University of Exeter funding: PhD: ERC Russian and Translation St

The Dark Side of Translation: 20th and 21st Century Translation from Russian as a Political Phenomenon in the UK, Ireland, and the USA PhD Studentship (RusTrans), Department of Modern Languages Ref: 3463

About the award

Project Summary:

The RusTrans project explores the role played by Russian-to-English literary translation in constructing national identity. It includes four case studies of translators of Russian literature and their networks, in Ireland, the UK, and the USA.

Project Description:

Applications are invited for three ERC-funded PhD studentships in the Department of Modern Languages at the University of Exeter to work with the lead researchers on the “RusTrans: Dark Side of Translation” project. This project investigates the ideology underlying the practice of Russian-to-English literary translation in the 20th and 21st centuries. The fully funded studentships, beginning in September 2019, are hosted at the University of Exeter’s Streatham Campus. The studentships are for 3.5 years and are open to students of any nationality. Each studentship will cover University tuition fees with a stipend equivalent to the Research Councils UK national minimum stipend (£14,777 in 2018/19). Candidates will be expected to have completed a Master’s degree by the time of starting the studentship; they should not yet have formally commenced a doctoral project.

Each candidate is expected to develop their own research question within one of three areas of investigation linked to the project, while assisting the PI and Postdoctoral fellow with project-related research and administration.

One candidate will contribute to the research on the “Publishing Translations from Russian Today” case study, while developing a PhD dissertation on a related issue in the history or practice of contemporary (post-2000) Russian-to-English literary translation.

The second candidate will work with the project’s Postdoctoral Fellow, Dr McAteer, on the “David Magarshack and Penguin Books” case study, while preparing a PhD dissertation on a topic relevant to the twentieth-century history or practice of Russian-to-English literary translation.

The third candidate will be expected to develop a PhD topic addressing the literary translation of Russian into the language of a nation where Russian culture exerts or has exerted a strong influence (e.g. Poland, Finland, or Estonia) in the twentieth or twenty-first centuries. This candidate will receive additional limited funding to carry out research in the nation of his or her research focus.

All three candidates will assist the PI and Postdoctoral Fellow with conference organization, website management (including writing regular blog posts and contributing to the project’s social media accounts), and other project administration. Some funding will be provided for research-related travel. Candidates will have opportunities to present their research at the project’s two international conferences in 2020 and 2022, and to co-write articles on the project case studies with Dr Maguire and Dr McAteer.

More information about the project can be found at

Key research questions include (within the context of Russian-to English literary translation): Why do translators select the texts that they do? Who funds the translation process, and with what aim? How do target audiences, critics, and national governments react to the translated texts (and do their perceptions of the source culture change as a result)? Which Russian authors, classified in terms of their political views and potential for literary or popular appeal, are currently being translated for the Anglophone market? What kind of writers have been supported by Russian-state-funded organizations, since the 2000’s? How many translators advocate for Russian-language authors, and what networks of contacts, grant agencies, etc. do they employ to this end? Is literary translation still viable as a career?

The successful candidates will benefit from joining the dynamic and supportive postgraduate research community in the College of Humanities at the University of Exeter, including the Centre for Translating Cultures at the Department of Modern Languages and our expanding programme of Translation Studies. You can expect to gain expertise in a wide range of transferable research skills, including interviewing, archival research, data analysis and management. Supervision will be shared between Dr Muireann Maguire and Dr Cathy McAteer.
The RusTrans project has received funding from the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (grant agreement No 802437).

For more information about the project and informal enquiries, please contact the primary supervisor, Dr Muireann Maguire 


Entry requirements

Applicants will have good listening and reading skills in English, Russian, and potentially another Slavonic language.

You should have at least a 2:1 Honours degree, or international equivalent, in Russian and will ideally already hold or be currently working towards an MA at Merit level, or international equivalent, in an appropriate subject area, including, for example: Translation Studies, Russian or other European modern language studies, history, and related disciplines.

Experience in Translation Studies is desirable.

If English is not your first language you will need to meet the English language requirements and provide proof of proficiency. Click here for more information and a list of acceptable alternative tests.

Please note that these studentships are only open to applicants who will start their studies in September 2019, not those who have already started.

This studentship, including full tuition fees and maintenance allowance, is available to UK/EU and international candidates.

How to apply

You will be asked to submit some personal details and upload a full CV, covering letter, research proposal and details of two academic referees, and if relevant, proof of your English language proficiency, by 15 April 2019. Your covering letter should outline your academic interests, prior research experience, which research project you wish to participate in, and the reasons for wishing to do so.

You will also be asked to upload verified transcripts of your most academic qualification.

All application documents must be submitted in English. Certified translated copies of academic qualifications must also be provided.

You must ensure that your referees email their references to by 15 April 2019.

Please note that we will not be contacting referees to request references, you must arrange for them to be submitted to us by the deadline. References should be submitted by your referees to us directly in the form of a letter. Referees must email their references to us from their institutional email accounts. We cannot accept references from personal/private email accounts, unless it is a scanned document on institutional headed paper and signed by the referee.

Interviews will be held at Streatham Campus week commencing 29 April 2019.

Please quote reference 3463 on your application and in any correspondence about this studentship.


Application deadline:15th April 2019
Number of awards:3
Value:UK/EU and international tuition fees and an annual maintenance allowance at the Research Council rate ( £14,777 per year in 2019/20).
Duration of award:per year
Contact: PGR Admissions - +44 (0) 1392 723044