PhD Position on Modern Art and Freedom from the Global South (Pakistan, 1940s-80s)

PhD Position on Modern Art and Freedom from the Global South (Pakistan, 1940s-80s)

Published Deadline Location
5 Mar 10 Apr Amsterdam

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Job description

Are you looking for a challenging position in a dynamic setting? The Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis ( ) currently has a vacant PhD position as part of the European Research Council Consolidator Grant project Entangled Freedoms: Decolonial Modernisms as Transnational Relations of Resistance, 1940s-1980s, led by principal investigator Dr. Sanjukta Sunderason. ASCA is one of the five Research Schools within the Amsterdam Institute for Humanities Research (AIHR).

Research at the Faculty of Humanities is carried out by six research schools under the aegis of the Amsterdam Institute for Humanities Research ( The Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis ( ), one of six research schools of the Faculty of Humanities. ASCA is home to more than 110 scholars and 120 PhD candidates, and is a world-leading international research school in Cultural Analysis. ASCA members share a commitment to working in an interdisciplinary framework and to maintaining a close connection with contemporary cultural and political debates.

What are you going to do?
You will join the Project Team of the ERC Consolidator Grant project (2024-2029): Entangled Freedoms: Decolonial Modernisms as Transnational Relations of Resistance, 1940s-1980s. The project studies how artists and cultural thinkers from the decolonizing worlds of Asia, Africa, and the Middle East interacted with – and transformed – ideas of “freedom” during 20th-century decolonization and Cold War. The project foregrounds visual art and artistic discourse from the Global South as archives to understand plural, contesting ideas of freedom that are found between 1940s-1990s, as retreating European colonial empires intersected with new Cold War geopolitics. Such ideas of freedom include, for instance, western ‘First World’ ideas of universalism and freedom from ideology; Socialist ‘Second World’ visions of freedom as utopian horizons of continued, revolutionary class struggles; and emerging ‘Third World’ visions of anti-colonial, anti-imperial liberation. Studying entanglements of such ideas via artistic forms and thought in the decolonizing worlds can generate new intellectual histories of 20th-century decolonization.

As a member of the EntangledFreedoms Project Team, you are open to working on 20th-century (visual) art from the Global South with a particular alertness to archives (of art and cultural imagination), wider cultural and intellectual discourses, formations of political thought and cultural resistance.

The EntangledFreedoms Project Team will have two PhDs and 2 Postdoctoral scholars. While the two Postdoc scholars will study imaginaries of freedom via artistic internationalisms from African and Middle Eastern contexts, the two PhD scholars will address the project’s main concerns from hitherto-disconnected artistic/cultural archives of Pakistan (West and East until 1971) and East Pakistan/Bangladesh between 1940s-1980s.

Please note, for PhD1 (focus Pakistan 1940s-1980s), we require the following profile:
  • Background in Art history or literary/cultural history;
  • Specialization in South Asia with a focus on 20th-century Pakistan;
  • Knowledge of Urdu and access to archives in Pakistan;
  • Interest in 20th century cultural and intellectual history of Pakistan.

Tasks and responsibilities:
  • submission of a PhD thesis;
  • participating in meetings and proceedings of the Project Team;
  • publishing two single-authored, peer reviewed articles;
  • publishing one book chapter in the project’s edited volume;
  • presenting intermediate research results at workshops and conferences;
  • participation in the Research School and Faculty of Humanities PhD training programmes.


University of Amsterdam (UvA)


We would like candidates with intellectual excitement and tenacity to work with a team on a collective project. Candidates with a strong vision for art-driven historical and theoretical thinking on and from the Global South will be particularly preferred.

Your experience and profile:
Candidates need to have the following qualifications:
  • a completed Master's degree in Art History or South Asian history, or any other relevant degree in the Humanities or Social Sciences. You may apply if you have not yet completed your Master's degree only if you provide a signed letter from your supervisor stating that you will graduate before 01 January 2025;
  • excellent research skills demonstrated by an outstanding Master's thesis;
  • demonstrable experience with historical and discursive analysis of visual art with a strong cooperative attitude and willingness to engage in collaborative research;
  • good command of English;
  • For PhD1 an excellent command over Urdu is essential; for PhD2 an excellent command over Bangla is needed;
  • willingness to travel abroad for research stays, conferences and project expert workshops;
  • Strong organizational skills

Please note that if you already hold a doctorate/PhD or are working towards obtaining a similar degree elsewhere, you will not be admitted to a doctoral programme at the UvA.

For further information, please contact Dr. Sanjukta Sunderason (

Conditions of employment

We offer a temporary employment contract for the period of 48 months. The first contract will be for 16 months, with an extension for the following 32 months, contingent on a positive performance evaluation within the first 12 months. The employment contract is for 38 hours a week. The preferred starting date is 01 February 2025.

Your salary, depending on relevant experience on commencement of the employment contract, ranges from € 2,770 up to a maximum of € 3,539 gross per month on the basis of a full working week of 38 hours. This sum does not include the 8% holiday allowance and the 8.3% year-end allowance. Favourable tax agreements may apply to applicants moving from abroad. The Collective Labour Agreement of Dutch Universities is applicable.

What else do we offer?
  • PhD candidates receive a tuition fee waiver;
  • PhD candidates have free access to courses offered by the Graduate School of Humanities and the Dutch National Research Schools;
  • excellent possibilities for further professional development and education;
  • an inspiring academic and international work environment in the heart of Amsterdam;
  • an enthusiastic and professional academic team.


Faculty of Humanities

The University of Amsterdam is the largest university in the Netherlands, with the broadest spectrum of degree programmes. It is an intellectual hub with 42,000 students, 6,000 employees and 3,000 doctoral students who are all committed to a culture of inquiring minds.

The Faculty of Humanities provides education and conducts research with a strong international profile in a large number of disciplines in de field of language and culture. Located in the heart of Amsterdam, the faculty maintains close ties with many cultural institutes in the capital city. Research and teaching staff focus on interdisciplinary collaboration and are active in several teaching programmes.

Want to know more about our organisation? Read more about working at the University of Amsterdam.


  • PhD
  • Behaviour and society
  • max. 38 hours per week
  • max. €3539 per month
  • University graduate
  • 12737


University of Amsterdam (UvA)

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Kloveniersburgwal 48, 1012CX, Amsterdam

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