Three Postdoc Positions at EHESS Project: "UNESCO Frictions: Heritage-making across Global Governance" (Greece, Brazil, China)

Research project

The project is hosted by the École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHESS), based at the Institut interdisciplinaire d’anthropologie du contemporain (IIAC) in Paris, funded by the Agence Nationale de la Recherche by way of a @RACTION grant and coordinated by Chiara Bortolotto.

The project explores cultural heritage policies in the era of global governance, focusing on their most recent and contentious domain, that of Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH), and in particular its controversial cornerstone, namely, the "participation" of "communities" in heritage identification and selection.

In tracing the social life of the UNESCO Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage from diplomatic discussions in UNESCO boardrooms to the implementation of local heritage projects, this research investigates the entire policy chain that links the international arena where standards are negotiated, national heritage institutions where they are domesticated, and local heritage programmes where they are implemented in three case-study countries (Greece, Brazil and China), chosen on the grounds of the diversity of their national heritage regimes.

In order to trace the successive translations of an international standard, the project focuses on the interactions of particular actor networks in observable situations across multiple scales and explores the controversies arising from these regimes' interpretations of the shifts introduced by the UNESCO convention. As anthropological expertise overlaps with the field of ICH, the project will engage with ICH policies while reflexively analysing the radical complicity between researchers and research subjects with the aim of questioning the theory/practice divide in heritage and beyond.

Postdoc assignments

The postdoc will be responsible of a sub-project comprising the Greek/Brazilian/Chinese arm of the research. He or she is expected to engage in advanced multi-level research within Greek/Brazilian/Chinese heritage institutions, civil society and local communities. Together with the principal investigator, the postdoc will select one local-level case study based on his or her suggestions and the relevance of the proposed cases to the project.

The candidate will work in collaboration with two other postdocs working on related projects and will be committed to the overreaching research agenda of the "UNESCO frictions" project. He or she is expected to disseminate project outcomes at international conferences and workshops, and to publish in international journals and with major presses in the field. He or she should be willing to engage with local communities, heritage organisations and a range of different stakeholders. Successful candidates will work closely with Greek/ Brazilian/Chinese academic counterparts.

Candidates are furthermore expected to contribute to the project’s organisation and administration.

The postdoc will be based in Paris for the duration of the contract where he or she is expected to attend regular team meetings. The successful applicant will also be required to spend extensive periods (up to 4 months per year) conducting fieldwork in Greece/Brazil/China. During this time he or she will report on the on-going research and discuss possible issues with the research team through Skype meetings. The candidate should develop and maintain collaborations with a network of researchers in his or her area of competence.

Postdoc profiles

The successful applicant will have an interest (and preferably research experience) in heritage policies in Greece/Brazil/China.

Candidates should have a doctoral degree in anthropology or other related field. Preference will be given to applicants with previous research experience in the anthropology of policy or institutions.

Candidates should be fluent in English and should be able to work in a French-speaking environment. They are furthermore expected to have a strong command of relevant local languages where applicable.

Research team and research environment

The core research team will be composed of five persons: the principal investigator, three post-docs, and a research assistant. The extended research team comprises an international advisory board and a network of local gatekeepers and specialists in Greek, Brazilian and Chinese heritage policies.

Comprising 47 specialised research centres the École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHESS) is an exciting and dynamic international research environment with a strong commitment to high-quality multi-disciplinary scholarship in social sciences.

Contract, salary and benefits

The postdoc will be employed by the École des hautes études en sciences sociales on a one-year full-time contract to be extended for one additional year. The contract will start in October 2016 or as soon as possible thereafter.

Remuneration will be dependent on the candidate’s experience. Minimum gross monthly salary will be 2,365.00 euros.

The project will cover the postdoc’s research expenses, including fieldwork costs. The contract covers basic national health insurance and unemployment insurance.

Application date
22 Apr 2016
Date of residence
1 Oct 2016
2 years
Europe France Paris Île-de-France
Humanities Anthropology, Ethnology and Folklore
Required post-doc experience: 
between 0 and 5 years
Grants available
Award granted
At least € 24.000 gross annual salary