PhD Position in English
University of Tubingen Faculty of Humanities

PhD position (m/f/d, 65%)

Faculty of Humanities, English Department

Application deadline : 31.10.2020

The ERC-funded research project “PACT: Populism and Conspiracy Theory”, hosted by the University of Tübingen, Germany, is inviting applications for a 3.5-year

PhD position (m/f/d, 65%)

in Media Studies. The estimated starting date is February 1, 2021.

PACT investigates the significance of conspiracy theories for populist movements and parties in Europe (Austria, Hungary, Italy, Poland) and the Americas (Brazil, United States). It seeks to analyze how, why, when and to what effects populist leaders employ conspiracist rhetoric, and how this affects ordinary party or movement members. Accordingly, the project will study both online and offline discourses, and combine critical discourse analysis with ethnography. It brings together scholars from political science, history, sociology, anthropology, media studies, and (Latin) American Studies.

The successful candidate will conduct the subproject on Italy and write a dissertation in English, which is to be turned into a monograph in the final stage of the project.

The task includes:

  • qualitative analysis of the role of conspiracy theories for the Northern League with special emphasis on the impact of the shift from regionalism to nationalism
  • analysis of the importance of conspiracy theories for the Five Star Movement with focus on Beppe Grillo’s blog
  • analysis of the 2018 elections with special focus on the importance of social media
  • six months of ethnographic fieldwork in Italy, esp. Rome, before and after the next elections
  • online ethnography of populist and conspiracist discourses in the context of the next elections
  • contributing to a Massive Open Online Course to make the results of the project as a whole available to a larger audience.

The successful candidate has

  • a M.A. or equivalent degree in Media Studies or a related subject, preferably with a focus on Italy already
  • experience with qualitative discourse analysis, preferably also of online sources
  • speaks and writes English and Italian at near-native level
  • an interest in and preferably experience with interdisciplinary exchanges
  • an interest in and preferably already done work on populism and/or conspiracy theory

The successful candidate has to move to Tübingen for the duration of the project.

Previous experience with ethnographic methods is not required but highly welcome.

The successful candidate will be hired by the University of Tübingen and receive a 3.5-year contract of the level E13 of the German pay scale (65%, EG 13 TV-L). The starting salary amounts to ca. € 2.500 per month before taxes and obligatory insurances, including health insurance.

The university seeks to raise the number of women in research and teaching and therefore urges qualified women academics to apply for these positions. Equally qualified applicants with disabilities will be given preference. 

The employment will be carried out by the central administration of the University of Tübingen.

Applications containing a cover letter, a CV, a list of publications, and a writing sample in English of ca. 5.000 words should be sent as one PDF file via email to hiwis.butterspam

More information on the project, including a copy of the application, can be requested from the Principal Investigator, Prof. Michael Butter (michael.butterspam

The deadline for applications is October 31 at 2pm CET. Shortlisted candidates will be interviewed via Zoom in the second or third week of November.

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