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Doctoral Position in Research Project available (Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology, LMU Munich / Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology (MAA), University of Cambridge)

Deadline for Applications: November 30, 2023


Doctoral Position in Project Beyond the Nature/Culture Divide:
Reimagining Human-Environment Relations in Museums

Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology, LMU Munich, in collaboration with the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology (MAA), University of Cambridge

The position is available from 01 April 2024 for 3 years at salary grade TVL 13 (75%), which provides a liveable salary, full tuition, and benefits including full healthcare, pension contributions and parental leave.

Given the dramatic impact of human action on the environment, evidenced in climate change and biodiversity loss, it has been widely recognised that humanity needs to reimagine its environmental relations. Yet, the deeply entrenched separation of concepts of ‘culture’ and ‘nature’ in Western thought and museums forms a major impediment. Western institutions and legal frameworks define and govern sites of ‘natural’ and/or ‘cultural’ significance; meanwhile, museums promote ‘cultural’ and/or ‘natural’ heritage. Reflecting recent and ongoing efforts to deconstruct the ‘nature/culture’ divide, and to creatively reimagine museum collections as archives of environmental knowledge, Beyond the Nature/Culture Divide: Reimagining Human-Environment Relations in Museums considers how the museums of the future might lead the way in reimagining and reconceptualising human-environment relations. Advocating a cross-disciplinary approach across anthropology, the arts and natural history, researchers explore three pressing questions: 1) as knowledge-producing institutions, how were museums historically implicated in the conceptual and actual segregation of ‘natural’ and ‘cultural’ knowledge, and to what extent does this continue to be the case? 2) how can one access materialised human-environment relations conserved in material things, such as Indigenous ‘artefacts’ an d ‘specimens’, and generate novel insights across different systems of being and knowing, such as Indigenous ontologies and epistemologies? 3) in what ways can innovative forms of scholarly engagement, curatorship and experimental exhibitions reactivate historical collections as creative technologies, and so promote the re-imagination of human-environmental relations on a larger scale?

The project seeks applications for a Doctoral Student to join an international team of researchers from Germany and Great Britain, led by Principal Investigators Prof. Dr. Philipp Schorch and Prof. Dr. Nicholas Thomas, to conduct an individual project within the overarching framework of Beyond the Nature/Culture Divide: Reimagining Human-Environment Relations in Museums. A high level of academic English is required, and knowledge of German is advantageous. Candidates should have an excellent early career research record and present evidence of outstanding potential. They will be expected to conduct collection-based research in Germany and the UK, to consolidate his/her academic profile and expertise through publications and collaboration, and contribute to the research cultures of the Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology at LMU Munich and MAA Cambridge.

Applicants with disabilities who possess essentially equal qualifications will be given preference. LMU Munich is an equal opportunity employer committed to excellence through diversity, and therefore explicitly encourages women to apply. Please submit the following application documents electronically by 30 November 2023 to Prof. Dr. Philipp Schorch (, as one pdf file (in English): (1) Application letter (letter of intent), (2) Curriculum vitae (including all publications), (3) Project proposal (max 5 pages), (4) Writing sample (e.g. a published paper or a chapter of the MA thesis), (5) Degree certificates, and (6) Names and contact details of two referees.