Assistant Professor (Universitair Docent) in Social and Cultural Anthropology

Assistant Professor (Universitair Docent) in Social and Cultural Anthropology

Published Deadline Location
15 Mar 2 Apr Amsterdam

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Are you an anthropologist dedicated to research, teaching and making an impact both within and outside academia? Do you operate well in teams and feel committed to your colleagues, students and the people you do research with? Then please apply for thi...

Job description

The Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology of Vrije University Amsterdam is searching for a new assistant professor. The department stands out in the Netherlands and worldwide as a research group focused on making a scientific impact within and outside academia. We practice anthropology and ethnography with direct participation of and relevance to research participants and in the interest of non-academic and broader audiences. We also teach our students ways to apply anthropology in their future careers.

The impact we aim to have is transformative and emancipatory for research participants, stakeholders, and society. The research engagement starts with societal demands, challenges, and questions about inequality and injustice. We do not claim instant solutions but try to ask better questions. We are committed to long-term engagement.

As an assistant professor, you will be active in teaching, do research and play a significant role in our Ethnographic Impact Lab. The standard allocation of time is 65% for teaching, 30% for research, and 5% for administrative tasks; external funding may increase research time. However, all staff is always required to teach, and we value good teaching as much as good research.

The department is responsible for a bachelor and master programme in anthropology and contributes to courses given to all disciplines of the Faculty of Social Sciences, the Research Master in social sciences, and the graduate school for PhD students. The bachelor programme is offered in English and Dutch, and the master's is in English; the coming academic year we will begin a new professional track in our master's. Your teaching tasks will be aligned with the teaching done by other team members.

Our research is organised into a thematic programme called Mobilities, Beliefs, and Belonging: Confronting Global Inequalities and Insecurities, which is currently under review. The departments' ethnographic research covers various subdisciplines in anthropology and development studies and is conducted in many different countries. You will have considerable autonomy to develop your line of research and this position is open to a wide range of subject specialisms. For example, we welcome expertise in multimodal methodologies and digital anthropology, and anthropologists working on borders and identities, to name just a few possibilities. However, you are expected to broadly engage one of two research themes from the national Sectorplan for Social Sciences: "Inequality & diversity", or "Human impact and new technology".

Alongside our teaching and research, we are developing an Ethnographic Impact Lab to frame and reinforce our research group's engagement and societal advancements. You will also help build the new Ethnographic Impact Lab and explore what impact we could have and how to give substance to our work's collaborative, engaged nature.

The Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology is an international community. It has a relatively flat hierarchy in which the views and ideas of assistant professors are taken into consideration just as much as those of full professors. All staff members are expected to play an active role in creating a safe and stimulating academic environment. We seek a colleague who knows how to balance personal ambition with a willingness to take on community work within the academic community.

Your duties
  • Teach courses in social and cultural anthropology at the bachelor's and master's level
  • Supervise bachelor and master students, and co-supervise PhD students
  • Do research, both alone or in teams, resulting in internationally recognized, peer-reviewed publications
  • Apply for external research funding
  • Contribute to the various efforts of our department to make anthropology matter and have impact on society
  • Contribute actively to the scholarly community of the Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology, including occasional managerial tasks
Ideally, you can assume your duties by 1 August 2023, teaching your first class in September.


Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU)


You hold a PhD in anthropology or a related discipline with substantial anthropological work experience. Given the period since your PhD, you have a good publication record and a demonstrable skill to write competitive external research grant applications. You have experience with high-quality teaching, and you have a well-informed opinion about appropriate and innovative teaching styles and techniques. You have also made demonstrable efforts to make a positive impact on society. Moreover, you have an excellent command of English and Dutch or, for non-Dutch speakers, are willing to acquire a working knowledge of the language within two years of the appointment. You are willing and able to reside in the Netherlands. Being a good team player is necessary, and we are particularly interested in applicants who will enrich our departmental staff's diversity.

Conditions of employment

Fixed-term contract: 18 months.

An inspiring position in a highly committed team within a societally engaged university and a vibrant international city. The job profile is based on the university job ranking system Universitair Docent 2 (UFO) and is vacant for 0.8-1.0 FTE. Full-time remuneration amounts to a minimum gross monthly salary of €3,974 (scale 11) and a maximum of €5,439 (scale 11), depending on your education and experience. The initial employment contract is for 18 months and will be changed into a permanent contract if you perform well.

Additionally, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam offers excellent fringe benefits and various schemes and regulations to promote a good work/life balance, such as:
  • a maximum of 41 days of annual leave based on full-time employment
  • 8% holiday allowance and 8.3% end-of-year bonus
  • solid pension scheme (ABP), contribution to commuting expenses
  • optional model for designing a personalized benefits package


Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

The ambition of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is clear: to contribute to a better world through outstanding education and ground-breaking research. We strive to be a university where personal development and commitment to society play a leading role. A university where people from different disciplines and backgrounds collaborate to achieve innovations and to generate new knowledge. Our teaching and research encompass the entire spectrum of academic endeavor - from the humanities, the social sciences and the natural sciences through to the life sciences and the medical sciences.

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is home to more than 30,000 students. We employ over 5,500 individuals. The VU campus is easily accessible and located in the heart of Amsterdam's Zuidas district, a truly inspiring environment for teaching and research.

We are an inclusive university community. Diversity is one of our most important values. We believe that engaging in international activities and welcoming students and staff from a wide variety of backgrounds enhances the quality of our education and research. We are always looking for people who can enrich our world with their own unique perspectives and experiences.

Faculty of Social Sciences
The Faculty of Social Sciences examines the major social problems of our time from multiple perspectives. From bullying at school to dealing with transnational immigration, from the rise of populist politicians to creating a self-reliant society. Only at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam you will find all the academic disciplines needed to understand these 'wicked problems': alongside the traditional disciplines such as sociology, anthropology and politics, we also research and teach the new social sciences such as communication science and management & organization science. We do not settle for easy answers in our teaching and research. Our researchers and students are critical thinkers and doers who work together to devise surprising solutions to the problems of today.

Working at the Faculty of Social Sciences means working with colleagues from a range of academic disciplines in an inspiring and personal work and study environment with excellent research facilities. We employ more than 350 staff members, and we are home to around 3,000 students.


  • Assistant professor
  • Behaviour and society
  • 30.4—38 hours per week
  • €3974—€5439 per month
  • Doctorate
  • 15050


Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU)

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De Boelelaan 1105, 1081HV, Amsterdam

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