A PhD researcher in the social history of material infrastructures @IISH

A PhD researcher in the social history of material infrastructures @IISH

Published Deadline Location
19 Apr 15 May Amsterdam

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The Humanities Cluster of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW) is a collaboration between three research institutes: the International Institute for Social History, the Huygens Institute for the History of the Netherlands, and the ...

Job description

For the International Institute for Social History we are looking for

a PhD researcher in

the social history of material infrastructures

(1,0 fte for 4 years)

General description

The PHD position is part of a project on the social history of material infrastructures. This project examines how large-scale infrastructures such as roads, city walls, and bridges contributed to regional and empire-wide integration, but equally why and how processes of integration regularly broke down, and how large-scale infrastructure projects contributed to countervailing trends including local tensions, local autonomy, and cross-border regional formations. Read the project abstract here: The Lives and Afterlives of Imperial Material Infrastructure in Southeastern China

The doctoral student will be mainly responsible for 1) authoring a PHD thesis on the social history of material infrastructures; 2) collaborating with other members of the research team on data collection, annotation, curation, and analysis of city walls, roads or bridges; 3) learning new theoretical literatures and research methods and contributing to the joint research of all team members; 4) assisting in the organization of workshops and outreach events.


Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW)


Job requirements

Candidates for this position should have a (research) master's degree in Chinese or East Asian history, archeology, or a related field in the humanities. In addition, you have:
  • Intermediate to advanced reading skills in classical Chinese;
  • a strong interest in and ideally experience with digital research methods including text mining, GIS, network analysis, and machine learning;
  • a strong interest in and ideally experience with comparative historical research;
  • a cooperative attitude and willingness to engage in collaborative research;
  • excellent presentation and writing skills in English and Chinese;
  • enthusiasm and aptitude for public and oral history;
  • Dutch language ability is a plus.

Conditions of employment

Fixed-term contract: 1 jaar.

Terms of employment
Depending on education and experience the minimum salary is € 2.443,- per month in the first year, rising to € 3.122,- gross per month in the fourth year for a full-time appointment (scale P cao Nederlandse Universiteiten/KNAW). This is exclusive of 8% vacation allowance, 8.3% year-end bonus, travel allowance, internet allowance, home working allowance and pension accrual with ABP. The KNAW offers its staff an excellent package of secondary benefits. A package that meets the different needs of employees depending on their stage of life, lifestyle or career ambitions. For example, by working an extra two hours a week, it is possible to increase the number of days off from 29 to 41 days a year (with full-time employment).

For a complete overview of the terms of employment, please refer to the web page: werken bij de KNAW.

Additional information

For more information please contact Professor Hilde De Weerdt: hilde.de.weerdt@iisg.nl

How to apply

Your application should include:
  • A letter of interest explaining how your background matches the criteria and how you aim to contribute to the project;
  • a CV;
  • a writing sample (a paper or thesis chapter, ideally in English);
  • a copy of your diploma and authorized grade transcript;
  • two letters of recommendation to be sent to infrastructurelives@iisg.nl.



About the IISG
The International Institute of Social History (IISG-KNAW) is an Academy research institute. IISG is one of the most prestigious social history research institutes worldwide. It examines how work and labour relations have developed globally over time. To support its research, it collects archives and data from all over the world. The relationship between its research and its data and archive collections contributes substantially to the institute's unique nature.


  • PhD
  • Language and culture
  • max. 38 hours per week
  • €2443—€3122 per month
  • University graduate
  • 862


Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW)

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