Doctoral Fellowship in Urban Studies (100%, 4 years) : How Infrastructure Shaped Territory in Africa, University of Basel

mardi 17 avril 2018 par Valérie Sauter

Doctoral Fellowship in Urban Studies (100%, 4 years) : How Infrastructure Shaped Territory in Africa

The University of Basel, Switzerland, invites applications for a fully funded Ph.D. position in Urban Studies, as part of the following research project funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation :

Territorial Design : How Infrastructure Shaped Territory in Africa
Infrastructure is central to understanding global urbanization today, yet the historical production of our infrastructural lifeworlds continues to be neglected, especially for the African context. Scholarly emphasis on the informal, unplanned character of African urbanization has obscured the historical role of physical infrastructure in this process. This project addresses these shortcomings by focusing on large-scale infrastructure as a matter of design, with often far-reaching consequences for urban and rural territories across Africa. During both the colonial and post-independence periods, planners, engineers, architects, and government officials consciously attempted to reshape Africa through specific infrastructural projects. Such projects had various goals, from facilitating resource exploitation and strengthening colonial control to integrating the continent into a Pan-African unity after independence and facilitating economic development today.

This project examines key infrastructural visions as well as their material realizations and often contradictory effects on the ground. We focus on transportation infrastructure to analyze how such projects spurred urbanization and changed relations between settlements and hinterlands. The aim is to reveal how the design of infrastructure shaped African territories, from the first colonial modernization projects and the ambitious plans of the post-independence era to the continent’s infrastructure boom today.

Research findings will not only be relevant to the fields of urban studies and the history of architecture and urbanism, but will also provide useful insights to architects, planners, and policymakers currently engaged with infrastructure development in Africa.

Your Tasks :
This is a full-time research position. Your research focus will be in particular on colonial-era transportation infrastructure in Africa.

Your Profile :
Candidates should have a Master’s degree in urban studies, architectural history, African studies, history, or a related field, and some archival or fieldwork research experience. Proficiency in English is required and in German, Portuguese, and/or French desirable. Upon selection, the candidate will have to fulfill the conditions for admission to PhD studies in the Humanities Faculty of the University of Basel.

We Offer You :
Your position is part of the Professorship in the History and Theory of Architecture and Urbanism (Prof. Kenny Cupers). What we offer you is a unique, interdisciplinary research environment within the newly established research cluster in Urban Studies, located within the Humanities Faculty (Philosophisch-Historische Fakultät). The position is funded for four years, and scheduled to begin on 1 September 2018. Your salary allows you to cover living and tuition expenses, and to commit yourself fully to your research project.

Application/Contact :
Your application should include :

  • a motivation letter (maximum two pages) ;
  • a curriculum vitae (maximum two pages) ;
  • an electronic copy of your master’s thesis ; or alternatively, another writing sample (article or paper) ;
  • the names and contact information for two academic references
    All materials should be submitted via email to Michelle Killenberger (michelle.killenberger[at] by 15 May 2018. Applications must be sent as a single PDF document in the order listed above. For additional information, please contact Michelle Killenberger. The University of Basel is an equal opportunity employer ; women and minority candidates are strongly encouraged to apply.

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