (5) Interpersonal Violence; (6) Interactional Studies of Violence; (7) Embodied Enactments, Affective-Discursive Practices and Violence; and finally, (8) Responses to Violence.

We would like to invite applications from MA and PhD students. Students must formally register at the institution in 2018 to conduct violence research within any disciplinary field in the Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of the Witwatersrand.

Successful applicants will benefit from a strong, supportive and collaborative interdisciplinary research environment. There will also be moderate funds available for research implementation costs, and recipients of scholarships will have the opportunity to participate in all colloquia, international conferences and research events associated with the overarching project.

The value of the scholarship is:

· MA scholarships are for one year @ R95 000. · PhD scholarships are for four years @ R125 000 per annum.

Eligibility and requirements:

· Excellent Honours or Masters results; · A research project that focuses on violence research; and · Preference will be given to Black South African applicants.

Application process: Applications close on the 18th December 2017 for MA applications. Applications close on the 19th January 2018 for PhD applications.

Your application should include:

1. A detailed and up to date CV.

2. Names and contact details (including email addresses), of two academic references. 3. Certified copies of degrees.

4. An academic transcript.

5. While, in principle, prospective recipients are not precluded from receiving other funding, all such funding applied for and/or received must be disclosed at the time of application. Prospective recipients are expected to be fully committed to the Violent States, States of Violence research project, and any other funding or employment with requirements that prevent such a commitment may result in the scholarship being withdrawn. It is the applicant’s responsibility to check whether other funding awarded to them has any caps, restrictions or requirements that would make them ineligible for this particular scholarship, or that would inhibit their full-time commitment to the project.

6. If you have already been accepted for an MA or PhD programme at Wits and have been assigned a supervisor, please provide these details.

7. If you have not yet applied to or been accepted into a programme at Wits, please indicate your disciplinary field and (if you have one) a preferred supervisor.

8. If your proposal has already been approved and accepted by Faculty, please supply a copy of this proposal and a covering letter explaining how you envisage this project as contributing to and benefitting from the broader Violent States, States of Violence research agenda.

9. If you have not yet submitted a proposal to Faculty, please provide a brief concept paper (not more than 1000 words) outlining your proposed research and how it would articulate with the Violent States, States of Violence research project.

Please submit your application to by the 18th December 2017 (MA applications) and the 19th January 2018 (PhD applications).

Outcomes for MA applicants will be communicated by mid-January 2018, and outcomes for PhD applicants will be communicated by end-January 2018.

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