Applications are open for 12 fully-funded PhD positions starting in October 2022. The information on these pages will allow you to start working on your application. The deadline for applications is 1 March, 2022.
The Research Training Group (RTG) minor cosmopolitanisms establishes 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.
Research projects will be clustered around five core thematic areas of training. These are: Bodies, Ecologies, Inequalities, Indigeneity, and Alternative Genealogies. Within these fields, projects should deal with (current and/or historical) theoretical approaches, literature and other media of artistic production, and/or everyday social and political practices in which minor cosmopolitanisms are acted out.
The RTG locates Potsdam and Berlin at the crossroads of eight partner institutions on four different continents (University of Melbourne, Macquarie University Sydney, Delhi University, EFLU Hyderabad, University of Pretoria, University of Cape Town, York University Toronto and Duke University, Durham). Successful applicants will receive an employment contract for the period of three years with one of the participating universities in the Potsdam/Berlin area. They are encouraged to spend one or two semesters at one of the partner institutions during the second year of their contract, but personal circumstances such as family commitments will be taken into account.
Up to four of the 12 positions are advertised in conjunction with the University of Melbourne. Successful candidates will pursue a Joint Degree which involves a mandatory 12 month-stay in Melbourne. For this track, applications will be invited which pursue projects that fit into the thematic research areas Indigeneity, Bodies, or Ecologies, and are related to one or more of five key themes of concern to the Cultural Studies Program at the University of Melbourne: multiculturalism, cultural complexity, and superdiversity; transforming identities (gendered, sexual, ethnic and others); cultural and environmental sustainability; colonialism and culture; new cultural flows in the Asia-Pacific region, and Australia’s relationships within these flows. Candidates should signal interest in the Melbourne option in their application documents.
Candidates will be invited to apply by proposing their own dissertation project within the thematic scope of minor cosmopolitanisms and within the fields represented in 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).
Applicants must have completed an M.A. degree or equivalent in one of the disciplines represented in the RTG or in a related academic field. A high level of proficiency in English is required. The project’s working language is English. Knowledge of German is not necessary, but successful applicants will have the opportunity to attend German language courses, should they wish to. 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.