Gepubliceerd op 21-07-2021

PhD scholarship: Maintaining Slavery in the Lesser Antilles c. 1650 – 1850

Job description

The Saxo Institute at the University of Copenhagen is pleased to announce a call for applications for a 3-year fully funded PhD scholarship in the inter-island history of slavery in the Lesser Antilles c. 1650 – 1850. The position is available from October 1, 2021 or as soon as possible thereafter.
The position is part of the research project In the Same Sea: The Lesser Antilles as a Common World of Slavery and Freedom, funded by the European Research Council. In the Same Sea investigates the shared history of the Lesser Antilles from the 1650s to the 1850s. The research team explores how the islands of the Lesser Antilles were shaped by inter-island connections that transformed separate islands in different empires into a common world of slavery and freedom.

The successful candidate will carry out independent research on how slavery was maintained across imperial borders in the Lesser Antilles. The PhD research project begins from the assumption that slavery in the Lesser Antilles was maintained by island elites who drew on the administrative and managerial knowledge gleaned from islands belonging to other European empires. Tracing the trans-colonial connections that shaped the regime of slavery in the long eighteenth century, research topics may include, but are not limited to, the ways by which colonial administrators, elite planters, and merchants compared island conditions and competed to obtain the most efficient means of reproducing slavery. The mapping of significant events and developments – such as the introduction of a legal limit on the number of lashes inflicted upon slaves, and the introduction of mandatory letters of freedom to free people of color – may serve as tools to unearth possible flows between islands. Likewise, the project can examine how island elites gained knowledge of measures designed to control the enslaved population – such as urban design, prison construction, plantation layouts, and legal and punitive procedures – by looking towards those implemented on other islands.

In addition to conducting independent research, the candidate will participate in the team’s research activities, including the construction of databases and maps. For more, see IN THE SAME SEA.

For further information, please contact Associate Professor Dr. Gunvor Simonsen. Dr. Simonsen will also act as supervisor.
For questions about the Saxo Institute and the PhD-program, refer to Associate Professor Søren Rud.


Qualification requirements
The successful candidate will have excellent communication skills in English, both spoken and written. In addition, candidates will master French and/or Dutch allowing them to conduct research in the archives of more than one imperial power.

Admission requirements
Applicants should hold a two-year Master’s degree (120 ECTS) or the equivalent in history or a similar discipline. If the MA-thesis is not completed at the application deadline, applicants must send pre-approval of their thesis.

If the MA diploma and/or examination records are in another language than English, German, French, Spanish, Danish, Norwegian or Swedish, please include a translation into either of these languages in your application.
The translation of diplomas/certificates and transcripts must be made or approved by either of the following:

  • A state-authorized translator and interpreter
  • The embassy or consulate of the country where the original document was issued or where the translation was made
  • A Danish consulate/embassy

The administration encourages applicants from within the EU to enclose a Diploma Supplement. The Diploma Supplement is part of a common European framework for transparency of competencies and qualifications see Europass / EU.

Conditions of employment

As a PhD student at The Faculty of Humanities, University of Copenhagen, you will be supervised for approximately 180 hours distributed over 6 semesters. In addition to this, you must complete PhD courses of a total approximating 30 ECTS. On completion of the PhD program, you must submit a PhD thesis.
For more information: PhD studies, Faculty of Humanities, UCPH.

Terms of Employment
PhD students at the Faculty of Humanities are appointed under the terms and conditions of the collective agreement between the Danish Ministry of Finance and the Danish Confederation of Professional Associations.
As an equal opportunity employer, the university invites applications from all interested candidates regardless of gender, age, ethnic origin or religion.


University of Copenhagen

Part of the International Alliance of Research Universities (IARU), and among Europe’s top-ranking universities, the University of Copenhagen promotes research and teaching of the highest international standard. Rich in tradition and modern in outlook, the University gives students and staff the opportunity to cultivate their talent in an ambitious and informal environment. An effective organisation – with good working conditions and a collaborative work culture – creates the ideal framework for a successful academic career.

Additional information

The application should include the following:

1. Cover letter
(2,400 characters)

2. CV  
Please include a complete CV, including a list of publications where relevant.

3. Writing sample
Please include an example of your academic writing in English, such as an article or a MA-thesis chapter.

4. Diploma and transcript of records 
Please include the following documentation:

  • A copy of the applicant’s Master’s degree diploma (if not available before the application deadline, a pre-approval must be submitted)
  • A copy of the applicant’s Master’s degree transcript of records (an official description of the grading scale must be included)
  • A copy of the applicant’s Bachelor’s degree diploma
  • A copy of the applicant’s Bachelor’s degree transcript of records (an official description of the grading scale must be included)

5. Research proposal
The research proposal (12,000 characters, excl. bibliography) should outline:

  • The research topic
  • The research question/s
  • The historiographical state of the art / how does the project relate to previous research?
  • The methodology of the proposed study
  • The archives and/or material to be consulted
  • A realistic research plan, setting aside one semester for teaching and one semester for coursework.

Contact information
For any further questions regarding recruitment please contact HR officer Pernille Lykke Paulsen, e-mail: hrsc@hrsc.ku.dk, please refer to ID number 211-0766/21-2H #1.

Application deadline
Applicants must submit the application electronically no later than July 31, 2021 at 23.59 (CET).

Applicants can amend their application after submission up until the application deadline.

Apply now

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