PhD position ‘Resisting Class-based Domination’ (4 years, 1.0 FTE))

PhD position ‘Resisting Class-based Domination’ (4 years, 1.0 FTE))

Published Deadline Location
21 Nov 2 Jan Utrecht
Do you have have a strong interest in theories of slavery and domination, freedom and resistance, republicanism or labour movements? Then join our team!

Job description

The Ethics Institute of Utrecht University’s Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies seeks a researcher for a 4-year, full-time PhD project on ‘Resisting Class-based Domination’. The position is part of the VIDI project “Theorizing Freedom from Below” under the supervision of Dorothea Gädeke.

Freedom is the opposite of slavery and domination – or so the republican tradition of political thought argues. Yet, theories of republican freedom rarely engage with actual slavery. Their focus rather lies on specifying the status of free citizens. Slavery merely serves as a metaphor for the condition that is to be avoided. This focus reflects the perspective of those who are concerned with safeguarding their existing freedom. But can such theories make sense of struggles to attain freedom? Can we fully understand what freedom means without the experience of resisting unfreedom, that is, of resisting existing forms of slavery or domination? 

The research project ‘Theorizing freedom from below’ starts from the assumption that theorizing freedom in a way that gains a critical grip on the social world requires rethinking freedom from below; that is by shifting the focus from the lived experience of freedom to the lived experience of slavery and other forms of domination – and the struggles against it. The classic republican ideal of the free – i.e. white, male property-owning – citizen serves as a guide to select relevant struggles: starting in the late 18th century, we will analyse resistance against race-based, gender-based and class-based domination through the work of activists and writers not commonly part of the philosophical canon. This approach not only enriches the phenomenological basis of normative theories of freedom. It allows us to investigate conceptual, methodological, and practical questions: How are freedom and resistance linked? Why does it matter at all from whose perspective abstract normative concepts are theorized?  And how does this perspective bear on the practical role of philosophical theories of freedom in reproducing – or overcoming – unfreedom? 

The PhD project will focus on resistance against class-based domination. The aim is to investigate how the notion of slavery has been appropriated in labour movements to conceptualize class-based domination and what this entails for practices of resistance in bringing about freedom. Are workers subjected to conditions structurally akin to slavery? How is the material form of economic domination related to immaterial, cultural forms of domination that underpin chattel slavery? And how does this interplay of different forms of domination bear on individual and collective practices of resisting domination and gaining freedom?  

In addition to conducting PhD research, the researcher will be expected to teach one course in the second and one course in the third year of the appointment. 

Research Setting
The VIDI research group ‘Theorizing Freedom from Below’ is situated at the Ethics Institute at Utrecht University’s Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies. With its enthusiastic and committed colleagues, the Ethics Institute offers a stimulating and international research environment in the historical city centre of Utrecht. The research group itself consists of the project leader, Dorothea Gädeke, the successful candidate and a Post-Doc position that will be advertised later for an expected starting date in fall 2023. You are expected to play an active role both in the research group and the Ethics Institute. A generous conference travel budget is available to facilitate your participation in larger research networks.

Specifications

Utrecht University

Requirements

  • You will have completed, prior to appointment, a Master’s degree or equivalent degree in Philosophy, Political Theory or Politics with a specialization in Political Theory. Master’s degrees from related fields will be considered if they include a strong component in practical philosophy and/or political theory. 
  • You have a strong interest in political and social philosophy, and/or political theory.
  • You have a strong interest in theories of slavery and domination, freedom and resistance, republicanism and/or labour movements. Prior knowledge in these fields is welcome. 
  • You are keen to read authors who may not usually be considered political philosophers or political theorists.
  • You have a strong interest in research and academic philosophical writing.
  • You are able to work both independently and as part of a team.
  • You have a high level of proficiency in English. Being able to read sources in French, German, Portuguese, or Spanish is welcome.

Conditions of employment

This is an appointment of 1.0 FTE for the duration of 18 months. In case of good performance and a positive evaluation, the contract will be extended for the remaining period of 30 months (48 months in total). The gross salary starts with €2,541 per month in the first year and increases to €3,274 per month in the fourth year of employment (scale P according to the Collective Employment Agreement of the Dutch Universities) for a full-time employment.

Besides that, you will receive a holiday allowance of 8% and a year-end bonus of 8.3%. Utrecht University also has an appealing package of terms of employment, including the choice for a good balance between work and private (a good arrangement for leave, among other things), possibilities for development and an excellent pension scheme. For more information, please visit working at Utrecht University.

Employer

A better future for everyone. This ambition motivates our scientists in executing their leading research and inspiring teaching. At Utrecht University, the various disciplines collaborate intensively towards major societal themes. Our focus is on Dynamics of Youth, Institutions for Open Societies, Life Sciences and Sustainability.

The Faculty of Humanities has around 6,000 students and 900 staff members. It comprises four knowledge domains: Philosophy and Religious Studies, History and Art History, Media and Culture Studies, and Languages, Literature and Communication. With its research and education in these fields, the Faculty aims to contribute to a better understanding of the Netherlands and Europe in a rapidly changing social and cultural context. The enthusiastic and committed colleagues and the excellent amenities in the historical city center of Utrecht, where the faculty is housed, contribute to an inspiring working environment.

Additional information

For more information about this position, please contact Dorothea Gädeke (Associate Professor) via d.g.gadeke@uu.nl.

Specifications

  • PhD
  • Language and culture
  • 38—40 hours per week
  • €2541—€3247 per month
  • Higher professional education
  • 1200471

Employer

Location

Janskerkhof 13, 3512 BL, Utrecht

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Application procedure

Everyone deserves to feel at home at our university. We welcome employees with a wide variety of backgrounds and perspectives. Applicants from backgrounds currently underrepresented in philosophy are strongly encouraged to apply.  

Your application should include the following documents:
  • a motivation letter outlining your interest in the position and your suitability, including your research experience, research skills and research interests (max. 2 pages);
  • a one-page research plan, outlining first ideas on how you would approach the PhD project;
  • a curriculum vitae, including the names and contact details of two references whom we may contact;
  • academic grade transcripts from all relevant degree programmes;
  • a writing sample, in English, that (to the extent possible) provides evidence of your academic writing in political philosophy/political theory (max. 15 pages – you may select an excerpt from a larger work).
Shortlisted candidates will be invited for an interview. It is scheduled on 20 January 2023 and will likely be conducted online.

Application procedure

Application procedure

Everyone deserves to feel at home at our university. We welcome employees with a wide variety of backgrounds and perspectives. Applicants from backgrounds currently underrepresented in philosophy are strongly encouraged to apply.  

Your application should include the following documents:
  • a motivation letter outlining your interest in the position and your suitability, including your research experience, research skills and research interests (max. 2 pages);
  • a one-page research plan, outlining first ideas on how you would approach the PhD project;
  • a curriculum vitae, including the names and contact details of two references whom we may contact;
  • academic grade transcripts from all relevant degree programmes;
  • a writing sample, in English, that (to the extent possible) provides evidence of your academic writing in political philosophy/political theory (max. 15 pages – you may select an excerpt from a larger work).
Shortlisted candidates will be invited for an interview. It is scheduled on 20 January 2023 and will likely be conducted online.

Make sure to apply no later than 2 Jan 2023 23:59 (Europe/Amsterdam).