Postdoctoral Researcher in Central Asian Studies
University of Amsterdam Faculty of Humanities

Postdoctoral researcher in Central Asian Studies

Publication date 28 April 2020

Closing date 1 June 2020

Level of education PhD

Hours 38 hours per week

Salary indication €3,389 to €4,978 gross per month

Vacancy number 20-257

Research at the Faculty of Humanities is carried out by six research schools under the aegis of the Amsterdam Institute for Humanities Research. The Amsterdam School for Regional, Transnational and European Studies, one of the six research schools, offers a four year postdoc position as part of the ERC funded research project Building a Better Tomorrow: Development Knowledge and Practice in Central Asia and Beyond, led by dr Artemy Kalinovsky. Applications are invited from excellent candidates who wish to conduct research on the role of Central Asian social scientists, experts, and development workers in the Soviet era and after independence.

Job description

We are inviting applications for a post-doctoral candidate as part of the BuildingTomorrow project. This project proposes to study the influence of Central Asian economists, activists, specialists, and government officials who straddled the Soviet/post-Soviet divide by going to work in national and international development institutions after independence. By studying these individuals and the legacies of their work will allow us to investigate how ideas and practices of economic development and welfare provision were shaped and reshaped at the local and international level. The project will uncover how international development transformed post-Soviet Central Asia, and how the encounter with post-socialist states transformed paradigms and practices of international development.

The postdoc will work as part of a team consisting of the PI, a Senior Researcher, two PhD students, and another postdoctoral researcher to be hired separately.

Socialist workers, Women Entrepreneurs? Emancipation Through Labor Across the 1991 Divide

This project will be carried out by a social and cultural historian, or an anthropologist of labor interested in using historical methods. The USSR placed great emphasis on the emancipation of women through their participation in production; but by the 1980s, many Soviet economists had similarly come around to the idea that allowing women to work from home, and produce for local factories or even for the market, would do more for their emancipation than the (disappointing) effort to draw them into factories; a similar shift took place in western development thought. The post-docs project asks why these shifts occurred, in what ways changes in the USSR influenced what happened abroad, and how the debates of the 1980s influenced the approach of development agencies after 1991.

Tasks will include:

  • conducting ethnographic and historical research;
  • publishing peer-reviewed (co-authored) articles;
  • presenting research results at conferences/workshops;
  • helping to mentor the project’s two PhD students;
  • co-organising expert and team meetings.


The successful applicant must have:

  • a PhD in history or anthropology;
  • demonstrable knowledge of:a keen interest in societal valorisation of academic research;
    • Russian and at least one of the Central Asian languages to be used in this project (Tajik, Uzbek, Kazakh, and Kyrgyz),
    • ethnographic and historical research methods (including oral history),
    • research on the region’s recent history and contemporary politics, particularly concerning questions of development, labor, and gender;
  • excellent skills in academic English, both written and spoken;
  • excellent social and organizational skills;
  • ability and willingness to work in a team;
  • a broad international orientation and network;
  • demonstrable familiarity with:
    • historiography of development and development aid and
    • Soviet economic history.

Our offer

The postdoctoral researcher will get an employment contract for 38 hours per week (1.0 FTE) for a period of 48 months at the Department of European Studies of the Faculty of Humanities. The research will be carried out under the aegis of ARTES. Initially an employment contract will be given for 12 months, with an extension for the following 36 months on the basis of a positive evaluation. The intended starting date of the employment contract is 1 September 2020. The gross monthly salary (on a full-time basis) will range from €3,389 (scale 10) to €4,978 (scale 11). The UFO profile for this position is, dependent on relevant experience, Researcher 4 (scale 10) or Researcher 3 (scale 11). The Collective Labour Agreement of Dutch Universities applies.

Further information

For further information, please contact:

  • Dr Artemy Kalinovsky

Would you like to learn more about working at the University of Amsterdam? Visit our website.

Job application

The UvA is an equal-opportunity employer. We prioritise diversity and are committed to creating an inclusive environment for everyone. We value a spirit of enquiry and perseverance, provide the space to keep asking questions, and promote a culture of curiosity and creativity.

The Faculty of Humanities wants to improve the diversity of its research community with respect to ethnicity, gender, sexuality and class. Applications that contribute to this are particularly encouraged.

Applications should include:

  • a full academic CV;
  • a motivation letter (of up to two pages), explicating how the expertise of the candidate aligns with the envisaged research and the overall project;
  • a writing sample (preferably a published article or a chapter of the PhD thesis);
  • the names and contact details of two referees.

Applicants must have completed their PhD before the start of this postdoctoral project. 

Please submit your application no later than 1 June 2020 using the link below. Only complete applications received via this link will be considered. #LI-DNP

No agencies please

Apply now

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