Postdoc position ‘Heritages of Hunger: Famine Legacies in Ukraine and Russia’

A postdoctoral researcher in the field of history or memory studies to investigate the politicisation of famine legacies in Ukraine and Russia.

You will work as part of a team on the NWO-funded NWA-ORC project Heritages of Hunger: Societal Reflections on Past European Famines in Education, Commemoration and Musealisation (NWA.1160.18.197). This project is conducted by researchers at Wageningen University, Radboud University Nijmegen, and the NIOD Institute for War, Holocaust and Genocide Studies in Amsterdam.

Heritages of Hunger investigates how educational practices (at schools, heritage sites, museums, or surrounding commemorative practices) can create awareness of famines as heritages of shared experiences and past solidarity among European communities. The case studies to be examined through a comparative approach are connected to episodes of war (Belgium and Germany during and after WWI; the Netherlands, Russia and Greece during WWII, Germany after WWII); neglect and ecological crisis (nineteenth-century Ireland, Finland) and oppression (interbellum Spain, Ukraine). Furthermore, the project addresses the significant impact of famine legacies in education and heritage practices of European immigrant communities across the globe.

Your postdoctoral research project, Famine Legacies in Ukraine and Russia, investigates how memories of the Ukrainian famine of 1932-33 (‘Holodomor’) and the Leningrad Blockade of 1941-44 function in education and the heritage sector. In particular, this project will examine discourses of victimhood/perpetrator and solidarity in curricula, commemorations and museum exhibitions in Ukraine and Russia. How have past and present teaching and commemoration practices given shape to these troubled histories? What role have they played and do they continue to play in international relations? And in what respects do these commemorations and educational practices embed themselves in larger, transnational narratives of oppression, hunger and war?

Your research is to result in scientific publications (min. 2 peer-reviewed articles). Furthermore, you will assist in the development of the educational resources by the project team. You are also expected to actively contribute to the project’s programme of meetings, both with respect to substance and organisationally (e.g., expert meetings, conferences, public events).

You will conduct the research at the Rural and Environmental History Group and will participate in the research programme of this chair group.


You are an ambitious, enthusiastic scholar and a team player, devoted to research and education in an international and interdisciplinary academic environment.
You also have:

  • a (soon to be) completed PhD in history or memory studies;
  • demonstrable expertise about famine histories and/or 20th-century Ukrainian and/or Russian history; preferably with additional research interests in memory cultures, education or heritage practices;
  • excellent command of English and basic proficiency in Ukrainian and/or Russian;
  • an excellent track-record in research achievements and publications;
  • demonstrable experience and affinity with knowledge utilisation, preferably in education or the heritage sector;
  • the ability to work collaboratively in an international research team, as evidenced by previous work experience;
  • the proven capacity to work with deadlines.


Wageningen University & Research offers excellent terms of employment. A few highlights from our Collective Labour Agreement include:

  • sabbatical leave, study leave, and paid parental leave;
  • working hours that can be discussed and arranged so that they allow for the best possible work-life balance;
  • the option to accrue additional holiday hours by working more, up to 40 hours per week;
  • there is a strong focus on vitality and you can make use of the sports facilities available on campus for a small fee;
  • a fixed December bonus of 8.3%;
  • excellent pension scheme.

In addition to these first-rate employee benefits, we offer a fixed term position (0.6 fte) from December 2021 through November 2023. The salary is maximum €3.746,- gross per month, according to the Collective Labour Agreements for Dutch Universities (CAO-NU). This is based on a full-time working week of 38 hours. We offer a temporary contract for 6 months which will be extended for another 18 months if you perform well.

Coming from abroad
Wageningen University & Research is the university and research centre for life sciences. The themes we deal with are relevant to everyone around the world and Wageningen, therefore, has a large international community and a lot to offer to international employees. Applicants from abroad moving to the Netherlands may qualify for a special tax relief, known as the 30% ruling. Our team of advisors on Dutch immigration procedures will help you with the visa application procedures for yourself and, if applicable, for your family.
Feeling welcome also has everything to do with being well informed. Wageningen University & Research’s International Community page contains practical information about what we can do to support international employees and students coming to Wageningen. Furthermore, we can assist you with any additional advice and information about helping your partner to find a job, housing, schooling, and other issues.


Wageningen University & Research
The mission of Wageningen University and Research is “To explore the potential of nature to improve the quality of life”. Under the banner Wageningen University & Research, Wageningen University and the specialised research institutes of the Wageningen Research Foundation have joined forces in contributing to finding solutions to important questions in the domain of healthy food and living environment.With its roughly 30 branches, 6.500 employees and 12.500 students, Wageningen University & Research is one of the leading organisations in its domain. An integrated approach to problems and the cooperation between various disciplines are at the heart of Wageningen’s unique approach. WUR has been named Best Employer in the Education category for 2019-2020.

These are the points our employees list as good reasons to come work at WUR: read the 5 reasons to come work at WUR.

For more information about this position, please contact Dr Ingrid de Zwarte,
For more information about the procedure, please contact Sandra Willemsen, Corporate recruiter or Bianca Aversteeg, Recruitment support via

Do you want to apply?
You can apply directly using the apply button on the vacancy page on our website which will allow us to process your personal information with your approval.

To apply, please upload – next to your letter of motivation and your cv – the following documents:

  • writing sample (e.g., peer-reviewed article; thesis chapter);
  • two letters of reference, one of which preferably written by your PhD supervisor;
  • a 1.000-word research statement, which outlines:
  • your research interests and their compatibility with the project;
  • your intended focus in this subproject;
  • your choice of methodology.

The intended starting date of the project is the 1st of December 2021, but this date is negotiable.

This vacancy will be listed up to and including the 31st of May 2021. We will schedule the first job interviews in the second half of June.

Equal opportunities
Wageningen University & Research (WUR) employs a large number of people with very different backgrounds and qualities, who inspire and motivate each other. We want every talent to feel at home in our organisation and be offered the same career opportunities. We therefore especially welcome applications from people who are underrepresented at WUR. For more information please go to our inclusive webpage. A good example of how WUR deals with inclusiveness can be read on the page working at WUR with a functional impairment.

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