[ Informação VAN METER Karl, Bulletin de Methodologie Sociologique ]

Call – 2 PhDs in “Elites, Networks & Power in Modern Urban China 1830-1949” (IrAsia, Aix en Provence FR)

The Institute of Asian Studies (IrAsia) at Aix-Marseille University announces two doctoral fellowships in Chinese history in the ERC-funded project ENP-CHINA.

The ENP-CHINA project proposes a step-change in the study of modern China reliant upon scalable data-rich history. It will deliver precise historical information at an unprecedented scale from heretofore untapped sources – as well as reshaping the analysis of existing sources – to create a new dimension in the study of the transformation of elites in modern China. It will deploy an array of cutting-edge digital methods— including data mining, sampling, and analysis within an integrated virtual research environment. To establish the validity of this approach, the project focuses on the three urban areas (Shanghai, Beijing/Tianjin, Canton/Hong Kong) that had the most profound impact on the course of modern Chinese history. The project will challenge the Chinacentered and group-based approach dominant in the historical literature of the past two decades.

The project envisions elites in urban China as actors whose status, position, and practices were shaped by the power configurations that developed over time and whose actions through institutions and informal/formal networks in turn were a determining factor in redrawing social and political boundaries. The project will place the emphasis on the networks through which information, capital, and individuals circulated. It will investigate the transnationalization of elites as a process that overstepped the limits of institutions and nation states. The key issue that the project will address is breaking through existing limits of access to historical information that is embedded in complex sources and its transformation into refined, re-usable and sustainable data for contemporary and future study of modern China.

The ENP-CHINA project will be based at Aix-Marseille University on its Schuman campus (Aix-enProvence) and will be implemented by an international interdisciplinary team. The project is also part of a large international network of researchers in Europe (Bristol, Lancaster, Leiden, Basel, Göttingen), China (Shanghai) and Taiwan (Academia Sinica).

Job description

The ENP-CHINA project consists of 3 subprojects where the PhD students and 2 post-doc researchers will work together with the PI, four senior researchers and a team of engineers in computing and data
science: (1) Methodologies: From texts to historical “big data”; (2) China elites: From large-scale database to data-rich history; (3) Case studies:
quantitative/qualitative crosswalks. Working closely together with the PI and other team members, the PhD researchers will be involved in the development and execution of the survey in one of the three selected cities and to carry out their own project. The PhD researcher is expected to develop her/his PhD project and write single and/ or co-authored articles in peer reviewed journals on the project findings and contribute to the conceptual papers.

As part of the project you will:

• Join an innovative research project funded by the prestigious ERC grant scheme
• Become a member of a large and fully interdisciplinary research team, including historians, linguists, computer and data scientists.
• Benefit from a vibrant internationally oriented research environment at Aix-Marseille University is available to attend international conferences, workshops, summer schools, and for research visits at institutions in the project countries


• Participate in the development, collection and analysis of a large scale data survey through the cutting-edge digital tools developed during the project
• Develop one’s own PhD project within the scope of the ENP-CHINA project and write (choice of English or French language) and complete the PhD dissertation within four years;
• Fully participate in the project activities and publications in collaboration with the other team members;
• Participate in international conferences, workshops, seminars and other scholarly activities.


Candidates should have the following credentials:

• A completed Research Master preferably in history, but any other relevant social science discipline (political sciences, sociology, etc.) will be considered;
• Familiarity with quantitative research methods;
• Previous experience with digital methods;
• Ability, willingness and commitment to work in a multi-disciplinary team;
• Ability and willingness to travel and conduct fieldwork in China and Taiwan
• Excellent spoken and written English;
• Solid command of written Chinese, especially reading.

The application must include:

• CV – including degrees and other completed courses, work experience and a list of degree projects/theses, language skills
• A letter (max. 1000 words, excl. references) describing your research interests, skills and motivation to apply for the position:
– why you are interested in the field/project described in the announcement – what makes you suitable for the project in question – describe any digital method(s) you have used (e.g. GIS, text analysis, SNA, data mining, etc.)
• An attested copy of relevant degree(s)
• Copies of texts that illustrate one’s abilities (theses, articles, etc.)
• Two reference letters with contact details [The letters of reference must be sent by the referees directly to Prof. Christian Henriot at enpmuc@gmail.com.]

Conditions of employment

The PhD research position is for 4 years. The appointment will be initially for 12 months. After satisfactory evaluation of the initial appointment, it can be extended for a total duration of four years.
• Starting date: 1 September 2019
• Registration in one of Aix-Marseille University’s PhD programs (candidates registered at other universities may be considered, provided that they meet the in-residence criteria, please contact Prof. Christian Henriot if you have further questions).
• Scale (net starting salary) is 1,400 Euros per month before taxes. The package includes including full social benefits, complementary insurance (mutuelle), and pre-paid meal tickets (ticket restaurant). Candidates will be provided with new computers, office space, and benefit from research allowances for field trip/conference (subject to P.I.’s approval).
• French regulations and dispositions apply for pension scheme, work time, holidays, and all social security issues
• This is an in-residence fellowship based at Aix-Marseille University
• Regular presence in the offices of the team and participation to work, brainstorming, and academic meetings

Employer : Aix-Marseille University

Aix-Marseille Universityb(AMU) Aix-Marseille University offers training in all disciplines: Arts, Literature, Languages and Humanities; Law and Political Science; Economics and Management; Health; Science and Technology. An intensive research site in collaboration with leading organizations, AMU is one of the French sites of excellence recognized by an international jury as part of Future Investments.
The AMU Foundation helps develop research, training and employability of students, while creating a privileged link with the socio-economic world. Training, research, guidance, employability, interdisciplinarity and exploitation of knowledge are the pillars of this establishment, largest university in France and the Francophone world. For more information: https://www.univ-amu.fr/en/university
Aix-Marseille University aims to increase the share of women in research and teaching and, therefore, explicitly encourages applications from women. As an international research institution, Aix-Marseille University particularly welcomes applications from abroad.


The selection among the eligible candidates will be based previous experience and grades, the quality of the degree thesis, references, relevant experience, and the candidate’s written motivation for seeking the position. Key selection criteria for the doctoral positions are analytical skills, methodological abilities, language proficiency and the capacity for team-work as well as independent research. After a careful examination of the applications, the short-listed candidates (no more than 3 for one position) will be interviewed in May-June. The selected candidates will receive a reply before June 30.

Your application/How to apply?

Please send your application in one PDF document to enpmuc@gmail.com.
Use the subject heading “ENP-CHINA PhD Position”.

Deadline: 30 April 2019, 12:00 noon CET.

If you have any further enquiries about the positions, please do not hesitate to contact Prof. Christian Henriot at christian.r.henriot@gmail.com