Positions available

Jonathan Silk kauzeya at GMAIL.COM
Mon Mar 28 14:12:54 UTC 2011

PhD Student/Post-Doctoral Fellow Positions (11-081)

Faculty of Humanities

PhD Student/Post-Doctoral Fellow Positions in Buddhism and Social Justice:
Doctrine, Ideology  and Discrimination in Tension

Vacancy number: 11-081

The Leiden University Institute for Area Studies (LIAS) of the Faculty of
Humanities at Leiden University invites applications for two full-time
positions (PhD student and/or Post-doctoral Fellow) in the NWO-funded
project "Buddhism and Social Justice: Doctrine, Ideology and Discrimination
in Tension," headed by Prof. dr. Jonathan Silk. Initial appointment will be
from September 2011 or as soon as possible thereafter.

Since its foundation in 1575, Leiden University, with around 17,000 students
and 4,000 staff, has built an internationally recognized record of
excellence in teaching and research. The Faculty of Humanities consists of
the Institutes for Area Studies, Creative & Performing Arts, Cultural
Disciplines, History, Linguistics, Philosophy, and Religious Studies. It has
about 4,500 students and 900 staff from around the world. The faculty offers
about 30 BA and 45 MA programs. The Graduate School has an annual output of
about 50 PhDs.

The Leiden University Institute for Area Studies (
http://www.hum.leiden.edu/lias/), which comprises the Schools of Asian
Studies and Middle Eastern Studies, is committed to the integration of
disciplinary and regional-historical perspectives, and has as its aim the
advancement of teaching and research of Area Studies at Leiden University
and in the wider academic community. Area specializations in Asian Studies
include Chinese, Japanese, Korean, South- & Southeast Asian, and Tibetan

Project description

Buddhism is widely perceived to be, and Buddhist sources themselves promote
the tradition as, a philosophy of liberation. Yet 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

The project revolves around a core investigation of slavery and caste in
India, with current collaborators also investigating slavery in Korea and
monastic economy in Tibet, approached through text-historical, historical
and a socio-anthropological methods. The synergy between subprojects 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.

For the available positions we seek scholars interested in investigating
some aspect of Buddhism and Social Justice, broadly conceived. Because the
starting point of the project is Buddhism, rather than Social Justice per
se, familiarity with the history, doctrine and relevant original languages
of Buddhist traditions is essential.

Tasks for PhD candidates:

   - Participation in local research meetings and PhD teaching;
   - The writing of a PhD dissertation;
   - Helping to organize a conference in the framework of the research
   - Presenting papers at international conferences;
   - Publishing research results in the form of (an) article(s).


   - A (Research) MA degree in Buddhist Studies or in a related field with a
   strong Buddhist Studies component; exceptionally qualified students with a
   BA are also encouraged to apply;
   - Knowledge of the relevant language(s);
   - Ability to work both independently and as part of a team;
   - Excellent skills in English.

Post-Doc 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. In addition to
research, post-doc fellows will teach a small number of courses on topics
within their area of specialization, and assist in guiding the PhD students.

Conditions of employment

The position of Ph.D. student is temporary for maximally four years of
full-time appointment, and with an initial nine-month probationary period.
The position of the Post-doctoral fellow is temporary, max. three years with
a full-time appointment, and with an initial nine-month probationary period.

The salary is determined in accordance with the current scales as set out in
the collective labour agreement for the Dutch universities (CAO):

Ph.D. fellow: min. € 2.042,- max. € 2.612,- gross per month, with additional
holiday and end-of-year bonuses.

Postdoctoral fellow: min. € 2.379, max. € 4.374, , with additional holiday
and end-of-year bonuses.

Candidates from outside the Netherlands may be eligible for a substantial
tax break.


For more information about the position please contact Prof. dr. J.A Silk,
tel. +31-71-527-2510, email *j.a.silk at hum.leidenuniv.nl*. Please note that *
applications* should not be sent directly to Prof. Silk; see the address


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,

•            an English writing sample,

•            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 copy of your PhD thesis and other relevant publications,

•            three letters of reference.

Review of applications will commence by 15 May 2011 and continue until the
position is filled or this call is closed.

Please *send your application* electronically, indicating the vacancy number
to:  vacatureslias at hum.leidenuniv.nl

All application materials should be sent in pdf format.

If it is not possible for you to submit an electronic application, you may
mail your materials, citing the vacancy number, to:

M. van Asperen

Leiden University


PO Box 9515

2300 RA Leiden

The Netherlands

A telephone (or Skype) interview may be part of the selection procedure.

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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