Postdoctoral researcher ‘Europeanizing Colonial Heritage’ (deadline 24 May 2018)

The Amsterdam School of Historical Studies (ASH), one of six research schools in the Amsterdam Institute for Humanities Research at the University of Amsterdam (UvA), currently has a vacant postdoctoral position as part of the European Commission Horizon 2020 project European Colonial Heritage Modalities in Entangled Cities (ECHOES). The overall project’s Principal Investigator is Professor John Oldfield (University of Hull, UK). Professor Elizabeth Buettner at the University of Amsterdam (ASH) is co-leader of two component subprojects, one of which is ‘Europeanizing Colonial Heritage’.

Project description
“ECHOES addresses a pressing dilemma at the heart of contemporary Europe: the fact that while the history of empires and colonialism undoubtedly constitutes a shared European past, this past remains strangely silent in official narratives about Europe’s ‘heritage’—those things it values enough to save for future generations. We argue that the EU urgently needs not just to acknowledge this dilemma but to reflexively and progressively include it at the heart of its identity. ‘Europeanizing’ difficult colonial heritage is becoming all the more necessary today as the EU operates in increasingly global contexts, relationships, and geographies, where its ongoing ‘deficit’ towards accepting colonialism as a part of European history collides with the palpable ‘surplus’ of colonial memory in much of the outside world with which Europe grows ever more entangled. ECHOES therefore proposes that the memory of colonialism needs to find its place in contemporary European heritage debates, and will place European and non-European cities still imbued with manifold traces of the colonial past at the heart of its engagement with heritage practices.”

Echoes is supported by the European Commission’s H2020-SC6-ENG-GLOBALLY-2016-2017: Engaging Together Globally scheme. Running for three years starting in February 2018, it will be carried out by researchers based at the Universities of Hull, Aarhus, Amsterdam, Rennes II, Warsaw, and the Center for Social Studies at the University of Coimbra.

This University of Amsterdam postdoctoral position falls within work package 2 ‘Europeanizing Colonial Heritage’, overseen by Dr Jan Ifversen and Dr Christoffer Kølvraa of Aarhus University together with Prof. Elizabeth Buettner from UvA. You will collaborate with the international research team to explore the role of the colonial past in public and official discourses within the European Union, focusing on how the colonial past is dealt with in policy formulations of the EU’s role as a global actor. The results of your work will be included in knowledge exchange and science diplomacy with central stakeholders in the EU who are responsible for heritage and cultural policies as well as external relations.

You will conduct a discourse analysis of archival and other textual material from the 1990s onwards, ranging from important declarative speeches, documents, and interventions to statements that attempt to publicize, justify, or explain EU engagements in what are clearly post-colonial contexts (such as the EuroMed Partnership, the Africa–EU strategic partnership, and the European Neighbourhood Policy). Your obligations will include:

  • writing at least one high-quality academic article for an international refereed journal on EU discourses related to colonial heritage, to be submitted before the end of the appointment;
  • travelling to and presenting papers at conferences abroad;
  • building and maintaining excellent relations among academic researchers and others involved in the project. This will include circulating between Amsterdam, Aarhus, and Brussels as and when necessary for research and project team activities (for which reasonable travel costs will be covered). Skype conversations liaising with international researchers will also periodically take place;
  • playing a role in co-organizing project events;
  • contributing to writing project reports as and when needed.

If you are the postdoctoral researcher we are looking for, you have:

  • a PhD (already examined) in History, European Studies, or a related discipline;
  • (maximum of 4 years of experience post PhD);
  • a demonstrable interest in European colonial history and the history and heritage policies of the European Union, as well as discourse analysis;
  • a research and publication record commensurate with their career stage;
  • fluent English;
  • good analytical and communication skills;
  • strong organizational skills;
  • a cooperative, collegial attitude and willingness to work as part of a collaborative international team.

Further information
For further information, you may contact:

You will be appointed for 38 hours per week (1.0 FTE) for a maximum period of one year at the Department of History, European Studies & Religious Studies of the Faculty of Humanities. The research will be carried out under the aegis of ASH. The intended starting date of the contract is 1 September 2018. The gross monthly salary (on full-time basis) will range from €3,238 to €3,722 depending on experience and qualifications. The Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities is applicable.

Job application
The UvA is an equal opportunity employer. We celebrate diversity and are committed to creating an inclusive environment for all employees. We value a spirit of enquiry and endurance, provide the space to keep asking questions and cherish a diverse atmosphere of curiosity and creativity.

Your application should include:

1. a full academic CV

2. other requested documents in one PDF file (not zipped), consisting of:

  • a letter of motivation;
  • a full list of publications (please provide an English translation if the publication is not in English or Dutch );
  • an original article/chapter-length text (up to 10,000 words) relating directly to the research field (do not send books or theses as part of your application)
  • the names and contact details of two referees who may be approached by the selection committee.

You must have completed your PhD before the start of this postdoctoral project.

Please submit your complete application no later than 24 May 2018 to the link on the University of Amsterdam webpage.

We will only consider complete applications.

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