PhD and post-doc positions at Ghent University

14 Mar PhD and post-doc positions at Ghent University

We invite applications for three positions (2 PhD fellowships, 1 Post-doc) within the ERC Starting Grant Project “Narrating the Mesh.” The envisioned start date for these positions is 1 October 2017, and the maximum duration 4 years. The application deadline is 2 May 2017 (PhD positions) and 5 June 2017 (Post-doc).

Project background
The “mesh” is Timothy Morton’s metaphor for the interrelation between humans and a large gamut of “nonhuman” realities, from the bacteria in our guts to macro-entities such as climate change. “Narrating the Mesh” (NARMESH in short) is a multidisciplinary research project interrogating contemporary narrative and its potential for staging, challenging, and expanding the human imagination of the nonhuman. How can narrative, in both literary fiction and oral storytelling, capture the ways in which humans are dependent upon the climate or the geological history of our planet? How can we narrativize entities that elude the human scale? How can stories undercut anthropocentric ideologies and foster a sense of respectful coexistence with realities beyond the human?

NARMESH addresses these questions by bringing together literary studies, narrative theory, and narrative approaches in the social sciences. The 1.1-million-euro project is funded by the European Research Council and based at Ghent University in Belgium, whose Literary Studies department hosts a wide range of innovative research projects, including two other ERC grants. The Principal Investigator is Marco Caracciolo (, who is Assistant Professor in English and Literary Theory at UGent.

Job profile: PhD positions
The PhD students will work on contemporary (post-1990) fiction in English. They will focus on two narrative genres that foreground the interrelation between humans and nonhuman realities: catastrophic fiction (i.e., Cormac McCarthy’s The Road or Emily St. John Mandel’s Station Eleven) and so-called “lab” fiction exploring scientific themes, including but not limited to climate change (e.g., Ian McEwan’s Solar or Richard Powers’s The Echo Maker).

The exact scope and outline of the dissertations is to be defined by the PhD students in collaboration with the PI. Because the project aims to cross-fertilize contemporary narrative theory and ecocriticism, a thorough knowledge of at least one of these fields is essential. An interest in mind-oriented approaches to fiction and its possible effects on readers is desirable.

Job profile: Post-doc position
The post-doc will focus on oral narratives of personal experience. He or she will have a track record of research in fields such as sociolinguistics, social psychology, or ethnography, and specific expertise in qualitative research and narrative interview methods. Ideally, the candidate will have an interest in—and basic knowledge of—key questions and methods in literary scholarship. Additional expertise in quantitative research is desirable.

The post-doc will carry out a series of interviews in an English-speaking context. The details of the interviews, such as location, methodology, and choice of participants, will be defined by the post-doc in collaboration with the PI. The objective is to study how participants relate episodes of their lives in which they experienced a connection with the nonhuman world, and later to compare these oral narratives to contemporary fiction.

How to apply
For more information on how to apply, please visit (PhD positions) and (Post-doc position).

About Ghent University
Ghent University is one of the foremost institutions of higher education in the Low Countries. Every day over 9,000 staff members and 41,000 students strive to realize its motto “Dare to Think.” Ghent University’s mission is to wed high-quality education with internationally renowned research and a pluralistic social responsibility.

Ghent University conducts an equal opportunities policy and encourages everyone to apply. Ghent University also strives for a gender balance. Applications from female candidates are thus especially welcome.

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