Gepubliceerd op 28-08-2023

Postdoc in history of anthropology or religious studies – Rijksuniversiteit Groningen

We are seeking a highly motivated candidate for a postdoc position within a project funded by the Dutch Research Council (NWO). We offer a contract of 35 months.

The project is entitled “Culture Wars and Modern Worldviews: A Transnational Conceptual History” and is located in the Department of Christianity and the History of Ideas. The core research team will consist of the PI, Prof. Dr. Todd H. Weir, and two postdoctoral scholars, one focussing on the history of anthropology and/or religious studies, and the second providing expertise in digital humanities (for that position, please see the separate advertisement here: https://www.rug.nl/(…)47-02S000AC6P&cat=wp)

The aim of this project is to develop a model of the formative power of culture wars in shaping modern thought, politics and religion by investigating the history of the concept of “worldview.” It is a transnational and multilingual project, that traces the history of worldview from its popularization in nineteenth-century Germany, to its invocation by Dutch and North American Christian thinkers, to its use by political ideologies such as National Socialism, to its contemporary usage in Latin America in the context of arguments about indigenous right.

The postdoctoral scholar will contribute to research into the impact of worldview-thinking on theory production in academic disciplines concerned with religion and the secular. Following training in the project methodology, which combines conceptual history with digital humanities techniques, the postdoc will co-design and then carry out research into the role of worldview in the history of religious studies and anthropology from around 1900 to the recent calls for replacing religious studies with “worldview studies.” In particular, the postdoc will look at the role of international anthropological research in the translation of Weltanschauung into the Spanish cosmovisión and its application to indigenous cultures in Latin America. We are interested in the role of theories of worldview/cosmovisión in the “ontological turn” in contemporary anthropology and will explore its appropriation by public actors advocating for indigenous rights.

Tasks and responsibilities:

  • Semi-autonomous research in the history of anthropology and/or religious studies from ca. 1900 to the present, with the ability to engage in transnational investigations
  • Learning and utilization of digital humanities techniques of conceptual history
  • Presenting research results at conferences and workshops
  • Publishing academic articles
  • Participating in regular meetings with the other project team members
  • Participation in teaching activities related to the research
  • Assisting in communication tasks, such as co-managing project website, writing blog posts, participating actively in creation of a MOOC (Massive Open Online Course).

The University of Groningen is a research university with a global outlook. Quality has had top priority for four hundred years, and with success: the University is currently in or around the top 100 on several influential ranking lists. The Faculty of Religion, Culture and Society is an ambitious, interdisciplinary research hub with a dynamic and accomplished staff drawn from around the world (58% international), and a Graduate School with 60 PhD students. For more information about the Faculty, please check the link https://www.rug.nl/rcs/


We are looking for candidates who meet the following requirements:

  • a PhD degree (or clear timeline to obtain degree prior to start date) in anthropology, religious studies, history of social science, intellectual or cultural history, digital humanities or a related discipline
  • a relevant publication record, demonstrating your ability to publish international academic publications
  • a clear interest in collaborative, interdisciplinary research
  • excellent command of the English language and working knowledge of one of the other target languages, preferably Spanish
  • ability to work independently and manage joint research activities
  • a team player with strong communication skills
  • Interest in utilizing digital humanities methods; existing knowledge of DH is welcomed.

Conditions of employment

We offer you in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities:

  • a starting salary depending on qualifications and work experience between

€ 3,226 and € 4,332 (salary scale 10.0 to 10.7) gross per month for a full-time position

  • a holiday allowance of 8% gross annual income an 8.3% end-of-the-year allowance
  • attractive secondary terms of employment
  • a three year contract (35 months).

Intended starting date: 1 February 2024


You may apply for this position until 5 October 2023, 11:59pm Dutch local time/Central European Time. Only submissions via the application form will be considered.

The selection interviews will take place the week of 30 October 2023.

Applications should include:
1. a letter of motivation (about 1000 words), in which you describe your background in the anthropology, religious studies, history of science, cultural history, digital humanities or a related discipline
2. a curriculum vitae, including a list of publications and (if applicable) other research output clearly showing your expertise in relevant areas
3. the text of one publication (or piece of writing, e.g., a chapter from your dissertation) you find particularly relevant.


For information you can contact:

Please do not use the e-mail address(es) above for applications.

Click here for more information and apply now!

Het KNHG is de grootste organisatie van professionele historici in Nederland. Het biedt een platform aan de ruim 1100 leden en aan de historische gemeenschap als geheel. Word lid van het KNHG.
Het Huygens Instituut beoogt de Nederlandse geschiedenis en cultuur inclusiever maken. Het ontsluit historische bronnen en literaire teksten en ontwikkelt innovatieve methoden, tools en duurzame digitale infrastructuur.