Post-doc Environmental Humanities of Extraction in Africa (0.8 FTE)

Post-doc Environmental Humanities of Extraction in Africa (0.8 FTE)

Published Deadline Location
19 May 13 Aug Groningen

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Specialty areas: li

Job description

Specialty areas: literary analysis, ethnomusicology, contemporary history, African history, environmental history

Applications are invited for a 2.5 years (30 months) postdoctoral research position within the AFREXTRACT project Environmental Histories of Resource Extraction in Africa: Understanding Cultural and Political Responses to Environmental Transformation, financed by the European Research Council (ERC) and led by dr Iva Peša (see:

Through a comparative study of three African localities of resource extraction (oil drilling in Nigeria; copper mining in Zambia; gold mining in South Africa), focusing on the period 1950-2020, this project aims to analyse and explain the diversity of cultural responses to environmental transformation. The postdoctoral researcher will focus on literary and musical production (novels, poems, songs) to gain insights into popular understandings of environmental change caused by mining and oil extraction. This postdoctoral project will involve research stays in all three countries (c. 6 months in total).

A rich corpus of literary and musical production has engaged with the environmental changes caused by mining and oil drilling. The novels and poetry by Tanure Ojaide, Helon Habila, Peter Abrahams, Mongane Wally Serote, and Mukuka Chipanta, and the music of Fela Kuti, Rikki Ililonga, and Ladysmith Black Mambazo are prominent examples. Why did some of these works depict extraction as relatively unremarkable, while others condemned its effects as ‘ecocide’? This project aims to historicise cultural production and to understand why people reacted differently to environmental change. The postdoctoral researcher will be part of a larger team (PI, two PhD students, and one postdoctoral researcher on political ecology), collaborating closely with the Universities of Port Harcourt, Copperbelt University, the University of Pretoria, and local partners.

This postdoctoral project offers a unique opportunity to work in an international research environment as well as to acquire valuable teaching experience (should the candidate be interested). In addition, the postdoctoral researcher will collaborate with the other team members to organise conferences and workshops, and to plan outreach activities.

For additional queries regarding the project and if you would like to get access to the full project proposal, please get in touch with the project’s PI, dr Iva Peša:

The University of Groningen, founded in 1614, is an international research university in the north of the Netherlands. Our staff create and share knowledge through outstanding research and education. The Faculty of Arts – which includes the History department – is located in the historic heart of the city of Groningen. Our research covers the following fields: Archaeology, Cultural Studies, History, International Relations, Journalism, Language and Literary Studies, and Linguistics.


University of Groningen


Required qualifications:
- a PhD (or proof of imminent completion) in a relevant field, such as cultural and literary studies, ethnomusicology, African history, or environmental history (degrees in related fields such as African studies or anthropology will also be considered)
- excellent command of English
- experience in conducting research in Africa (preferably in Nigeria, Zambia, or South Africa) and willingness to conduct c. 6 months of research in the three study localities
- familiarity with and strong interest in debates on environmental history, resource extraction, African history, and cultural production
- a strong motivation to publish your research (the candidate will be expected to publish two articles in peer-reviewed journals)
- ability to work both independently and as a team player.

Desirable qualifications:
- a research network in the Niger Delta, the Zambian Copperbelt, and/or Johannesburg
- knowledge of local languages, e.g. Ijaw, Bemba, or Zulu.

Conditions of employment

Fixed-term contract: 30 months.

In accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities, the University of Groningen offers you:

- a salary, depending on qualifications and work experience, between € 2,970 and € 3,974 (salary scale 10.7) gross per month, based on a full-time position
- a holiday allowance of 8% gross annual income
- an 8.3% end-of-the-year allowance.

This 0.8 fte appointment is temporary, for a specified period of 2.5 years (additional teaching tasks up to 0.2 FTE are possible).

For more detailed information about working conditions and working for the University of Groningen, please check:

The prospective starting date is 1 January or 1 February 2024.


  • Postdoc
  • Language and culture
  • max. 32 hours per week
  • max. €3974 per month
  • Doctorate
  • V23.0355


University of Groningen

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