Announcing Five PhD Positions – A Global History of Technology, 1850 – 2000 (GLOBAL-HOT)

A new research project funded by the European Research Council (ERC)

Project leader: Professor Mikael Hård

Darmstadt University of Technology (TU Darmstadt), near Frankfurt, Germany, announces five three-year positions for doctoral students (with the option of a two-year extension), beginning October 1, 2017. We welcome applications from talented and diligent students willing to explore new research perspectives, empirically and methodologically, for a truly global history of technology.

This is GLOBAL-HOT: The historical project investigates the fate of machines and technical systems in various parts of the world from 1850 to 2000. The team members investigate the persistent use of indigenous technologies along with globalized ones, as well as the emergence of hybrid solutions. The goal is to increase our understanding of the relationships between the development and use of technologies in Europe and North America on the one hand and the so-called Global South on the other. Some of the topics and areas of particular interest include:

  • The local translation of internationally available plans, designs, and practices
  • Technological encounters and the emergence of hybrid artifacts in the Global South
  • The maintenance, operation, and repair of buildings and infrastructures
  • The continued application of locally embedded practices and know-how

For this endeavor, the project will draw on a wide array of sources that go beyond written material in official archives – including artifacts, artwork, and images, along with interviews, oral sources and the media: magazines, newspapers, and TV/radio broadcasts. For further information, please visit our preliminary homepage:

Requirements: Applications are open to students with an excellent master’s degree. To guarantee geographical and cultural coverage, the project leader only considers candidates who have thorough research experience in one of these geographical areas: East/Southeast Asia, Central Asia, the Arab world (including the Middle East and North Africa), East/Southern Africa, West Africa, or Latin America.  In addition to documented knowledge of English (written and spoken), command of a local and, when applicable, a former colonial language is required. English is the common project language.

Applicants are expected to, at the end of their appointment, submit a PhD thesis to the School of the Social and Historical Sciences at TU Darmstadt. Theses can be written in German or English. In addition, candidates are required to contribute actively to the success of the research project as a whole, e.g., by participating in regular meetings, coordinating their time and work plans with the team, co-authoring articles, and helping with publicity and the organization of events. We thus expect strong collaborative abilities and a pronounced willingness to become part of an exciting research team. Team members are expected to take up residence in the Darmstadt/Frankfurt area.

Formalities: Successful candidates will be offered a half-time position at pay grade TV-TU Darmstadt E13 (gross ca. 1,800 euros per month). The position includes health insurance and social security. Additional funding for research travel is available.

How to apply: If you are interested in one of the positions and would like more information, feel free to request a brief project description from

Your application should include a CV and a cover letter in English (max 1,200 words). Please use this letter to tell us more about your background, motivation, and how attaining a PhD in this program would fit into your future employment and academic plans. Please attach degree certificates and documents that support your qualification for the position, such as language certificates, recommendation letters, and transcripts. All documents (incl. the cover letter) need to be merged into one single pdf file that does not exceed 10 MB and sent to

Please use the following text in the “subject” line of your email: your last name + “position no. 197.”

TU Darmstadt intends to increase the number of women scientists and encourages them to apply. Candidates who have a degree of disability of at least 50% are given preferred treatment if equally qualified.

Shortlisted applicants will be invited for a Skype interview, and they will also be asked to write and to submit a short essay (max. 2,000 words) on a relevant topic beforehand.

Deadline: June 6, 2017

Contact person: Professor Mikael Hård, Department of History, School of Social and Historical Science, Technische Universität Darmstadt, Dolivostrasse 15, DE-64293 Darmstadt, Germany,

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