Postdoctoral Researcher in the project “Contagious Digitalities: Information, Inoculation, Immunity” – Leiden University – Leiden

  • Leiden

Leiden University

The Leiden University Centre for the Arts in Society (LUCAS) invites applications for a

Postdoctoral Researcher in the project “Contagious Digitalities: Information, Inoculation, Immunity” (CDIII) (1.0 fte for 2 years)
The postdoctoral researcher will be working on a subproject within the starting grant project funded by the Dutch Government “Contagious Digitalities: Information, Inoculation, Immunity”, funded for 2025-2027 and directed by Dr. Ilios Willemars (Assistant Professor in Cultural Analysis and Media Studies at Leiden University). Other members of the project team are Dr. Janna Houwen (Assistant Professor in Film, Literary and Media Studies) and Dr. Nidesh Lawtoo (Professor in Literary Studies).

Contagious Digitalities: Information, Inoculation, Immunity
This project examines the relationship between metaphors of contagion, spread, inoculation, and immunity in connection to problems of risk, information, data and the digital. The intent is to make visible a politics of inoculation that remains hidden from sight. A politics that is concerned with calculating, predicting, and managing the risk of contagion through the enforcement of inoculative policies first registered in Michel Foucault’s lectures on security, territory, and population, and aimed at the immunization of networks of control and information against noise, disruption, and breakdowns in communication (e.g. Deleuze, Serres, Mitropoulos).

As a result of COVID-19, recent years have seen an increase in theoretical, literary, and artistic work around issues of disease and vaccination. There, contagion, immunity, and inoculation are often understood in their biomedical inflection. This project investigates how inoculation operates not only in relation to the body, however, but proliferates outwards to the internet, the digital, and the operation of networks and protocols as diagrams of power (e.g. Guattari, Thacker).

We are looking for a postdoctoral researcher who is interested in doing theoretically inflected and politically urgent work on the intersection between digital culture and viral metaphors. The successful applicant must have a background in Cultural Analysis and/or Media Studies and is interested in the politics of the digital and bio- and necropolitical questions around immunity and inoculation. The successful candidate will study digital culture and metaphors of contagion through close readings of literature, art and other cultural objects. As part of their application, the candidate is asked to write a brief justification for the inclusion of a case study that they would like to work on as part of this project. The successful applicant will be given the chance to structure and further develop this project according to their own research interests.

Contagious Territories
The project titled Contagious Digitalities (CDIII) contributes to a larger and on-going project titled Contagious Territories by Willemars and Houwen on the notion of contagion across a number of fields. CDIII will support this project both intellectually, through the publication of research papers and through discussions between the post-doc and the supervisors (Willemars & Houwen), but practically as well because the post-doc will help organize a conference and teach courses in either the Media Studies MA program, or the BA program in Film and Literary Studies or Arts, Media and Society.

Your tasks within the project (1.0 fte)

  • You will publish two peer reviewed articles on the theme of the research project.
  • You will publish a chapter in an edited volume.
  • You will engage in science communication in relation to the outcomes of the project for instance in the form of a pod-cast/website/blog.
  • You will organize an international conference on the theme of the research project together with Willemars and Houwen.
  • You will edit a special issue on the basis of conference proceedings.
  • You will teach courses in the MA Media Studies and/or the BA in Film and Literary Studies and/or the BA in Arts Media and Society to the amount of 20% of your contract.
  • The project will involve study trips abroad by members of the research team to work with scholars outside of Leiden University and foster international collaboration.
  • You will participate in meetings of the research group;
  • You will present papers at conferences, both in the Netherlands and internationally;
  • You will actively participate in, and contribute to, the academic community of the Institute;
  • You will contribute to the organization of events and outreach activities within the project.
  • Your profile

  • You hold a Ph.D. with a specialisation in Cultural Analysis and/or Media Studies, awarded by the time of appointment, ideally on a topic related to the themes of the research project;
  • You have a personal affinity with digital media and metaphors of contagion and disease;
  • You think creatively and seek to write theoretically challenging and politically urgent analyses of cultural objects;
  • You have full professional proficiency in English;
  • You are a team player and an independent thinker;
  • You have an affinity with the LUCAS institute’s aims, values and strategy;
  • You live and are officially registered as resident in The Netherlands or are willing to relocate upon starting the position.
  • In our hiring policy we are attentive to a diverse make-up of our team in terms of race, gender, sexuality, and (dis)ability.
  • The organisation
    The Faculty of Humanities at Leiden University is a unique international centre for the advanced study of languages, cultures, arts, and societies worldwide, in their historical contexts from prehistory to the present. Our faculty is home to more than 6,000 students and 800 staff members.

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