Assistant Professor of Colonial Heritage and the Shoah in the Netherlands

  • Faculty/Services:  Faculty of Humanities
  • Educational level:  PhD
  • Function type:  Academic Staff
  • Closing date:  19 February 2023
  • Vacancy number:  11102

The Faculty of Humanities provides education and conducts research with a strong international profile in a large number of disciplines in the field of language and culture. Located in the heart of Amsterdam, the Faculty maintains close ties with many cultural institutes in the capital city. Research and teaching staff focus on interdisciplinary collaboration and are active in several teaching programmes. The Faculty of Humanities offers assistant professors the opportunity to collaborate with leading researchers at research institutes that – partly as a result of their interdisciplinary approach – are world-renowned. Moreover, you will be teaching in a dynamic context in which new teaching methods are being developed. Combining perspectives from Comparative Literature and Cultural Studies, Literary and Cultural Analysis is dedicated to research and teaching on contemporary culture, the arts, and literature at the intersection of politics and philosophy. We try to make sense of and reflect on works of literature, art, and (popular) culture in close relation to contemporary controversies and developments. We draw from and develop theories rooted in experience (gender and queer studies, disability studies, affect and memory studies), environment and world (environmental humanities, post- and decolonial studies, world literature, infrastructure studies, media archeology) and interdisciplinary analysis (cultural studies, comparative literature, continental philosophy). Central to our programs is the hands-on engagement – through concept-driven close readings – with concrete cultural objects from Global Norths and Global Souths: visual art; films; poems; novels; fashion; television series; art installations; social media; museums and performances; but also culturally significant phenomena such as social movements and environmental or technological transformations. Research on Museums and Heritage studies is one of the central themes of the scholarship in the Amsterdam School for Heritage, Memory and Material Culture (AHM). AHM is one of the five research schools of the Amsterdam Institute for Humanities Research. AHM, as a thematic research school, is the research base for a broad spread of disciplines from Heritage, Memory and Museum Studies, to Archaeology, Conservation and Restoration, Media Studies and Art History. Museums and heritage sites are privileged sites of preserving, valuing, contesting and reinterpreting memory, often by means of material culture.

What are you going to do?

Within the department of Literary Studies and Linguistics, capacity group Literary and Cultural Analysis, a position is available for an assistant professor of Colonial Heritage and the Shoah in the Netherlands: Displaced Memories in a Globalized Context. This new position aims to bring together the multidisciplinary fields of Cultural Memory and Critical Heritage Studies to examine the ways in which contemporary culture, the arts, literature, memorial museums and sites of painful heritage deal with the collective traumas of the Shoah and European colonialism. The academic and cultural fields and the public debate in the Netherlands have been disparately impacted by new perspectives on the legacies of and implications in these colonial and war histories. Memories travel and are displaced, creating new meanings in different contexts. Currently the field deals with urgent questions: How do debates about coming to terms with painful histories and their ongoing impact on present-day society circulate, translate and travel between academia, cultural institutions and the general public? What are the entanglements of competing and / or multidirectional memories of colonialism and the Shoah, in particular the decolonization war in Indonesia and its effects in the Netherlands, and how do World War Two museums and heritage sites deal with this issue? What are important new concepts for studying spatial and digital aspects of heritage and memory formation and museum practices in our current new media ecology? The complexity of these pressing issues demands ongoing reflection at the crossroads of disciplines and a collaborative approach of academic and professional institutions.

We are looking for a candidate with a strong background in literary, cultural and/or media studies and heritage and memory studies, and well acquainted with the fields of cultural analysis, sites of memory and digital memory studies, who is able to set up a national research network to examine the entanglements of colonial and Shoah heritage sites in the Netherlands and the displacement and traveling of memories. The candidate is able to reflect on museum and heritage practices and also contributes to the academic development of the field. You will provide education in a dynamic context with ample opportunities for the development of innovative teaching methods. Your research will be part of the Amsterdam School for Heritage, Memory and Material Culture (AHM).

Tasks and responsibilities:

  • Designing and conducting independent research that provides a literary, cultural and/or media studies, and heritage and memory studies view on colonial heritage and the Shoah in the Netherlands, displaced memories and the spatial, digital, ethical and global aspects of commemoration, musealization, and trauma, resulting in academic publications in peer-reviewed international journals and/or books;
  • actively pursuing external funding for research, notably funding from research councils, national as well as European;
  • actively contributing to and developing national and international research networks and other forms of cooperation;
  • actively contributing to the research activities of AHM;
  • developing, coordinating and teaching courses mainly in the Bachelor and Master programmes of Literary and Cultural Analysis (in English);
  • supervising Bachelor and Master theses and tutoring students; co-supervising PhD dissertations;
  • actively contributing to the development and improvement of the broader teaching programmes in the department;
  • taking part in committees and working groups, and carrying out departmental administrative tasks as directed.

What do you have to offer?

You are a dynamic and ambitious researcher with a strong profile, demonstrable by international publications and an international academic institutional network. Furthermore, you have a professional network within the field of heritage and memory institutions and / or museums in the Netherlands relevant to the histories of colonialism and the Shoah. Your publications show broad knowledge of the ways in which contemporary museum and heritage studies, exhibitions and institutions critically engage with the academy and society. You are familiar with – and ideally theoretically contribute to – discourses on literary, cultural and media theory, cultural memory and critical heritage research, spatial and digital aspects of heritage formation, and the entanglements of academic and professional fields from a global perspective. You have a strong investment in and contribute to humanities research, particularly where categories are challenged and attempted to be dissolved. Your research matches the profile of AHM.

You are able to develop and provide modules on museum and heritage studies, cultural memory and trauma, literary, cultural and media theory, cultural analysis and contemporary cultural and artistic practices, productions, exhibitions, institutionalization and musealization. Important is proven flexibility in teaching on topics beyond your own research focus, a willingness to work in interdisciplinary teams of teachers and the ability to offer inspiring lectures and tutorials in the BA, MA and minor programs that aspire to a wide range of students.

Your experience and profile:

  • holds a PhD in the Humanities with a research focus on literary, cultural and/or media studies, museum and heritage, and memory studies;
  • holds an international academic and a national professional network in the research area concerned;
  • provides research output commensurate with the level of the position;
  • active and ambitious researcher with a strong publication record;
  • demonstrable ability and ambition to obtain external research grants;
  • broad and relevant teaching experience at BA and MA level;
  • good command of both Dutch and English, if Dutch is not the mother tongue, an active and passive command must be acquired within two years of the employment contract and the state examination for Dutch as a Second Language programme II must be passed;
  • experience with digital and audiovisual teaching facilities and affinity with IT in university teaching;
  • excellent organisational experience and skills;
  • acquired the Dutch Basic Teaching Qualification, or is willing to acquire this within the first two years.

Research that entails collaboration with non-academic institutions and agencies especially in the Netherlands and beyond is highly welcome.

What can we offer you?

We offer a temporary employment contract for a period of 12 months with a probationary period of two months, with the prospect of permanent employment. If a new employee joins the UvA, an employment contract is offered for a period of 18 months with a probationary period of two months, with the prospect of permanent employment. The employment contract is for 38 hours a week. Preferred starting date is a.s.a.p..

The gross monthly salary, based on 38 hours per week and relevant experience, ranges between € 3,974  to € 6,181. This sum does not include the 8% holiday allowance and the 8,3% year-end allowance. A favourable tax agreement, the ‘30% ruling’, may apply to non-Dutch applicants. The Collective Labour Agreement of Dutch Universities is applicable.

We additionally offer:

  • the opportunity to collaborate in interdisciplinary teams;
  • opportunities for professional development;
  • an inspiring academic and international working environment in the heart of Amsterdam.

About us

The University of Amsterdam is the Netherlands’ largest university, offering the widest range of academic programmes. At the UvA, 42,000 students, 6,000 staff members and 3,000 PhD candidates study and work in a diverse range of fields, connected by a culture of curiosity.

The Faculty of Humanities provides education and conducts research with a strong international profile in a large number of disciplines in de field of language and culture. Located in the heart of Amsterdam, the faculty maintains close ties with many cultural institutes in the capital city. Research and teaching staff focus on interdisciplinary collaboration and are active in several teaching programmes.

Want to know more about our organisation? Read more about working at the University of Amsterdam.

Any questions?

Do you have any questions or do you require additional information? Please contact (during office hours):

Job Application

If you feel the profile fits you, and you are interested in the job, we look forward to receiving your application. You can apply online via the link below. We will accept applications until 19 February 2023.

Applications (addressed to the dean of the faculty, Prof. Marieke de Goede), including a letter of motivation, a detailed CV, a list of publications and the names and email addresses of two references who can provide letters of recommendation, should be submitted in one .pdf.

Only complete applications received within the response period via the link below will be considered.

The interviews will be held in the course of end of February/ beginning of March 2023. A trial lecture may be part of the application procedure.