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School of Culture and Society - Department of Heritage Studies - Faculty: Arts

Two-Year Postdoctoral Position: Disturbance ecologies and the social organisation of past anthropogenic landscapes

Deadline 3 Aug

Expected start 1 Nov

  • School of Culture and Society - Department of Heritage Studies Moesgård Allé 20 8270 Højbjerg

  • Fixed term full-time position 1 Nov 2020 - 31 Oct 2022 ID: 3647

The School of Culture and Society at Aarhus University invites applications for a two-year postdoctoral fellowship. The position is full-time and is expected to begin on 1 November 2020 or as soon as possible thereafter. The successful applicant will be based in Aarhus at the Department of Archaeology and Heritage Studies, Moesgaard.

The university is keen for its staff to reflect the diversity of society and thus welcomes applications from all qualified candidates.

Research context
The postdoc will be part of the research project ‘Anthropogenic Heathlands: The Social Organization of Super-Resilient Past Human Ecosystems’ (ANTHEA), headed by Principal Investigator Associate Professor Mette Løvschal and funded by the European Research Council (ERC).

Across the planet, pastoral regimes are currently transforming into other types of land-holding, while privatisation processes are rapidly turning former large-scale, collectively governed pastures into parcelled-up areas. This increases the need for knowledge about the long-term resilience and vulnerability of human-nature entanglements and (common forms of) land governance. A northwest-European pendant, the anthropogenic heathlands, emerged more than 4,000 years ago, when small-scale agropastoral communities in Northern Europe began the first fire-based management of naturally occurring heather. Some of these grazing regimes, spanning thousands of hectares, existed until the 18th-19th century. Without frequent disturbances, anthropogenic heathland will turn into dwarf shrub or forest. So the survival of these areas suggests the existence of highly specialised forms of human-nature entanglements and social organisation with the unique capacity to persist. This project envisages a new understanding of the social organisation of past grazing and fire-management regimes, and seeks to radically alter our knowledge of emergent, long-term human-nature entanglements and ecologies thriving on disturbance.

The position
For this particular assignment, we are looking for an intellectually flexible and dedicated researcher with strong analytical skills related to philosophy, social anthropology, history or archaeology – and with interests in disturbance ecologies, environmental humanities and social governance.

The successful applicant and the PI will share responsibility for Work Package 3 of the project, which is aimed at the first-ever examination of the forms of social organisation and human/non-human entanglements in past anthropogenic heathlands responsible for their extremely long-term persistence. Essentially, the work package will investigate which forms of social organisation were so resilient that they were capable of sustaining the same ecosystem over more than four thousand years.

The work package is partly based on case study areas in Northern Europe (2800 BC-AD 1000) shared with the project team. The applicants should therefore be prepared to engage in cross-disciplinary cooperation with the project team members, including landscape archaeologists and palynologists, and be willing to acquaint themselves with these kinds of data.

Applicants are asked to submit a three-five-page research proposal in which they present an anthropological and/or philosophical perspective on the social dynamics of heathland organisation, and propose ways to expand this sub-project, focusing particularly on epistemological issues of interest, key theoretical approaches and relevant literature and analytical objects.

In addition, applicants should submit:
  • a concise statement of motivation for applying for the position (maximum one page) 
  • publications (maximum five)
The successful applicant will be expected to:
  • develop their research within the framework provided by the grant awarded, in cooperation with the PI
  • conduct fieldwork and data collection in Denmark
  • present their research at international meetings and publish results in peer-reviewed, international scientific journals (minimum four publications) in a timely fashion
  • contribute to the organisation of research workshops and an international conference by the end of the postdoc period
  • teach at BA and/or MA level (maximum 20%, by agreement)
  • work both independently and collaboratively with the PI, experts and other postdocs from other disciplines, in particular archaeology and paleoecology in terms of presenting and discussing empirical data, ideas and results
Qualifications and job requirements
Applicants must hold a PhD degree or equivalent qualifications in philosophy, social anthropology, ethnography, history, archaeology or similar subject fields.

Applicants must be able to document a relevant research profile of high research quality, including experience of international publication and research dissemination.

Applicants must also document:
  • an interest in human-landscape interactions over longer time-spans
  • doctoral level experience of studies of spaces and landscapes, time and temporality and/or social governance
  • knowledge of anthropological and philosophical debates about disturbance ecologies, environmental humanities and commoning
  • fluency in written and spoken English, and the willingness to acquaint themselves with Danish if they do not speak Danish 
Applications must be uploaded in English.

Please note that only publications that are actually submitted with the application will be assessed; a list of publications or cover pages will not be sufficient. Applications that are not accompanied by publications will not be assessed.

References or recommendations should not be included with the application. Applicants who are selected for a job interview may be asked to provide professional references.

Members of academic staff at Aarhus University are expected to contribute to a vibrant, enjoyable and cross-disciplinary work environment, and we emphasise the importance of participation in the daily life of the department.

For further information about the position and the ERC project (including a project description), please contact ANTHEA Principal Investigator Mette Løvschal by e-mail lovschal@cas.au.dk.

For more information about the application, please contact HR supporter Marianne Birn by e-mail mbb@au.dk

The School of Culture and Society
At the School of Culture and Society the object of research and teaching is the interplay between culture and society in time and space:

-  From the traditional disciplines of the humanities and theology to applied social research
-  From Antiquity to the issues facing contemporary societies
-  From familiar Danish cultural forms to other very different worlds
-  From local questions to global challenges.

The school’s goal is to produce compelling research with an international resonance, as well as offering teaching and talent development of high quality. The school has a broad cooperative interface with society, both in Denmark and abroad, and contributes to social innovation, research communication and further and continuing education. 

Qualification requirements
Applicants should hold a PhD or equivalent academic qualifications.

Faculty of Arts refers to the Ministerial Order on the Appointment of Academic Staff at Danish Universities (the Appointment Order). All interested candidates are encouraged to apply, regardless of their personal background.

Aarhus University also offers a Junior Researcher Development Programme targeted at career development for postdocs at AU. You can read more about it here: https://talent.au.dk/junior-researcher-development-programme/

Faculty of Arts
The Faculty of Arts is one of five main academic areas at Aarhus University.
The faculty contributes to Aarhus University's research, talent development, knowledge exchange and degree programmes.
With its 550 academic staff members, 275 PhD students, 9,500 BA and MA students, and 1,500 students following continuing/further education programmes, the faculty constitutes a strong and diverse research and teaching environment.
The Faculty of Arts consists of the School of Communication and Culture, the School of Culture and Society and the Danish School of Education. Each of these units has strong academic environments and forms the basis for interdisciplinary research and education.
The faculty's academic environments and degree programmes engage in international collaboration and share the common goal of contributing to the development of knowledge, welfare and culture in interaction with society.

Read more at arts.au.dk/en

The application must be submitted via Aarhus University’s recruitment system, which can be accessed under the job advertisement on Aarhus University's website.

Questions about the position?

Mette Løvschal

Mette Løvschal Associate professor, School of Culture and Society - Department of Archeology and Heritage Studies lovschal@cas.au.dk

Questions about application and proces?

Arts Administrative Centre - Arts HR emply.ar.hr@au.dk


Deadline: Monday 3 Aug 2020 at 23:59 CEST