Driven by the increasing public awareness of the impact of hurricanes and the devastation of coastal areas, Island(er)s at the Helm will contribute to equipping (Dutch) Caribbean societies with proficient tools for confronting these challenging climatic phenomena. Such adverse events have significant ecological, social, and cultural implications, affecting the basic living conditions (water, food, shelter-nexus/WFS-nexus) and heritage of the island inhabitants. This research builds on the principle that local-specific practices and ontologies of Caribbean societies are crucial for promoting sustainable WFS-nexus solutions. The project brings together researchers and societal partners to employ a mixture of technical, traditional, and contemporary knowledge practices for studying climate change adaptation through a long-term perspective. Five inter-related work packages studying the WFS-nexus of the island(er)s will adopt a transdisciplinary research design including: archaeology, paleoecology, (paleo)ethnobotany, social-cultural anthropology, visual arts, performance arts, political science, urban design, urban planning, governance and policy sciences, legal studies, architecture, and civil engineering.
Island(er)s at the Helm is financed by the NWO Caribbean Research programme. The host institute for this project is the Royal Netherlands Institute for Southeast Asian and Caribbean Studies (KITLV/KNAW), in collaboration with the University of Aruba, the University of Sint Martin, and the University of Curaçao. This position consists of a dual appointment at the KITLV and an academic institute in The Netherlands.
The Island(er)s at the Helm project is looking for a Postdoctoral candidate in Paleoethnobotany & Traditional Food Practices, in the work package “Resilient past communities and traditional knowledge practices”. This work package aims to understand social adaptation to climate challenges in the past to enrich and innovate the current knowledge-practices of island(er)s.
The team will study the continuities within the discontinuities of the precolonial and colonial histories of the island(er)s, by combining paleo-environmental and archaeological records to understand how people in the (Dutch) Caribbean islands adapted to climate challenges in the past.
In-depth research of (ethno-)historical sources and ethnographic research into traditional knowledge practices will be collected to understand the ways people, during the pre-colonial and colonial periods, built resilience in terms of water and food management and how they construct(ed) their houses to protect themselves from extreme weather events. This information will significantly contribute to the set of traditional knowledge practices necessary to develop sustainable solutions for social adaptation to climate challenges.
Paleo-ecological investigations (through analyses of sediment cores) in coastal and mangrove areas will provide records of past vegetation and coastal (marine) ecosystem changes that identify shifts in their health status and functioning through time (in relation to climate change and human habitation). The relation between environmental changes and density, type, and structure of archaeological sites will provide insights into temporal dynamics and resilience (i.e., time of return to pre-impact conditions or adaptations) of coastal ecosystems and associated resources vital for human survival.
KITLV is a KNAW institute. Appointment will be according to the terms of the Collective Labor Agreement of Dutch Universities (CAO Nederlandse Universiteiten).
We offer a part time (0,5 fte) position (19 hours per week) for four years starting in January 2022.
Based on the university system of job classification [universitair systeem functieordenen, or UFO], the position is classified as job profile Post-doctoral Researcher [Onderzoeker 4].
The gross monthly salary will be based on experience and will be between € 1.676 and € 1.809 (in accordance with salary scale 10, of the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities).
KNAW offers an attractive benefits package with additional holiday (8%) and end-of-year bonuses (8.3 %) and training and career development. Candidates from outside the Netherlands may be eligible for a substantial tax break. In case the applicant is not currently a resident of The Netherlands, the applicant is expected to move.
The Royal Netherlands Institute of Southeast Asian and Caribbean Studies (KITLV-KNAW) is an Academy research institute. The KITLV conducts interdisciplinary and comparative historical research. Its research focus is Southeast Asia and the Caribbean, with an emphasis on Indonesia and the ‘Dutch’ Caribbean. It is particularly interested in such issues as state formation, violence and citizenship, processes of mobility and the formation of ethnic and national identity. KITLV is active in the humanities, social sciences and comparative area studies and works closely with Leiden University.
For more information on this position please send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Diversity & Inclusion
The KNAW considers a working environment in which everyone feels welcome and appreciated of great importance. A working environment in which attention is paid to individual quality and where development opportunities are paramount. Together we strive for an inclusive culture in which we embrace differences. We would therefore like to invite candidates who want to contribute to this through their background and experience. In the event of equal suitability, preference will be given to the candidate who thus enhances diversity within the Academy.
We will not respond to any supplier enquiries based on this job advertisement.
Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW)
Reuvensplaats 2, 2311 BE, Leiden
To request the full Island(er)s at the Helm research proposal, please send:
Make sure to apply no later than 2 Sep 2021 23:59 (Europe/Amsterdam).
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