PHD Position: Ownership at its Limits: Military Collections and the Question of Provenance

Updated: 18 days ago
Deadline: 06 May 2021

The ambition of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is clear: to contribute to a better world through outstanding education and ground-breaking research. We strive to be a university where personal development and commitment to society play a leading role. A university where people from different disciplines and backgrounds collaborate to achieve innovations and to generate new knowledge. Our teaching and research encompass the entire spectrum of academic endeavor – from the humanities, the social sciences and the natural sciences through to the life sciences and the medical sciences.

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is home to more than 26,000 students. We employ over 4,600 individuals. The VU campus is easily accessible and located in the heart of Amsterdam’s Zuidas district, a truly inspiring environment for teaching and research.

Diversity
We are an inclusive university community. Diversity is one of our most important values. We believe that engaging in international activities and welcoming students and staff from a wide variety of backgrounds enhances the quality of our education and research. We are always looking for people who can enrich our world with their own unique perspectives and experiences.

Faculty of Humanities
The Faculty of Humanities links a number of fields of study: Language, Literature and Communication, Art & Culture, History, Antiquities and Philosophy. Our teaching and research focus on current societal and scientific themes: from artificial intelligence to visual culture, from urbanization to the history of slavery, from ‘fake news’ in journalism to communication in organizations. We strive to ensure small group sizes. Innovative education and interdisciplinary research are our hallmarks.

Working at the Faculty of Humanities means making a real contribution to the quality of leading education and research in an inspiring and personal work and study climate. We employ more than 250 staff members, and we are home to around 1,300 students.
About the project Pressing Matter
The four-year research project “Pressing Matter: Ownership, Value and the Question of Colonial Heritage in Museums” is collaborative across five academic institutions and five Dutch museums, and working together with national, and international partners from across the world. The project is led by Prof. Susan Legêne and Wayne Modest at the Faculty of Humanities at VU and funded by the Dutch Research Agenda (NWA).

Pressing Matter responds to the growing contestation over what to do with the colonial heritage held in museums. This growing controversy reveals the need to take into account the polarised positions that now exist in these debates, ranging from scholars, activists and community members championing the return of objects to correct historical wrongs, to those who contend that objects should be retained irrespective of circumstances of acquisition by museums in light of their (universal) cultural and scientific value. In the middle are advocates of more relational heritage practices, comprising dialogue and sharing in how objects are distributed. Pressing Matter has defined various approaches to this problem and categories of collections in collaborating museums that will be the starting point for research.
Researchers start from this shared research framework and while doing research for an individual PhD thesis or other research output, which allows them to develop their own views and insights, they commit themselves to the programme as a whole through a collaborative multidisciplinary approach, which allows access to research findings to the team and requires result based research. The programme has developed this research framework in the context of the National Science Agenda of the Netherlands. A large team of PhD candidates, postdocs, museum staff, professors will be organized along the lines of 8 work packages, hosted in five different universities and collaborating with eight specific museums and societal stakeholders.


View or Apply

Similar Positions