The Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) is the largest financer of scientific innovation in the Netherlands and operates as an intermediary between researchers, (international) science centers and society. NWO finances, coordinates and monitors thousands of research projects and numerous collaborations in all sciences. The NWO Division for the Humanities funds scientific research in the area of history, art history, archeology, language, literature, theology, philosophy, film, music and theatre studies. The council for the humanities invites candidates to apply for the following positions within the research programme entitled: What can the humanities contribute to our practical self-understanding?
7 PhD positions (4 years, 1.0 fte), vacancies no. 1.10.078
Prof. Marcus Düwell (Utrecht University) firstname.lastname@example.org
Description of the general programme
Human beings are the subject of research of many different disciplines. The natural sciences study the human body and the material bases of human behaviour and mental activity. The social sciences establish and study regularities in individual and social behaviour. The humanities study artistic, literary and cultural expressions of human beings. Finally, there are normative disciplines such as law and ethics that see human beings as agents with responsibility and dignity. Apart from these academic perspectives, each of us operates with an implicit understanding of him- or herself in different practical roles. All these perspectives on what it means to be human interact with each other, but the question of how to deal with this diversity in views remains insufficiently studied. This question, and the role of the humanities in addressing this question, will be investigated in a four-year research programme, funded by NWO. The program consists of an intensive network of research activities, organized by Utrecht University, Erasmus University Rotterdam and Leiden University. The programme aims to make a number of contributions to the comprehension of practical self-understanding, and to provide an impulse for the discussion on the meaning and purpose of the humanities, their relation to other disciplines, and their role in society. Within the programme, ten interdependent subprojects and a variety of research and public activities have been planned. Descriptions of the seven PhD-projects within the programme are provided below.
Applications for one of the positions should consist of:
- An application letter with motivation
- Curriculum vitae
- Name and contact details of at least two academic references
- A research proposal of 750 words maximum in which the candidate shows how, according to him/her, the chosen subproject could be developed (this proposal will not be binding)
Candidates will be employed by one of the Dutch universities involved in the programme according to the Dutch university salary system.
You can send your CV, letter of motivation, the names and contact details of at least two academic references, and brief proposal to Drs. R.M. van Kempen, NWO Humanities, P.O. Box 93425, 2509 AK Den Haag, The Netherlands or by e-mail to: email@example.com . Please note ‘’vac. no. 1.10.078′ in your letter.
Application deadline: 1 January 2011
PhD project: The evolution of human social cognition
(Supervision: Prof. Bolhuis, Co-supervisors: Prof. Düwell, Dr. Reader)
This project will investigate the combined roles of cultural and genetic evolution in shaping human social cognition, ethics, and norms. It will also investigate the assumptions of current evolutionary approaches to understanding human behaviour, and the way in which public discussions and opinions of human nature are informed by popular accounts of evolutionary biology and cognitive neuroscience. We envisage the work to involve theoretical gene-culture co-evolution models combined with experimental studies investigating the assumptions and predictions of these models. Experimental and survey work will investigate how popular reports of work on the evolution of human cognition influence public attitudes to science and society.
MA with a clear interest in human cognition and evolution. The project will be executed in close collaboration with the other sub-projects, and is expected to contribute to the development of a notion of practical self-understanding. Specific requirements are therefore the capacity to collaborate in an interdisciplinary setting and willingness to contribute to the program as a whole.
The PhD-student will be appointed at Utrecht University.
For further information on this project, candidates can contact Prof. Bolhuis: firstname.lastname@example.org
PhD project: Narrative reflective self-understanding: the corporeal
(Supervision: Prof. Visser)
As self-awareness, social awareness and mental capacities are dependent on corporeal existence, this sub-project aims to investigate an exemplary corpus of recent films, digital media, and literature (from Europe and the US) to explore images of bodily human life, to analyse their narrative tools and strategies, and to evaluate theoretical approaches in cultural disciplinary research in order to provide sophisticated theoretical means for the analyses of narratives of corporeal existence.
MA. The project will be executed in close collaboration with the other sub-projects, and is expected to contribute to the development of a notion of practical self-understanding. Specific requirements are therefore the capacity to collaborate in an interdisciplinary setting and willingness to contribute to the program as a whole.
The PhD-student will be appointed at the Institute for Cultural Disciplines (Center for Language and Identity), Leiden University.
For further information on this project, candidates can contact Prof. Visser: A.Visser@hum.leidenuniv.nl