Postdoc: Land Politics (The Netherlands) Deadline: Sept. 29, 2019

Erasmus University Rotterdam

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Starting on

November 1, 2019


Three Years



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Program Details

The International Institute of Social Studies (ISS, The Hague) of Erasmus University Rotterdam invites high-quality applications for a 3-year full-time one Postdoctoral position to start in the last quarter of 2019. The position is part of a European Research Council (ERC) Advanced Grant awarded project “Commodity & Land Rushes and Regimes: Reshaping Five Spheres of Global Social Life (RRUSHES-5)”. This research project – hosted in the Political Ecology (PE) Research Group – will study recent transactions in land and land use change and how these impact the general situation around the issues of food, climate change politics, geopolitics, labour and migration, and state–citizen relations in Africa, Asia and Latin America. The project will mainly focus on Colombia, Ethiopia and Myanmar. Applicants must have a strong demonstrable interest in the thematic areas of land politics and policies (including contemporary ‘global resource rush’), climate change politics, resource conflict, global agrarian transformations and other topics relevant to the themes of the project. The main task of the post-doctoral researcher will be to conduct research within the framework of the project including conducting fieldwork which will lead to international quality publications, and to undertake other project tasks allocated by the Principal Investigator (PI).

Recent global commodity rushes have profoundly influenced societies across the globe. At least a quarter of a billion hectares of land have been affected, reshaping livelihoods and social and political relations. Contemporary commodity rushes are more complex and far-reaching than those we have seen before, requiring new thinking and practice in order to respond to such unprecedented challenges. This project aims to explore contemporary commodity rushes, centred on the reconfiguration of land use and ownership, examining the implications for five spheres of global social life. We will ask: How do contemporary global commodity rushes reshape the politics of food, climate, labour and citizenship, as well as geopolitics in different contexts? To answer this, we will look into the possible structural, institutional and political shifts caused by commodity rushes within commodity and land regimes and in the five spheres of global social life. Guided by a multi-disciplinary theoretical framework and grounded empirical work, we will engage in practical policy questions aimed at probing the potential for socially just and ecologically sustainable reforms. These reforms will be anchored in the social justice principles of redistribution, recognition and restitution of wealth and power, and the regeneration and recalibration of human–nature relations. We will study global, regional and national dynamics around commodity rushes and regimes, and the five spheres of global social life in Africa (Ethiopia), Asia (Myanmar), and Latin America (Colombia). The role of Chinese investments in the global land rush will be of central interest. This project will change the way we study the recent commodity and land rushes, demonstrating why and how they concern not only the 3.5 billion people who live in rural areas, but the entire world population. Conversely, it will demonstrate why it is not possible to understand what happens in the five spheres of global social life without comprehending how these, separately and together, interact with commodity and land rushes.

The successful candidate is expected to start as soon as possible and will be based at ISS in The Hague. A full-time, three year contract with Erasmus University Rotterdam will be offered. In accordance with the conditions applied at Erasmus University Rotterdam as indicated in the Collective Labour Agreement (CAO NU) of the Dutch universities, the salary is dependent on the candidates’ experience and ranges from € 3.637,- to € 5.565,- gross per month, on a fulltime basis. In addition, EUR pays an 8% holiday allowance and an end-of-year payment of 8.3% and offers excellent secondary benefits.

Eligibility/ Requirements

  • A PhD awarded within the last 4 years in development studies and with a focus on agrarian transformation and development
  • An emerging track record in peer-reviewed independent academic publications in top-rated journals relevant to this project’s research theme.
  • Demonstrated knowledge of advanced Mandarin Chinese for academic writing.
  • Extensive fieldwork experience in China.
  • Advanced knowledge of Chinese politics and policies as it relates to Chinese investments inside China and abroad, BRICS, Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), and agrarian transformation and development.
  • Solid knowledge of statistical techniques and ability to deal with big datasets and archives, including those written in Chinese.
  • A demonstrated ability to work flexibly and collaboratively in a diverse international research team.
  • Able to start in the last quarter of 2019.

Application Process

To be considered for this postdoc position, applicants must submit, all in one pdf file:

  • A CV, including a list of publications, relevant work experience and contact details of two referees.
  • A statement of interest (max. 3 pages) explaining why you want to join the RRUSHES-5 project and how you will contribute to it as well as why you are particularly suitable for this position/how you meet the criteria for the position.
  • Three relevant writing samples published in academic journals.

Short-listed candidates will be interviewed via Skype. The interviews are expected to take place in October/ November 2019.

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