Post-doc position within the ERC Starting Grant Project “Narrating the Mesh.” Ghent University, Department of Literary Studies Belgium


Last application dateJun 05, 2017 23:59
DepartmentLW07 - Department of Literary Studies
ContractLimited duration
Occupancy rate100%
Vacancy TypeResearch staff

Job description


We invite applications for a post-doc position within the ERC Starting Grant Project “Narrating the Mesh.” The envisioned start date is 1 October 2017, but a later date can be negotiated. The initial contract will be for two years, with the possibility of renewal up to four years in total. The position includes an internationally competitive salary and social security coverage.


Profile of the candidate


Project background


The “mesh” is Timothy Morton’s metaphor for the interrelation between humans and a large gamut of “nonhuman” realities, from the bacteria in our guts to macro-entities such as climate change. “Narrating the Mesh” (NARMESH in short) is a multidisciplinary research project interrogating contemporary narrative and its potential for staging, challenging, and expanding the human imagination of the nonhuman. How can narrative, in both literary fiction and oral storytelling, capture the ways in which humans are dependent upon the climate or the geological history of our planet? How can we narrativize entities that elude the human scale? How can stories undercut anthropocentric ideologies and foster a sense of respectful coexistence with realities beyond the human?


NARMESH addresses these questions by bringing together literary studies, narrative theory, and narrative approaches in the social sciences. The 1.1-million-euro project is funded by the European Research Council and based at Ghent University in Belgium, whose Literary Studies department hosts a wide range of innovative research projects, including two other ERC grants. The Principal Investigator is Marco Caracciolo (, who is Assistant Professor in English and Literary Theory at UGent.


The team will include the PI, a post-doc, two PhD students, and two student assistants.


Applicants are encouraged to visit further details on the project, including the submitted proposal.


Job profile


The post-doc will focus on oral narratives of personal experience. He or she will have a track record of research in fields such as sociolinguistics, social psychology, or ethnography, and specific expertise in qualitative research and narrative interview methods. Ideally, the candidate will have an interest in—and basic knowledge of—key questions and methods in literary scholarship. Additional expertise in quantitative research is desirable.


The post-doc will carry out a series of interviews in an English-speaking context. The details of the interviews, such as location, methodology, and choice of participants, will be defined by the post-doc in collaboration with the PI. The objective is to study how participants relate episodes of their lives in which they experienced a connection with the nonhuman world, and later to compare these oral narratives to contemporary fiction.


Preliminary time line


  • 5 June 2017: Application deadline

  • 19 June: Shortlisting is complete, applicants are notified of the result

  • Week of June 26: First round of interviews takes place via video conferencing

  • Week of July 10: Finalists are invited to UGent


About Ghent University


Ghent University is one of the foremost institutions of higher education in the Low Countries. Every day over 9,000 staff members and 41,000 students strive to realize its motto “Dare to Think.” Ghent University’s mission is to wed high-quality education with internationally renowned research and a pluralistic social responsibility.


Ghent University conducts an equal opportunities policy and encourages everyone to apply. Ghent University also strives for a gender balance. Applications from female candidates are thus especially welcome.


How to apply


Applications should consist of the following materials:


  • CV, with list of publications and contact details for at least two recommendation letters.

  • Digital copies of university degrees.

  • Cover letter of maximum 2,000 words, detailing (1) how the applicant’s expertise and past work contribute to the overall goals of NARMESH; (2) how they would go about eliciting personal narratives about human-nonhuman interactions in interviews; (3) what methodology they would adopt to analyze such narratives; and (4) how they would conceptualize and investigate the relationship between oral narratives and contemporary fiction. Please address each of these points in the cover letter.


Please send these materials in a PDF file to, with the following subject line: “*Last name* Application Post-doc position.”

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