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Postdoctoral Research Associate – The German Diaspora in the post-Soviet Space

Deadline for submitting applications: 10 November 2017 (midday)

Reference Number: 009146
Department: School of Government and International Affairs
Location: Durham City
Contract type: Full time, fixed term contract until 30 September 2019
Salary Range: Grade 8 (£39,993 - £47,722)
Closing Date: 10 November 2017 (midday)
Working Arrangements: This role is full time, but we will consider requests for flexible working arrangements including potential job shares


Durham University

Durham University is one of the world's top universities with strengths across the Arts and Humanities, Sciences and Social Sciences. We are home to some of the most talented scholars and researchers from around the world who are tackling global issues and making a difference to people's lives.
The University sits in a beautiful historic city where it shares ownership of a UNESCO World Heritage Site with Durham Cathedral, the greatest Romanesque building in Western Europe. A collegiate University, Durham recruits outstanding students from across the world and offers an unmatched wider student experience.
Durham is a region steeped in history and natural beauty. The Durham Dales, including the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, are home to breathtaking scenery and attractions. Durham offers an excellent choice of city, suburban and rural residential locations. The University provides a range of benefits including pension and childcare benefits and the University’s Relocation Manager can assist with potential schooling requirements.
Durham University seeks to promote and maintain an inclusive and supportive environment for work and study that assists all members of our University community to reach their full potential. Diversity brings strength and we welcome applications from across the international, national and regional communities that we work with and serve.

The School of Government and International Affairs

Since its founding in 2004, SGIA has been a broad-based politics and international relations department, with research and educational activity across wide-ranging specialisms. The School is ranked 6th in the UK for Politics by the Complete University Guide. SGIA is within the QS top 100 departments in the world.
We currently offer two single honours undergraduate programmes (BA in Politics and BA in International Relations), with an annual intake of approximately 100 students, joint honours programmes with Philosophy and Economics and a PPE programme as well as teaching significant numbers of students from other departments through the Combined Honours in Social Sciences and Liberal Arts programmes. At the taught postgraduate level, we offer eight programmes, including three increasingly popular MSc programmes with practitioner orientations, and two ESRC-recognised research-training masters. Our teaching at all levels is self-consciously research-led and we are also home to a substantial community of approximately 90 research students and 120 taught postgraduate students. Like our staff community, our student body is very international across all levels, an attribute that we value and seek to sustain.
The School currently enjoys high demand for places on both our undergraduate and postgraduate programmes from students of outstanding calibre, who progress to enjoy excellent employment prospects. Our key challenges arise from our intention to widen participation, enhance diversity, and inspire and enthuse students to become members of a community of research practice that equips them for effective lifelong learning and able to address complex and dynamic questions in diverse settings. SGIA aims to substantially increase its undergraduate intake over the next eight to ten years as part of the planned strategic growth of Durham University. This will be supported through a substantial number of future academic and administrative appointments, with an eventual planned increase to approximately 55 academic and 12 administrative staff.
In 2014, 71% of our research was deemed to be either internationally excellent or world leading. Our well-established reputation for research strength in areas such as political thought, and Middle East politics and international relations has been augmented in recent years through creation of the Durham Global Security Institute and the Global Policy Institute. The emerging strength in quantitative research methods is a strategic priority for the School and is principally supported by the Centre for Institutions and Political Behaviour. School staff play key roles in interdisciplinary groups across the University such as the Centre for Contemporary Chinese Studies and the Centre for the Study of Jewish Culture, Society and Politics. Recent revision within the School has led to the creation of four sub-discipline focused research groups: Political Theory; Comparative Politics, International Politics and Security, and International Political Economy. Institutes and centres cut across these groups and provide foci for collaborative research work and external-facing engagement and impact activities.

The Requirements

Applicants must demonstrate research excellence in a discipline in the Social Sciences or Humanities, with the ability to fully engage in the services, citizenship and values of the University. The University provides a working, research and teaching environment which is inclusive and welcoming and where everyone is treated fairly with dignity and respect. Candidates will be expected to demonstrate these key principles as part of the assessment process.
Candidates who have recently completed or will be concluding their PhD may have limited direct experience of the requirements for the post. They must outline their experience, skills and achievements to date which demonstrate that they meet or that they have the potential to achieve the essential criteria.

  • On-going critical review and appraisal of a broad range of academic and policy literature, including use of electronic search procedures, to develop the conceptual
  • approach underpinning the project, inform research methodologies and contribute to publications.
  • Negotiating and obtaining access or permissions, preparing the relevant documentation and research proformas, as well as organising travel and accommodation.
  • Planning and conducting ethnographic fieldwork in Russia, the Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, using a range of qualitative methods, in particular participatory research methods. This will also entail undertaking risk assessments and ethical review.
  • Undertaking the analysis and interpretation of empirical material to produce results that will form the foundation for project outputs and publications.
  • Contributing to the upkeep and content of a project website, and the dissemination of research activities and findings.
  • Reporting and disseminating research results at international academic conferences and at events at the Museum für russlanddeutsche Kulturgeschichte in Detmold, Germany.
  • Working on the production of a minimum of two papers for publication in peer reviewed journals, a comprehensive research report and a policy brief.
  • Providing the PI with regular updates on the progress of the project.
  • Contributing to the teaching programme of the School of Government and International Affairs if there is an opportunity to do so that is consistent with the
  • requirements of the project and the knowledge and skills of the post-holder.

The Role

The School of Government and International Affairs (SGIA) at Durham University seeks to appoint a full time Postdoctoral Research Associate to work on the German governmentfunded research project “The German Diaspora in the post-Soviet Space”.
The complex and varied history of ethnic Germans on the territory of the Former Soviet Union provides a rich source for the study of ethnicity and the resilient nature of identification with a perceived German ethnicity in spite of, at times, very adverse conditions. The project will examine the state of the German diaspora in a number of successor states of the Former Soviet Union.
It will make a unique contribution to our empirical knowledge of ethnic German communities in a number of countries in the post-Soviet space since the end of the Cold War. It will assess the extent to which notions of Germanness have developed in states which gained their independence in the wake of the demise of the Soviet Union and assess the commonalities and differences of ethnic German communities in these states and how their mass outward migration has affected their chances of survival as a transnational ethnic community.
The PDRA will be required to undertake multi-site fieldwork in Russia, the Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.

Guidelines for submission

How to Apply
For informal enquiries please contact Dr Ruth Wittlinger (

All enquiries will be treated in the strictest confidence.

We prefer to receive applications online via the Durham University Vacancies Site.

Applications are particularly welcome from women and black and minority ethnic candidates, who are under-represented in academic posts in the University.

What to Submit
  • A CV and covering letter which details your experience, strengths and potential in the requirements outlined above;
  • A PDF of a preferably single-authored piece of academic writing
  • Contact details of 3 academic referees. Please note that we shall seek academic references during the shortlisting process. We therefore ask that you alert your
  • academic referees to this application as soon as possible so that we can quickly obtain your references should your application progress during the shortlisting
  • process.

Next Steps

All applications will be considered.
Short-listed candidates will be invited to the University and will have the opportunity to meet with key members of the research team. The assessment for the post will include a short presentation on a pre-determined research task and an interview. We anticipate interviews with shortlisted candidates to take place during week commencing 20th November 2017.


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