Faculty of Humanities

PhD Programme "Collocations: Constructing Interknowledges, Negotiating Proximities"

Call for Applications

Sponsored by the Global Encounters Platform of University of Tübingen Excellence Strategy

Convenor: Russell West-Pavlov


As part of the excellence strategy’s mission to prepare for a global scope of action and to create global awareness on all levels of academic practices, the University of Tübingen is setting up a doctoral studies programme to interrogate the conditions of contemporary knowledge production in an increasingly plural world. Many of the challenges humankind faces today in midst of accelerated globalisation and looming scenarios of ecological devastation can be related to the expansionist mindset that emerged during European colonialism. What Spivak has called ‘the Western subject of knowledge’ is at the heart of a biased regime of knowledge production that universalizes Euro-American forms of knowledges and marginalizes other knowledge systems, thereby producing coercive scripts that determine the way the world is to be understood. It is only in the last few decades that academia has become more open to the diversity of knowledge systems that are needed to overcome the logic of extractivism and to counter the epistemicide that goes along with it. Recent years have witnessed a growing awareness of the sheer diversity of knowledge systems around the world: a multitude of local knowledges, pluriversal design (Escobar), ecologies of knowledge (Santos), ‘Southern Theory’ (Comaroff and Comaroff, Connell, Menon), or Indigenous knowledges from various continents. Scholarly attention needs to be given to the specific content of these respective knowledge traditions, in pursuit of what have come to be termed ‘interknowledges’. There are many examples of the ways diverse epistemologies enter into proximity and dialogue with each other, in particular in the realms of health, law, and the arts. This programme explores the ways these various plural knowledge systems might possibly be mutually complementary in the contribution they can make to generating a new environment of global knowledge production; it enquires about the vernaculars, idioms and media that might be conducive to facilitating communication between various knowledge systems.

This PhD programme is designed to address such questions by gathering a select group of doctoral researchers from across a range of humanities disciplines to engage upon interdisciplinary research in collaboration with a range of international partner institutions, especially Africa (Wits, UP, UCAD) and Latin America (UFF, UNAM), as well as cognate programmes in Toulouse and Melbourne. The PhD programme will involve structured components in the first year (with an ample choice of professional courses in teaching skills, grant application writing, data management, etc), and where possible, a collaboration (e.g. co-supervision) with our partner universities.

We are advertising four 3-year PhD positions, with some subsidiary teaching responsibilities, in the area of ecologies of knowledge/plural knowledge economies with foci in law, education, religious studies or Indigenous knowledges, etc. Research topics should have a focus on either Africa, Asia-Pacific or Latin America.

The fellows will be appointed to 65% junior positions (TVL E13) for a duration of 3 years, starting from July 2023 or as soon as possible thereafter.

The programme is located in the Faculty of Humanities and the Interdisciplinary Centre for Global South Studies, and forms part of the University’s upcoming Excellence bid. Supervisors and advisers come from the Faculties of Humanities (Kimmich, Kosgei, Laack, Lorea, Thies), Law (von Bernstorff) and Social Sciences (Amos). Enquiries should be addressed to the Convenor, Russell West-Pavlov at russell.west-pavlovspam prevention@uni.tuebingen.de

Candidates should have an excellent Master’s degree in an appropriate discipline.

The selection procedure will give priority to candidates with disabilities, given equal qualifications. Female candidates are particularly encouraged to apply, as are applicants from ethnic minority backgrounds.

Applications should include a CV, degree certificates and transcripts, and a detailed research proposal (5 pages minimum). Application documents (in a single pdf document) should be submitted by 30 April 2023 to Tanja Kapp: tanja.kappspam prevention@uni-tuebingen.de.