PhD Grants in Eurasia Studies including Anthropology, Max Planck — LIMITE : 31/03/2014

The Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology is one of the world’s 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 International Max Planck Research School for the Anthropology, Archaeology and History of Eurasia (IMPRS ANARCHIE), a cooperation between the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology and the Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg, offers:

Openings for PhD students

starting 1st of October 2014.

The aim of ANARCHIE is to renew transdisciplinary agendas in fields where socio-cultural anthropologists, archaeologists, and historians have much to gain from cross-fertilisation. The designated fields include collective identifications, religion and ritual, and economic and demographic causation. While the first cohort of PhD students is conducting research in the area of collective identifications, students now invited are expected to present research projects dealing with religion and ritual.

Essential Duties & Responsibilities
Students will obtain their doctorate in one of the three disciplines, but will participate in a common programme organised jointly by social anthropologists (Department “Resilience and Transformation in Eurasia” of the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology), historians (the Institutes for History and for the Study of the Ancient World of the Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg), and archaeologists (Institute for Art History and European Archaeology of the Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg). ANARCHIE is embedded in other institutions of the Martin Luther University, notably the University’s International Graduate Academy.
The IMPRS is in certain circumstances ready to consider joint supervision of PhD projects with colleagues based at institutions outside Halle.
The group will work together in Halle/Saale (except when undertaking field or archival research elsewhere, the costs of which will be covered).

Your Profile
See Appendices below for more detail concerning each discipline. Applicants should make their primary discipline clear in their proposal. If shortlisted, they may be invited to revise it to fit in better with the overall profile of ANARCHIE and the expertise available to provide supervision.

Our Offer
The PhD grants are generally awarded for two years, with the possibility of two six-month extensions.
The Max Planck Society strives to employ more persons with disabilities and explicitly encourages applications.

Please submit your application electronically by 31st of March 2014 following the link for vacancies on our homepage. Applicants should send the following documentation:

• cover letter
• CV, including list of publications
• short (no more than two pages) summary of the research proposed, which should demonstrate clear links both to the applicant’s previous work and qualifications and to the IMPRS ANARCHIE
• photocopies of university degrees
• names of two referees, whom we may contact

Final selection will be made following interviews on (provisional) 15 and 16 May 2014.

Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology
Personnel Administration
Robert Gille

For further information about the Institute and IMPRS ANARCHIE please visit: and

Informal enquiries concerning the positions may be directed to Prof. Chris Hann (


(Ancient History; Early Modern History; East European History; Social and Economic History)
The research school aims to explore long-term processes of the construction of historical spaces in view of three interconnected topics: the role of politics and domination, the role of religion, and the role of systems of social and economic inequality. This year’s cohort of PhD students should have as their focus the themes of religion and ritual.
Research projects are welcome that deal with the role of religion (i.e. religious communities, churches, rituals, forms of piety) as systems of meaning in societies and cultures in Europe from antiquity to the present. The following problems are of particular interest:
– The interaction between religious faiths/professions and ritual practices on the one hand, and the social and political identity as well as the notion of a just society on the other hand.
– The interrelation between political rule and religion; how religious arguments were used to legitimize or delegitimize political rule and order.
– The type of communication in society regarding religion, as well as ritual communication between society and the sacred sphere.
– The public discourse as well as the scholarly knowledge regarding religion and ritual in each society under investigation.
– Religious contexts and implications of social, economic or demographic performance.

ANARCHIE faculty include:
Michael G. Müller (East European History, 16th to 19th centuries)
Andreas Pečar (Early Modern European History; Intellectual History and the History of Political Culture)
Georg Fertig (Economic History and Historical Demography in transnational contexts, 18th to 20th centuries)
Christian Mileta (Ancient History, with special emphasis on the political, social and cultural evolution of the Ancient World)
Stefan Pfeiffer (Ancient History, with special emphasis on the Hellenistic World and Greco-Roman Egypt).

The anthropologists of the Department “Resilience and Transformation in Eurasia” share an interest in
expanding the ethnographic foundations of the modern discipline to embrace historical analysis in many guises. This entails engaging in multidisciplinary debates and scrutinizing contested concepts in the historical social sciences such as culture, civilization and empire. The Department has particular strengths in Eastern Europe, the Russian Federation, Japan and Southeast Asia. Graduate supervision is offered primarily by Christoph Brumann (Japan, China); Kirsten Endres (Vietnam); Chris Hann (Eastern Europe, Turkey, Xinjiang); Dittmar Schorkowitz (Eastern Europe, Russian Federation, parts of Central Asia and the Caucasus) and Lale Yalçın-Heckmann (Turkey and the Caucasus).
The PhD applications now invited should address the dynamics of religion and ritual in contexts marked by economic diversification and growing social differentiation, either in connection with experiences of modernisation, socialism and postsocialism (Endres, Hann, Yalçın-Heckmann) or in relation to historical encounters of ethnic minorities with the state (Schorkowitz). Another area of investigation pertains to religious practices and the politics of heritage and heritage preservation (Brumann, Endres). Please note that applications in social anthropology should include significant field research (a requirement for the award of a PhD degree in anthropology at the Martin Luther University). This normally takes place during the second year of the programme and may contain an archival component.

(Prehistoric archaeology, Classical archaeology, Archaeology of the Middle Ages and the Early Modern era) In the first phase of ANARCHIE we have considered projects investigating identities, identifications and self-perceptions of communities in the Ancient World. Within this broader topic proposals concerning the archaeology of religion, cult and ritual are particularly encouraged. Research projects are welcome that deal with the role of cult practice and mythology as systems of meaning and identities in societies and cultures in Eurasia from prehistory to the medieval period. The main goal is to assess whether and to what extent cult and ritual have consequences for self-identification.
The following problems are of particular interest:
– The interaction between cult and ritual practices and the social and political identities;
– The interrelation between power and religion; how mythological symbols and religious motifs were used to legitimize or delegitimize political rule and order;
– The role of religion and ritual in everyday live;
– The interaction between sacred landscapes and political spaces;
– The materialization and changing of cult and burial habits;
– The structure, facilities, function and meaning of sacred space (or places).
François Bertemes is currently paying particular attention to issues of this kind in Europe (especially the Aegean) during the early complex societies. Other active colleagues will include Helga Bumke (Classical Archaeology), who has particular interests in ethnic identity in ancient Greece, its recognition in material culture, and the role of religion in its definition; and Hans-Georg Stephan, who works on the development of settlements and cultural landscapes in Central Europe (c. 500-1850 AD), with particular interests in cultural change, the role of monasteries, crafts and commerce.

We look forward to receiving your completed online application under .

Further information on the research agenda of the Max Planck Institute is available
on our website:

We look forward to receiving your completed online application.

You may print the job advert using this link.

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