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PhD Position Environmental Histories of Resource Extraction in Africa

08 April 2022

Applications are invited for a fully funded, four-year PhD position within the research project Environmental Histories of Resource Extraction in Africa: Understanding Cultural and Political Responses to Environmental Transformation, financed by the European Research Council (ERC) and led by Dr Iva PeŇ°a.

Through a comparative study of three African localities of resource extraction (oil drilling in Nigeria; copper mining in Zambia; gold mining in South Africa), focusing on the period 1950-2020, this project aims to analyse and explain the diversity of cultural and political responses to environmental transformation. The PhD candidate will conduct an in-depth case study of a mining waste dump in Johannesburg (to be discussed). This PhD project will involve a research stay in Johannesburg of c. 9 months. Using oral history, archives, popular literature (novels and poems), and songs, the PhD candidate will examine lived experiences of environmental transformation caused by gold mining. The motivation of this project is to understand when, how, and why environmentalism found expression in African localities of resource extraction.

Since the Witwatersrand gold rush of 1886, industrial gold mining has fundamentally shaped Johannesburg’s urban environment. This project aims to determine how inhabitants of Johannesburg have experienced and lived with gold mining and ensuing environmental change. The PhD candidate will be part of a larger team (PI, PhD student on Nigeria, and two post-doctoral researchers who will join the project in 2023), collaborating closely with the University of Pretoria (African Observatory for Environmental Humanities) and local partners.

This PhD project offers a unique opportunity to work in an international research environment as well as to acquire valuable teaching experience (to be discussed). In addition, the PhD candidate will collaborate with the other team members to organise conferences and workshops, and to plan outreach activities.

The application deadline is 31 May 2022. The prospective starting date is 1 September or 1 October 2022.

For more information, consult the job description.

Last modified:31 January 2024 10.05 a.m.

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