Gepubliceerd op 26-02-2024

PhD Positions in Anthropology Rythms of Love – University of Amsterdam

The Department of Anthropology is currently seeking two PhD candidates for the project ‘Rhythms of Love: Enduring Romantic Relationships at Midlife in Western Europe’ led by Dr Rahil Roodsaz. This project is funded by a Dutch NWO-Vidi Grant.

Are you curious about relations between love and midlife? Are you interested in exploring the pressing challenges of late modernity, including work pressures, parenting expectations, multiple care responsibilities, fear of commitment, and fear of missing out? Do you have affinity, interest, or experience with (multimodal and/or sensory) ethnographic research on love and intimacy? Are you familiar with or curious about anthropology, gender and sexuality studies, and critical love studies? And importantly, do you enjoy working in a team of spirited researchers?

The Department of Anthropology is one of the departments at the University of Amsterdam (UvA), Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG). The PhD track is part of the Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR), and these two positions are embedded in the programme group Exploring Diversity: Critical Ethnographies of Belonging and Exclusion.

What are you going to do?

Rhythms of Love is an ethnographic study of enduring love at midlife in Western Europe. It will investigate how people maintain long-term romantic relationships while going through life transitions in midlife (age 35–60). It aims to theorise the complex temporalities of enduring love, enabling us to reconfigure assumptions of a good life. Practicing enduring love at midlife means negotiating contemporary societal challenges: work pressures, parenting expectations, multiple care responsibilities, fear of commitment, and fear of missing out. How do middle-aged people succeed in maintaining an enduring love, especially when society values individualism, speed, and youthfulness? Can the temporal qualities of enduring love help us to imagine the good life differently? This project will develop the conceptual framework of ‘rhythms of love’ to analyse the temporal qualities and possibilities of enduring midlife love, focusing on three intersecting domains: partnership, parenthood, and other significant relationships. By centring gender, socioeconomic, racial, and religious diversity, the project rejects enduring love at midlife as a unitary category, and instead will theorise different conceptions of the good life underlying various people’s experiences of temporality.

The research team, consisting of two PhD candidates, a professional photographer, and the Principal Investigator, will conduct ethnographic research in Sweden, Germany and the Netherlands, employing multiple methods: ‘go-along’ informal conversations, love-life histories, emotion diaries, and photographic essays, but the team is open to experimentation with multiple (sensory) modalities. In a final sub-project, the PI will synthesise the team’s insights to advance theories of late-modern transformations of intimacy.

Your tasks

  • Your main task as PhD candidate will be to develop your own PhD within the framework of the overall project;
  • next to working on and managing your own research, you will contribute to collaborative aspects of the project. This will include collecting data for jointly written publication(s) and lending respective expertise to team members;
  • you are expected to conduct 12-months ethnographic fieldwork in Sweden or Germany;
  • you are expected to live in the Amsterdam area and take active part in team meetings and the research environment at the Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR);
  • teaching (up to 10% of your time) and organisational support for the project leader will be part of your job responsibilities. These tasks will allow you to gain valuable professional experience next to working towards your PhD.


You have:

  • a master’s degree or equivalent with a relevant specialization within the social sciences or humanities. Gender and sexuality studies and social and cultural anthropology are preferred academic backgrounds. The degree must have been obtained before the employment starting date;
  • excellent oral and written communication skills in English;
  • good oral and written communication skills in the country where you will conduct fieldwork (Swedish or German);
  • good command of (multimodal and/or sensory) ethnographic research methods and the ability and willingness to conduct challenging fieldwork on a sensitive topic;
  • independent thinking and critical analytical skills;
  • good collaboration skills and the ability to join interdisciplinary academic communities;
  • the skills needed to finish the PhD thesis in four years; i.e., independent and pro-active work attitude, good planning and academic writing skills.

You preferably have:

  • previous ethnographic research experiences, ideally with (multimodal) ethnography on love and intimacy;
  • affinity with the field of gender and sexuality studies, critical love studies, and/or midlife studies;
  • affinity with topics of love, late-modernity, and temporality;
  • affinity with Germany or Sweden.

Conditions of employment

The position concerns temporary employment of 38 hours per week for a maximum term of four years. The employment is for one year and will start on 1 September 2024. Following a positive assessment and barring altered circumstances, this term will be extended by a maximum of three years, which should result in the conferral of a doctorate. We will put together a curriculum which will also include the opportunity to attend training courses and both national and international events.

For this position the University Job Classification profile “Promovendus” applies. Your salary will be €2,770 gross per month in the first year and will increase to €3,539 in the final year, based on full-time employment of 38 hours per week and in keeping with the Collective Labour Agreement of Dutch Universities. We additionally offer an extensive package of secondary benefits, including 8% holiday allowance and a year-end bonus of 8.3%.

The UvA offers excellent possibilities for further professional development and education.

What else do we offer

  • 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 community in the heart of Amsterdam.

To work at the University of Amsterdam is to work in a discerning, independent, creative, innovative, and international climate characterised by an open atmosphere and a genuine engagement with the city of Amsterdam and society.


The University of Amsterdam is the largest university in the Netherlands, with the broadest spectrum of degree programmes. It is an intellectual hub with 39,000 students, 6,000 employees and 3,000 doctoral students who are all committed to a culture of inquiring minds. A challenging work environment with a variety of duties and ample scope for individual initiative and development within an inspiring organization.

The social and behavioral sciences play a leading role in addressing the major societal challenges faced by the world, the Netherlands and Amsterdam, now and in the future.

Want to know more about our organisation? Read more about working at the University of Amsterdam.

Additional information

Do you have any questions, or do you require additional information? Please contact: Rahil Roodsaz, Assistant professor in Anthropology and Principal Investigator of ‘Rhythms of Love’, R.Roodsaz@uva.nl, T: +31 6 8888182.

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