Postdoctoral Researcher in the project 'Reparations in development'

Research / Academic

Are you interested in international development, climate change and debates around loss and damage? Can you conduct ethnographic research in a setting where people are affected by climate change and call for reparations? Do you want to push the boundaries of economic thought and practice? Then this job may be for you.

The Department of Anthropology at the Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences of the University of Amsterdam (UvA) is seeking a postdoctoral researcher for the project ‘Time to pay up? Reparations and global development challenges’ (REPAIR).

The REPAIR project studies empirically how reparations payments are justified, made and received around the world. Our research team consists of the principal investigator (PI) Dr Felix Stein, a PhD candidate, a postdoctoral researcher (this could be you!), a junior researcher and an administrative assistant.

Together, we will ask:

  1. When and how reparations are established, paid and received in international development settings.
  2. What that teaches us about international development from a moral, political and economic perspective.
  3. How the global push for reparations challenges existing economic thought and practice.

We study these questions by asking people directly how they justify reparations claims and payments, what kind of harm they think can or cannot be repaired and what meanings they ascribe to money in these contexts. We also investigate which reparations programmes reach their stated goals, and how they challenge existing logics of international aid and investment.
The project is funded by a Starting Grant from the European Research Council. The postdoctoral position is embedded in the research group Moving Matters.

Your tasks
Your main task will be to study reparations in the context of climate change ethnographically, including through long-term fieldwork (around 9 months) in two field sites:

  • A first field-site where people are acutely affected by climate change and demand or receive reparations for loss and harm incurred (this could be a member country of the Alliance of Small Island States for example).
  • A second field-site where policy decisions about reparations are made (this could be the headquarters of the Alliance of Small Island States for example).

You will be given up to 9 months to prepare the fieldwork and up to a year and a half to write up findings afterwards.

Research is conducted in close collaboration with the team. As the second-most senior member of the team you will be tasked with co-managing the project.

This will include:

  • co-developing a methodological approach, drawing on a literature review, consultations with scholars and officials from the places you study and with methods experts from across the social sciences;
  • writing single-authored and/or co-authored articles on the research topic. The minimum requirement per year is one single-authored paper in a peer-reviewed journal and/or one co-authored paper with a fellow team member or with scholars in a relevant field;
  • engaging in critical dialogues with members of your team and the Moving Matters research group whilst contributing to data analysis and theory building;
  • co-supporting and co-mentoring the PhD candidate and Research Assistant;
  • co-organizing and participating in scholarly activities such as conferences, workshops and seminars;
  • contributing to popular dissemination of the research results;
  • undertaking administrative tasks related to the project, including reporting and co-writing follow-up grant applications;
  • being based in the Amsterdam area and taking an active part in team meetings and the research environment at the AISSR;
  • potentially: teaching anthropology, but only upon availability and agreed upon in mutual consultation (max 0.1 to 0.2 full-time equivalents).


You have:

  • a PhD (or finalizing within the first months of the postdoctoral job, with a fixed completion date) in anthropology, development studies, sociology, human geography, STS, area studies, or another relevant social science;
  • relevant research experience, studying issues of climate change, international development or reparations;
  • familiarity with ethnographic research methods (especially participant observation, interviews and discourse analysis) and willingness to conduct challenging fieldwork on a controversial topic;
  • excellent oral and written communication skills in English and in the language of in the country where you will do research (further language lessons are possible)
  • a strong academic record;
  • excellent collaboration and teamwork skills and the ability to thrive in an interdisciplinary team;
  • an independent work attitude.

You preferably have:

  • affinity with the fields of development studies, economic, ecological or legal anthropology or a closely related social science.

Salary Benefits:

The position concerns temporary employment of 38 hours per week. The initial employment is for one year and will preferably start on 1 July 2024. Following a positive assessment and barring altered circumstances, this term will then be extended by a maximum of 24 months (for a total period of 36 months).

For this position the University Job Classification profile “Researcher” applies. Salary depends on past education and relevant work experience, with a minimum salary of €4,036 and a maximum salary of €5,929 gross per month (salary scale 10 or 11), based on a full-time employment of 38 hours per week, as per the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities).

We additionally offer an extensive package of secondary benefits, including 8% holiday allowance and a year-end bonus of 8.3%.

The position also covers basic travel and research costs and provides ample opportunities to attend training courses and both national and international events.

The UvA offers excellent possibilities for further professional development.

What else do we offer?

  • an opportunity to work on a topic that is relevant to a lot of people and promises to shape policy debates and international relations for years to come
  • an enthusiastic and warm team that is open to new colleagues
  • a job in which initiative and critical thinking are encouraged and supported
  • an inspiring academic and international community in the heart of Amsterdam
Work Hours:

38 hours per week


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