Universiteit Leiden

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PhD candidates within the ERC

Omvang (fte)
Geplaatst op
06 mei 2020
31 mei 2020

Nog 3 dagen om te solliciteren

As per September 1, 2020, the Institute for History of Leiden University will appoint three

PhD candidates within the ERC: Challenging the Liberal World Order from Within, The Invisible History of the United Nations and the Global South, 1945-1981 (INVISIHIST)

Project description
The main aim of this project is to reveal and unravel the invisible histories of the UN, transcending the dominant Western perspective to recover the historical agency of Global South actors. The research will investigate how the UN has both facilitated and limited their role in shaping global order. This will be an important contribution to current debates about UN reform and assessments of its performance, safeguarding against further marginalization of these actors. Within this overarching project, 3 PhD positions are available, each at 0.9 FTE for a duration of 4,5 years.

PhD project 1: African Activism at the UN
This project will be carried out by a candidate with expertise in African history. Knowledge of the French language is essential, knowledge of relevant African and other languages will be an advantage.

This PhD project will examine the contributions of 2-3 small to large states in Eastern and Western Africa (Ethiopia, Ghana, Senegal, Tanzania) in the thematic areas. They will define what perceptions of the UN were, the relationship of these countries to others in the region and internationally (especially considering the interplay between Pan-Africanism and African nationalism) and what their role was in developing agendas for reform. This project will trace the contribution of these countries to developments in the area of decolonization, economic development and human rights and should draw connections between the selected cases and other actors in Asia and Latin America. In particular, the project should highlight different African conceptions of decolonization and show how these played out in the general debates at the UN, providing a precursor for economic development and human rights. The PhD researcher will conduct relevant research in national African archives, UN archives and relevant archives of non-state actors such as the African Union in Addis Ababa.

PhD project 2: Beyond Bandung, Asia at the UN
This project will be carried out by a candidate with expertise in the history of Asia and/or South-East Asia. Knowledge of the relevant languages will be an advantage.

This PhD project will examine the contributions of 2-3 small to large states in Asia/South East Asia (China, India, Indonesia, Thailand) in the thematic areas. The research must include either China or India (with a preference for both) among other countries. The project will examine the contributions of these actors to decolonization, economic sovereignty and human rights generally, before focusing on one key aspect. In particular, the project should examine how the role of Asian states evolved from the Bandung moment in 1955, to their strong role in contesting the meaning of development in the 1970s. The candidate will conduct relevant research in national Asian and UN archives, especially ECOSOC and UNCTAD and the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library in Delhi and the archives of the Economic Commission for Asia and the Pacific in Bangkok among other non-state archives.

PhD project 3: Latin America and the UN
This project will be carried out by a candidate with expertise in the history of Latin America. Knowledge of the Spanish language will be essential, knowledge of Portuguese will be an advantage.

This PhD project will examine the contributions of 2-3 small to large states in Latin America (Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Ecuador) and the Caribbean nations. The project will analyze the contributions of the selected actors to decolonization, economic development and human rights. In particular, it will investigate how Latin American actors forged alliances with African and Asian counterparts at the UN around issues of economic development. It will trace the emergence of the agenda for the creation of UNCTAD and examine how this was transformed into a wider crusade for the NIEO. It will also investigate how meanings of human rights were contested and examine in particular the contributions of the actors to the creation of the ICESCR. The candidate will conduct research in relevant national archives and the Economic Commission for Latin American and the Caribbean in Santiago. They will also conduct research in the archives of ECOSOC, UNCTAD, Frondizi Archives, Centro de Estudios Nacionales, Buenos Aires and Raúl Prebisch Papers, Prebisch Foundation, Buenos Aires, among others.

Key responsibilities

  • Conducting research on the history of the United Nations in the areas of decolonization, economic sovereignty and human rights – especially economic and social rights;
  • Writing an English-language PhD thesis within four years;
  • Writing two (single- or co-authored) articles for publication in peer-reviewed journals;
  • Presenting draft articles or thesis chapters at conferences or workshops;
  • Co-organizing one of the workshops envisioned within the project;
  • Contributing actively to the project as a whole (e.g. serving as a peer reviewer for other team members, contributing to the project website and the podcast);
  • If possible: contributing to undergraduate teaching;
  • Contributing to the program and activities of the Chair in United Nations Studies in Peace and Justice.

Selection criteria

  • MA degree, preferably in the history of international relations, decolonization, and/or the United Nations;
  • Broad familiarity with, and deep interest in, the field of decolonization, international history and diplomatic history, and the United Nations;
  • Evidence of excellent academic potential;
  • Excellent writing skills in English;
  • Ability to work both independently and as part of a team;
  • Ability to work in an international and highly competitive environment.

Our organisation
The Faculty of Humanities is rich in expertise in fields such as philosophy, religious studies, history, art history, literature, linguistics, international studies and area studies, covering nearly every region of the world. With its staff of 930, the faculty provides 27 masters and 25 bachelors programmes for over 6,000 students based at locations in Leiden’s historic city centre and in modern buildings in The Hague. This position is part of the research agenda of the Chair in United Nations Studies in Peace and Justice located at the Institute for Security and Global Affairs, Leiden University in The Hague.

The majority of member-states of the UN identify as members of the Global South. This is a taxonomy that goes beyond a geographical location. It encapsulates how shared agendas led to a sense of solidarity between peoples and states in Africa, Asia and Latin America. The term Global South, rather than Developing World or Third World, is employed to capture both the state, non-state and regional actors who formed part of the movement, not all of whom were located in the Global South. Over time, these actors brought their problems to the UN, in the belief that the organization could provide tangible solutions to global challenges. However, the existing historiography of the UN is largely from the perspective of Western actors, and tends to ignore or downplay the role of Global South actors. These histories enhance the image of the organization as a passive entity and a vehicle for the interests of Western powers such as Britain, France and the United States (US). The liberal world order is presented here as the rules-based system led by the US since 1945 which established an unequal relationship between North and South. This has created the current situation where the UN is broadly misunderstood and the agency of Global South actors has been rendered largely invisible.

Terms and conditions
We offer a 0.9 FTE position for initially one year. After a positive evaluation of the progress of the thesis, personal capabilities and compatibility the appointment will be extended by a further three years. Salary range from 2.325 to 2.972 gross per month for a full working week (pay scale P, in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities).

Leiden University offers an attractive benefits package with additional holiday (8%) and end-of-year bonuses (8.3%), training and career development and sabbatical leave. Our individual choices model gives you some freedom to assemble your own set of terms and conditions. Candidates from outside the Netherlands may be eligible for a substantial tax break.  Additional budget allows for research visits abroad and attendance of international conferences.

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

Enquiries can be made to Professor Alanna O’Malley, email a.m.omalley@hum.leidenuniv.nl.

Applications should be submitted no later than 31 May 2020 via the blue button in our application system . Please quote the vacancy number and the number of the project you are applying for (1,2, or 3) in your application. All requested documents should be sent in PDF format. Interviews on Skype are envisaged for June 2020. Applications should be submitted in English and include a:

  • Cover letter;
  • Statement of purpose, which states the ways in which your experience and knowledge would aid the project team in achieving their overall goals;
  • Explains what you will contribute to this project overall and how you would develop the outline of one of the positions listed above;
  • Curriculum vitae with a list of publications (if applicable);
  • Copy of MA thesis;
  • Proof of English language proficiency for non-native English speakers or those without an undergraduate degree obtained in The Netherlands or an English-speaking country (IELTS 7.0 or lower will only be considered in exceptional circumstances, e.g. in the case of other compensatory factors such as unique experience and expertise);
  • List of (maximum) two referees for your application (with full postal addresses, telephone numbers, and emails). Referees will be contacted directly by the search committee.

Applications for multiple positions are not allowed. The intended start date is 1 September 2020.

This schedule is subject to adjustment given the ongoing COVID 19 crisis.

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