Phd position The Global Business of Slave Trade - IISG

Phd position The Global Business of Slave Trade - IISG

Published Deadline Location
15 Sep 29 Sep Amsterdam

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The Project Global Business of Slave Trade: Patterns, Actors and Gains in the Early Modern Dutch and Iberian Slave Trade will study the main patterns of the Dutch, Portuguese and Spanish slave trades in the Indian Ocean, Indonesian Archipelago, and the...

Job description

What will be the PhD candidate tasks?

The PhD candidate will work independently on the development of a PhD thesis, under the supervision of the project leader and other team members. In addition, the PhD candidate will also be expected to work together with the other project team members in the construction and development of new and existing datasets on slave trade in Asia, in the organization of meetings and workshops and in the preparation of publications.

What is the Project team looking for in the PhD candidate?

We are looking for a PhD candidate that enjoys historical research and historical writing, and that is comfortable working both independently and in a team. The candidate needs to be familiar with early modern social and economic history, in particular Global and Colonial History and more specifically the topic of slave trade and slavery. We also expect that the candidate will have experience with archival research, as well as command of at least three of the following languages: English (academic level), Dutch, Portuguese and/or Spanish.

What does the Project and the IISH offer?

The PhD Candidate will be integrated in the Research Department of the IISH. Through the Project, the PhD Candidate will also be directly connected to Low Countries Research School for Social and Economic History (The N.W. Posthumus Institute) and be involved with other research projects, such as Exploring Slave Trade in Asia, Globalise, Resisting Enslavement and the Hub of Global Labour Conflicts.


Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW)


What do we need from you?
  • A completed Research Master or Master’s in History, or in another discipline relevant for the core research of the project;
  • Knowledge of the history of slave trade and slavery; or with the history of European colonialism (especially in Asia);
  • Experience with archival research (in Europe and if possible, in non-European archives).
  • Good writing skills (very good level of Academic English);
  • Active and independent work spirit;
  • Excellent command of at least two of the following languages: Dutch, Portuguese and/or Spanish or another Latin-based language such as French and/or Italian, which will allow the candidate to quickly work with sources produced by the Iberian colonial authorities;
  • Residing in The Netherlands or willing to.

How to apply to this vacancy?

You can apply to this PhD position by submitting the following documents:
  • Curriculum vitae
  • A motivation letter
  • Project questionnaire (to be uploaded after you finished the application procedure)

Guidelines to fill the Project questionnaire:

Each answer should not exceed 100 words.

Core questions:
  • Why do you want to do a PhD?
  • Why are you interested in working on this project?
  • What case studies would you choose to examine the PhD thesis? And Why?
  • What makes you the ideal candidate for this PhD position? What skills, competences and experiences do you have that will benefit the development of the project and enhance the project team?

During the selection procedure, we can also ask for a sample of writing (thesis, publication, etc.) which can give us an insight into the candidate writing skills.

For more information about this PhD vacancy, please contact Filipa Ribeiro da Silva (project leader and supervisor) (). A more detailed description of the project can be found together with the advisement of the Vacancy on the website of the IISH, under “jobs”/“vacatures”, at

Applications can be submitted until 29 September via the “application button”. The interviews will most likely take place in the second and or third week of October.

After finishing he application procedure you will receive login details/ You then need to login a new and upload the document with your filled in project questionnaire

Applicants will be assessed on the following criteria: a) familiarity with the scientific field; b) job motivation; c) originality; and d) compliance with the vacancy requirements.

Conditions of employment

Fixed-term contract: 1 year and subsequently 3 years.

Terms of employment
On commencement of employment, the PhD student is placed in salary scale P0 €2,770, - gross per month for a full-time appointment for the duration of 12 months. A PhD candidate's salary rises to €3,539 in years 2, 3 and 4 (these are fixed amounts that can only be adjusted following a CAO Nederlandse universiteiten. 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



About the IISG/IISH
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
  • Behaviour and society
  • max. 38 hours per week
  • €2770—€3539 per month
  • University graduate
  • 1805


Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW)

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