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Wageningen University & Research (WUR) PhD Project: ‘Famines and Health Outcomes in Latin America and Africa at the Turn of the 20th Century’

A PhD candidate in the field of history or economic history to study the causes and health outcomes of drought-induced famines in Latin America and/or Africa at the turn of the 20th century.

Application Deadline: 15th of March, 2021.

About the Award: Droughts have been intrinsically related to famine throughout history, resulting in harvest failure, public health crises and conflict over resources. Contrary to other world regions such as Europe and Asia, very little is known about such crises in Sub-Sahara Africa and Latin America, where drought contributed to major famines in Brazil (1876-9, 1896-1900), Sudan (1888-92), Ethiopia (1888-92), and elsewhere. This project focuses on the late 19th-early 20th century, a period characterized by major technological transitions influencing the production and transport of food crops as well as the treatment and prevention of disease. These developments radically altered the economic and health conditions during famines as compared with previous historical periods, and are therefore crucial for understanding responses to and the impact of later 20th-century food crises.

The candidate will develop their own research project by tackling two overarching questions: Under what conditions do droughts result in famine? What are the short- and long-term health effects of famine (e.g., mortality and morbidity)? They will be supervised by scholars at the Rural and Environmental History Group and will participate in the research program of this Group. They will also take part in the PhD-education programmes of Wageningen University and the N.W. Posthumus Institute, Research School for Economic and Social History. The candidate will be able to develop their personal research CV and will co-lecture one or two courses in economic, global and/or environmental history to social science students.

Type: PhD

Eligibility: You are an ambitious, enthusiastic scholar and a team player, devoted to research and education in an international and interdisciplinary academic environment.
You also have:

  • a completed MA/MSc in history or economics with a clear and demonstrable interest in economic history;
  • demonstrable research skills (e.g., statistical, archival, writing);
  • excellent command on English in oral and written form; proficiency in other languages (e.g., Spanish, Portuguese, French) would be an advantage;
  • good organizational skills and the proven capacity to work with deadlines;
  • enthusiasm for teaching and working with (international) students in a variety of programmes;
  • strong motivation to develop your own research design;
  • ability to work both independently and in small teams;
  • great interest and curiosity in societal issues such as the causes and consequences of global inequality.

Eligible Countries: International

To be Taken at (Country): Wageningen, The Netherlands

Number of Awards: Not specified

Value of Award:Wageningen University & Research offers excellent terms of employment. A few highlights from our  Collective Labour Agreement include:

  • sabbatical leave, study leave, and paid parental leave;
  • working hours that can be discussed and arranged so that they allow for the best possible work-life balance;
  • the option to accrue additional holiday hours by working more, up to 40 hours per week;
  • there is a strong focus on vitality and you can make use of the sports facilities available on campus for a small fee;
  • a fixed December bonus of 8.3%;
  • excellent pension scheme.

In addition to these first-rate employee benefits, you will receive a fully funded PhD position and you will be offered a course program tailored to your needs and the research team.
The gross salary for the first year is € 2.395,- per month rising to € 3.061,- in the fourth year in according to the Collective Labour Agreements for Dutch Universities (CAO-NU) (scale P). This is based on a full-time working week of 38 hours. We offer a temporary contract for 18 months which will be extended for the duration of the project if you perform well.

Coming from abroad
Wageningen University & Research is the university and research centre for life sciences. The themes we deal with are relevant to everyone around the world and Wageningen, therefore, has a large international community and a lot to offer to international employees. Applicants from abroad moving to the Netherlands may qualify for a special tax relief, known as the 30% ruling. Our team of advisors on Dutch immigration procedures will help you with the visa application procedures for yourself and, if applicable, for your family.
Feeling welcome also has everything to do with being well informed. Wageningen University & Research’s International Community page contains practical information about what we can do to support international employees and students coming to Wageningen. Furthermore, we can assist you with any additional advice and information about helping your partner to find a job, housing, schooling, and other issues.

How to Apply: You can apply directly using the apply button on the vacancy page on our website which will allow us to process your personal information with your approval.
To apply, please upload – next to your letter of motivation and your cv – the following documents:

  • Full transcript of grades obtained during (Res)MA/MSc studies
  • Two letters of reference, one of which preferably written by your thesis supervisor
  • A 1.000 word outline of your research ideas related to the PhD project*

*An important element of the application file includes a 1.000 word (maximum) outline of your research ideas. In this outline, you may discuss the research question(s) you would be interested in and how you intend to tackle that question/those questions. Provide a justification for these research question(s) on the basis of the relevant literature. In addition, discuss the methods you intend to use, why you have chosen these methods, and which possible sources you intend to study. Applications without a research outline will not be taken into consideration.

We prefer a candidate who is available as soon as possible, but the starting date is negotiable.

  • It is important to go through all application requirements in the Award Webpage (see Link below) before applying.

Visit Award Webpage for Details

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