Gepubliceerd op 17-03-2021

Postdoctoral Researcher – Discovering the Limits of Reason

The University of Helsinki (www.helsinki.fi/en) is an international scientific community of 40,000 students and researchers. It is one of the leading multidisciplinary research universities in Europe and ranks among the top 100 international universities in the world. The University of Helsinki seeks solutions for global challenges and creates new ways of thinking for the best of humanity.

The Faculty of Social Sciences is Finland’s leading research and education institution in the social sciences and also the most diverse in terms of its disciplines. In several research fields the Faculty belongs to the top 50 in the international rankings. The Faculty has a strong international profile both in research and teaching programmes. The number of academic staff stands at 500. Each year the faculty awards some 350 Bachelor’s degrees, 400 Master’s degrees, and more than 40 doctoral degrees. For more information on the Faculty of Social Sciences, please visit www2.helsinki.fi/en/faculty-of-social-sciences.

The Faculty of Social Sciences invites applications for the position of

Postdoctoral Researcher, Discovering the Limits of Reason

for a four-year fixed term period from 1 January 2022 onwards (or as agreed) to contribute to the subproject Discovering the Limits of Reason of the Centre of Excellence (CoE) in Law, Identity and the European Narratives (EuroStorie, www.eurostorie.org).

The CoE is a part of the interdisciplinary Centre of European Studies. The purpose of the CoE is to launch a new, third generation inquiry that critically explores the emergence of narratives of Europe as responses to the crises of the twentieth century and how these narratives have shaped the ideas of justice and community in Europe. It studies the foundational stories that underlie the contested idea of a shared European heritage in law and culture, such as the ideas of rule of law, equality, tolerance, pluralism and the rejection of totalitarianism, and their relevance for current debates on identity and history. The CoE is divided into three subprojects. For descriptions of the subprojects and their aims, please see www2.helsinki.fi/en/researchgroups/law-identity-and-the-european-narratives/subprojects.

The subproject Discovering the Limits of Reason focuses on the philosophical and intellectual roots of the post-WWII European project. In particular, the project studies the interwar debates on the idea of reason and its contested universality in the fields of philosophy, history and theology as well as in legal and political theory. We are interested in a variety of ideas ranging from general concepts such as rationality, universality and teleology to their more concrete formulations in theories of progress, sovereignty, liberalism and so on. We invite new and ambitious projects that combine philosophical and historical approaches with more concrete analyses of ensuing e.g. political and/or legal developments, including perspectives from outside of Europe. Projects with linkages with and relevance in other subprojects of the CoE are highly encouraged. We welcome applicants with a multidisciplinary academic background and experience in conducting high-level research in interdisciplinary groups. We offer an exciting and stimulating research community.


An appointee to the position must hold a doctoral degree in a relevant field to the research topic and have a high quality research proposal. Relevant disciplines include but are not limited to philosophy, political science (or political theory), political history, intellectual history, law and theology. Moreover, he or she is expected to have the ability to conduct independent scientific research and possess the teaching skills required for the position. Fluency in the English language is required. The position of postdoctoral researcher is typically held for three to five years after the completion of a doctoral degree. The aim of the position is to encourage the appointee to further their skills and gain more experience to prepare them for an academic career.

An appointee must be able to provide a clear contribution to the theme of the CoE and to its general development, together with full-time researchers, postdocs, visiting faculty, Ph.D. students, and graduate students working as research assistants. To fulfil the research requirements of the position, the applicant chosen is awaited to reside in Finland while employed by the University of Helsinki, and actively participate in the research and teaching activities of the CoE. The Faculty of Social Sciences provides assistance in relocation. An appointee is expected to contribute 2 months of the annual work time to joint projects at the CoE, develop her/his own and our common research agenda, and contribute to collective academic tasks such as teaching, seminars and joint academic papers. The teaching requirement is 5% of working time.

What we offer

We are an equal opportunity employer and offer an attractive and diverse workplace in an inspiring environment with a variety of development opportunities and benefits. The annual gross salary range will be approx. 41,000 – 50,000 euros, depending on the appointee’s qualifications and experience. In addition, University of Helsinki offers comprehensive services to its employees, including occupational health care and opportunities for professional development. Further information at www.helsinki.fi/en/about-us/careers. The employment contract will include a probationary period of six months.

How to apply

Please submit your application through the University of Helsinki Recruitment System via the link Apply for job. Applicants who are employees of the University of Helsinki are requested to submit their application via the SAP HR portal. The deadline for applications is 23 April, 2021.

Applicants are requested to enclose with their applications the following documents as a single pdf file:
1) A curriculum vitae (max 4 pages).
2) A numbered list of publications on which the applicant has marked in bold her or his five key publications to be considered during the review. (You do not need to send copies of the publications themselves.)
3) A statement (max 2 pages) outlining how the applicant’s expertise would contribute both to research conducted at the CoE and to cross-disciplinary collaboration between the subprojects
4) A research proposal (max 4 pages) of the applicants planned research

Further information

Further information about the position may be obtained (English or Finnish) from the team leader Dr. Timo Miettinen (timo.pa.miettinen@helsinki.fi) or Vice-Director Pamela Slotte (pamela.slotte@helsinki.fi, also Swedish).


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