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Masters dissertations

Masters dissertations

The research programme offers rich opportunities for masters' students in a new and rapidly expanding area of scholarly enquiry as part of a larger research program. To date masters students have come to the research programme either via the Cambridge History Faculty's M.Phil in Economic and Social History, or the Cambridge Institute of Continue Education's M.Stud in Local History. Some students do masters degrees as a stepping stone towards, and training for, a Ph.D. Others take a masters degree as the final stage of their academic career. Prospective graduate students are advised to contact Amy Erickson or Leigh Shaw-Taylor at an early stage to discuss research proposals and other matters.

Current Masters students

15. Auriane Terki-Mignot, M.Phil in Economic and Social History

14. James Wells, M.Phil in Economic and Social History

13 Masayuki Mori, M.Stud in Local History

12 Andreas Doukakis, M.Stud in Local History

Completed Masters' theses

11. Alex Powers, M.Phil in Economic and Social History

10. Beth Kitson, M.Phil in Economic and Social History

9. Mung Lar Lam, M.Phil in Economic and Social History

8. Markus Block, M.Phil in Economic and Social History

7. Matthew McKinnon, M.Stud in Local History

8. Tim Rudnicki, M.Phil in Economic and Social History, The male occupational structure of northwest England, circa 1600 to 1851 (2015)

This dissertation uses a newly built dataset of 88,099 unique adult male occupational observations from the counties of Lancashire and Cheshire in northwest England from between 1624 and 1834 to estimate the male occupational structure of those counties at various points in time between the early seventeenth century and 1851. In the course of doing so, it shows that the occupational information contained in Quarter Sessions recognizances, the primary source material for this dissertation, is representative enough of the male population at large to make such estimates. It argues that a significant portion of the male population of the northwest, and particularly of Lancashire, was employed in manufacturing activities by the early seventeenth century. This suggests that the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries were periods of significant growth in the secondary sector in the northwest.

5. Cheng Yang, M.Phil in Economic and Social History

4. Sebastian Keibek, M.Phil in Economic and Social History, By-employment and occupational structure in early-modern England

This dissertation follows on from a BA dissertation, presenting an extended and more sophisticated analysis of early-modern by-employments. It is based on a sample of almost 2,000 probate inventories, covering six counties and two centuries. It introduces an innovative method to remove wealth bias from the probate inventory record, and uses it to create accurate estimates of by-employment incidence – concluding that the 'raw' probate inventory evidence, on which historians have based their calculations in the past, exaggerate the phenomenon by a factor two. It furthermore concludes that by-employments were typically of the household rather than the individual kind, with several members of the same household engaged in different gainful activities, rather than individuals engaging in more than one activity. It examines and explains geographic differences and temporal developments in by-employment incidence and economic importance. And, finally, it examines the corrections which by-employments necessitate on occupational structure estimates derived from principal employments, and finds them to be relatively small.

The most important results of the dissertation have been summarised in two papers in the Cambridge Working Papers in Economic and Social History series.

3. Sophie McGeevor, M.Phil in Economic and Social History

2. Keith Sugden, M.Stud thesis, The Occupational and Organizational Structures of the Northamptonshire Worsted and Shoemaking Trades, circa 1750-1821 (2011)

De-industrialization and industrialization processes have been studied through an occupational analysis of the worsted and shoemaking trades in Northamptonshire, circa 1750-1821. Using a number of primary sources, the timing of the collapse of the local worsted trade has been pinpointed. Decline began well before the introduction of mechanization. Worsted parishes depopulated. Marriage records were found to be of particular value as a proxy of economic change and a useful tool to study those parishes for which occupational data was not available.

Click here for a downloadable copy of this dissertation

1. John Walter, M.Stud dissertation, Employment in the Transport Sector Following the Advent of Railways in Hertfordshire