DoktorandInnenstelle: Geschichte der materiellen Kultur und Technik in China, TU Darmstadt


PhD Position:
A History of Material Culture and Technology in China, 1850 – 2000 

Part of a new research project funded by the European Research Council (ERC)

Project leader: Professor Mikael Hård

Darmstadt University of Technology (TU Darmstadt), near Frankfurt, Germany, announces a three-year position for a doctoral student (with the option of a two-year extension), beginning October 1, 2017. We welcome applications from talented and diligent students with research experience from China who are willing to explore new historical perspectives, empirically and methodologically.

The successful candidate will become a part of a larger project called “A Global History of Technology, 1850–2000” (GLOBAL-HOT). This historical project investigates the history of material culture and machinery in various parts of the world from 1850 to 2000. The team members investigate the persistent use of indigenous artifacts and technologies along with globalized ones, as well as the emergence of hybrid solutions. The goal is to increase our understanding of the relationships between the development and use of technologies in the West (Europe and North America) on the one hand and the East and the South (Asia, Africa, Latin America) on the other. Some of the topics and areas of particular interest include:

  • The local translation of internationally available plans, designs, and practices
  • Technological encounters and the emergence of hybrid artifacts in the Global South
  • The continued application of locally embedded practices and know-how
  • The maintenance, operation, and repair of buildings and infrastructures

For this endeavor, the project will draw on a wide array of sources that go beyond written material in official archives – including artifacts, artwork, and images, along with interviews, oral sources and the media: magazines, newspapers, and TV/radio broadcasts. For further information, please visit our preliminary homepage:

Requirements: Applications are open to students with an excellent master’s degree. This announcement is only directed at young scholars with thorough research experience from China. Excellent command of English (active in writing and speaking) and Standard Chinese (at least reading ability) is required. English is the common project language.

The candidate is expected to, at the end of his/her appointment, submit a PhD thesis to the School of Historical and Social Sciences at TU Darmstadt. The thesis can be written in English or German. In addition, the applicant is required to contribute actively to the success of the research project as a whole, e.g., by participating in regular meetings, coordinating their time and work plans with the team, co-authoring articles, and helping with publicity and the organization of events. We thus expect strong collaborative abilities and a pronounced willingness to become part of an exciting research team. Team members are expected to take up residence in the Darmstadt/Frankfurt area.

Formalities: The successful candidate will be offered a half-time position at pay grade TV-TU Darmstadt E13 (gross ca. 1,800 euros per month). The position includes health insurance and social security. Additional funding for research travel is available.

How to apply: If you are interested in this position and would like more information, feel free to request a brief project description from

Your application should include a CV and a cover letter in English (max 1,200 words). Please use this letter to tell us more about your background, motivation, and how attaining a PhD in this program would fit into your future employment and academic plans. Please attach degree certificates and documents that support your qualification for the position, such as language certificates, recommendation letters, and transcripts. All documents (incl. the cover letter) need to be merged into one single pdf file that does not exceed 10 MB and sent to

Please use the following text in the “subject” line of your email: your last name + “position no. 197.”

TU Darmstadt intends to increase the number of women scientists and encourages them to apply. Candidates who have a degree of disability of at least 50% are given preferred treatment if equally qualified.

Shortlisted applicants will be invited for a Skype interview, and they will also be asked to write and to submit a short essay (max. 1,200 words) on a relevant topic beforehand.

Deadline: 6 August, 2017

Contact person: Professor Mikael Hård, Department of History, School of Social and Historical Science, Technische Universität Darmstadt, Dolivostrasse 15, DE-64293 Darmstadt, Germany,