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PRECURBICA – Precarious Urbanisms in Coastal Africa Doctoral Fellowship in Urban Studies 2022 – University of Basel, Switzerland

PRECURBICA – Precarious Urbanisms in Coastal Africa Doctoral Fellowship in Urban Studies 2022 at University of Basel, Switzerland

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When is the Application Deadline:

31st January 2022

Reference number: UOB-3621d21ff60e07122021

Tell Me About PRECURBICA – Precarious Urbanisms in Coastal Africa Doctoral Fellowship:

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

Doctoral Fellowship in Urban Studies (100%, 4 years): PRECURBICA – Precarious Urbanisms in Coastal Africa

With accelerating urbanization, strategies to address the climate crisis in cities are urgently needed. Yet African cities, scripted as the ‘most vulnerable’ to climate risk, remain largely invisible in current debates about urbanism and climate change. As long as conversations about urban adaptation are based on a generic ‘global city’, the proposed solutions will be capital-intensive and premised on the promise of rapid, smart technological advances. Yet such techno-utopias are out of reach for a majority of the world’s growing urban population.
To bridge this gap, PRECURBICA reverses the perspective and centres African actors on the same analytical plane as the ‘global’ urban planners and policymakers that typically dominate these debates. Rather than seeing urban ‘precariousness’ as an endemic condition that mires African societies in a position of dependency, the project takes it as an invitation to uncover strategies of living and making the city in the face of looming crisis, and learn from these. Cities are spaces of aspiration and possibility. Because of Africa’s history in the world, however, African coastal cities also stand at the sharp edge of global change: in addition to seaborne environmental threats, the tensions between the competing imperatives of growth-based development and climate change mitigation are thrown into stark relief.
The project will ethnographically investigate the impact of climate risk on social and infrastructural processes in four African coastal cities: Pointe-Noire, the Republic of Congo; Cotonou, Benin; Freetown, Sierra Leone, and Beira, Mozambique (the latter is PI’s own case study). The project is funded for five years from 1 April 2022 onwards, and will be attached to the Urban Studies division of the University of Basel, in collaboration with the Centre for African Studies Basel.
Research findings will not only be relevant to the fields of urban studies, social anthropology, and critical development studies, but will also help build up new partnerships with research institutions in the cities under study, and yield insights for planners, policymakers, and architects currently engaged with urban adaptation to climate threats in Africa and beyond.

What Type of Scholarship is this?


Who can PRECURBICA – Precarious Urbanisms in Coastal Africa Doctoral Fellowship?

Candidates should have a Master’s degree in urban studies, social/cultural anthropology, African studies, development studies, or a related field, and some fieldwork and/or archival research experience in Africa. Proficiency in English is required, as is, for the Francophone cities, French; Fon (Cotonou), Krio (Freetown), or Kituba/Kikongo/Lingala (Pointe-Noire) would be an extra asset. We especially encourage application by African candidates for this position. Upon selection, the candidate will have to fulfill the conditions for admission to PhD studies in the Humanities Faculty of the University of Basel.

Where will Award be Taken?

University of Basel, Switzerland

How Many Scholarships will be Given?


What is the Benefit of PRECURBICA – Precarious Urbanisms in Coastal Africa Doctoral Fellowship?

This is a full-time research position. Your research focus will be on climate risk and urban adaptation in one of the three cities designated as case studies for the research team (Pointe Noire, Cotonou, or Freetown).

Your position is part of the SNF Eccellenza research project PRECURBICA (SNF Eccellenza Prof. Dr. Jon Schubert). What we offer you is a unique, interdisciplinary research environment within the division of Urban Studies, Department of Social Sciences, with doctoral training and structured supervision, and the optional possibility to teach your own courses post-fieldwork. The position is funded for four years, and scheduled to begin on 1 June 2022 or shortly thereafter. Your salary corresponds to national pay scales and will allow you to cover your individual living and tuition expenses, and to commit yourself fully to your research project.

How Long will the Program Last?

4 years

How to Apply for PRECURBICA – Precarious Urbanisms in Coastal Africa Doctoral Fellowship:

Your application should include:

  • a motivation letter, specifying how you relate to the research theme and the case study you are applying for (two pages max.);
  • a curriculum vitae (two pages max.);
  • a copy of your master’s diploma that states your graduation mark (optionally incl. course transcript)
  • an electronic copy of your master’s thesis; or if applicable, another academic writing sample (published article or paper);
  • the names and contact information for two academic references

All materials should be submitted via online portal by 31 Jan 2022. For additional information about the posts and the project, please contact Jon Schubert ([email protected]). The University of Basel is an equal opportunity employer; women and minority candidates are strongly encouraged to apply

Visit Award Webpage for Details