Quick facts

    • Durham
  • Part time
  • Recruitment


  • Anthropology


  • Postdoc
  • Research Assistant

Apply by: 2021-06-14

Postdoctoral Research Associate, Department of Anthropology

Published 2021-05-17

Department of Anthropology

Grade 7: - £33,797 PER RATA
Fixed Term - Part Time
Contract Duration: 30 months (must end 30 Nov 23)
Contracted Hours per Week: 28
Closing Date: 14-Jun-2021, 6:59:00 AM 

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 in 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.

Less than 3 hours north of London, and an hour and a half south of Edinburgh, County 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 Department
Durham Anthropology is one of the very best in the UK with an outstanding reputation for excellence in teaching, research and employability of our students being 24th in the QS World Rankings, tenth in the Complete University Guide, and one of the UK’s top five anthropology departments for graduate prospects. The Department of Anthropology has a vibrant research culture with many visitors, seminars, global conferences and workshops, and is set to grow significantly over the next ten years. We were the top-ranked integrated Anthropology department in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework, being fifth in the UK for overall GPA (Times Higher Education), first equal for world-leading and internationally excellent Impact and Research Environment, and second equal for world-leading publications. Our undergraduate and graduate degree programmes have very high-quality students. Each year, we welcome over 100 undergraduate students onto our single honours programmes and ~30 students onto our joint honours degrees with the Department of Archaeology and the Department of Sociology. Our postgraduate taught degrees to attract ~50 students from around the world each year, and we have a postgraduate research student community of ~75, again with substantial international representation. We aim to provide a supportive and friendly environment with a strong sense of community. Currently, there are approximately 40 permanent members of academic staff, conducting world-class excellent research in Evolutionary Anthropology, Social Anthropology and the Anthropology of Health.

The Role
Applications are invited for a Postdoctoral Research Associate in Social Anthropology with a particular emphasis on urban ethnography and inter-community encounters in the context of Muslim and Jewish populations. The post is part of the project 'Muslim-Jewish encounter, diversity and distance in urban Europe (ENCOUNTERS)', jointly funded by the ESRC, ANR and DFG. ENCOUNTERS is led by Dr Ben Gidley (Birkbeck) and brings together a multidisciplinary team of academics to explore intercultural,  interethnic and interreligious interactions in European urban contexts, as exemplified in Muslim-Jewish relations, in and across two cities in each of France (Paris and Strasbourg), Germany (Berlin and Frankfurt) and the UK (London and Manchester). The Durham University part of the project is funded by the ESRC and is led by Prof Yulia Egorova, the Co-Investigator on the UK-based part of ENCOUNTERS.  

The successful applicant will be expected to deliver ethnographic fieldwork in Manchester, to contribute to data analysis, to the production of outputs, and organisation of team meetings as required by the project.

Responsibilities :
  • To conduct individual and collaborative research on the ENCOUNTERS project under the direction of the Principal Investigator or Grant-holder, including ethnographic fieldwork in Manchester.  
  • To contribute and develop ENCOUNTERS project analytical, comparative and ethnographic work packages for own or joint research, with the assistance of a mentor if required.
  • To update knowledge and understanding in the field or specialism.
  • To assist with the development of research objectives and proposals.
  • To understand and convey material of a specialist or highly technical nature to the team or group of people through presentations and discussions that leads to the presentation of research papers in conferences and publications to academic and non-academic audiences.
  • To produce high-quality outputs, as required by the project, including papers for submission to peer reviewed journals and papers for presentation at conferences and workshops aimed at academic and non-academic audiences, under the direction of the Principal Investigator.
  • To work with the Principal Investigator or Grant-holder and other colleagues in the research group, as appropriate, to identify areas for research, develop new research methods and extend the research portfolio.
  • To deal with problems that may affect the achievement of research objectives and deadlines by discussing with the Principal Investigator or Grant-holder and offering creative or innovative solutions.
  • To liaise with research colleagues and make internal and external contacts to develop knowledge and understanding to form relationships for future research collaboration.
  • To plan and manage own research activity, research resources in collaboration with others and contribute to the planning of research projects.
  • To contribute to updating associated media of the ENCOUNTERS project to include website, blogs, interim report briefings, providing content for social media channels and publicising research project events.
  • To organise and oversee research group meetings and advisory group meetings.
  • To deliver training in research techniques/approaches to peers, visitors and students as appropriate.
  • To be involved in student supervision, as appropriate, and assist with the assessment of the knowledge of students.
  • To contribute to fostering a collegial and respectful working environment that is inclusive and welcoming and where everyone is treated fairly with dignity and respect.
  • To engage in wider citizenship to support the department and wider discipline.
  • To engage in continuing professional development by participation in the undergraduate or postgraduate teaching programmes or by membership of departmental committees, etc. and by attending relevant training and development courses.   
This post is fixed-term as the project is time-limited and has to end on 30 November 2023. 

The post-holder is employed to work on research/a research project which will be led by another colleague. Whilst this means that the post-holder will not be carrying out independent research in his/her own right, the expectation is that they will contribute to the advancement of the project, through the development of their own research ideas/adaptation and development of research protocols.

Successful applicants will, ideally, be in post by as soon as possible. 

How to Apply
For informal enquiries please contact Prof Yulia Egorova, yulia.egorova@durham.ac.uk. All enquiries will be treated in the strictest confidence. 

We prefer to receive applications online via the Durham University Vacancies Site. https://www.dur.ac.uk/jobs/. As part of the application process, you should provide details of 3 (preferably academic/research) referees and the details of your current line manager so that we may seek an employment reference.

Applications are particularly welcome from women and black and minority ethnic candidates, who are under-represented in academic posts in the University.  We are committed to equality: if for any reason you have taken a career break or periods of leave that may have impacted your career paths, such as maternity, adoption or parental leave, you may wish to disclose this in your application.  The selection committee will recognise that this may have reduced the quantity of your research accordingly.

What to Submit
All applicants are asked to submit:
  • A CV and covering letter which details your experience, strengths and potential in the requirements set out above;
  • Two writing samples (e.g. published chapters or articles, chapters of a PhD thesis).
Next Steps 
The assessment for the post will include an assessment of submitted application materials and an interview. Shortlisted candidates will be invited for an interview and assessment as soon as possible.

The Requirements
  • A good first degree in Social Anthropology or a related subject. 
  • A PhD in Social Anthropology or a related subject.
  • Experience in conducting high-quality academic research.
  • Demonstrable ability to write material of a quality commensurate with publication in highly-ranked journals.
  • Demonstrable ability to present research papers at national/ and international conferences and communicate complex information to specialists and within the wider academic community.
  • Experience in conducting ethnographic fieldwork. 
  • Demonstrable ability to work cooperatively as part of a team, including participating in research meetings.
  • Ability to work independently on own initiative and to strict deadlines.
  • Excellent interpersonal and communication skills.
  • Strong publication record in peer-reviewed journals, commensurate with stage of career.
  • A track record of presenting research at conferences, symposia, or meetings, commensurate with stage of career.
  • Demonstrable ability to develop research proposals and designs in collaboration with other academics.
  • Experience in overseeing students with respect to the development of their practical/research skills e.g. acting as a demonstrator; supervising student projects/practicals.
  • Experience of working with Jewish and Muslim communities or other other minority groups in Europe. 
  • Demonstrable ability to plan and manage independent research. 
  • Command of languages relevant to the project – Arabic, Bengali, French, German, Hebrew, Turkish, Urdu or Yiddish. 
DBS Requirement: Not Applicable.

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