PhD Candidates, 3 Positions for VICI Project ‘The Dialogics of Justice’

PhD Candidates, 3 Positions for VICI Project ‘The Dialogics of Justice’

Published Deadline Location
1 May 23 May Utrecht

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3 Ph.D. Candidates, 1 fte each, 4 years

Job description

We invite applications for three Ph.D.’s at the University of Humanistic Studies in Utrecht, the Netherlands, in the context of a VICI project, funded by the Dutch Research Council NWO, and led by dr. Nicole L. Immler on The Dialogics of Justice, an interdisciplinary research into Transitional Justice, recognition and the art of dialogue.

The University of Humanistic Studies is characterized by an institutionalized interdisciplinarity, combining humanities and social science research. Grounded in a humanist tradition, we study ways for optimising the possibilities for people to live a dignified and meaningful life and for promoting a just and caring society.

Project description
Over the last decade, we have witnessed a rising demand for recognition by victims of colonial violence, failed peace missions, sexual abuse and ecocide worldwide. Those recognition claims for suffering are increasingly put in legal terms and then resolved with financial compensation. However, do those procedures provide the recognition and the repair these claimants hope for? There is increasingly concern that such recognition procedures may rather stabilize and naturalize power hierarchies instead of helping to transform them. Via empirical research this project aims to answer the urgent need for more knowledge on making recognition procedures more effective. Therefore the project explores legal recognition claims as broader dialogue processes between multiple parties on micro, meso and macro level to reveal how recognition works as a social, interactive process. Aim is to clarify the social implications of recognition procedures for individuals, communities, and institutions and to understand under what conditions recognition procedures can be transformative.

Project Set-up: This project explores on-going civil court cases in the Netherlands, contrasting distinct claimant groups seeking recognition of injustices within different institutional settings; all cases having a transnational character:

  1. Army: failed peace-mission in Bosnia (Ph.D.);
  2. Catholic Church: (sexual) abuse (Ph.D.);
  3. Multinational: human rights violations and ecocide in Nigeria (Ph.D.).

Each Ph.D. candidate will work on one case study, but will be embedded in the larger Dialogics of Justice team: A Post-Doc (see extra vacancy) will pursue a socio-legal analysis of all cases studied in the project, including colonial wrongs (worked on by the team leader). All work in a team together to rethink future reparatory practices.

Profile of the team
This project requires an interdisciplinary team. We are looking for researchers who have a background in Humanities and Social Sciences, who are interdisciplinary trained and are experienced in interdisciplinary research. Next to experience in qualitative research, theoretical skills are highly needed to work in such a cross-case-setting. Interdisciplinary research needs regular exchange. For this reason the candidates have to be prepared to move to Utrecht. 

Position in the UvH organisation
The Ph.D. and research projects will be carried out within the chair ‘Citizenship and Humanisation of the Public Sector’ headed by prof. Evelien Tonkens, which hosts Nicole Immler’s VICI-project. The Ph.D.’s will also be embedded in the UvH’s Graduate School.


Universiteit voor Humanistiek


The Ph.D. candidates have a background in Anthropology, (Oral) History, Transitional Justice, Postcolonial Studies, Sociology or Social Psychology or Humanistic Studies. They have/are:

  • excellent qualifications at the undergraduate and master’s level, a strong interest in doing research, determined and committed, cooperative and dedicated team players;
  • excellent writing and analytical skills;
  • fluent in English and at least a good understanding in Dutch; preferably in languages required for the case studies;
  • able and prepared to travel abroad for field research on a regular basis;
  • experience in qualitative research and data analytic techniques such as ATLAS.ti; experience with narrative methodology or institutional ethnography is favorable;
  • knowledge about one of the respective target groups is a plus.


  • do empirical field research and engage with the respective communities;
  • do desk-research on the respective case (literary review, media debate, legal documents);
  • develop an international network with scholars working on similar cases;
  • follow the methodological and theoretical trainings in the UvH’s Graduate School;
  • to write a Ph.D. thesis (based on articles, published in journals);
  • contribute to a summer school, reaching out to stakeholders, the health-care and counselling sector;
  • take part in teaching BA and MA students.

Conditions of employment

Fixed-term contract: 4 years.

We offer a temporary contract for the duration of 1 year with prolongation after evaluation for 3 years by proven ability. The position is classified as Promovendus under the Dutch University Job Classification System UFO (salary scale P, Collective Labour Agreement (CAO) for Dutch Universities, starting with € 2.325,= brute per month).

Researchers from outside the Netherlands may qualify for a tax-free allowance equal to 30% of their taxable salary. The university will apply for such an allowance on their behalf.


Univeristy of Humanistic Studies (UvH)

Univeristy of Humanistic Studies (UvH)


  • PhD
  • Behaviour and society; Language and culture; Law
  • max. 40 hours per week
  • max. €2325 per month
  • University graduate
  • AT 20-05 / A


Universiteit voor Humanistiek

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