Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology PhD Otto-Hahn Research Group Program 2022

Deadline: 28 June 2022.

Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology PhD Otto-Hahn Research Group Program 2022

The Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology is one of the leading centres for research in social anthropology. Common to all research projects at the Max Planck Institute is the comparative analysis of social change; it is primarily in this domain that its researchers contribute to anthropological theory, though many programmes also have applied significance and political topicality.

The Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology is offering:

One position for a PhD student
(starting 1 October 2022 or later)

The position is offered within the framework of the Otto-Hahn research group “Gender, Migration and Social Mobility among West African women in Europe” (2022 – 2025) headed by Dr. Anaïs Ménard.

Research Programme

The three-year research programme examines gender dimensions of (upward) social mobility in transnational contexts of migration. It focuses on West African women who have migrated to the Global North and explores the individual and collective strategies and transnational resources they employ to increase their social and economic mobility, social status, influence, and recognition.

The research will investigate the ways in which women build, sustain, and invest in transnational and diasporic networks both between the country of origin and the country of immigration, and between various countries of immigration. By employing a gender perspective, it aims to reveal migrant women’s transnational fields of social interaction, their socioeconomic pathways, and strategies of empowerment, all of which evolve in sociocultural spaces dominated by gender hierarchies. The programme will also involve the exploration of the West African concept of ‘big (wo)men’ and its transposition to the context of migration. It will use an intersectional approach to processes of social mobility.

This call invites research proposals (max. 3 pages) that address the social and/or economic aspects of upward mobility, with an empirical focus on gender and transnationalism. Project proposals may focus on any geographical area within the scope of the research programme. However, methodologies must include multi-sited fieldwork in European countries (which may be extended to West African countries and/or to other countries beyond Europe if necessary for the realization of the project).

Your Profile
  • a master’s degree (or equivalent) in anthropology (or other relevant discipline, such as political sciences, migration studies, African studies) in hand at the time of taking up the position
  • interest in migration studies and transnationalism and/or gender studies
  • willingness to conduct long-term ethnographic research
  • excellent writing and communication skills in English
  • an intrinsic interest in teamwork
  • previous field experience in West Africa is an asset.

Our Offer

The PhD positions are awarded for three years, with the possibility of two six-month extensions. PhD students are expected to complete six to twelve months of fieldwork as part of their studies. Employment will be on a full-time contractual basis. The workplace is Halle/Saale (Sachsen-Anhalt, Germany).

The Max-Planck Society is committed to increasing the number of individuals with disabilities in its workforce and therefore encourages applications from such qualified individuals.

The Max Planck Society strives to ensure gender equality and diversity. Furthermore, the Max Planck Society seeks to increase the number of women in those areas where they are underrepresented and therefore explicitly encourages women to apply.

How To Apply for the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology PhD Otto-Hahn Research Group Program 2022

Please submit your application electronically by 28 June 2022 following the link for vacancies on our homepage (under ‘Career’), or by going directly to the online application form using the link below.

Applicants should send the following documentation:

  • cover letter
  • CV including list of publications (if any)
  • copies of university degrees
  • a summary of the proposed doctoral project (max. 3 pages), which should demonstrate clear links to the applicant’s previous work and qualifications and to the respective research field
  • two letters of recommendation by academic referees


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