Max Planck Institute for the History of Science Doctoral Candidate

Job Type: Fixed-Term

Application Deadline: July 24, 2016

The Max Planck Institute for the History of Science (Department I) is looking to employ a

Doctoral Candidate

to start as soon as possible (salary: 50% TVöD E13) for a period of three years.

The topic of the candidate’s dissertation should complement the research undertaken in the project “Globalization Processes of Knowledge” and in the junior research group “Asian Impacts on the Globalization of Knowledge: Marine Resources during the Cold War.”

The position will be based at both the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science and the Freie Universität in Berlin. The conferral of the doctorate is expected to take place at the Freie Universität Berlin.

The projects “Globalization Processes of Knowledge” and “Asian Impacts on the Globalization of Knowledge” seek to cooperate on a contribution to the global history of knowledge – with an approach to history that doesn’t rely on a one-sided diffusion model, but instead understands transfer processes as multilateral transformations of knowledge systems. The aim is to investigate the dynamics of such transformation processes using a historical theory on the evolution of knowledge as well as through approaches from the field of the global history of science. The project’s central question is twofold: First, it asks which political, economic, and cultural conditions shape processes of the globalization of knowledge? And secondly, what effects do these globalization processes subsequently have on the societal contexts in which they take place? Bearing these goals in mind, we are looking for a doctoral project that incorporates both multilateral relations and global conditionality.

Suggested Topics for the Dissertation Project:

Living and nonliving (marine) resources (e.g. fish, plankton, pearls, or submarine crude oil, manganese, gas), or, for instance, nuclear energy, electricity, or wood could serve as starting points for an investigation into corresponding phenomena such as development aid, resource conflict, or environment and animal protection.

Of particular interest are projects that consider bi- or multilateral relations within Asia (e.g. Japan-India, India-China, China-Russia, Japan-Korea, Korea-China), or between (East) Asia and South America or Africa, respectively (e.g. “South-South” cooperation). Projects that deal with other regions and multilateral alliances – in particular Southeast Asia – are extremely welcome.

Expected Area of Focus:

  • We are looking for a doctoral candidate who is interested in writing their doctoral thesis within the context of the cooperation between the Max Plank Institute for the History of Science and the research group “East Asian Impacts on the Globalization of Knowledge: Marine Resources during the Cold War.”
  • The thesis should use multilateral perspectives to examine the interaction between processes in the globalization of knowledge and societal conditions – in other words, the project should bear in mind the global contingency of local phenomena.
  • The candidate will be expected to either contribute to the development of the theoretical framework of a historical theory on the evolution of knowledge, or to engage the methodological and theoretical issues of the global history of knowledge.
  • The candidate is expected to undertake archival work and research trips (financed).
  • Discussion and exchange within the projects will form a key part of the research process.

Necessary Qualifications:

  • Completed university degree (MA level) in History, the History of Science, Economic History, Regional Studies, or a related field.

Applicants with the following qualifications are particularly welcome:

  • Knowledge of either Chinese, Japanese, Korean, or Russian – especially reading skills for the purpose of archival work.
  • Familiarity with the theoretical approaches of historical epistemology, global and knowledge history, as well as with the theories of cultural evolution.
  • Ability to produce academic publications in English


All application materials (including a CV, a letter of motivation, a copy of the applicant’s MA certificate or verification that the applicant’s thesis has already been submitted, a digital copy of the applicant’s MA thesis in the form of a PDF, and proof of language abilities, if available) should be submitted online at:

by July 24, 2016.

Only applications submitted in this way will be considered.

We look forward to receiving applications from scholars of all nationalities. The Max Planck Society aims to increase the percentage of women on its scientific staff and therefore strongly encourages women to apply. Furthermore, it is committed to promoting more handicapped individuals and thus also encourages them to apply.

Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Boltzmannstr. 22, 14195 Berlin

Posted: July 17, 2016