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Three PhD candidates in social sciences from Kenya, Nigeria and Indonesia

Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences – Department of Anthropology

Publication date 9 June 2016

Level of education
Salary indication
Closing date
22 June 2016
38 hours per week
Vacancy number


The Department of Anthropology is one of the Departments in the Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG). Research and education are carried out by special institutes. The College of Social Sciences (CSS) and the Graduate School for the Social Sciences (GSSS) are responsible for the undergraduate and graduate teaching programmes in the social sciences. Research takes place under the aegis of the Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR), a multidisciplinary research institute, the biggest one of its kind in the Netherlands and possibly in Europe. The broad scope and pluralism of our education and research programmes are inspired by and reflect a strong degree of internationalisation.

univ amsterdam

The Department of Anthropology and the Department of Human Geography, Planning and International Development Studies are looking for three PhD candidates from Nigeria, Kenya and Indonesia respectively, for positions of three years. The PhD candidates will be affiliated with the AISSR Programme Group ‘Moving Matters: People, Goods, Power and Ideas’.

Project description

The PhD candidates will be conducting research within the project ‘Securing the Local: The Role of Non-state security groups (NSSGs) in the Struggle against Extremism in Kenya, Nigeria and Indonesia’. This project is a multi-sited, multi-level comparative exploration of the role played by non-state security groups (NSSGs) in the provi- sion of ‘human security’ in Fragile and Conflict-affected states (FCAS) in contexts of religious violence. Such violence is experi- enced daily in parts of Kenya, Nigeria and Indonesia, where Al-Shabaab, Boko Haram, and IS put chronic pressures on local com- munities. In the absence of effective state interventions, local NSSGs have emerged that deploy defence, policing, governance and development activities. The project seeks to deliver new evidence-based insights into the broader societal support, effect, critique and understanding of such activities. The PhD candidates will carry out research and write their Ph.D. theses on the project’s subject.

Tasks will also include:

  • conducting in-depth ethnographic field research;
  • participating in the AISSR PhD programme;
  • participating in conferences, workshops, seminars and other scholarly activities.


The PhD candidates should have the following credentials:

  • a solid academic and practical knowledge of North Eastern Kenya (NEP), Northern Nigeria or Java/Poso/Moluccas;
  • a BA/BSc degree and an MA/MSc degree in a relevant discipline – for example anthropology, sociology, history, political science, geography, peace and conflict studies, or development studies;
  • proven ability to write in English to a high standard of fluency and ability to read extensive academic literature in English. (This will be tested during the selection process);
  • fluency in Kiswahili for the purposes of conducting interviews. (This will be tested during the selection process);
  • computer literacy – ability to type, search for academic materials on the Internet etc.;
  • intellectual curiosity, a commitment to scholarship, and the motivation and ability to do extended field research in challen- ging environments;
  • critical thinking and the ability to work both independently and as part of a team;
  • willingness to travel;
  • personal integrity and the capacity for hard work.

Further information

For more specific information on the position, interested candi- dates for each of the three positions are invited to contact:

  • Dr. Laurens Bakker


The positions will be for a period of three years (12 months plus a further 24 months contingent on a satisfactory performance during the first year), starting on 1 September 2016.

Job application

Interested candidates are invited to submit the following documents as a single .pdf file:

  • a CV with a written expression of interest explaining how they meet the above selection criteria;
  • a preliminary research proposal (2 pages max) that sets out what the research focus would be and how that would contrib- ute to the goals of the project;
  • a list of three references familiar with the applicant’s academic work;
  • if non-native English speaking, a recent TOEFL or equivalent English comprehension test score (TOEFL: a minimum average of 6.5 for the total test and a minimum of 6.0 for each test component.

All correspondence will be in English. The application must be sent by email to not later than 22 June 2016. The subject of the email message and the attachment must consist of the text ‘PHD NSSGs + applicant’s last name’.

No agencies please


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