Call for applications: Postdoctoral researcher

Young, modern, and research oriented... the University of Potsdam has firmly established itself within the scientific landscape since its founding in 1991. Nationally and internationally renowned scientists teach and perform research here at Brandenburg’s largest university. The University of Potsdam is successful in acquiring third-party funds, delivers outstanding performance in technology and knowledge transfer, and has a very service-oriented administration. With about 21,000 students studying at three campuses – Am Neuen Palais, Griebnitzsee and Golm – the University of Potsdam is a prominent economic factor and engine of development for the region. The University of Potsdam has a total of over 3,000 faculty and staff members and is located in one of Germany’s most scenic areas.

The Research Training Group Minor Cosmopolitanisms (Graduiertenkolleg GRK 2130), funded by the German Research Council (DFG) and conducted jointly by Universität Potsdam, Freie Universität Berlin and Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, announces 1 position at the Department of English and American Studies at the University of Potsdam, starting on 1st July, 2020:

Academic Staff Member (Postdoc)
Requisition No.:

for 40 hours of work per week (100 %). The salary is determined by the collective bargaining agreement for public employees in Germany (TV-L 13). This is a temporary position limited to a term of 9 months in accordance with Section 2 Para 1 of the Academic Fixed-Term Contract Law (WissZeitVG). The principal possibilities of an extension of the position are contingent on the continuation of the RTG’s funding by the DFG.

The Research Training Group (RTG) Minor Cosmopolitanisms wishes to establish new ways of studying and understanding the cosmopolitan project against and beyond its Eurocentric legacies. The minor denotes a perspective crucially informed by post- and decolonial thought and builds on interpretations of cosmopolitan practice which have been variably qualified as “agonistic,” “black,” “creole, “decolonial,” “discrepant,” “indigenous,” “rooted,” “subaltern” or “vernacular.” They bring into being cosmopolitanisms in a ‘minor’ mode unforeseen by dominant scripts and creating new subject positions within dominant discourses and geopolitics.

Specifically designed as a training programme for early career researchers, the RTG Minor Cosmopolitanisms offers an international framework connecting Berlin and Potsdam with partner universities in Australia, South Africa, India and the Americas to pursue PhD and postdoctoral projects in a diverse, decentral, collective and convivial environment. Projects within the RTG examine concrete critical, artistic as well as everyday practices which challenge the divide between cultural relativism and humanist universalism haunting the humanities and social sciences. They jointly strive to develop and promote an understanding of cosmopolitanism in the plural which combines visions of transcultural justice, peace and conviviality with an ethical commitment to difference and alterity.

A large share of the working hours is dedicated to individual research on and subsequent publication of an innovative postdoctoral project. The scope and nature of the individual research should be topical, and pertinent to the further conceptual, thematic, and methodological development of the RTG. Possible foci may for instance be critical investigations of new border regimes, the relation of posthumanism and the postcolonial, or alternative genealogies of cosmopolitan thought and practice.

The remaining working hours will be dedicated to work on joint projects of the RTG. This involves the participation in and contribution to the organisation of RTG events, active involvement in the conception and implementation of the RTG’s Qualification Programme for PhD researchers, and involvement in joint publications including editorial work. The postdoctoral researcher should also be able to mediate between doctoral fellows and local as well as international supervisors.

Candidates are invited to apply by proposing their own postdoctoral project, and explaining its relevance for the aims and goals of the RTG. They must hold a PhD in one of the disciplines, and ideally have a background in more than one of the fields represented by the RTG (Anglophone Literary Studies, Postcolonial Studies, American Studies, Cultural Studies, Gender and Queer Studies, Cultural Anthropology, History, Jewish Studies, Religious Studies, Political Theory, Sociology, German Literary Studies).

A high level of proficiency in English is required, as the RTG’s working language is English. Proficiency in German is highly welcome but not mandatory. Next to excellent academic qualifications, we expect social skills, identification with the goals of the RTG, and a capacity for teamwork. Previous experience in international projects, in the conception and organisation of scientific events, and in the publication of edited volumes is highly welcome. Candidates are expected to take up residence in the Potsdam/Berlin area and to take an active part in the activities of the Research Training Group.

Under the laws of the federal state of Brandenburg, employees under this contract are permitted to dedicate at least 33% of their contract time for their scientific qualification.

The University of Potsdam aims to increase the proportion of women in research and teaching and therefore invites qualified applicants to apply. The University of Potsdam values the diversity of its members and pursues the goals of equal opportunities regardless of gender, nationality, ethnic and social origin, religion/belief, disability, age, sexual orientation or identity. In the case of equal suitability, women within the meaning of Section 7 (4) BbgHG and severely disabled people will be given preferential consideration. Applications from abroad and from persons with a migration background are expressly welcome.

Applications must be submitted by 15th April, 2020. Submission via the online application tool is highly recommended. Please consult the website for information on the project and details of the application process. For further inquiries contact the RTG’s coordination office (