Gepubliceerd op 23-05-2023

Post-doc Environmental Humanities of Extraction in Africa – University of Groningen

Job Description

Specialty areas: political ecology, contemporary history, African history, environmental history

Applications are invited for a 2.5 years (30 months) postdoctoral research position within the AFREXTRACT project Environmental Histories of Resource Extraction in Africa: Understanding Cultural and Political Responses to Environmental Transformation, financed by the European Research Council (ERC) and led by dr Iva Peša.

Through a comparative study of three African localities of resource extraction (oil drilling in Nigeria; copper mining in Zambia; gold mining in South Africa), focusing on the period 1950-2020, this project aims to analyse and explain the diversity of political responses to environmental transformation. The postdoctoral researcher will focus on forms of mobilisation (protest movements, NGO activity, as well as how communities learn to live with pollution) to gain insights into popular understandings of environmental change caused by mining and oil extraction. This postdoctoral project will involve research stays in all three countries (c. 6 months in total).

The environmental changes caused by mining and oil drilling have elicited a variety of political responses, ranging from organised protest movements to more everyday ways of accommodating extraction. Why did some adopt violent tactics or take to the streets, while others sued mining companies over pollution? This project aims to historicise these political responses and to understand why people reacted differently to environmental transformation. The postdoctoral researcher will be part of a larger team (PI, two PhD students, and one postdoctoral researcher on cultural production), collaborating closely with the Universities of Port Harcourt, Copperbelt University, the University of Pretoria, and local partners (including NGOs).

This postdoctoral project offers a unique opportunity to work in an international research environment as well as to acquire valuable teaching experience (should the candidate be interested). In addition, the postdoctoral researcher will collaborate with the other team members to organise conferences and workshops, and to plan outreach activities.

For additional queries regarding the project and if you would like to get access to the full project proposal, please get in touch with the project’s PI, dr Iva Peša: i.pesa@rug.nl

The University of Groningen, founded in 1614, is an international research university in the north of the Netherlands. Our staff create and share knowledge through outstanding research and education. The Faculty of Arts – which includes the History department – is located in the historic heart of the city of Groningen. Our research covers the following fields: Archaeology, Cultural Studies, History, International Relations, Journalism, Language and Literary Studies, and Linguistics.


Required qualifications

  • a PhD (or proof of imminent completion) in a relevant field, such as political ecology, anthropology, African history, or environmental history (degrees in related fields such as African studies, political science or international relations will also be considered)
  • excellent command of English
  • experience in conducting research in Africa (preferably in Nigeria, Zambia, or South Africa) and willingness to conduct c. 6 months of research in the three study localities
  • familiarity with and strong interest in debates on environmental history, resource extraction, African history, social mobilisation, and political ecology
  • a strong motivation to publish your research (the candidate will be expected to publish two articles in peer-reviewed journals)
  • ability to work both independently and as a team player.

Desirable qualifications

  • a research network in the Niger Delta, the Zambian Copperbelt, and/or Johannesburg
  • knowledge of local languages, e.g. Ijaw, Bemba, or Zulu.

Conditions of Employment

Fixed-term contract: 30 months.

In accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities, the University of Groningen offers you:

  • a salary, depending on qualifications and work experience, between € 2,970 and € 3,974 (salary scale 10.7) gross per month, based on a full-time position
  • a holiday allowance of 8% gross annual income
  • an 8.3% end-of-the-year allowance.This 0.8 fte appointment is temporary, for a specified period of 2.5 years (additional teaching tasks up to 0.2 FTE are possible).

    For more detailed information about working conditions and working for the University of Groningen, please check: https://www.rug.nl/about-ug/work-with-us/new-staff/

    The prospective starting date is 1 January or 1 February 2024.

Additional Information

Dr Iva Peša, for information about the project itself i.pesa@rug.nl.
Click here for more information about the organisation.

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