1 Postdoctoral research fellow "Social History of Time in South Asia" (Leibniz-Zentrum Moderner Orient ZMO Berlin)

Leibniz-Zentrum Moderner Orient
01.01.2021 - 31.12.2024
Nitin Sinha, History, Leibniz-Zentrum Moderner Orient

The Leibniz-Zentrum Moderner Orient (ZMO) in Berlin invites applications for the position of a postdoctoral research fellow with a 4-year contract, starting 1 January 2021.


The Leibniz-Zentrum Moderner Orient (ZMO) in Berlin invites applications for the position of a post-doctoral research fellow with a 4-year contract, starting 1 January 2021. The successful candidate will work in the European Research Council funded Consolidator Grant project, Timely Histories: A Social History of Time in South Asia, which will run at ZMO for five years. The project, led by Nitin Sinha (principal investigator), will comprise two doctoral, two postdoctoral, and one research assistant positions.
The salary grade for the advertised position corresponds to the German scheme of employment in the public sector (TVöD E13, 100%). Additional funds for research travel, conference participation, and publications are available. The successful candidate will be required to be based in Berlin.

General outline of the project:
TIMEHIST – Timely Histories: A Social History of Time in South Asia aims to write a history of time and temporal cultures in South Asia between the 1500s and the 1950s on a practice- and process-based understanding of the past. The details of the project can be found in the link provided in this advert.

Advertised position:
We seek to hire a postdoctoral researcher working on the unit of ‘work and time’. Against the formidable framework of clock-time discipline, and against prioritising the site of the factory, this unit will use the nexus of calendrical, ecological, and legal times as the new entry-point to address the relationship between work and time. Moving away from the sole focus on factory and industry, this unit will pay close attention to the sites of agrarian production and ecological settings that defined the nature of work along temporal lines. The agrarian temporality was based upon crop production time, ecological uncertainties, legal interventions, calendrical mix (lunisolar, Fasli, Gregorian), intensification of capitalist ventures, and not least, cycles of debt, bondage, and legal protraction.
How did the changing revenue collection patterns and mode of debt payment influence the agrarian calendar and work? Season, wind, rainfall, and topography created conditions of work for many types of labouring groups in the past and continue to do so for the vast informal labour even now. What is the history of the nexus between ecological and legal times, and how did they come together in defining the boundaries of work, work-culture, and work-regulation between the late 18th and the mid-20th century?

The candidate is expected to develop their project along the key points of this unit, while addressing the larger focus of the project’s central objective of doing histories of practices. The unit will focus on one region of South Asia, preferably eastern (‘Bengal presidency’) or the south (Madras) but applications on other regions are also highly welcome. In terms of methodology and scope, applications which promise to compare regions while retaining the main focus on one case-study will be given preference.

- The candidate must have an outstanding and promising career trajectory in terms of having a finished (or submitted, result awaited) PhD thesis in the field of history of South Asia (18th – 20th century);
- One or more relevant publications (peer-review journal articles, book chapters);
- In-depth command over modern South Asian history; historiographical debates;
- Proven ability to use archival sources in innovative and critical ways;
- Use of vernacular sources, not to fill gaps, but to treat them on their own to write the history of temporal cultures;
- Great command over English and at least one but preferably more South Asian languages;
- Proven ability to work both independently and as part of a team;
- Proven ability to work in an international and highly competitive environment;
- Tested disposition to finish work in a time-bound manner;
- To interact actively with other relevant research clusters at ZMO.

Key responsibilities:
- Conducting research on the proposed theme;
- Finishing the draft of the monograph on the theme within the four-year period;
- Writing 1 to 2 peer-review journal articles or book chapters;
- Taking independent responsibility in organising workshops and conferences, reading groups, and other events of the project as well as events in conjunction with other ZMO research clusters;
- Active assistance in meeting the publication/outreach plans of the project (special issues and edited books); active assistance in day to day running and management of the project.

What we offer:
The Leibniz-Zentrum Moderner Orient (ZMO) is the only research institution in Germany that deals with the Middle East, Africa, Eurasia, South and Southeast Asia in an interdisciplinary and historically comparative perspective. We offer a vibrant and interdisciplinary work environment in Berlin as well as a motivating and friendly working atmosphere. Our centre provides opportunities to connect widely with other institutes and networks in Berlin and outside.

Please collate all materials in one single PDF file and send it to Dr Silke Nagel (zmo@zmo.de) by 30 July with the subject ERC-TIMEHIST-WORK&TIME. Please copy your application to timely.histories@gmail.com
- Cover letter (not exceeding two pages);
- Outline of your proposed research in alignment with the key features of the sub-unit ‘work and time’ (maximum three pages);
- Statement of purpose (one page maximum), stating the ways in which your experience and knowledge would aid the project team in achieving its overall goals;
- Curriculum Vitae with a list of publications (including those under review);
- Copy of certificates (M.A and PhD), (in case of result awaited, a letter showing submission);
- One writing sample (fairly recent journal article or book chapter);
- List of two referees (names, affiliations, email addresses, and telephone numbers).

ZMO is committed to maintaining diversity, inclusivity, and equality of opportunity within its community and therefore encourages applications from members of all underrepresented groups.

Further information:
Relevant informal enquiries regarding the project and the advertised job can be made to Nitin Sinha, nitin.sinha@zmo.de, cc also to timely.histories@gmail.com

Candidates will be shortlisted for the interview on the basis of the received application. Due to Covid-19 crisis, we will refrain from putting out an interview date right now. We will keep the selected candidates informed and work out a mutually agreeable date. Chosen candidates should be well prepared to appear for the interview using digital/virtual medium.

1 Postdoctoral research fellow "Social History of Time in South Asia" (Leibniz-Zentrum Moderner Orient ZMO Berlin), 01.01.2021 – 31.12.2024 Berlin, in: , 19.06.2020, </job/id/job-50226>.
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