Gepubliceerd op 09-10-2023

PhD Position in European Integration History / the History of European Imperialism

Faculteit/Dienst:  Faculteit der Geesteswetenschappen

Opleidingsniveau:  Master

Functie type:  Promotieplaats

Sluitingsdatum:  12 november 2023

Vacaturenummer:  12206

The Amsterdam School for Regional and Transnational and European Studies (ARTES) invites applications for a fully-funded 4-year PhD position in Modern European History. The PhD project is funded by a starting grant from the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science of the Netherlands and will be led by Dr Robin de Bruin.

The PhD fellow will be part of ARTES, one of the five Research Schools within the Amsterdam Institute for Humanities Research, and the Modern European History research cluster. ARTES combines humanities and social science-based approaches to the study of Europe and other world regions, and the relations between them.

What are you going to do?

Over a period of four years, you will conduct PhD research under the guidance of Dr Robin de Bruin. Your PhD project will analyse the complex entanglement of imperialism and blueprints for European cooperation from a historical perspective and will focus on ideas about imperialism as a collective European endeavour within the ranks of the Pan-European Union and the League of Nations (1929-1939).

In the interwar period, the future relations between the metropoles and the overseas countries and territories of European colonial empires was a heavily debated topic: should some autonomy be given to overseas countries and territories, should one strive for some form of unity between metropole and overseas countries and territories or should colonial rule be Europeanised?

Every brand of European imperialism was an example of a shared European mental framework about white man’s capacity and right to rule. At the same time, the political elites in the European metropoles of colonial empires often regarded the colonial traditions and convictions of their own country as the single good exception in the field of European imperialism (‘imperial exceptionalism’). By employing narrative analysis and drawing on new research in the archives and printed sources this project will examine the ‘mental maps’ and ‘collective perceptions’ of European political elites in the field of colonial and European policy. By deploying the key concepts of ‘imperial exceptionalism’ and ‘co-imperialism’ this project will examine how Europe was thought of by political elites as an ‘order’ or ‘system’ and how they saw their role and position in the world at large.

The aim of this PhD project is to find out under what circumstances feelings of exceptionality regarding one’s own, ‘national’, imperialist project predominated on an elite level and in what contexts this imperialist project was seen as an endeavour that could be, or should be, Europeanised?

This PhD project will investigate this competition of future prospects on the basis of three cases:

  1. European responses to the British policy of ‘imperial preference’.
  2. European responses to the Second Italo-Abyssinian War.
  3. The movement for ‘colonial appeasement’ (colonial redistribution in order to prevent war on European territory).

There are three key questions underlying this PhD research:

  1. How did political elites imagine the future relation between the metropole and the overseas countries and territories? Did they regard the overseas countries and territories as overseas parts of the nation or as dependent, associated nation states?
  2. To what extent did political elites believe that overseas imperialism was a collective European project?
  3. Which nations were and were not included in this project and why?

An extensive project description can be requested from Dr Robin de Bruin.

The PhD project can be adapted to meet the individual interests of the PhD candidate.

Tasks and responsibilities:

  • Conduct PhD research on ideas about imperialism as a collective European endeavour in partly digitised archival sources, such as the Historical Archives of the European Union and the archives of the League of Nations.
  • Complete a PhD thesis within the required timeframe of 4 years.
  • Publish a single-authored peer reviewed journal article.
  • Present project findings at conferences and workshops.
  • Co-organise knowledge dissemination activities and co-edit the conference proceedings of an international conference about co-imperialism.
  • Participate in PhD training programmes at the University of Amsterdam and the Research School for Political History.
  • Co-teach courses at the BA-level and MA-level in the 2nd and 3rd year of the appointment (max. 0,2 fte per year).

What do you have to offer?

You are a talented and dedicated researcher, motivated to embark on a four-year research project. You are familiar with research in archives and know how to incorporate archive material into an ongoing argument, thereby contributing to the historiographical debate.

Your experience and profile:

  • A master’s degree in European History, European Studies, or a related field by 1 February 2024.
  • Thorough knowledge of the history of European imperialism and the history of European integration.
  • Experience with archival research and/or research in other types of primary sources.
  • The ability to analyse discourses according to the latest insights in the humanities.
  • Professional proficiency in English.
  • The ability to work both independently and as a team member.
  • A demonstrable interest in academic research and a strong drive to grow in the profession.
  • A strong motivation to share knowledge with academic and non-academic audiences.

Being able to read and write in French is desirable

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.

What can we offer you?

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 February 2024.

The gross monthly salary, based on 38 hours per week and relevant experience, ranges from € 2,770 up to a maximum of € 3,539. This sum does not include the 8% holiday allowance and the 8,3% year-end allowance. A favourable tax agreement, the ‘30% ruling’, may apply to non-Dutch applicants. 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.
  • A position in which initiative and input are highly valued.
  • An enthusiastic and warm team that is open to new colleagues.
  • An inspiring academic and international working environment in the heart of Amsterdam.

About us

The University of Amsterdam is the Netherlands’ largest university, offering the widest range of academic programmes. At the UvA, 42,000 students, 6,000 staff members and 3,000 PhD candidates study and work in a diverse range of fields, connected by a culture of curiosity.

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.


Do you have any questions or do you require additional information? Please contact (during office hours):

Job application

If you feel the profile fits you, and you are interested in the job, we look forward to receiving your application. You can apply online via the link below. The deadline for applying for this vacancy is 12 November 2023.

Applications should include the following information (submitted in one .pdf by uploading in the required field ‘CV’):

  • A letter of motivation in which you demonstrate that you are able to conduct individual research based on archival sources on the research topic.
  • A full academic CV, listing at least:
    • address and contact details
    • previous education
    • professional information (previous university (or relevant) employment)
    • conference presentations and publications, if applicable
    • grants/honours, if applicable
    • language proficiency
  • A list of grades (transcript) obtained for your Master’s (or equivalent) programme; at this stage, a certified document is not yet necessary.
  • The names and contact details of two referees who are familiar with your work in the relevant field whom we can contact for a reference once the vacancy has closed.

Only complete applications received within the response period via the link below will be considered.

The interviews will be held in the week of 27 November – 1 December 2023.

The UvA is an equal-opportunity employer. We prioritize diversity and are committed to creating an inclusive environment for everyone. We value a spirit of enquiry and perseverance, provide the space to keep asking questions, and promote a culture of curiosity and creativity.

Apply now!

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