A university in Australia is offering a PhD in heavy metal, including a scholarship to undertake the program. More specifically, the degree will be in the study of the social geography of heavy metal culture.
As Kerrang reported Wednesday (June 26), the University of Newcastle in Australia will host the two fully-funded PhD scholarships (or one international PhD scholarship) to study either “the Geographies of Homelessness, Veganism, Unschooling, or Heavy Metal,” according to a course description found at Anarchist Geography. It’s the website of Simon Springer, Professor of Human Geography and Director of the Centre for Urban and Regional Studies at the educational institution, who is administering the program.
Springer told Kerrang, “As a life-long metal fan who has only recently started to do some work in the area of metal studies, I figured this would be a good conduit to further my research agenda in this area. Certainly when I was a PhD student, I would have loved for someone to tell me that studying about metal is a legitimate academic pursuit!”
The scholarship provides an annual living allowance of $27,596 (or about $19,232 USD). Should the selected student(s) chooses to study metal, broad areas of potential study will be considered. “You could study Death Metal in Finland, as opposed to Heavy Metal in Australia,” the description suggests.
However, the following are the seven main points currently listed about the coursework, which shows a focus in ascertaining and understanding Australia’s relationship with metal in both a local and international sense:
• “What sorts of lyrical themes have Australian Metal bands adopted? Are these culturally and geographically unique to the continent?”
• “What is the relationship between the cultural evolution of Heavy Metal in Australia and colonialism?”
• “Is Heavy Metal in Australia largely a white phenomenon? What has been the response to diversity within the scene?”
• “How is gender negotiated within the Metal scene in Australia?”
• “What sort of reputation do Heavy Metal fans have within the Australian context? Does this impact the types of spaces that Heavy Metal fans can utilize?”
• “How has the geography of Australia in proximity to other scenes contributed to or hindered its cultural uptake?”
• “What is it about Australian Heavy Metal that makes it distinctive?”
The deadline for applications Aug. 15, but they’ll be reviewed on an ongoing basis, and successful applicants will be notified in September 2019. Applicants must have a “minimum of a BA Honours, and ideally a Master’s degree in Geography or a related field.” Read the rest of the course description below.
Heavy Metal is a global phenomenon, representing a major cultural trend for the past four decades. Numerous subgenres exist within the general framework of Heavy Metal, each representing unique subcultures. Many of these subgenres, such as Black Metal, Death Metal, Thrash Metal, and the New Wave of British Heavy Metal evolved in specific geographical settings, often referred to as ‘scenes’. While unique scenes have evolved across the globe, the bulk of Heavy Metal’s bands have originated within countries in the northern latitudes. Australia is uniquely positioned within this global evolution, owing to its historical connection to the United Kingdom and shared cultural affinities with its colonial originator. While remote from the geographical heart of Heavy Metal culture, Australia has developed its own unique and passionate approach, producing a number of high profile bands.