PhD candidate '20th Century Terrorscapes and Transitional Justice'

Faculty of Humanities – Amsterdam School for Heritage, Memory and Material Culture

Publication date
15 March 2017
Level of education
Master's degree
Salary indication
€2,191 to €2,801 gross per month, based on 38 hours per week
Closing date
15 April 2017
Hours
30,4 hours per week
Vacancy number
17-113

The NIOD Institute for War, Holocaust and Genocide Studies and the Amsterdam School of Heritage, Memory and Material Culture (Research School AHM) of the University of Amsterdam will jointly host a PhD position, (0.8 fte).  The PhD candidate will work in the Transitional Justice research program at the NIOD. The project will furthermore be closely linked to the HERA program Accessing Campscapes: Inclusive Strategies for Using European Conflicted Heritage (iC-ACCESS) at the UvA. 

Project and job description

As Eastern European countries increasingly address the legacy of 20th century totalitarianism, several kinds of narratives of repression are competing for the public space. In most post-war European countries, former Nazi internment camps have served as icons for memorialization of antifascist resistance and the Holocaust. They have played a consistent role in exposing the ideology and practices of Nazism and facilitated the European memory of genocide. By contrast, in the Eastern European (and Soviet) center of the Holocaust and Communist terror, many former ‘terrorscapes’ are still contested spaces, because narratives of victimization at the hands of the Communist regime were long suppressed by the Soviet rulers. Some of these sites witnessed consecutive internments of prisoners by occupying powers and authoritarian regimes, who transformed the victims of one event into the persecutors of another. 

The countries victimized by both regimes, with populations that had adapted to repression, struggle with conflicting survival narratives as well as broadly diffused notions of moral and legal culpability.  In consequence, many of these spaces have become battlegrounds for contesting the history of repression. This entanglement of remembering and forgetting, and the silencing of competing narratives – combined with the quest for public recognition of suppressed histories in places where authoritarianism is often the default political culture – poses a serious challenge to museums, remembrance institutions, civil society organizations, transitional justice mechanisms, and scholars tasked with developing new and constructive (public) narratives for understanding and addressing the history of these spaces. 

The battle for memory endures at such sites as Jasenovac, Sajmiŝte, Perm, Katyn, Bykivnia, Jáchymov, and many other killing grounds. As we examine the experiences at these sites of Nazi and/or Communist terror, important questions emerge regarding their former, present, and future place in national and European narratives. Relevant to that is rigorous scrutiny of what happened, which crimes were selected for examination in Transitional Justice processes, which were not -- and why, how restitution was implemented, and how these crimes were and are addressed, or suppressed, in education (history classes, textbooks), media (press, TV documentaries, and social media), museums, monuments and commemorations, and at the sites themselves.

Tasks of the PhD candidate will include:

  • completion and defence of a PhD thesis within the period of appointment;
  • regular presentations of intermediate research results at workshops and conferences;
  • publication of at least one peer-reviewed article;
  • participation in the training program of the Graduate School / Research School,  Faculty of Humanities, University of Amsterdam;
  • active participation in conferences, workshops, seminars and other scholarly activities.

Requirements

  • Excellent written and spoken academic English and command of any other languages that are relevant to the research project;
  • a completed Master’s degree in a field relevant to the PhD project;
  • knowledge of Dutch is not a requirement but will be considered a positive factor for the selection;
  • excellent research capability, as attested by previous academic record, particularly by the quality of the candidate’s MA thesis;
  • motivation;
  • creativity and high level of independence;
  • affinity with work in an interdisciplinary and highly international environment;
  • willingness and proven ability to work in a team;
  • willingness to relocate to (the vicinity of) Amsterdam;
  • willingness to participate actively in the activities of the programme group.

Further information

For further information, please contact:

Appointment

The PhD candidate will be appointed at the NIOD Institute for War, Holocaust and Genocide Studies. The appointment will be for 48 months, 0.8 fte.

The first contract will be for 16 months, an extension for the following 32 months pending a positive performance evaluation. The gross monthly salary will be €2,191 during the first year to reach €2,801 during the fourth, based on 38 hours per week, in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities.

Job application

Applications for this PhD position should include in a single PDF file:

  • a letter of motivation, stating why you want to carry out this particular research and why you are the right candidate for this position (no more than 1 page);
  • a CV (max. 2 pages);
  • a description of your proposed research project (max 2500 words, excluding references): this should include an abstract of max 200 words and a project proposal specifying research question(s), positioning in the relevant academic debate(s), the proposed methodology, a work plan, and an indication of the type and amount of data/sources/literature;
  • a list of grades obtained in your Bachelor and Master (or equivalent) programs;
  • the names and contact details of two academic referees;
  • a writing sample, e.g. a published paper or a chapter from your MA-thesis.

Applications may be submitted no later than 15 April 2017 by sending your application to solliciteren2017-fgw@uva.nl. Please state reference number 17-113 in the subject. 

No agencies please

Published by  University of Amsterdam