Postdoctoral position in the history of colonial and post-colonial psychiatry

Updated: 27 days ago
Deadline: 30 Oct 2020

The Department of English, Germanic and Romance studies (ENGEROM), University of Copenhagen (UCPH), invites applications for a 30-month post-doctoral researcher position in the history of colonial and post-colonial psychiatry.

The position is funded by the ERC project ‘Decolonising Madness: Transcultural Psychiatry, International Order and the Birth of a “Global Psyche” in the aftermath of the Second World War’ (DECOLMAD). Starting date: 1 February 2021.

This is an exciting opportunity to join an innovative and inter-disciplinary research project, which aims to explore the emergence and historical development of the discipline of transcultural psychiatry after WWII and in the midst of decolonisation, and to unpick the complex intellectual and logistical relationships between colonialism and post-colonial ‘psy’ disciplines. The project relies on a variety of sources and methodologies to analyse how psychiatrists and anthropologists from all over the world tried to re-define the relationship between culture, race and individual psyche following the end of the Second World War and colonialism.  At the heart of the project is an exploration of the multiple voices - Nigerian, Ugandan, Yugoslav, Sudanese, Colombian, Soviet, Indian, in addition to West European and North American - which took part in these global discussions. Moreover, the project explores how the key discussions in transcultural psychiatry shaped the imagination of clinical encounters between psychiatrists and patients, and aims to recover patients' voices, experiences and interventions. The project runs from 2020 until 2025, and involves archival and library research and oral interviews in more than 15 countries around the world. It will also offer an exciting opportunity to engage with psychiatric practitioners and contribute to the current debates on global mental health.

You can read more about the project here:

The successful candidate will work closely with the project’s PI Ana Antic and will join a dynamic international research team, based at the Department of, ENglish, German and Romance (ENGEROM).

Qualifications and job description

DECOLMAD is a collaborative project, and the postdoctoral researcher will be a core member of a research team which, in addition to the PI, includes two other postdocs (to be hired in 2021 and 2022) and four research assistants. The successful candidate is expected to work both independently and in collaboration with the research team. He or she should hold a PhD degree in the field of medical humanities, with a focus on the history of colonial and/or post-colonial psychiatry. He or she should have in-depth knowledge of the history of West European psychiatry and its relationships with psychiatric developments in the colonies, and of the history of African and/or Asian psychiatry. Moreover, the candidate will have experience with research in medical and psychiatric archives outside of Europe, and needs to be able to do research in English and French.

Within the research team, the candidate will take part in broader intellectual and methodological discussions around the project’s goals and general directions, and will also be expected to design and work on an original research project (either in the form of a monograph or a series of articles). He or she will conduct primary source research in a select range of archives and libraries, analyse the material collected by the team, and take part in designing and implementing oral interviews. Experience with oral interviews and with collaborative work will be an asset.

The postdoc position is a full-time research position and does not involve any teaching obligations. The candidate is also expected to take active part in the academic life of the department.

For further information, including more details on the DECOLMAD project, please contact project PI Ana Antic at

Qualification requirements
In order to be considered for the position applicants must have research qualifications at least corresponding to what can be achieved as part of a successfully completed PhD within a relevant field.

For further details about the qualification requirements for postdocs, please refer to the job structure for Academic Staff at Universities 2013:

Submit the application online in Adobe PDF or Word format.

Please click on the “Apply now” icon at the bottom of the page.

The application must be submitted in English, accompanied by the following appendices:

  • Cover letter detailing
    • (a) how the academic qualifications and experience of the applicant meet the requirements for this position and
    • (b) how the applicant sees his or her own contribution to the core research questions and goals of DECOLMAD
    • (c) (with applicant’s e-mail & telephone number)
  • Curriculum vitea
  • Documentation of qualifications (examination certificates/PhD diploma, etc.).
  • A complete list of publications (including those accepted for publication).
  • Research plan, including a short description of previous research and a plan for the coming years that includes an account of how the applicant will contribute to the deliverables in the project description.
  • The applicant’s best publication (or chapter from PhD dissertation).

Should any material submitted consist of work with named co-authors, or work that is otherwise the result of collective academic endeavours, the extent of the applicant’s contribution to the work must be clearly stipulated. The Faculty may ask for a signed statement from the co-authors stipulating the extent and nature of each individual’s contribution.

Only material in Danish, Norwegian, Swedish and English can be expected to be assessed.

Appointment procedure
After the application deadline, the Head of Department selects applicants for assessment on the advice of the Appointment Committee.  All applicants are notified whether their application has been accepted for assessment. The Dean subsequently appoints an expert assessment committee tasked with carrying out an assessment of the selected applicants for the specific post. Selected applicants are notified of the composition of the committee. Applicants are ultimately offered the opportunity of commenting on the part of the assessment relating to themselves before the appointment is finalized.

Further information about the application procedure is available from Mette Christensen, e-mail: Please refer to ID number 211-0524/20-2I.

Salary and conditions of employment
Terms of appointment and salary will be in accordance with an agreement between the Ministry of Finance and The Danish Confederation of Professional Associations (AC). The salary range starts at DKK 30,122 per month, (EUR 4,032) + a 17,1 % contribution to the pension scheme. It is possible to negotiate salary supplements on an annual basis.

The Danish Ministry of Finance and the Danish Confederation of Professional Associations (AC) have further agreed on a protocol that makes it possible for international researchers employed by the University to achieve a pension exemption, whereby the pension contribution will be paid out as salary. For more information about the different pension schemes, please read more here:

If you consider applying from abroad, you may find useful information on how it is to work in Denmark and at UCPH here : , and

UCPH wishes to encourage everyone interested in this post to apply, regardless of personal background.

The closing date for applications is 30 October 2020, 23:59 CEST*

Applications or supplementary material received thereafter will not be considered.

*(Central European summertime=CEST)

Part of the International Alliance of Research Universities (IARU), and among Europe’s top-ranking universities, the University of Copenhagen promotes research and teaching of the highest international standard. Rich in tradition and modern in outlook, the University gives students and staff the opportunity to cultivate their talent in an ambitious and informal environment. An effective organisation – with good working conditions and a collaborative work culture – creates the ideal framework for a successful academic career.

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