PhD position China/Africa – Africa’s Infrastructure Globalities

Groningen, Netherlands
Deadline: 11th Mar 2019

The Faculty of Arts is a large, dynamic faculty in the heart of the historic city of Groningen, in the North of the Netherlands. It has more than 5000 students and 700 staff members. The Faculty offers a wide range of degree programmes: 15 bachelor’s programmes and over 35 master’s specialisations. Vibrant research is facilitated by the Institute for the Study of Culture (ICOG), the Centre for International Relations Research, Globalisation Studies Groningen and the Centre for East Asian Studies. The vacancy is at the department of International Relations & International Organization (IRIO). As member of the newly set up INFRAGLOB research group prestigiously funded by the European Research Council, you will become part of a first class and international research environment.
Job description

PhD position China/Africa – Africa’s Infrastructure Globalities (1.0 FTE) (219062)

The PhD student will be part of INFRAGLOB, the project “AFRICA’s ‘INFRASTRUCTURE GLOBALITIES’: Rethinking the Political Geographies of Economic Hubs from the Global South” funded by the European Research Council. In a world increasingly shaped by non-state actors and technical systems, power beyond the state is one of the major challenges of contemporary international relations. Yet how that plays out in South-South relations, and shapes global governance, remains little understood. This project focuses on new infrastructure ‘globalities’ to understand how governance, and the way it is spatially organized, is redefined by the experiences and practices of actors from the Global South, and emerges from business-society relations in South-South relations. Traditionally not seen as drivers of change, this project posits that significant change through emerging actors from the Global South emerges from the circulation and friction of diverse practitioners, technologies and practices. For more please see

Under the guidance of the PI and others, you will conduct your main research in Tanzania and China. You will collect material and analyze Chinese discourse on their infrastructure projects in Africa, and conduct interviews and field research on practices of managing community relations and security around Chinese mining and infrastructure projects in Tanzania. You will be embedded and work with partners in both countries. You will contribute to a project database, project website, research workshops and other events. Besides writing your PhD thesis, you will have the opportunity to participate in project publications.

We invite applications from candidates with:

a very good (research) master degree in International Relations, International Development, Global Studies, Human Geography or Anthropology with a relevant area specialization; or an MA degree in Sinology or African Studies with a focus on (some) of the above fields
excellent qualitative research skills, proven experience with field research methods and conducting and analyzing in-depth interviews and field observations; experience with qualitative discourse analysis and/or qualitative data analysis software is desirable
proven knowledge of South-South relations, postcolonial theory and/or international political sociology is desirable
fluency in English, good understanding of Mandarin. Knowledge of Swahili is desirable, knowledge of Dutch not required.

Conditions of employment

The University of Groningen offers a salary of € 2,325 gross per month in the first year, up to a maximum of € 2,972 gross (Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities ) in the fourth year, based on a full-time position (1.0 FTE), excluding a holiday allowance of 8% of the gross annual income and an 8.3% end-of-the-year allowance.

The 1.0 FTE appointment is temporary for a specified period of four years.

UG is an equal opportunities employer. We are committed to building a culturally diverse intellectual community, and as such encourages applications from women and minorities and from different nationalities.

The candidate will first be appointed for 12 months. After 9 months, an assessment will take place of the candidate’s results and the progress of the project to decide whether the employment will be continued.

The start date is as soon as possible.

The PhD candidate will be enrolled in the Graduate School for the Humanities, and be affiliated with the chair group International Relations & Security Studies. The candidate will be expected to move to Groningen.

You may apply for this position until 10 March 11:59pm / before 11 March 2019 Dutch local time by means of the application form (click on “Apply” below on the advertisement on the university website). Please merge all your application documents in one single PDF file under the Letter of Motivation attachment.

The following documents should be included:

  • a letter of motivation
  • a curriculum vitae (including date and place of birth, copies of MA degree and a transcript of the grades obtained) and names and contact details of two academic referees
  • details of publications if any and one sample writing
  • 2-3 pages outline of your potential PhD project and how it would contribute to/fit with the research project (excluding bibliography).


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