PhD Position: Oceanic Imaginaries, Oceanic Solidarities

PhD Position: Oceanic Imaginaries, Oceanic Solidarities

Published Deadline Location
18 Apr 26 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 (ASCA) currently has a vacant PhD position as part of the Oceanic Imaginaries, Oceanic Solidarities project led by principal investigator Mikki Stelder, Assistant Professor of Cultural Studies and Laura Cull Ó Maoilearca, Professor of Performance Philosophy. ASCA is one of the five Research Schools within the Amsterdam Institute for Humanities Research (AIHR).

The Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis invites applications for a fully funded 4-year PhD position at the intersection of Critical Ocean Studies, Black Studies, Indigenous Studies, and Anticolonial studies. The position is funded by a starting grant from the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science of the Netherlands led by Dr Mikki Stelder, of which the PhD position is a part.

The PhD fellow will be part of ASCA, one of the five Research Schools within the Amsterdam Institute for Humanities Research (AIHR) and the Global Arts, Culture and Politics Department. ASCA is a research community devoted to the comparative and interdisciplinary study of culture (in all its forms and expressions) from a broad humanities perspective. ASCA is home to more than 120 scholars and 160 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.

Candidates can work on a project of their own choosing within the scope of Oceanic Imaginaries, Oceanic Solidarities that foregrounds and augments critical perspectives from the Global South (including the South within the North) and are encouraged to think creatively in terms of research design and methodologies. We invite interested candidates to prepare short proposals (details below) that could, for instance, examine:
  • Oceanic imaginaries
  • Oceanic solidarities
  • Ocean justice
  • Rethinking our relations to/through water
  • Memories and afterlives of the Middle Passage
  • Ocean-borne colonialism
  • Black Atlantic, Black Pacific
  • Militarization of the sea/ocean
  • The role of the ocean in struggles for decolonization
  • The ocean and the racial capitalocene
  • Ships and shipping
  • The limitations of white critical ocean studies
  • Oceanic philosophies and cosmologies in the Global South
  • Islands and archipelagoes
  • Ocean poetics
  • Creative watery methods
  • Anti-disciplinary oceanic scholarship
  • Oceans as Archives
  • Oceans and Imperialism
  • Deep sea mining
  • Bodies of water
  • Oceans and poetics

You will design your own independent research project and will be part of a dynamic research environment where you are able to attend and create research groups and participate in a lively ASCA community of interdisciplinary scholarship.

What are you going to do?
You will be working on an independent research project of your own design that examines questions around oceanic imaginaries and oceanic solidarities that foreground and augment critical and creative perspectives from the Global South (including the South within the North). You are expected to have a strong interest in critical theoretical lineages of Indigenous Studies, Black Studies, Caribbean Philosophy, Pacific Studies, Archipelagic and/or Anticolonial Studies as they intersect with thinking about the ocean. You should display an awareness around the limitations of Anthropocene and critical ocean studies discourses that fail to examine the role of imperialism and colonialism and a keen understanding of your relation to your own research.

During the PhD, you will develop your own guided independent study of the fields critical to your project. Furthermore, you are invited to show creativity in research design and methodology beyond conventional academic methods and writing. Your supervisors will guide you through the process of becoming a more independent researcher. You will also co-design a research group on Oceanic Imaginaries, Oceanic Solidarities and have the opportunity to design a symposium.

Tasks and responsibilities:
  • Submission of a PhD thesis within a four-year period;
  • Shaping and participating in an Oceanic Imaginaries, Oceanic Solidarities research group;
  • Publishing one single-authored, peer reviewed article;
  • Presenting intermediate research results at workshops and conferences, including outside of the Netherlands;
  • Organising knowledge dissemination activities: in collaboration with the Oceanic Imaginaries, Oceanic Solidarities research group;
  • Participating in the Research Schooland Faculty of Humanities PhD training programmes;
  • The opportunity to co-teach at the BA level in the second or third year of the appointment (max. 0,2fte per year).


University of Amsterdam (UvA)


We are looking for candidates who display a keen awareness and curiosity about the potential of Oceanic Imaginaries, Oceanic Solidarities and a passion for non-Eurocentric perspectives on Ocean Justice.

Your experience and profile
Candidates need to have the following qualifications:
  • a completed Master's degree in cultural studies, literary and cultural analysis, gender studies, media studies, artistic research, philosophy, black studies, indigenous studies, or related disciplines. 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 September 2024;
  • excellent research skills demonstrated by an outstanding Master's thesis and a demonstrable capacity to develop a track record of publishing in high-ranking journals and/or with leading presses or professional arts venues;
  • a strong cooperative attitude and willingness to engage in collaborative research;
  • enthusiasm for communicating academic research to non-academic audiences;
  • experience with the principles of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion
  • good command of the English language.

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.

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 September 2024 or as soon thereafter.

Your salary is in the first year of the employment contract € 2,770 up and in the last year 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
  • 12896


University of Amsterdam (UvA)

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Kloveniersburgwal 48, 1012CX, Amsterdam

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