PhD / Postdoc on Infrastructural Imperialism

PhD / Postdoc on Infrastructural Imperialism

Published Deadline Location
2 Jul 23 Aug Utrecht
Are you interested in how people perceive foreign-funded megaprojects that change the spaces where they live and their everyday lives?

Job description

Are you interested in how people perceive foreign-funded megaprojects that change the spaces where they live and their everyday lives? Are you particularly interested in how such projects shape politics and influence geopolitics? Do you have a background in cultural anthropology or a related discipline and ethnographic research experience in the Balkans, Caucasus, or Central Asia? If you would like to be part of a dynamic team carrying out research on the politics of foreign infrastructural projects in Eurasia, one of these positions may be perfect for you!

Your job
INFRAEMPIRE is a five-year project supported by a European Research Council Advanced Grant. The project explores the ways that rising economic powers such as Turkey, China, and Brazil rely on building the infrastructure of other states to drive reconstruction in their own capitals and create ‘soft power’ empires. INFRAEMPIRE turns an ethnographic lens on the infrastructural imperialism of the Turkish state, a growing power whose construction sector is reshaping the Global South and for almost two decades drove a domestic economic boom. INFRAEMPIRE will examine the infra-imaginaries, infra-power, and infra-subjectivities that such projects create.

Infra-imaginaries are those new visions of global futures and new conceptions of the global distribution of power that emerge around such projects. INFRAEMPIRE posits that in contrast to the hierarchical relations of European colonialism, infrastructural imperialism relies upon a global “big brother” phenomenon, or infra-power, in which relations of domination are cast as “equal” and “fraternal.” Infra-subjectivities are those new forms of political subjectivity that require a language beyond that of neoliberal globalisation, with its teleological assumptions of increasing political and economic liberalisation.

INFRAEMPIRE will examine foreign-funded megaprojects as geopolitical sites in which these new forms of imaginary, power, and subjectivity can be studied. The six case studies will take place at a crucial geopolitical juncture: the seam of Eurasia, where former and aspiring empires intersect, compete, and build new worlds through infrastructure. The aim of INFRAEMPIRE is to theorise the relationship between infrastructure and empire and to offer a fundamentally new understanding of power relations in a globalised world.

We seek one PhD candidate and three postdoctoral researchers who have the necessary research experience and language skills to conduct one of the subprojects in Georgia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, or Turkey. (The positions for a further subproject on the Sandžak region of Montenegro and Serbia have already been filled.)

Throughout this project, you will be well guided and supported by your supervisor. As a PhD candidate, you will also become part of an active group of PhD researchers who organise regular feedback sessions as well as a number of social events within the department of Cultural Anthropology’s Sovereignty and Social Contestation (SoSCo) research programme.

Specifications

Utrecht University

Requirements

We are looking for enthusiastic colleagues who meet all of the following requirements:
  • For PhD candidates, you have completed a Master’s degree in anthropology or a related discipline.
  • For postdoc candidates, you have completed your PhD by the time of application.
  • You have demonstrable field research experience and affinity with research in political anthropology, particularly that concerned with infrastructure, materiality, and everyday geopolitics.
  • You have well-developed analytical skills.
  • You are a motivated and collaborative team member who is also able to work independently.
  • You have excellent verbal and written communication skills in English and one of the languages necessary to conduct the case study.

Conditions of employment

We offer:
  • a position for one year, which will be extended to a total of 33 months (postdoc) or four years (PhD) after positive evaluation;
  • for the PhD position, a gross monthly salary between €2,770 and €3,539 in the case of full-time employment (salary scale P under the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities (CAO NU));
  • for the postdoc positions, a gross monthly salary between €3,877 and €4,185 in the case of full-time employment (salary scale 10 under the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities (CAO NU));
  • 8% holiday pay and 8.3% year-end bonus;
  • a pension scheme, partially paid parental leave and flexible terms of employment based on the CAO NU.

In addition to the terms of employment laid down in the CAO NU, Utrecht University has a number of schemes and facilities of its own for employees. This includes schemes facilitating professional development, leave schemes and schemes for sports and cultural activities, as well as discounts on software and other IT products. We also offer access to additional employee benefits through our Terms of Employment Options Model. In this way, we encourage our employees to continue to invest in their growth. For more information, please visit Working at Utrecht University.

Employer

Universiteit Utrecht

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 strategic themes. Our focus is on Dynamics of Youth, Institutions for Open Societies, Life Sciences and Pathways to Sustainability. Sharing science, shaping tomorrow.

The Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences is one of the leading faculties in Europe providing research and academic teaching in cultural anthropology, educational sciences, interdisciplinary social science, pedagogical sciences, psychology, and sociology. Almost 7,000 students are enrolled in a broad range of undergraduate and graduate programmes. The Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences has some 1,100 faculty and staff members, all providing their individual contribution to the training and education of young talent and to the research into and finding solutions for scientific and societal issues.

You will be based at the department of Cultural Anthropology. The project will be located in the Sovereignty and Social Contestation Research Programme. The research programme addresses the interaction between power, authority, and legitimacy, which it seeks to connect with social movements, protest, and conflict.

Additional information

For more information, please contact Evan Blake at e.blake@uu.nl.

Please note that international candidates that need a visa/work permit for the Netherlands require at least four months processing time after selection and acceptance. Our International Service Desk (ISD) can answer your questions about living in the Netherlands as international staff. Finding appropriate housing in or near Utrecht is your own responsibility, but the ISD may be able to advise you therewith. In case of general questions about working and living in The Netherlands, please consult the Dutch Mobility Portal.

Candidates for this vacancy will be recruited by Utrecht University.

Specifications

  • Postdoc; PhD
  • Behaviour and society
  • 36—40 hours per week
  • €2770—€3539 per month
  • University graduate
  • 4044

Employer

Location

Padualaan 14, 3584CH, Utrecht

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Application procedure

As Utrecht University, we want to be a home for everyone. We value staff with diverse backgrounds, perspectives and identities, including cultural, religious or ethnic background, gender, sexual orientation, disability or age. We strive to create a safe and inclusive environment in which everyone can flourish and contribute.

To apply, please send us the following documents via the 'apply now' button:
  • your curriculum vitae;
  • your motivation letter;
  • a brief research idea (ca. 1,000 words).

In the research idea you should explain how you would design and develop one of the case studies, taking into account the overall project description, as well as your own expertise, experience, and intellectual interests. For the research idea, we expect you to consult the overall project description. You may obtain a copy by writing to our project manager, Evan Blake, at e.blake@uu.nl.

Interviews will take place in the first half of October. Our preferred start date is 1 January 2025 with some flexibility for international candidates who will require visas.

Application procedure

Application procedure

As Utrecht University, we want to be a home for everyone. We value staff with diverse backgrounds, perspectives and identities, including cultural, religious or ethnic background, gender, sexual orientation, disability or age. We strive to create a safe and inclusive environment in which everyone can flourish and contribute.

To apply, please send us the following documents via the 'apply now' button:
  • your curriculum vitae;
  • your motivation letter;
  • a brief research idea (ca. 1,000 words).

In the research idea you should explain how you would design and develop one of the case studies, taking into account the overall project description, as well as your own expertise, experience, and intellectual interests. For the research idea, we expect you to consult the overall project description. You may obtain a copy by writing to our project manager, Evan Blake, at e.blake@uu.nl.

Interviews will take place in the first half of October. Our preferred start date is 1 January 2025 with some flexibility for international candidates who will require visas.

Make sure to apply no later than 23 Aug 2024 23:59 (Europe/Amsterdam).