Universiteit Leiden

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Chair in the anthropology of sustainability and livelihoods

Vacancy number
19-190 6086
Function type
Academic staff
Hours (in fte)
0.8-1.0 fte
External/ internal
Placed on
11 April 2019
Closing date
10 May 2019

18 more days to apply

Chair in the anthropology of sustainability and livelihoods (0,8 - 1 FTE)

Leiden University is one of the leading research universities in Europe. In five clusters of themes, the University, with its seven faculties and the Leiden University Medical Center, is among the top research institutions in the world. These clusters are Fundamentals of Science; Health and Wellbeing; Life Sciences; Law, Politics and Administration; and Languages, Cultures and Societies.

In the coming years we will be implementing an ambitious investment programme that will further expand our research profile and the associated teaching. To further strengthen the five clusters, we will be carrying out a targeted incentive programme. Central to this is a series of topics that have been developed by the faculties and that have a significant scientific, societal and/or cultural impact. These are all topics in which the faculties would like to intensify their mutual collaboration.

The aim of this investment programme is to attract and promote academic talent to each of these topics. The academics we are seeking for these programmes have a broad profile: they are excellent in their own discipline, and are willing and able to work with others to develop new research lines and expand existing ones. They will do so by working beyond faculty boundaries and by securing external funding. Connection is the keyword of this investment programme.

One of the topics in which the University intends to invest extra funds is ‘The Liveable Planet’. Between 2019 and 2023 Leiden University will invest over 1.7 Million Euro in this research program on sustainable futures. The overall aim of the Liveable Planet interdisciplinary Research Cluster is to combine natural science research and historical/archaeological, policy and socio-cultural science research at Leiden university into a coherent research program allowing us to tackle the grand challenge of a transition to environmental sustainability.  In the context of this program, three new professors will be hired to form the core of the research team, placed respectively within the Institute of Cultural Anthropology and Development Sociology (a Chair in the Anthropology of Sustainability and Livelihoods), the Institute of Public Administration (a Chair in Governance of Sustainability), and the Institute of Environmental Sciences (a Chair in Spatial aspects of natural resource management).

We are looking for a Chair in the anthropology of sustainability and livelihoods to be embedded in the institute of Cultural Anthropology  and  Development Sociology  (CA-DS) at Leiden University. CA- DS at Leiden University studies the everyday practices of individuals, groups, and communities worldwide, to situate them within complex global challenges. The CA-DS research program Global Vulnerabilities and Social Resilience focusses on three areas of research: Sustainability, Diversity, and Digitalization. CA-DS currently hosts the Chairs of: Anthropology, Global Sociology, Anthropology and Sociology of Africa, the Chair by Special Appointment of Material Culture, and the Emeritus Professor of Environment and Development. Also affiliated to CA-DS is the Chair of African Studies, with special attention to the Study of African Development, of the African Studies Centre of Leiden University.

CA-DS uses a signature methodology consisting of a unique mix of qualitative, quantitative and visual methods, based on thorough ethnographic fieldwork. The strength of this anthropological approach consists in the ability to connect global crises with people's daily strategies of resilience. CA-DS has a long history and strong disciplinary roots; it plays a pivotal role in interdisciplinary and international partnerships in Leiden and beyond.

The Liveable Planet topic  provides an excellent opportunity to exploit the potential and systematically expand, consolidate and strengthen transdisciplinary research on sustainability at Leiden University across various faculties. In cooperation with existing Chairs of  CADS, the Chair Anthropology of Sustainability and Livelihoods develops the ‘Livable Planet’ transdisciplinary research cluster of Leiden University and the research framework of CADS ‘Global Vulnerabilities and Societal Resilience: Diversity, Digitalization and Sustainability’ as well as sustainability research in the Faculty of Social Sciences.

Beginning 1 September 2019, this Chair will coordinate and profile the research and teaching topic of sustainability in the Bachelor and Master CA-DS and will play a leading role in the development of education and research programs on sustainability in society in the Faculty of Social Sciences. This Chair will develop opportunities for transdisciplinary and interfaculty research and research-driven teaching programs in the university-wide  topic ‘Livable Planet’, and further connect with ongoing LDE partnerships, especially on the topics of Sustainability and Global Heritage, as well as the Water and Society Lab of the Faculty of Social Sciences and Leiden University College.

Current regional and topical expertise in CA-DS include collective food procurement in Europe, post-disaster resilience in Indonesia and Japan, extractive and logging industries in Oceania and West Africa, water management in the Philippines. The Chair has no specific regional limitation. It is expected that the Chair will integrate, complement and valorize existing regional and topical expertise rather than replicating it. It is expected that the candidate is willing and able to take an active and leading role in the governance of the Institute in collaboration and continuity with the existing directive board.

Key responsibilities

  • Give shape to the topic of ‘The Liveable Planet’ and take responsibility for its further development, working in close collaboration with internal and external partners, and encourage the development of a vision on the topic;
  • Conduct research in the field of the scientific research programme of CA-DS in the area ‘Sustainability’. Publish in international peer-reviewed journals as well as ethnographic monographs;
  • Make a substantial contribution to acquiring external funds;
  • Contribute to the development of a new generation of young academics. Supervise  PhD projects and members of staff;
  • Develop and teach courses at Bachelor and Graduate level in the framework of CA-DS International Bachelor ‘Cultural Anthropology and Development Sociology’, the International Master ‘Cultural Anthropology and Development Sociology’, and taking the lead in the faculty of Social Sciences in the development of research-driven innovative teaching around sustainability in society;
  • Convey the academic knowledge and insights acquired to society. Maintain and develop new partnership with private and public partners, especially with a view to funding research and student internships;
  • Participate in the Institute Board, taking up an active role in the institute direction and management.

Selection criteria

  • A doctorate in anthropology  and a clear research profile based on extensive ethnographic research experience. Excellent research skills, as is evident from, for example, publications in renowned international journals, internationally recognized ethnographic monographs, and active participation in international academic and professional networks;
  • Wide experience of and demonstrable success in external fundraising and helping others to raise funds;
  • A track record as an academic leader;
  • Demonstrable experience in leading research teams and supervising PhD candidates and/or postdocs, for instance as principal investigator;
  • A strong focus on (interdisciplinary) collaboration and encouraging team achievements;
  • Excellent teaching abilities, enthusiasm and drive. Vision on teaching, teaching methods and curriculum development;
  • A pronounced interest in and experience of academic leadership and governance;
  • Record of impactful research and collaboration with societal actors (for example NGOs, government, foundations);
  • Fluency in English and Dutch. While teaching in Dutch is not required, proven capacity and motivation to learn the language is expected for the good functioning of this role. If not speaking Dutch, reaching working standards (staatsexamen B2) within one year is required;
  • Leiden University requires teaching staff to obtain the University Teaching qualification (UTe). lf the applicant does not already possess this qualification or its equivalent, he/ she must obtain this qualification within two years.

Terms and conditions
An appointment in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities for an initial duration of five years subject to tenure on condition of good performance.

The salary will range from a minimum of € 5,582 to a maximum of € 8,127 gross per month for a full-time appointment. The exact salary will depend on experience.

In addition, Leiden University offers an attractive package of benefits including an end-of-year bonus (8.3%), a holiday allowance (8%), excellent training opportunities, sabbatical leave and paid parental leave. Our individual choices model gives you some freedom to assemble your own set of terms and conditions. For more information please see https://www.universiteitleiden.nl/en/working-at/job-application-procedure-and-employment-conditions.

Leiden University attaches great importance to the quality of its teaching. It therefore requires all academic staff with teaching duties to possess the University Teaching Qualification or be prepared to earn this within two years.

Leiden University is strongly committed to diversity within its community and especially welcomes applications from members of underrepresented groups.

Additional information about this position can be obtained from the Institute’s Scientific Director, Prof. dr. Cristina Grasseni, e-mail: C.grasseni@fsw.leidenuniv.nl.

If you have any enquires about the procedure, please contact  the board secretary Mr. Pieter Krol, e-mail: secretaris@FSW.leidenuniv.nl, or phone: 071 527 6648.

Please submit online your application no later than May 10th  via the blue button of our application system. Selected candidates will be invited for in-person interview and job talk. You are kindly requested to be available on June 13th. Applications should include:

  • Max two page statement of interest (cover letter) outlining how the candidate envisages to fulfil the tasks;
  • CV outlining how the candidate meets the selection criteria and name and contact of three referees;
  • A one page research statement outlining past and ongoing research activities as well as planned research and how it would fit the task;
  • List of relevant publications;
  • A one page teaching statement outlining preferred methods and teaching experience;
  • List of courses taught with students evaluations from the last 2 years;
  • Two short proposals, for either taught or proposed courses in the anthropology of sustainability and livelihoods at bachelor and master level.

Inquiries from agencies are not appreciated.

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