PhD Position: A History of Material Culture and Technology in East Asia, 1850 – 2000

Darmstadt, Germany
Deadline: 15th Jul 2019

Project leader: Professor Mikael Hård
Darmstadt University of Technology (TU Darmstadt), near Frankfurt, Germany, announces a three-year position for a doctoral student, beginning 1 October 2019. We welcome applications from talented and diligent students with research experience from East Asia who are willing to explore new historical perspectives, empirically and methodologically.

The successful candidate will become a member of a larger project called “A Global History of Technology, 1850–2000” (GLOBAL-HOT). The project investigates the history of material culture and artifacts in various parts of the world from 1850 to 2000. The researchers investigate the persistent use of indigenous technologies along with globalized ones, as well as the emergence of hybrid solutions. The goal is to increase our understanding of the relationship between the development and use of technologies in the West (Europe and North America) on the one hand and the East and the South (Asia, Africa, Latin America) on the other. Some of the topics and areas of particular interest include:

  • Technological encounters and the emergence of hybrid artifacts in the Global South
  • The continued application of locally embedded practices and know-how
  • The local translation of internationally available plans, designs, and practices
  • The maintenance, operation, and repair of gadgets, buildings, and infrastructures

For this endeavor, the project draws on a wide array of sources that go beyond written material in official archives – including artifacts, artwork, and images, along with interviews, oral sources and the media. The researchers have access to a substantial travel budget, and they also have the possibility to hire assistants for specific tasks. For further information, please visit our homepage:

Requirements: Applications are open to students with an excellent master’s degree. This announcement is only directed at young scholars with research experience from East Asia. Excellent command of English (active in writing and speaking) and a regional language is required. English is the common project language.

The opportunity for further qualifications (doctoral dissertation) is given. The candidate is expected to, at the end of his/her appointment, submit a PhD thesis to the School of Historical and Social Sciences at TU Darmstadt. The thesis can be written in English or German. In addition, the applicant is required to contribute actively to the success of the research project as a whole, e.g., by participating in regular meetings, coordinating their time and work plans with the team, co-authoring articles, and helping with publicity and the organization of events. We thus expect strong collaborative abilities and a pronounced willingness to become part of an exciting research team. Team members are expected to take up residence in the Darmstadt/Frankfurt area.

Formalities: The successful candidate will be offered a half-time position at pay grade TV-TU Darmstadt E13 (gross from ca. 1,800 euros per month). The position includes health insurance and social security.

How to apply: If you are interested in this position and would like more information, feel free to request a brief project description from
Your application should include a CV and a description (ca. 2,000 words) of a proposed individual PhD topic. We expect your project description to include exciting research questions and theses; it is an advantage if you are able to show what kind of source material you plan to use in your research.
Please include, in addition, a cover letter to tell us more about your background, motivation, and how attaining a PhD in this program would fit into your future employment and academic plans. Please attach degree certificates and documents that support your qualification for the position, such as language certificates, and transcripts. All documents need to be merged into one single pdf file that does not exceed 10 MB and sent to

Please use the following text in the “subject” line of your email: your last name + “position no. 329.” Recommendation letters should be sent by the mentors separately.

TU Darmstadt intends to increase the number of women scientists and encourages them to apply. Candidates who have a degree of disability of at least 50% are given preferred treatment if equally qualified.

PhD position in a research project funded by the European Research Council (ERC)
Project leader: Professor Mikael Hård

Deadline: 15 July 2019

Contact person: Professor Mikael Hård, Department of History, School of Social and Historical Science, Technische Universität Darmstadt, Dolivostrasse 15, DE-64293 Darmstadt, Germany,


Download this announcement as PDF: PhD Position_History of Material Culture and Technology in East Asia-1