Research opportunities in Germany: The Research Training Group Minor Cosmopolitanisms

The Research Training Group Minor Cosmopolitanisms (Graduiertenkolleg GRK 2130), funded by the German Research Council (DFG) from resources provided by the Federal Government and the Federal States of Germany, and conducted jointly by Universität Potsdam, Freie Universität Berlin and Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, announces 1 position starting on October 1st, 2016:

Academic Staff Member (Postdoctoral Researcher)
Requisition No.: 119/2016

for 40 hours of work per week (100 %). The salary is determined by the collective bargaining agreement for public employees in Germany (TV-L 13 Ost). This is a temporary position limited to a term of 4.5 years in accordance with Section 2 Para 1 of the Academic Fixed-Term Contract Law (WissZeitVG).

The Research Training Group (RTG) Minor Cosmopolitanisms wishes to establish new ways of studying and understanding the cosmopolitan project against and beyond its Eurocentric legacies. It attempts to overcome a divide that characterises cosmopolitan thought between ‘major’ sociological and philosophical readings of cosmopolitanism as either ‘actually existing’ or as a normative ideal. The RTG straddles both perspectives by investigating cosmopolitanisms as emerging in a transversal plurality of locally embedded representational and performative practices. The minor denotes a perspective crucially informed by post- and decolonial thought and builds on interpretations of cosmopolitan practice which have been variably qualified as “agonistic,” “black,” “creole, “decolonial,” “discrepant,” “indigenous,” “rooted,” “subaltern” or “vernacular.” They bring into being cosmopolitanisms in a ‘minor’ mode unforeseen by dominant scripts and creating new subject positions within dominant discourses and geopolitics (see www.uni-potsdam.de/minorcosmopolitanisms for a detailed description).

The RTG locates Potsdam and Berlin at the crossroads of eight partner institutions on four different continents (Macquarie University Sydney, UNSW Sydney, Delhi University, EFLU Hyderabad, University of Pretoria, University of Cape Town, York University Toronto and Duke University, Durham). The successful applicant will receive an employment contract for the period of 4.5 years at the University of Potsdam. The doctoral researchers in the RTG are encouraged to spend two semesters (9 months) at one of the partner institutions during the second year of their three-year contracts. During these periods, the postdoctoral researcher will have the opportunity of extended research stays at three different international partner institutions, of up to three months each. One of the tasks of the postdoctoral researcher in these contexts will be supervising the organisation of summer or winter schools co-organised by groups of doctoral researchers with international partners at these locations.

The postdoctoral researcher will not be involved in the administrative coordination of the RTG. The emphasis of the job is on individual research within the scope of the RTG, the coordination of research activities, conceptual input into the organisation of events such as summer/winter schools and a final conference, editorial work (of the conference proceedings), and the academic mediation between doctoral researchers and local and international supervisors. Next to excellent academic qualities, the position thus also requires excellent social skills, identification with the goals of the RTG, and capacity for teamwork. Previous experience in international networking, in the conception and organisation of scientific events, and in the publication of edited volumes is highly welcome.

The postdoctoral researcher will pursue their own research project in the form of a second book. The scope of the book project shall a) take a sustained theoretical and conceptual approach to minor cosmopolitanisms; b) have a transareal focus on more than just one region of global cultural production; and c) be interdisciplinary in scope. All these elements shall ensure that the work of the postdoctoral researcher is relevant for and sets into conversation a wide range of doctoral projects within the RTG.

Candidates are invited to apply by proposing their project for a second book. Applicants must have completed a doctorate in one of the disciplines represented in the RTG (literary studies, cultural studies, cultural anthropology, sociology, history, Jewish studies) or in a related academic field (e. g., post- and decolonial studies, gender/queer studies, critical Europeanisation studies, border studies). A high level of proficiency in English is required. The project’s working language is English.

Candidates are expected to take up residence in the Potsdam/Berlin area and to take an active part in the activities of the Research Training Group.

The majority of working hours will be reserved for the successful completion of a PhD within a period of 4.5 years. The RTG strives for a balanced gender ratio in all occupational groups; therefore women are strongly encouraged to apply. Applicants with disabilities will be given preference in case of equal qualification. The RTG specifically encourages applications by international candidates, especially from the global South.

Applications must be submitted by May 31st, 2016. Submission via the online application tool provided on the website www.uni-potsdam.de/minorcosmopolitanisms is highly recommended. Please consult the website for information on the project and for details of the application process. For further inquiries contact the RTG’s coordination office (minor-cosmopolitanisms@uni-potsdam.de).