Netherlands: PhD candidate for research project Visual Culture and Criminal Iconization at University of Amsterdam

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Job description

The Department of Geography, Planning and International Development Studies is one of the departments of the Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG) at the University of Amsterdam. The Centre for Urban Studieshouses one of the University of Amsterdam’s fifteen Research Priority Areas. The Department of Geography, Planning and International Development Studies and the Centre for Urban Studies are looking for four PhD candidates to participate in the research project ‘The Popular Culture of Illegality: Criminal Authority and the Politics of Aesthetics in Latin America and the Caribbean’, directed by Rivke Jaffe.

Project description

The PhD position is part of the NWO research project ‘The Popular Culture of Illegality: Criminal Authority and the Politics of Aesthetics in Latin America and the Caribbean’. This project, led by Rivke Jaffe (University of Amsterdam) in collaboration with Martijn Oosterbaan (Utrecht University), will study the popular music, visual culture and material culture through which the socio‐political authority of criminal organizations is produced. The project, which  is situated at the intersection of anthropology and cultural studies, connects critical aesthetic theory to research on popular culture and governmentality.

The PhD project at the University of Amsterdam focuses on how criminal leaders are iconized through visual culture in Kingston, Jamaica. The PhD candidate will research the visual images that constitute and legitimate criminal governance structures in Kingston, where so‐called ‘dons’ are central to extra‐state forms of political order.

The candidate’s tasks will include:

  • conducting focused visual analysis in concert with ethnographic methods;
  • writing and completing a PhD dissertation within four years;
  • participating in the AISSR or CERES PhD program;
  • 10% teaching;
  • collaborating with supervisors and peers in research and publications;
  • participating in conferences, workshops, seminars and other scholarly activities.


The PhD candidate should have the following credentials:

  • a Master’s degree in visual culture studies or a related field (e.g. anthropology, cultural studies, cultural geography or art history);
  • relevant research experience; ethnographic fieldwork experience is considered an advantage;
  • excellent written and spoken English;
  • ability and interest to work in a team.

Conditions of employment

The starting date for the appointment will be 1 February 2014. The full-time appointment is initially for a period of one year; contingent on satisfactory performance it will be extended by a maximum of three additional years leading to the completion of a PhD.

Additional information

For more information please contact:

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