Position for PhD student or Post-doc

Jonathan Silk kauzeya at GMAIL.COM
Fri Oct 15 12:15:43 UTC 2010

dear Colleagues,

I would appreciate your assistance in making known the following
Starting September 2011 the Leiden Institute for Area Studies has one full
time (38 hrs) vacancy, available as a 4 year PhD position *or* 3 year
Post-Doctoral fellowship, in the VICI project "Buddhism and Social Justice:
Doctrine, Ideology  and Discrimination in Tension," headed by Prof dr.
Jonathan A. Silk. Project description

Buddhism is widely perceived to be, and Buddhist sources themselves promote
the tradition as, a philosophy of liberation. Yet, as perhaps everywhere,
Buddhist societies, both ancient and modern, not only evidence, but indeed
seem to promote, social inequalities. The project ‘Buddhism and Social
Justice’ explores the inner tensions in Buddhist cultures between inherited
core values and social realities, with specific foci on questions of labor
(e.g., slavery and forced labor, serfdom) and social status (e.g., caste and

The project as originally conceived consisted of five studies: a core
investigation of slavery and caste in India, and studies on slavery in
Korea, burakumin (‘outcastes’) in Japan, ‘serfdom’ and monastic economy in
Tibet, and ethnicity and Buddhism in Sri Lanka. At present members of the
project will study slavery and caste in India, slavery in Korea, ‘serfdom’
and monastic economy in Tibet, and ethnicity and Buddhism in Bhutan. These
are approached through text-historical, historical and a
socio-anthropological methods. The synergy between the projects lies in the
question of how Buddhist ways of thinking and acting inform and structure
historically Buddhist Asian societies, and how, correspondingly, Buddhist
ideologies and dogmas were transformed in historical contexts. This study
seeks therefore to uncover the links between the ancient and the modern and
the theoretical and the real-world, thereby leading both to a deeper
appreciation of how religious systems function in societies in general, and
to a more nuanced appreciation of the dynamics of historically Buddhist
societies in general, particularly with respect to questions of social
justice. As such, the work is situated not only within the realms of
Buddhist Studies and Asian History, but also at the juncture of Religious
Studies, Political Science and Anthropology, as it engages issues of Church
and Society, Slavery Studies, and the study of Race, Ethnicity and Caste.

*The available position is for a scholar interested in investigating, from
the viewpoint of Buddhist Studies, some aspect of Buddhism and Social
Justice not currently covered in the project. Because the focus of the study
is Buddhism, familiarity with the history, doctrine and relevant original
languages of Buddhist traditions is essential*.



   The writing of a PhD dissertation;

   publishing research results in the form of (an) article(s) and/or books;

   presenting papers at (international) conferences, including the final
   conference of the project;

   participation in local research meetings and PhD teaching;

   organizing roundtable meetings and conferences in the framework of the
   research project.



   an MA, M.Phil or equivalent degree in a relevant field;

   research knowledge of the language(s) necessary for the project;

   fluency in English (spoken and written) and competence in other relevant
   modern languages;

   ability to work independently.

*Post-Doctoral Fellowship* applicants should  have a demonstrably excellent
academic track record in Buddhist Studies, and hold a PhD in Buddhist
Studies or a related field, or its equivalent. They should have an excellent
command of English and be prepared to present their research results in
English. Applicants will teach a small number of courses on topics within
their area of specialization, and assistance in guiding the PhD students.
Conditions of employment

The position of the Postdoctoral fellow is temporary, max. three years with
a full-time appointment (38 hours per week). The position of PhD-fellow
(‘promovendus’) is temporary, max. four years with a full-time appointment,
and with an initial 18-month trial period.

The salary is determined in accordance with the current scales as set out in
the collective labor agreement for the Dutch universities (CAO):
Postdoctoral fellow: min. € 2.379, max. € 4.374
PhD fellow: min. € 2.042 - max. € 2.612

For more information about the position please contact Prof. dr. J.A Silk,
tel. +31-71-5272510, email j.a.silk [at] hum.leidenuniv.nl, and see the full
project description at

PhD  candidates please send your application (in English), including:


   a cover letter stating your motivation for this position,

   a CV

   copies of your academic transcripts (or Dutch cijferlijst),

   a writing sample (such as your MA thesis), and

   two letters of reference.

Post-doc candidates please send your application (in English), including:


   a cover letter stating your motivation for this position,

   a CV,

   copies of your academic transcripts,

   a printed copy of your PhD thesis and other relevant publications, and

   three letters of reference.

Please send your application indicating the application number before the
deadline of
*30 November 2010* to: vacatureslias at hum.leidenuniv.nl

J. Silk
Instituut Kern / Universiteit Leiden
Leiden University Institute for Area Studies, LIAS
Johan Huizinga Building, Room 1.37
Doelensteeg 16
2311 VL Leiden
The Netherlands

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