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  • Opportunities: 2 Project Associates (PhD Students) sought for "Museums and Controversial Collections" project

    Deadline: December 15th, 2015

    The project “Museums and Controversial Collections. Politics and Policies of Heritage-Making in Post-colonial and Post-socialist Contexts” (HeMaMuse) is looking for two doctoral students as project associates.

    The two year project (October 2015- September 2017) is financed by the Romanian Research Agency (UEFISCDI) and administered by the New Europe College-NEC in Bucharest. “Museums and Controversial Collections” is a young researchers’ project developed to bring together a pluridisciplinary team (political and legal anthropology, philosophy, aesthetics, (art) history and museum studies) and to promote the development of international research networks. The project will fund fieldwork and research trips for associated doctoral students, but also travel costs for conferences and other events related to their research and to those organised by the project HeMaMuse. Associate members will be asked to collaborate in the organisation of project events, including summer schools and to help coordinate and edit publications.

    Conceived in relation to a wider field of scholarship that has in the last decades interrogated the role of museums in a postcolonial and postsocialist context, the project’s main premise is to consider museums as loci of memory and heritage, but also as fundamentally political places, where the relationships between the past, the present, and the future of a society are forged. It aims to consider a series of topical questions to current museum practice: What is the relationship between the postcolonial-era museum and the “source” communities of the objects exposed? How do/ can post-colonial museums deal with the legacy of the colonial past? What interactions exist between the colonial archives and current artistic practices? Moreover, the research will adopt and develop the abundant post-colonial analysis of museums to the research context of problematic museum collections in Eastern Europe. How can post-colonial studies help understand museums in the post cold-war era? Can similar practices be observed in these museums as they deal with very different, difficult pasts? The aim of the group is to open the possibility of a comparison between the case studies undertaken by each of the six members of the team, including the two associated doctoral students. Studies already concern the Museum of the Romanian Peasant in Bucharest, the Museum of Ethnography in Stockholm, the Staatliche Museen in Berlin, the British Museum in London, the Quai Branly Museum in Paris, the Royal Museum for Central Africa in Tervuren, the Institute of the National Museums of Congo in Kinshasa, the Iziko Museums of South Africa, and several national and international networks and associations of museum professionals.

    Doctoral students are invited to submit a research proposal either directly related to their doctoral work or dealing with a subject related to the project’s themes.

    Applications (in English ou en français) or informal enquiries concerning the positions can be sent to and before December 15th, 2015. They should include a C.V., a research proposal (3 pages), a 2 page summary of the PhD research project if the topic is different from the research proposal and a cover letter explaining his/her interest in the project and describing the research or fieldwork for which the applicant would like to obtain funding.

    Project members: Damiana Otoiu, Phd, project leader, lecturer in Political Anthropology, University of Bucharest
    Anna Seiderer, Phd, lecturer at the University of Paris 8, Saint-Denis Vincennes
    Simina Badica, Phd, curator at the Museum of the Romanian Peasant in Bucharest
    Felicity Bodenstein, Phd, Postdoctoral fellow at the Kunsthistorisches Institut, Florenz