Funded PhD "Spaceship Earth: Interdisciplinary Approaches to Cold War Ecology" @ York University UK

forwarding a job/phd opportunity to work on this fascinating project:

I’m writing to let you know about a funded PhD studentship at the Leverhulme Centre for Anthropocene Biodiversity at the University of York, UK. The project is entitled ‘Spaceship Earth: Interdisciplinary Approaches to Cold War Ecology,’ and will be co-supervised by Erica Sheen, Shane Hamilton and Peter Sands. The project will be housed in the Department of English and Related Literature.

Please get in touch with any of the supervisors to discuss applications; we hope to receive proposals for projects that take up specific lines of enquiry within the broad remit of the advertised description (pasted below). The deadline for applications is 8 January 2024.

all best wishes,


How has the image of ‘Spaceship Earth’ guided perceptions of biodiversity and resilience since the mid-twentieth century? Despite important work on the concept of biodiversity from 1850 to World War 2, our understanding of ecological resilience has been limited by approaches to the Cold War as a scenario of nuclear disaster. In the 1960s, however, as the Space Race gathered momentum, Spaceship Earth offered environmentalists like Barbara Ward and Buckminster Fuller a positive vision of a world order in which technology joined forces with a global market to produce ecological sustainability. In cultural and scientific fields, this innovative thinking made biodiversity visible in exciting and unprecedented ways, such as satellite and radio tracking, experimental photography and film; but it also imagined approaches to economics which radically prioritised international cooperation over competition.

This studentship focuses on interdisciplinary approaches to Cold War ecology in order to advance our understanding of its historical role in the culture and economics of contemporary environmentalism. You will be based in the Leverhulme Centre for Anthropocene Biodiversity (LCAB) at the University of York, supervised by Erica Sheen, Shane Hamilton and Peter Sands. You will have a Masters degree in any area of the Humanities or Social Sciences and a demonstrable interest in cold war and environmental studies. Interdisciplinary experience in relevant areas of literary, visual, historical, cultural and economic research is critical. You will have excellent communication skills and a commitment to develop interdisciplinary collaborations.

LCAB provides opportunities to interact with students and researchers across departments and institutions, and will offer additional training as required.

Several studentships are available with LCAB - take a look at our others, including the option to submit your own research proposal under the theme of Biodiversity Gains and Resilience.