Universiteit Leiden

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postdoctoral position in Tibetan Studies

Wetenschappelijke functies
Omvang (fte)
Intern , Extern
Geplaatst op
30 mei 2023
16 juni 2023 Nog 10 dagen om te solliciteren

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Postdoctoral position in Tibetan Studies
The Faculty of Humanities at Leiden University invites applications for a postdoctoral position in Tibetan Studies (1,0 fte). The postdoctoral researcher will carry out research in the framework of the European Research Council (ERC) funded project "Locating Literature, Lived Religion, and Lives in the Himalayas: The Van Manen Collection" led by dr. Berthe Jansen.

Project description
This project offers a study of an important collection of Himalayan texts and artifacts collected between 1920 and 1940 in Kalimpong and Tibet. It aims to provide a view of the Van Manen collection through a study of its rare manuscripts, the material objects, undocumented marginal writings, and the unique Tibetan language autobiographies by ordinary Himalayan people commissioned by Van Manen.

The project's goal is the examination of the van Manen Collection as a whole using historical, ethnographic and philological methods, and by employing Digital Humanities methods through which the origins of the texts and artifacts can be traced, mapped, and be made available, linking them to other editions in online databases as well as to local Tibetan archives. The main aim is to get an understanding of the proliferation, usage, and presence of religious and ritual literature and artifacts in the greater Darjeeling area in the first half of the 20th century and, by extension, their religious milieus.

Key Responsibilities
The postdoctoral researcher will carry out research on the autobiographies/ life-stories by the Himalayan text collectors and cultural translators that Van Manen employed. They were written in Tibetan and partially translated or paraphrased in English (an edited edition of the latter is found in Richardus 1998). Classified as rang rnam (self-liberation) these life-stories were written by ordinary Tibetan and Himalayan people doing extraordinary things. These works were composed in a Tibetan that is more akin to the colloquial language than to the classical Tibetan in which Tibetan authors tended to write. Loanwords from English, Hindi, Bengali and Chinese abound, which adds a further challenge to their translation. The study of these works will provide a further glimpse into the ways in which Tibetan was spoken in the first half of the 20th century by people living in Kalimpong. The post-doctoral researcher will see that these materials are studied in their original form for the first time. They will work to publish these works in annotated English translations, and will aid a Tibetan language editor to publish the works in accessible Tibetan language versions. Additionally, they are encouraged to publish articles that investigate the historical significance of these life-stories. The ideal candidate has an excellent command of written and spoken Tibetan and a deep-seated academic interest in the social history and lived religion of Tibet and the Himalayas. They have a profound knowledge of Tibetan Buddhism and culture.
The postdoctoral researcher will be based in Leiden where they will join a research team that will consist of four members: one PhD candidate, two postdoctoral researchers, and the project leader. They will participate in regular teammeetings and present their research findings at scholarly venues, as well as in field trips to India.

The position is 1,0 fte. The post-doctoral researcher gets the opportunity to teach courses and supervise BA and MA theses (25% of their time). The position is ideally filled between September and December, 2023.

Selection Criteria

  • PhD in a relevant field (Tibetan Studies, Buddhist Studies, or similar).
  • Excellent knowledge of written and spoken Tibetan.
  • Prior experience in conducting historical research with primary literary sources.
  • Excellent command of English.
  • A reading knowledge of Chinese, Nepali, Bengali, or Hindi is preferred.
  • Interest in working collaboratively with a multidisciplinary team exploring primary sources and their broader socio-historical contexts.
  • Willingness to help organize the annual workshops.
  • Ability to work independently and as part of, and in support of, a larger team.

Our Organization
Leiden Institute for Area Studies (https://www.hum.leiden.edu/lias/) is comprised of a School of Asian, a School of Middle-Eastern Studies and a School of Religious Studies, with international staff and student populations. The institute is committed to a present-day vision of area studies, integrating disciplinary and regional-historical perspectives on a solid foundation of excellent language skills. Current staff in LIAS has expertise in the fields of Anthropology, Archaeology, Art Studies, Buddhist Studies, Film Studies, History, International Relations, Language Pedagogy, Law, Linguistics, Literary Studies, Material Culture Studies, Performance Studies, Philology, Philosophy, Political Economy, Religious Studies, Sociology, and Visual Culture Studies.
The Faculty of Humanities is rich in expertise in fields such as philosophy, religious studies, history, art history, literature, linguistics and area studies covering nearly every region of the world. With its staff of 995, the faculty provides 27 master’s and 25 bachelor’s programmes for over 7,000 students based at locations in Leiden and in The Hague. For more information: https://www.universiteitleiden.nl/en/humanities.

Terms and Conditions
We offer a fixed term 1,0 fte position for a period of 3 years, starting as soon as possible.
The starting salary is € 3.974.- gross per month (pay scale 11, step 0), based on a fulltime employment, in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities and commensurate with qualifications and experience. Depending on qualifications, you may start at the appropriate step in scale 10 until you fully meet the requirements for scale 11 as specified by the Faculty of Humanities, particularly with regard to the number of years of relevant work experience.

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. For international spouses we have set up a dual career programme. Candidates from outside the Netherlands may be eligible for a substantial tax break https://www.universiteitleiden.nl/en/working-at/job-application-procedure-and-employment-conditions.

Fostering an inclusive community is a central element of the values and vision of Leiden University. Leiden University is committed to becoming an inclusive community which enables all students and staff to feel valued and respected and to develop their full potential. Diversity in experiences and perspectives enriches our teaching and strengthens our research. High quality teaching and research is inclusive.

Enquiries can be made to Dr. Berthe Jansen, e-mail: b.k.jansen@hum.leidenuniv.nl
Please submit your application online no later than 16 June 2023 via the blue button in our application system. Your application should include:

  • Curriculum Vitae and a list of publications.
  • A cover letter explaining your motivation, background and qualifications for the position (max. 2 pages).
  • A writing sample in English (e.g. article or dissertation).
  • A research proposal related to the project (max. 2 pages).
  • Names, positions, and contact details of two referees (letters are not requested at this stage).

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