PhD candidate Different pathways towards industrialized societies: textile production in the US and Japan, 1750-1990 (deadline 15 May 2018)

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The Department of History and Art History seeks to appoint a PhD candidate for the project “Race to the bottom? Family labour, household livelihood and consumption in the relocation of global cotton manufacturing, ca. 1750-1990”, funded by means of an ERC Consolidator Grant awarded to Prof. dr. Elise van Nederveen Meerkerk.

The PhD candidate will be working on the following subproject:

PhD project 2Different pathways towards industrialized societies: textile production in the US and Japan, 1750-1990 (1.0 fte)

The US and Japan form an interesting comparison between countries that experienced more capital-intensive and more labour-intensive industrialization of textiles, respectively. Both developed an internationally competitive textile industry during the 19th century, but the routes taken were strikingly different. Whereas in both countries (young) women undoubtedly had less influence on their own fate than most men, the position of women in American households was most probably favourable compared to that of women in Japanese households. Apart from differences in the allocation of household labour, it appears that (federal) state industrial policies have been important in developments and relocations of the textile industries in both the US and Japan. Moreover, several developments in the world market induced institutional and political changes, such as the US Civil War – and its resultant “cotton famine” – in the 1860s, and the disintegration of the British Commonwealth market. This project aims to systematically compare the role of each of these factors on the resilience and decline of US and Japanese textile production, and their respective weight in both contexts.


A successful PhD candidate should preferably have:

  • a (Research) Master’s Degree in History, Economics or another relevant discipline and a demonstrable affinity with the scope of the project;
  • an outstanding record of Undergraduate and Master’s Degree work;
  • excellent command of English, both written and orally.
  • experience with archival research;
  • strong writing skills;
  • capacity to work both as a creative and independent researcher and as part of a team.


We offer a position (1.0 FTE), start date from 1 October 2018 onwards. The appointment is for an initial period of 18 months which after a satisfactory evaluation will be extended by another 30 months (4 years in total). The gross salary for a full-time employment starts at €2,222  in the first year, ending at €2,840 in the fourth year (P-scale of the Collective Labour Agreement Dutch Universities). Salaries are supplemented with a holiday bonus of 8 % and a year-end bonus of 8.3 % per year. We offer a pension scheme, (partly paid) parental leave, collective insurance schemes and flexible employment conditions (multiple choice model). More information is available at: working at Utrecht University.

About the organisation

A better future for everyone. That is the ambition that motivates our scholars in their top research and their inspiring teaching. The various disciplines within Utrecht University collaborate closely on important social themes. Our focus is on Dynamics of Youth, Institutions for Open Societies, Life Sciences and Sustainability.

The Faculty of Humanities has approximately 900 employees and 7,000 students. The Faculty covers four areas of knowledge: Philosophy and Religious Studies, History and Art History, Media and Cultural Studies, and Languages, Literature and Communication.

Through education and research in these areas the Faculty aims to contribute to a better understanding of the Netherlands and Europe within an ever changing social and cultural context. Our enthusiastic and committed colleagues and the excellent facilities in Utrecht’s historic centre, where the Faculty has its home, make for an inspiring working climate.

Additional information

A brief project summary is available on the ERC website (click tab “Summary”).
Enquiries can be made to Elise van Nederveen Meerkerk, An extended research description is available upon request.


Written applications should address each of the criteria mentioned under qualifications and include the following documents:

  • cover letter;
  • curriculum vitae;
  • research design proposal (max. 600 words);
  • copy of relevant diplomas and grades;
  • copy of a recent academic publication (max. 30 pages) or a recent paper or thesis;
  • names and contact details of two referees.

Please note that incomplete applications cannot be included in the subsequent selection procedure.

Candidates who make the shortlist will be invited for an interview. These may be conducted in person in Utrecht or via Skype. Interviews are scheduled to take place in the week of 11 June.

Please use the application button on the original vacancy web page. The application deadline is 15 May 2018.

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