PhD Position in Project 'Reparations in Development'

PhD Position in Project 'Reparations in Development'

Published Deadline Location
29 Feb 14 Apr Amsterdam

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Job description

Are you interested in international development, climate change and debates around loss and damage? Can you conduct ethnographic research in a setting where people are affected by toxic work and living environments and call for reparations? Do you want to push the boundaries of economic thought and practice? Then this job may be for you.

The Department of Anthropology at the Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences of the University of Amsterdam (UvA) is seeking a PhD candidate for four years for the project ‘Time to pay up? Reparations and global development challenges’ (REPAIR).

The REPAIR project studies ethnographically how reparations payments are justified, made and received around the world. Our research team consists of the principal investigator (PI) Dr Felix Stein, a PhD candidate (this could be you!), a postdoctoral researcher, a junior researcher and an administrative assistant.

Together, we will ask:
  1. When and how reparations are established, paid and received in international development settings.
  2. What that teaches us about international development from a moral, political and economic perspective.
  3. How the global push for reparations challenges existing economic thought and practice.

We study these questions by asking people directly how they justify reparations claims and payments, what kind of harm they think can or cannot be repaired and what meanings they ascribe to money in these contexts. We also investigate which reparations programmes reach their stated goals, and how they challenge existing logics of international aid and investment. The project is funded by a Starting Grant from the European Research Council. The PhD track is part of the Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR), and this position is embedded in the program group Moving Matters.

Your tasks
  • Your main task will be to develop your own PhD within the framework of the overall project i.e. to study reparations in the context of toxic environments. We have thought of a potential case study for you, namely to study US September 11th Victim Compensation Fund. However we are open to suggestions for an alternative case study that also deals with reparations for toxic environments;
  • you are expected to conduct 12-months ethnographic fieldwork;
  • next to working on and managing your own research, you will contribute to collaborative aspects of the project. This will include collecting data for jointly written publications and sharing expertise with team members;
  • you will be asked to co-organize and participate in scholarly activities such as conferences, workshops and seminars and to contribute to popular dissemination of research results;
  • you should be based in the Amsterdam area and take an active part in team meetings and the research environment at the AISSR;
  • you will do some teaching (up to 10% of your time) and organisational support for the project leader will be part of your job responsibilities.


University of Amsterdam (UvA)


You have:
  • a master’s degree or equivalent with a relevant specialization in the social sciences or humanities (such as anthropology, development studies, sociology, human geography, STS, or area studies for example);
  • excellent oral and written communication skills in English (and in the language of in the country where you would like to do research if it is not the USA);
  • willingness to conduct challenging fieldwork on a sensitive topic;
  • independent thinking and critical analytical skills;
  • excellent collaboration and teamwork ability and the ability to thrive in an interdisciplinary team;
  • the skills needed to finish a PhD thesis in four years; i.e., independent and pro-active work attitude, good planning and good academic writing.

You preferably have:
  • relevant research experience, studying issues of toxic environments, international development or reparations;
  • ethnographic research experience
  • an affinity with the place where you will conduct your research (the USA or another case study).

Conditions of employment

The position concerns temporary employment of 38 hours per week for a maximum term of four years. The employment is for one year and will preferably start in the summer of 2024. Following a positive assessment and barring altered circumstances, this term will be extended by a maximum of three years, which should result in the conferral of a doctorate. We will put together a curriculum which will also include the opportunity to attend training courses and both national and international events.

For this position the University Job Classification profile “Promovendus” applies. Your salary will be €2,770 gross per month in the first year and will increase to €3,539 in the final year, based on full-time employment of 38 hours per week and in keeping with the Collective Labour Agreement of Dutch Universities. We additionally offer an extensive package of secondary benefits, including 8% holiday allowance and a year-end bonus of 8.3%.

The UvA offers excellent possibilities for further professional development and education.

What else do we offer
  • an opportunity to work on a topic that is relevant to a lot of people and promises to shape policy debates and international relations for years to come
  • an enthusiastic and warm team that is open to new colleagues
  • a job in which initiative and critical thinking are encouraged and supported
  • an inspiring academic and international community in the heart of Amsterdam


Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences

The UvA is the largest university in the Netherlands, with the broadest spectrum of degree programmes. It is an intellectual hub with 39,000 students, 6,000 employees and 3,000 doctoral students who are all committed to a culture of inquiring minds. A challenging work environment with a variety of duties and ample scope for individual initiative and development within an inspiring organization.

The social and behavioral sciences play a leading role in addressing the major societal challenges faced by the world, the Netherlands and Amsterdam, now and in the future. Want to know more about us? Read more about working at the UvA.


  • PhD
  • Behaviour and society
  • max. 38 hours per week
  • University graduate
  • 12716


University of Amsterdam (UvA)

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