For the academic year 2022/23, I have been awarded a scholarship from the Anglo-Czech Educational Fund for a two-month study trip to Oxford University. The trip took place in October and November 2022 and one of its aims was to finalise my PhD. thesis on military
manuals printed in Central Europe between 1550 and 1650. Other goals included rethinking my professional plans after defending my thesis and obtaining a doctoral degree.
At Oxford University, I drew on an impressive amount of scholarly literature resources in the Bodleian Libraries and other university collections. I consulted my approach with Professor Peter Wilson of All Souls College, with whom I also discussed potential future collaboration on his grant project The European Fiscal-Military System 1530–1870. Contrary to the original plan,
it was not possible to collaborate directly with the project during my stay, but I was able to follow up on my previous meetings with Prof. Wilson and discuss ways in which I could assist his research – as a volunteer – given my specialisation in the book history.
The Bodleian Libraries provided me with a number of useful resources that I had been missing, which enabled me to write some key chapters of my dissertation. Prof. Wilson recommended that I contact some other Oxford academics with my specific questions – for example, Prof. Endre Suli, a specialist in the history of mathematics, who then referred me to other colleagues outside Oxford that I contacted with questions within their area of expertise.
My stay at Oxford University was extremely motivating and I managed to write the core of my dissertation during the course of it. I have a plan where I may offer my thesis for publication and where I could publish the results of my future projects, I would like to start after the PhD. defence.
Unfortunately, my situation became significantly more complicated when I returned to the Czech Republic. For existential reasons I had to take up a new job which is just partially connected to my field of expertise and it consumes a lot of my time. I do not have enough options to write the remaining chapters and to finalise my doctoral project now. Nevertheless, I believe I can finish the thesis sometime this academic year, defend it and continue in my scholarly work.
I am grateful to ACEF for funding my fruitful study trip, which was just the impulse I needed to finish my PhD. dissertation.