Call for Doctoral Fellowships (research focus: dealing with the dead among Vietnamese and Chinese)

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Unfinished Business: The Politico-Religious Lives of (Missing) Human Remains in Vietnam and China and their Diasporas in Europe

A new research collaboration between the Department of Religious Diversity of the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity, Göttingen and the Centre for Thanatology of the Radboud University, Nijmegen is seeking highly-qualified and motivated candidates for up to three PhD research positions. The full time research positions are jointly funded by the Max Planck Institute (3 years) and Radboud University (1 year).  The chosen candidates will conduct their PhD projects under the supervision of Dr. Tam T. T. Ngo and Professor Eric Venbrux at the Radboud University Nijmegen, the Netherlands.

Research focus:  Dealing with the Dead among Vietnamese and Chinese.
This research program reflects on the meanings, forms and effects of practices of bodily disposal and handling of mortal remains. It aims to bring together a diversity of perspectives on the body and its disposal alongside the lingering presence of ancestors, ghosts, shamans, and the like, which tell the story of a persistent afterlife. Through ethnographically situated studies the program will critically engage with current theory, comparative ethnography and historical inquiry to explore what analytical convergence can be there in the relations between the living and the dead. (

Research Areas: Vietnam, China, and the Chinese and Vietnamese Diasporas in Europe
Conditions of employment

The selected candidates will be appointed for an initial period of 18 months, after which their capabilities and achievements will be evaluated. If the evaluation is positive, the contract will be extended by 2.5 years. Their salary is based on the German civil service scale TVöD 13 (50%) with final payout based on individual (marriage, nationality and residential) status. A bonus of 1000 euros shall be rewarded for those who finish their PhD thesis within 4 year. There is also a possibility of a 3 months appointment for gifted young researchers after the PhD thesis to write a postdoc research proposal or improve their CV with some publications under the SWT (Stimulering Wetenschappelijk Talent) programme at the Faculty of Philosophy, Theology and Religious Studies at Radboud University Nijmegen.

For all positions, applicant should have a Master degree in Religious Studies, Anthropology, Sociology, History or related field in social sciences and humanities. It is necessary that candidates have a strong background in qualitative research methods, with proven field research experience (ethnography, in-depth interviews and/or oral history). Linguistic competence in the research languages is an absolute requirement.
The Max Planck Society and the Radboud University Nijmegen wish to increase the participation of women. Application from female researchers are highly welcomed. Following it commitment to an equal opportunities employment policy, the Max Planck Society and the Radboud University Nijmegen also especially encourage persons with disability to submit their applications.

Please submit your application electronically no later than Friday 15 December 2017 to<>. Applications must include: 1) A cover letter (outlining research trajectory and interest in the position), a CV and a list of publications;  2) A summary of the proposed research (up to 1000 words); 3) A writing sample (e.g. published article of full thesis chapter) and the names and contact details of two potential referees. Informal queries may be directed to Tam T. T. Ngo (<>).
Interviews are tentatively planned for mid-January 2018. The envisaged starting date is mid-March 2018 or as soon as possible thereafter.

Please see the links for more information on the Department of Religious Diversity, the Max Planck Institute for the study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity and on the Center for Thanatology, Radboud University Nijmegen.

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