PhD Scholarship – Merchants and Museums: The Natural History Trade


The University of Wollongong’s Faculty of Law, Humanities and the Arts is offering a PhD scholarship in connection with the Australian Research Council funded Linkage Project ‘Reconstructing museum specimen data through the pathways of global commerce’ (LP160101761). The aim of the project is to revitalize irreplaceable zoological specimens through a closer understanding of their origins, exchange and preservation as part of a global trade in natural history. The project draws on broad expertise in anthropology, economic history, cultural history, archaeology, and spectroscopy.

The PhD project will focus on the growth of the natural history trade in zoological specimens from the Linnean period (c.1758) to the early twentieth century. It will analyse the main trade routes, supply chains, exchange processes, and preservation practices for the natural history trade. Understanding the trade and preservation of natural history products will assist in recovering the stories and scientific knowledge hidden in many currently moribund museum specimens.

One scholarship is available for commencement in or mid-2018 or early 2019, but further PhD opportunities are also available on the project.


Successful candidates will be supervised by Professor Simon Ville (Wollongong), but with the support and encouragement of other members of the project team. Simon is a leading economic historian and supervises a group of graduate students. He is a member of the history discipline at Wollongong that scores very highly in research rankings and includes many holders of ARC grants and fellowships.


Both domestic and international prospective students are encouraged to apply. The scholarship is for three years full-time with a stipend of $AUD 27,082 per annum (tax free).

This project would suit a candidate with:

  • A background in History, Economics, or Anthropology
  • Some experience handling descriptive data and/or archival sources
  • An interest in Transnational History, Economic History or the History of Science
  • Additional relevant research experience and/or peer-reviewed research activity, awards and/or prizes will be regarded favourably
  • Applicants should submit:

For further enquiries contact Simon Ville: