Postdoctoral Research Associate Election Violence in 19th Century England and Wales

Durham, United Kingdom
£33,797 - £40,322 per annum
21 Oct 2020
End of advertisement period
04 Nov 2020
Contract Type
Fixed Term
Full Time

School Government & Int'national Affairs

Grade 7: - £33,797 - £40,322 per annum
Fixed Term - Full Time
Contract Duration: Until 30/06/2021
Contracted Hours per Week: 35
Closing Date: 04-Nov-2020, 7:59:00 AM

Durham University

Durham University is one of the world's top universities with strengths across the Arts and Humanities, Sciences and Social Sciences. We are home to some of the most talented scholars and researchers from around the world who are tackling global issues and making a difference to people's lives.

The University sits in a beautiful historic city where it shares ownership of a UNESCO World Heritage Site with Durham Cathedral, the greatest Romanesque building in Western Europe. A collegiate University, Durham recruits outstanding students from across the world and offers an unmatched wider student experience.

Less than 3 hours north of London, and an hour and a half south of Edinburgh, County Durham is a region steeped in history and natural beauty. The Durham Dales, including the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, are home to breathtaking scenery and attractions. Durham offers an excellent choice of city, suburban and rural residential locations. The University provides a range of benefits including pension and childcare benefits and the University’s Relocation Manager can assist with potential schooling requirements.

Durham University seeks to promote and maintain an inclusive and supportive environment for work and study that assists all members of our University community to reach their full potential. Diversity brings strength and we welcome applications from across the international, national and regional communities that we work with and serve.

The Department

The School of Government and International Affairs 

Since its founding in 2004, SGIA has been a broad-based politics and international relations department, with research and educational activity across wide-ranging specialisms. The School is ranked 6th in the UK for Politics by the Complete University Guide. SGIA is within the QS top 100 departments in the world. We currently offer two single honours undergraduate programmes (BA in Politics and BA in International Relations), with an annual intake of approximately 100 students, joint honours programmes with Philosophy and Economics and a PPE programme as well as teaching significant numbers of students from other departments through the Combined Honours in Social Sciences and Liberal Arts programmes. At the taught postgraduate level, we offer eight programmes, including three increasingly popular MSc programmes with practitioner orientations, and two ESRC-recognised research-training masters. Our teaching at all levels is self-consciously research-led and we are also home to a substantial community of approximately 90 research students and 120 taught postgraduate students. Like our staff community, our student body is very international across all levels, an attribute that we value and seek to sustain.

The School currently enjoys high demand for places on both our undergraduate and postgraduate programmes from students of outstanding calibre, who progress to enjoy excellent employment prospects. Our key challenges arise from our intention to widen participation, enhance diversity, and inspire and enthuse students to become members of a community of research practice that equips them for effective lifelong learning and able to address complex and dynamic questions in diverse settings. SGIA aims to substantially increase its undergraduate intake over the next eight to ten years as part of the planned strategic growth of Durham University. This will be supported through a substantial number of future academic and administrative appointments, with an eventual planned increase to approximately 55 academic and 12 administrative staff.

In 2014, 71% of our research was deemed to be either internationally excellent or world leading. Our well-established reputation for research strength in areas such as political thought, and Middle East politics and international relations has been augmented in recent years through creation of the Durham Global Security Institute and the Global Policy Institute. The emerging strength in quantitative research methods is a strategic priority for the School and is principally supported by the Centre for Institutions and Political Behaviour. School staff play key roles in interdisciplinary groups across the University such as the Centre for Contemporary Chinese Studies and the Centre for the Study of Jewish Culture, Society and Politics. Recent revision within the School has led to the creation of four sub-discipline focused research groups: Political Theory; Comparative Politics, International Politics and Security, and International Political Economy. Institutes and centres cut across these groups and provide foci for collaborative research work and external-facing engagement and impact activities.

The Role

The School of Government and International Affairs (SGIA) at Durham University seeks to appoint a Postdoctoral Research Associate to work on the ESRC/AHRC-funded research project “Causes and Consequences of Electoral Violence: Evidence from England and Wales 1832-1914” (http://victorianelectionviolence.uk/) for the final 7 months of the project. The post is a full-time position, but we will consider requests for flexible working arrangements including potential job shares.

Electoral violence plagues the modern world, but it is not a new phenomenon. Violence and intimidation were a common part of early elections in many now established democracies, such as the UK. This project uses an original event database of over 2900 unique events collected over the last two years to examine electoral violence in England and Wales between the Great Reform Act (1832) and the Great War (1914). Based on the exceptionally detailed historical records on these events in historical newspapers and parliamentary committee and royal commission reports available for England and Wales (1832-1914), we will provide new answers to some of the most challenging questions concerning the emergence and decline of election violence. Our findings will be useful to historians, to political scientists studying electoral violence and development, and to practitioners seeking to tackle election violence in the modern world.

The work will involve contributing to the collection and analysis of various qualitative and quantitative historical data sources together with the investigator team, consisting of Drs. Patrick M Kuhn (PI) and Gidon Cohen (Co-I), and Prof. Nick Vivyan (Co-I). The successful candidate will be associated with the Centre for Institutions and Political Behaviour (https://www.dur.ac.uk/ipb/) and will be a core member of the research team on the project, with the opportunity to publish alongside the investigators. They will help identify and collect historical data sources online, and in national and regional archives, engage in data analysis and the drafting of outputs, help organize workshops and dissemination events, and provide administrative to the investigator team in running the project.


  • To understand and convey material of a specialist or highly technical nature to the team or group of people through presentations and discussions that leads to the presentation of research papers in conferences and publications.
  • To assist with the development of research objectives and proposals, specifically the Management and supervision of data collection
  • To prepare and deliver presentations on research outputs/activities to audiences which may include: research sponsors, academic and non-academic audiences.
  • To publish high quality outputs, including papers for submission to peer reviewed journals and papers for presentation at conferences and workshops under the direction of the Principal Investigator or Grant-holder.
  • To assist with the development of research objectives and proposals.
  • To conduct individual and collaborative research projects under the direction of the Principal Investigator or Grant-holder, notably undertaking Archival research in national and regional archives, which may require some travel, and performance of qualitative historical data analysis
  • To work with the Principal Investigator or Grant-holder and other colleagues in the research group, as appropriate, to identify areas for research, develop new research methods and extend the research portfolio.
  • To deal with problems that may affect the achievement of research objectives and deadlines by discussing with the Principal Investigator or Grant-holder and offering creative or innovative solutions resolve problems that may affect research objective or deadlines
  • To liaise with research colleagues and make internal and external contacts to develop knowledge and understanding to form relationships for future research collaboration.
  • Managing and updating the project website and Twitter account
  • Support in organizing workshops and dissemination events online
  • Liaising with members on the academic and practitioner advisory panels and making internal and external contacts to develop knowledge and understanding
  • Providing the investigator team with regular updates on the progress of the project.
  • To plan and manage own research activity, research resources in collaboration with others and contribute to the planning of research projects.
  • To deliver training in research techniques/approaches to peers, visitors and students as appropriate.
  • To be involved in student supervision, as appropriate, and assist with the assessment of the knowledge of students.
  • To contribute to fostering a collegial and respectful working environment which is inclusive and welcoming and where everyone is treated fairly with dignity and respect.
  • To engage in wider citizenship to support the department and wider discipline.
  • To engage in continuing professional development by participation in the undergraduate or postgraduate teaching programmes or by membership of departmental committees, etc. and by attending relevant training and development courses.  

This post is fixed term for the final 7 months of the project, the funding for which ends on 30th June 2021.

The post-holder is employed to work on research/a research project which will be led by another colleague. Whilst this means that the post-holder will not be carrying out independent research in his/her own right, the expectation is that they will contribute to the advancement of the project, through the development of their own research ideas/adaptation and development of research protocols.

Successful applicants will, ideally, be in post as soon as possible. Successful applicants are not required to re-locate to Durham, but regular online interactions with the investigator team are expected. 

The Requirements

Essential Criteria:


  • A good first degree in History, Politics, or a related subject.
  • A PhD (or be close to submission) in History, Politics, or a related subject.


  • Experience in conducting high quality academic research.
  • Demonstrable ability to write material of a quality commensurate with publication in highly-ranked journals.
  • Demonstrable ability to present research papers at  conferences and communicate complex information to specialists and within the wider academic community.
  • Experience in undertaking archival research, including the location, collection, and analysis of material.
  • Experience of designing, assembling, and/or working with historical databases


  • Demonstrable ability to work cooperatively as part of a team, including participating in research meetings.
  • Ability to work independently on own initiative and to strict deadlines.
  • Excellent interpersonal and communication skills.

Desirable Criteria:


  • Knowledge of and demonstrable research experience in 19th century British political history.
  • Strong publication record in peer-reviewed journals, commensurate with stage of career.
  • A track record of presenting research at conferences, symposia, or meetings, commensurate with stage of career.
  • Demonstrable ability to develop research proposals and designs in collaboration with other academics.
  • Experience of overseeing students with respect to the development of their practical/research skills e.g. acting as a demonstrator; supervising student projects/practicals.
  • Palaeographical skills


  • Demonstrable ability to plan and manage independent research.

How to Apply

For informal enquiries please contact Dr. Patrick M Kuhn (p.m.kuhn@durham.ac.uk). All enquiries will be treated in the strictest confidence.

We prefer to receive applications online via the Durham University Vacancies Site. https://www.dur.ac.uk/jobs/  As part of the application process, you should provide details of 3 (preferably academic/research) referees and the details of your current line manager so that we may seek an employment reference.


Applications are particularly welcome from women and black and minority ethnic candidates, who are under-represented in academic posts in the University.

What to Submit

All applicants are asked to submit:

  • A CV and covering letter which details your experience, strengths and potential in the requirements set out above;
  • A PDF of a preferably single-authored piece of academic writing

Next Steps

The assessment for the post will include a short presentation on a pre-determined research task and an interview. Shortlisted candidates will be invited for an online interview and assessment to take place in the first week of November.

DBS Requirement: Not Applicable.