Two Postdoc Positions “Pressing Matter - Ownership, Value And The Question Of Colonial Heritage In Museums” (3 Years, 0.8 Fte)

Utrecht University

Netherlands

September 1, 2021

Description

Two Postdoc positions “Pressing Matter - Ownership, Value and the Question

of Colonial Heritage in Museums” (3 years, 0.8 FTE)

Job description

Would you like to work on colonial collections assembled by missionaries at the intersection of material culture studies, critical heritage studies, religious studies and colonial history?

Pressing Matter responds to the growing contestation over what to do with the colonial heritage held in museums. This growing controversy reveals the need to account for the polarised positions of these debates, ranging from scholars, activists and community members championing the return of objects to correct historical wrongs, to those who contend that objects should be retained irrespective of the circumstances of acquisition by museums in light of their (universal) cultural and scientific value. In the middle are advocates of more relational heritage practices, comprising dialogue and sharing in how objects are distributed. Pressing Matter has identified various approaches to this problem, and to the different categories of collections in collaborating museums that will be the starting points for research. Pressing Matter has been developed within the context of the National Science Agenda of the Netherlands. A large team of PhD candidates, Postdocs, provenance Researchers, museum staff, and senior academics will be organized across 8 work packages, hosted at five different universities and in collaboration with five museums and several societal stakeholders.

One work package, titled “Heritage and the Question of Conversion” and chaired by Prof. Birgit Meyer (UU) and Prof. Peter Pels (Leiden University), will explore objects acquired through missionary collecting as a form of voluntary dispossession. The Researcher will conduct comparative research on objects collected by Catholic and Protestant missionaries in Papua (Indonesia) and in Western or Central Africa, focusing on collections from the Nationaal Museum Van Wereldculturen and Wereldmuseum. For a full description of this work package click here.

Qualifications

The successful candidates will have:

  • a PhD degree in anthropology, African Studies or Pacific Studies, heritage studies, history, or religious studies by the time of appointment;
  • a record (appropriate to career stage) of publications that demonstrates the ability to conduct research which is internationally recognized as contributing to the field;
  • the ability to work both independently and collaboratively, with good organizational and communication skills;
  • creativity and is innovative in her/his work;
  • expertise in working with archival (missionary) sources and material objects;
  • the ability to read Dutch (necessary for the archival work);
  • proficiency in spoken and written English.
  • Offer

    We offer a temporary position (0.8 FTE) for a period of one year. Upon good performance, the contract will be extended for another two years (for a total of three years). The gross salary - depending on previous qualifications and experience - ranges between € 3,491 and € 3,746 (scale 10 according to the Collective Labour Agreement Dutch Universities) per month for a full-time employment. Salaries are supplemented with a holiday bonus of 8% and a year- end bonus of 8.3% per year. In addition, Utrecht University offers excellent secondary conditions, including an attractive retirement scheme, (partly paid) parental leave and flexible employment conditions (multiple choice model). More information about working at Utrecht University can be found here.

    About the organization

    A better future for everyone. This ambition motivates our scientists in executing their leading research and inspiring teaching. At Utrecht University, the various disciplines collaborate intensively towards major societal themes. Our focus is on Dynamics of Youth, Institutions for Open Societies, Life Sciences and Sustainability.

    The Faculty of Humanities has around 6,000 students and 900 staff members. It comprises four knowledge domains: Philosophy and Religious Studies, History and Art History, Media and Culture Studies, and Languages, Literature and Communication. With its research and education in these fields, the faculty aims to contribute to a better understanding of the Netherlands and Europe in a rapidly changing social and cultural context. The enthusiastic and committed colleagues and the excellent amenities in the historical city center of Utrecht, where the faculty is housed, contribute to an inspiring working environment.

    Additional information

    For more information about this position, please contact: Dr. Annemeik Schlatmann via a.m.schlatmann@uu.nl.

    Everyone deserves to feel at home at our university. We welcome employees with a wide variety of backgrounds and perspectives. To apply, please send your curriculum vitae, including a letter of motivation via the ‘apply' button below.

    The application should include:

  • a brief cover letter explaining what interests you about this position, how your background prepares you for it, and any other information about your circumstances relevant to assessing your suitability for the position;

  • a curriculum vitae, including a list of your publications. Please include the names and contact details of two referees whom we may contact at the end;

  • a relevant key-publication (max. 20 pages – you may also include selections from larger work).

  • Employment will become effective on January 1, 2022 or, by mutual agreement, shortly thereafter.

    The application deadline is 01/09/2021

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