Postdoctoral Fellowships on Asian Studies at ARI Singapore

The Asia Research Institute (ARI) was established as a university-level institute in July 2001 as a strategic initiative of the National University of Singapore (NUS). Building on NUS’s academic reputation and geographical location, the Asia Research Institute seeks to nurture and support inter-disciplinary scholarship between and beyond disciplines, addressing some of the key intellectual puzzles and practical challenges facing the Asian region. ARI is a historically aware, culturally engaged and outward-looking research centre that embeds and seeks to illuminate the Asian region in the context of contemporary global processes and debates, using the knowledge generated to contribute in scholarly and practical ways to their interpretation, understanding and solution.

Positions are intended for outstanding, active researchers to work on an important piece of Asia-related research in the social sciences or humanities.

Applicants should only apply for ONE of the four types of job opportunity (i.e. Senior Research Fellow, Research Fellow, Postdoctoral Fellow, or Visiting Senior Research Fellow). Apart from the quality of the programme of intended research and the applicant’s track record, positions will be awarded on the basis of the relationship of the topic of their research to the agendas of ARI’s research clusters as listed in Research clusters and their focus.

Applicants need to indicate the particular Research Cluster to which they are applying. In cases where there may be overlapping research interests, you may list up to a maximum of two clusters.

During their term at ARI, recipients are expected to work closely with their Research Cluster leader, engage fully with the activities of the Institute, and acknowledge ARI in their publications. Additional requirements, where relevant, are set out in the separate details for each type of position.

Research Clusters and Their Focus

  • The Asian Migration cluster maintains research interest in a broad range of human migrations, mobilities and interconnectivities within and beyond Asia. The cluster currently has three priority research themes and is also interested in developing a fourth. The first theme draws attention to the material processes and discourses of globalization and transnationalism as they intersect in Asian cities. The focus is on exploring new knowledge frameworks through which to understand the complex and diverse linkages between global change and transnational migration. The second research theme explores the relationship between human aspiration, migration and development in Southeast Asia, with a focus on the development impact of migration in sending communities as well as the costs and risks of migration for the poor. A third research theme highlights the organization and constitution of transnational (im)mobility as a means of (re)conceptualizing different mobile practices, rhythms and rationalities that characterize people on the move in Asia. The fourth emerging theme considers ageing, care circulation and global care chains. This research theme focuses on the webs of care evinced when migrants move to care for older people as well as when older people migrate in order to care for family members or to receive care.
  • The Asian Urbanisms cluster explores Asia’s diverse urban experiences historically, contemporaneously, and toward the future. It seeks to contribute to theory and applied research on the reflexivity of society-space relationships in the built environment and city life from local to global scales, in diverse contexts in Asia, and through comparative studies with other world regions. The orientation of the cluster is towards research that speaks in transformative ways to urban-related theories, debates and public policy issues in and beyond Asia. Avenues for research include (but are not limited to): (1) urban heritage and the vernacular city; (2) spaces of hope, including urban discontents, insurgencies and mobilizations for alternative production of space; (3) urban environment and well-being; and (4) urban practice and solutions with a particular focus on vulnerable groups.
  • The Changing Family in Asia cluster explores the dimensions of family change in the region, their causes and implications. These dimensions include rising ages at marriage and decreasing non-marriage, declining fertility and declining size of the nuclear family, increase in one-person households and alternative family forms, changing gender roles within families, and changes in family structures consequent on population ageing. These have implications for gender relations, the life patterns of the post-adolescent unmarried, the role of the elderly in the family, child-raising patterns and social policy.
  • The Identities cluster is devoted to advancing broadly conceived conceptual, theoretical, and methodological approaches to identities in Asia. Research on any sort of identity is welcomed: national, ethnic, religious, racial, sexual, gender, political, generational, and others are of interest. Questions of concern include how identities are produced, where they come from; how they are reproduced and maintained; the processes and mechanisms by which they change or evolve over time and space; and what kinds of effects they produce, such as political and social conflict or cooperation. All kinds of methodological and inter/disciplinary approaches to questions such as these are encouraged: cross-cultural experimental psychology; historical and cultural sociology and anthropology; social and cultural history and geography; ethnographic case studies; behavioral economics; and large-n quantitative analysis of original data sets. Research can range from deep immersion in a single site to a comparative study of the same research question in different Asian countries, to comparisons of Asia with other areas of the world. Potential Post-doctoral fellows, visiting junior and senior scholars, as well as sabbatical visitors are all encouraged to apply.
  • The Religion and Globalization cluster is dedicated to exploring global reconfigurations of religion and its diverse manifestations in Asian contexts. Our work examines dynamics of secularization and religion in the modern period, as well as related issues of authority and tradition in contemporary religious discourse and practice. The Cluster has two main research directions, the Comparative Study of Religious Networks and Religion and Development (a Luce Foundation funded project). The networks project seeks to explore how religious actors develop local institutions and create networks, and how they invent new ritual, economic, and media strategies to survive and flourish in different cultural and political contexts. Many religious networks connect diasporic and migrant groups with their home communities in South Asia or China or the Middle East, and with related groups across Southeast Asia or around the globe, even as these temples, mosques and churches become embedded in local society. The cluster welcomes scholars interested in theories of ritual, affect, and emergent community, and those working on ethics, everyday economics, and technologies of the self in relation to religion and ritual.
  • The Science, Technology, and Society cluster explores techno-scientific institutions, practices, and knowledge-making regimes within Asian societies and cultures. We have particular strengths in biotechnology/bioscience/ biomedicine and society; interactive and digital media; and disaster studies. Methodologically we are open to a range of approaches, including historical, sociological, anthropological, geographical, and media or cultural studies based initiatives. Applicants’ advanced degrees must be in one of the social sciences or humanities, however. We also expect candidates to devote some of their time to grant-writing and, if the need and opportunity arises, to undergraduate teaching. Candidates are encouraged to explore their own topics, but are also part of a team, and will be expe cted to participate in the life of the cluster and contribute to its health and reputation. New PhDs are particularly encouraged to apply.
  • The Inter-Asia Engagements cluster views Asia as a non-monolithic construct, referencing the region not just to spaces outside Asia but also in terms of the connectivities and complex relationships, historical and contemporary, that bind and shape the region. With increasing interconnectedness, interdependence and the rise of Global Asia, the region needs to be placed at centre stage, but utilizing a new mode of thinking that emphasizes linkages instead of regionally-exclusive units. Focusing on transnational, transregional and intra-regional connectivities, two broad and fluid geographical corridors of attention are envisaged: The west-east axis of Arabian Peninsula-South Asia-Southeast Asia-East Asia and the north-south axis of Central Asia-Northeast Asia-Southeast Asia. Research on the former is linked to the ARI Muhammad Alagil Arabia Asia Studies Endowment and both are informed by the Inter-Asia Initiative spearheaded by the US SSRC and its consortium of university partners, including ARI. The current research agenda of the Inter-Asia Engagements cluster is to explore empirical and conceptual issues relating to regional and locality challenges to contemporary global capitalism, dilemmas of environment-society relations, dynamics of Arabian-Indian-Chinese diasporas, circulatory and transnational flows in the reframing of sovereignty and nationalism, as well as reconfigurations of contact zones and frontier assemblages.

Postdoctoral fellowships

Postdoctoral Fellows will work under the supervision of the Cluster Leader to bring their proposed projects to fruition and participate in current cluster projects. Other duties may include assisting with the organising of workshops and conferences, and applying for grant funding. Administrative duties and committee work may be assigned to PDFs from time to time.


  • Candidates must have fulfilled all requirements of securing a PhD from a reputable university
  • If you are still a PhD candidate at the point of application, you may also apply provided that you are graduation is confirmed by your commencement date at ARI. An official letter from the Registrar’s Office of your university will be required to confirm the award of your PhD degree.

Terms of Appointment

  • The appointment will be tenable for a period of two years only, and is non-renewable.
  • Applications are invited for commencement in June/July 2018 or December 2018/January 2019
  • An all-inclusive, fixed monthly salary of S$5,500 will be provided. This all-in sum is inclusive of stipends for housing and living expenses.
  • A one off travel assistance of S$2,000 will be provided to eligible candidates.
  • Singapore citizens and permanent residents are eligible for provident fund benefits.
  • All salary and benefits-in-kind are subjected to taxation in accordance with local tax laws.
  • Please note that University Housing will not be provided and appointees have to make their own private accommodation arrangements.
  • There is support for research fieldwork and conference attendance, on application and subject to approval.
  • Candidates must have been awarded their PhD within the two years prior to the application closing date of 1st September 2017.
  • PDFs should participate actively in research activities including attendance at seminars, conferences and ARI social events.
Application date
4 Sep 2017
2 years
Asia Singapore
Humanities Anthropology, Ethnology and Folklore Archaeology Architecture Art & Art History Classical Studies Digital Humanities History History & Philosophy of Science Linguistics Literature Media Studies Music & Musicology Philosophy Religion & Theology Social sciences Business and Administrative Sciences Communication Sciences Demography Economics Environmental Sciences Gender Studies Geography International Relations Law Pedagogic & Education Research Political science Psychology & Cognitive Sciences Social Anthropology Sociology
Required post-doc experience: 
between 0 and 5 years
Award granted
S$ 5.500/month