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Postdoctoral Researcher Amsterdam Diaries: Self-representation, Cultural Diversity, and Migration

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Job text:

The Amsterdam School of Regional, Transnational and European Studies (ARTES) currently has a vacant Postdoc researcher position as part of the broader field Cultural Heritage and Identity. Within this field the focus is on material and immaterial heritage, including digital Humanities and on Cultural Heritage and societal changes. 

What are you going to do

You will be part of an interdisciplinary research team that collects and analyzes diaries of ordinary people of the 19th and 20th centuries who wrote about their daily lives in Amsterdam. In the light of Amsterdam’s 750th anniversary in 2025, the team investigates what diaries can tell us about lived and narrated experiences of Amsterdam as a multicultural city.

First, you will help organize a diary donating campaign in cooperation with the Dutch Diary Archive and the Amsterdam Museum in order to collect new diaries. We will focus on migrant ego-documents because these are underrepresented in archives and scholarly research. The task is to involve local communities and gain support to help build a more inclusive and diverse diary-collection. Knowledge of the history of migrants, as well as relevant languages, will be an asset.

Second, you will study representations of self and the city in a selection of diaries from the newly gained materials as well as from archives. The aim is to understand how individuals with diverse socio-cultural backgrounds express feelings of (non-)belonging, and in what ways they narrate their experiences of (intercultural) spaces, encounters and connections and their sense of what is familiar and foreign.

Third, you will help developing tools from Digital Humanities to store and map historical information about diaries and diarists in their spatial and temporal contexts. You will contribute to creating a digital resource, similar to (or as part of) the Amsterdam Time Machine, which will enable users to ‘travel back in time and navigate the city on the levels of neighborhoods, streets, houses and rooms’ ( Ideally, this will connect stories from multiple perspectives to particular places such as streets, parks, bars and buildings.

Your tasks and responsibilities:

  • conducting research, presenting intermediate research results at workshops and conferences and publishing two single-authored, peer reviewed articles;
  • participating in meetings of the project research group and developing a shared database;
  • co-organising knowledge dissemination activities.

What do you have to offer

Your experience and profile:

  • a PhD in the Humanities;
  • excellent research skills demonstrated by a track record of publishing in high-ranking journals and/or with leading presses or a demonstrable capacity to develop such a record;
  • a strong cooperative attitude and willingness to engage in collaborative research;
  • enthusiasm for communicating academic research to non-academic audiences;
  • excellent command English.

What can we offer you

The Postdoc researcher will be appointed at the Department of History, European Studies and Religious Studies of the Faculty of Humanities at the University of Amsterdam and will conduct the research in ARTES. The employment contract will be for one year. Contingent on a positive performance evaluation the contract will be extended with one year. The employment contract is for 30,4-38 hours a week. Preferred starting date is 01 October 2022.

The deadline for applying for this vacancy is 01 September 2022.

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