Centre for Global Development

Oliver Godsmark

oliver-godsmark-webPhD [Provisional Title: ‘Dividing Bombay, Creating Maharashtra: Dominance, Disparities and Dalits, 1920-1960’]

School of History, Graduation date: October 2013

What were you doing before you applied to your chosen programme?

I started my university career at Leeds in 2005. During my time as an undergraduate I came to focus particularly on Indian history, graduating with a first class honours degree in 2008. The same year I began my MA at Leeds, in which my dissertation focused upon regional identities in Maharashtra, western India, and the relationship between the region and the nation in a postcolonial setting. I graduated from my MA in Modern History with distinction in September 2009.

Why did you apply to the programme?

The decision to continue studying at Leeds was an easy one – I had already developed a strong professional relationship with my supervisor. The excellent resources available within the libraries and online, as well as the prospect of inter-disciplinary collaboration (for example, through the Centre for Global Development) cemented that choice. There is a really active PhD community both within the School of History and more generally within the University itself.

What are some of your best memories from studying at Leeds?

There is a really inclusive feel to studying at Leeds at the postgraduate level. My best memories include developing friendships with like-minded people and getting to know my peers both intellectually and socially. Excellent research seminars on South Asia, and Imperial and Colonial Studies, also stand out as another highlight. There have been opportunities to get involved in workshops and master-classes both within the School and outside, which often provoked stimulating discussion and have helped influence my own work in new, unforeseen directions.

What distinctive skills did you learn from studying at Leeds?

By studying the history of western India and its links with colonialism and nationalism, I have been able to develop critically informed ideas on theories and practices of global development and their historical impact in a particular region of the subcontinent. The teaching opportunities available within the School of History have seen me attempt to find ways to communicate my findings to an undergraduate student audience, whilst the excellent research skills that Leeds allowed me to develop have seen me select and order relevant evidence which applies to these theories.

What are your future plans? Do you think your degree will help you to achieve these?

I hope that my PhD will lead to a career in either academia or communications, particularly surrounding issues of global development. My postgraduate degree at Leeds has definitely equipped me with the additional research, analytical and communication tools needed for helping me to achieve this. With knowledge of the theoretical aspects of global development in historical perspective, and the expertise of applying these theories to a particular case in practice, I believe I have developed the skills necessary to both provide advice and conduct research on future developments in this field.

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