29 October 2015

The Faculty of Humanities, Institute for History, Leiden University (The Netherlands)
3 PhD Positions
Deadline for application: 11 November 2015

The Faculty of Humanities, Institute for History of Leiden University announces vacancies for 3 PhD Positions on Rethinking Disability: the Global Impact of the International Year of Disabled Persons (1981) in Historical Perspective.
Project description
Approximately 10% of the world’s population is estimated to be disabled and this number is expected to rise in the next few decades. People in different cultural settings ascribe different meanings to disability; consequently, its repercussions are both culturally contingent and universal. This project brings together the local and global dimensions of disability by undertaking the first comprehensive study of the far-reaching political, societal and cultural implications of the International Year of Disabled Persons (IYDP) which was organized under the auspices of the United Nations in 1981. A landmark event which appears to have gone virtually unrecognized in scholarship; the IYDP was the first occasion to place disability into a global context by endorsing it authoritatively as a human rights issue and thereby raising the question as to how the concept may be understood in a multicultural world.

The project’s main ambition is to bring the burgeoning field of disability studies to the attention of mainstream historical scholarship. It will use the IYDP as an unconventional lens through which to study the broader political, social and cultural processes in the last quarter of the twentieth century at international, national and local-grassroots levels. It will have four closely-related objectives: 1. to examine the IYDP’s impact on human rights discourses within global settings; 2. to document the IYDP’s contribution to social change in various parts of the world; 3. to assess the ways in which the IYDP influenced everyday life experiences and galvanized identity formation of disabled people; 4. to analyze the transnational exchanges in conjunction with the IYDP and to examine how the Western-oriented discourses penetrating the developing world interacted with the local environment.

Interested applicants are asked to consult the project description and are encouraged to contact the project leader Dr Monika Baár at m.k.baar@hum.leidenuniv.nl in order to discuss their potential contribution to the research programme.

Applicants are not (necessarily) expected to have a background in the history of disability; an interest in the problems of marginality, vulnerability and inequality is desirable. The following backgrounds may be suitable for the PhD positions: the history of social movements, the welfare state, global health, special education, historical anthropology, cultural and development studies, global- , colonial- and world history. Applications are particularly welcome from, but are by no means limited to candidates interested in studying the following topics:
 • The Nordic (Scandinavian) countries’ contribution to shaping disability agendas worldwide;
• Anglo-Saxon neoliberal perspectives on disability and global health (especially the influence of IMF, World Bank and OECD);
• The emergence of discourses on disability in the South-East Asia /East-Asia /Latin-America/ the Arabic world in the 1970s-1990-s;
• The history of development projects and humanitarian interventions undertaken by governmental, non-governmental and international organisations in the Global South in the 1980s-1990s.

Key responsibilities
• Writing a dissertation in English within four years; 
• Submitting research results for publication to international peer-reviewed academic journals;
• Presenting papers at conferences and workshops;
• Co-organizing conferences and workshops;
• Teaching undergraduate courses in the second and third year of appointment; 
• Participating in PhD training courses.

Selection criteria
• (Research) MA degree in History or a related discipline;
• Written and oral fluency in English;
• Willingness to work in an international academic community that aspires to the highest levels of scholarly excellence;
• A problem-focused approach to historical research, and demonstrable ability to apply theoretical and comparative frameworks;
• Ability to work both independently and as a member of the research theme.

Terms and conditions 
The three PhD positions are offered on a 0.9 basis for four years. Initially all employees will receive a one year contract. An extension of three years is possible having received positive evaluations of capabilities and achievements.

The gross monthly salary on a 0.9 basis will be € 1,913,- gross per calendar month in the first year, increasing to € 2,445,- gross per calendar month in the fourth year. An appointment with Leiden University includes a pension build-up and facilitates other benefits such as an annual holiday premium of 8% and an end-of-year premium of 8.3%.

Letters of application should be submitted in English and include:
• Cover letter; 
• Statement of purpose (1000-1500 words) which will:  
- state the ways in which your experience and knowledge would aid the team in achieving the goals of this project;
 - state the type of contribution your research will make to the project, your field of expertise and/or the region in which you wish to specialize;

- explain how you see your role as a researcher in a comparative, interdisciplinary and international project.
• Curriculum vitae and a list of publications (if applicable), indicating the candidate’s language proficiency;
• Copy of the MA thesis; 
• Proof of English language proficiency for non-native English speakers or those without an undergraduate degree obtained in The Netherlands or an English-speaking country;
• List of (maximum) two referees to your application (with full postal addresses, telephone numbers and emails). Referees will be contacted directly by the search committee.

The deadline for applications is 11 November 2015. Please quote the vacancy number (15-348) in your application and send it electronically to vacaturesgeschiedenis@hum.leidenuniv.nl. All requested documents should be sent in a single PDF named ‘ FAMILY NAME/RethinkingDisability PHD’.

An interview with the search committee is part of the procedure. Short listed candidates will be interviewed at Leiden University. Interviews are expected to be held in late November 2015. The board of the Leiden Institute for History will take a final decision shortly afterwards.

1 comment:

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