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PHD Position (f/m, 50%, TVL-13) on Single Women in Shanghai

03. Jul. 2013

The Cluster of Excellence “Asia and Europe in a Global Context” at Heidelberg University, invites applications for the position of a

PHD POSITION (f/m, 50%, TVL-13)  

on Single Women in Shanghai


Vacancy number: 2013-HERA-JRP586-01

Starting on 1 October 2013


Within the HERA funded project ‘Creating the ‘new’ Asian woman: entanglements of urban space, cultural encounters and gendered identities in Shanghai and Delhi (SINGLE)’ we are looking for a PhD candidate to conduct research on the lives and work of single women in Shanghai.

Project description

The context of urban transformation in India and China is enabling the formation of new cultural geographies and biographies for single women. Cities such as Shanghai and Delhi are the backdrop to changing family patterns and the unraveling of ‘traditional’ social contracts as a result of migration, new work opportunities, delayed marriage, divorce, open homosexuality, and a growing leisure and consumer society. As a result, single women are becoming increasingly visible in public, be it through media representations or everyday practices and mobilities. SINGLE uses ethnographic, mobile and visual methodologies to explore these concerns, documenting the experiences of single women in Delhi and Shanghai that are indicative of wider social and demographic transformations, and set within wider debates of cultural encounter, world cities and globalization. The research sites are linked by a conceptual framework centered on transcultural analysis and cross-cutting themes of class, governance, precarity and the shifting boundaries of public and private space.
This PhD project will analyze the representations of gendered subjectivity in the Chinese media landscape, particularly, the emergence of single female professionals, that are part of the rising creative class in China and that are supposed to embrace the notions of free market, hard work and individual success. However, they do so under precarious conditions by stepping outside expected gendered roles. This approach also has strong relevance to debates on processes of transculturality and change as alternative role models influenced by diverse cultural factors challenge dominant/demotic lifestyle and class discourses, producing alternative spaces and subjectivities in these cities. This project will, first, study single women who are active in the creative industries of Shanghai. This ethnographic study will be complemented by a visual and discourse analysis of representations of single women in media, including television drama, cinema and magazines.

Candidates are expected to have:

• A MA, MPhil or MSc degree in the Humanities or Social Sciences with excellent
• A good command of English (IELTS certificate of qualification 7,0) and
proficiency in Mandarin;
• Outstanding research qualities manifest in a high-quality MA thesis or equivalent;
• Ability and willingness to carry out empirical research and spend extended
periods abroad;
• Keen interest in interdisciplinary research methods and approaches, work in
Digital Humanities (mainly film, photography) and the ability to work in a team.

Terms of employment

A successful applicant will be appointed as PhD student for a period of one year with an extension of two years after positive evaluation of research progress, capabilities and compatibility. Payment is made according to German academic salary scale TVL-13 (50%) regulations. Research expenses for fieldwork and workshops will be covered by the project.

Applications should include:

• a motivation letter;
• curriculum vitae;
• degree transcript of the highest degree obtained (or to be awarded this year), in
the form of a transcript/grade-sheet from your university;
• the MA thesis or another major writing sample;
• two reference letters;
• a short research proposal (app. 2.000 words);
• certificate of IELTS score.


The PhD project will be carried out under supervision of Prof. Dr. Jeroen de Kloet from the University of Amsterdam and Prof. Dr. Christiane Brosius from Heidelberg University. The PhD student will be based at Heidelberg University.
For further inquiries, and/or more extensive descriptions of project and subproject, please contact Prof. Dr. Jeroen de Kloet at

To apply

Your application, including reference number, and all documents are preferably
submitted online as one single PDF file

The application deadline is July 21, 2013.
Please note that the University of Heidelberg is an equal opportunity employer and places particular emphasis on recruiting female scholars. Disabled applicants with equivalent qualifications will be given preference.


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