10 PhD positions in the IRTG «Baltic Peripeties» – Greifswald, Germany

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Doctoral Researcher – International Research Training Group «Baltic Peripeties. Narratives of Reformations, Revolutions and Catastrophes 23/E23

University of Greifswald, 11 October 2023 | deadline: 30 November 2023

At the University of Greifswald’s interdisciplinary International Research Training Group «Baltic Peripeties. Narratives of Reformations, Revolutions and Catastrophes», in the Faculty of Arts and Humanities, ten part-time positions (65%, subject to the provision of funds by the German Research Foundation, DFG) are available at the earliest from 1 April 2024, as a

Doctoral Researcher.

The fixed-term positions are limited until 30 September 2025 with a planned extension for an additional 1.5 years (subject to funding approval by the DFG). Payment will be made according to pay group 13 TV-L Wissenschaft.

Project description:

The International Research Training Group (IRTG) explores narratives and narrative constructions of the Baltic Sea region at the University of Greifswald, NTNU Trondheim and the University of Tartu. Our programme brings together history, linguistics, literary and media studies, philosophy, and political science. By utilising the concept of ‘peripety’, the network currently focuses, among other topics, on political turning points and crises, effects of the war and the pandemic on the Baltic Sea region, as well as natural hazard events such as storm floods.

As a category of production of meaning, ‘peripety’ was first used in Aristotle’s Poetics. There, it denotes the turning point in a story, the narrative escalation disclosing that what is expected will not happen. The IRTG seeks to further explore the nexus between the disappointed expectations, the temporality of turning points, and shifting understandings of the Baltic Sea region. Regional cohesion is not a given geographical fact, but manufactured – as much by globally and locally circulating narratives as by shared (or contested) suppositions about values, norms, and views. By exposing hidden preconditions and assumptions, breaches of expectations brought about by reformations, revolutions and catastrophes gain epistemological relevance: What did we believe we could expect? How do different sets of expectations resonate or collide with each other? And how do turning points, decisive events, and ruptures play a role in the initiation of narration in the first place?

We particularly welcome doctoral thesis projects with a focus on the Baltic Sea region and adjacent areas such as the Atlantic or Arctic that look into, but are by no means limited to studying the following subjects:

  • Breaches of expectations in a cross-regional perspective, e.g. with regard to societal beliefs, literary utopias, or aspired political neutrality;
  •  Everyday life expectations, e.g. within reformatory movements or in regional court cultures, with regard to military alliances or the welfare state;
  •  Narrative escalations, e.g. in narratives of violence in the aftermath of the «Wende» or discourses of (religious) hatred;
  •  Conflicting versions of key events in strategic narratives, (post-)colonial discourses and indigenous storytelling.

The IRTG offers a unique aggregation of interdisciplinary expertise. The historical disciplines at the University of Greifswald research the many histories of the Baltic Sea region from the medieval and early modern to the contemporary era. The subjects of Modern German Literature, Baltic, Finnish, Scandinavian, Slavonic and Ukrainian Studies contribute perspectives from literary history, discourse linguistics, narratology, and cultural studies. Political Science and Practical Philosophy provide empirical and conceptual groundwork. The NTNU Trondheim and the University of Tartu complement this with long-standing research experience in German and Nordic Literature Studies, Translation and Media Studies, Cultural Research and Semiotics, Ethnology, and Religious Studies.

Doctoral researchers benefit from a structured qualification programme as well as tri-national workshops and conferences in Greifswald, Trondheim and Tartu, which facilitate the acquisition of specialised knowledge about the Baltic Sea region and important interdisciplinary and intercultural competences.

Please visit our website for further information on the research and qualification programme (https://peripeties.uni-greifswald.de) and possible sample topics (https://peripeties.uni-greifswald.de/join-our-team/).

Job description:

  • The position is aimed at doctoral candidates; Tasks will be transferred that are conducive to the preparation of a doctorate
  •  Conducting independent, problem-focused research in order to prepare / write a doctoral thesis within the disciplinary and conceptual framework of the IRTG
  • Active and regular on-site participation in the structured qualification programme of the IRTG
  • Presentation of own research results at conferences and workshops
  • Active exchange with international partners and co-supervisors, including research stays of 6 months at the partner universities (additional mobility funds will be provided)
  • Organisational tasks (co-organisation of conferences and workshops, compilation of semester reports, assistance in the planning of programmes etc.)

Job requirements:

  • An advanced university degree qualifying holder to commence a doctorate (master’s, Staatsexamen [State Examination] or equivalent; that will be completed by March 2024) in one of the above-named subject areas
  • Willingness and ability to actively contribute to an interdisciplinary and international research programme and academic community, based on a high degree of independence, efficiency and responsibility, as well as a strong capacity for team work
  • Excellent English language skills (equivalent to C1/CEFR) as well as advanced knowledge (equivalent to B1/CEFR) of at least one language of the Baltic Sea region (includes German).


  •  Previous experience in organising academic events or related fields is desirable.

How to apply:
We look forward to receiving your convincing application in English or German by 30 November 2023. In your application, please refer to the job advertisement number 23/E23 and send it via email to baltic-peripeties@uni-greifswald.de .

Your application should include (in a single PDF file):

  • Cover letter
  • Thesis proposal on a relevant and innovative topic, which demonstrates your motivation to work in an interdisciplinary and international project and outlines the potential contribution to the research framework of the IRTG (max. 5 pages excluding bibliography)
  • Curriculum vitae
  • Copies of secondary and higher education certificates
  • Two references (names and contact details).

Furthermore, please send (as a separate file) a digital copy of your most recent university dissertation (e.g. master’s or Staatsexamen).

The position is open to all persons, irrespective of gender.
Severely disabled applicants with the same qualifications will be considered with preference.

According to § 68(3) PersVG M-V, the Staff Council will only be involved in staff matters of the academic or artistic staff on request.

Please only submit copies of your application documents as they cannot be returned. Unfortunately, application costs (e.g. travel expenses for interviews) will not be reimbursed by the State of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern.

For further information, please contact the Speaker of the IRTG Prof. Dr. Eckhard Schumacher (eckhard.schumacher@uni-greifswald.de, +49 3834 420 3421), or the Academic Coordinator Dr. Alexander Waszynski (alexander.waszynski@uni-greifswald.de, +49 3834 420 3591).

Universität Greifswald
Institut für Deutsche Philologie 
Prof. Dr. Eckhard Schumacher 
Rubenowstraße 3
17489 Greifswald


Please note that by submitting your application, you provide your consent pursuant to data protection law for our processing of your application data. Further information about the legal bases and the use of your data can be found here.

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