Cluster of Excellence Matters of Activity. Image Space Material

The Cluster of Excellence Matters of Activity announces a doctoral student position as part of its structured doctoral program. The doctoral program promotes disciplinary doctorates in connection with joint research in an interdisciplinary working group with a program duration of 36 months.

Job description:

The project »Object Space Agency« seeks to fill a doctoral student position. Anthropology and social sciences are currently discussing various ontological approaches to materiality in the so-called ‘ontological turn’. This project wants to ethnographically compare approaches that see materiality and objects as ‘active’ in contrast to widespread Western understandings that do not. Such active understundings can come from non-Western contexts. But they can also be found in highly specialized epistemic cultures of science, medicine or technology development.

The successful candidate should send an exposé that develops a comparative ethnographic exploration of selected ontologies in the broad field of environment/nature/sustainability. At least one case study should be from a non-European context. Ideas are also desired as to how ontological differences can be represented and discussed in collaboration with museums such as the Humboldt Labor in the Humboldt Forum or the Berlin Museum of Natural History.


A completed university degree (MA or equivalent) in social and cultural anthropology or a related subject; training in ethnographic research; above-average willingness for interdisciplinary cooperation; high proficiency in spoken and written English; high level of social competence, ability to work in a team

Bewerbung an
To apply for this position, please send your application including CV, letter of motivation, degree certificates and research proposal to Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Cluster of Excellence Matters of Activity. Image Space Material Prof. Dr. Jörg Niewöhner, Prof. Dr. Sharon Macdonald, Unter den Linden 6, 10099 Berlin or preferably by e-mail as one single pdf-document to with the reference number DR/115/19.

Matters of Activity’s research program can be found at

HU is seeking to increase the proportion of women in research and teaching, and specifically encourages qualified female scholars to apply. Severely disabled applicants with equivalent qualifications will be given preferential consideration. People with an immigration background are specifically encouraged to apply. Since we will not return your documents, please submit copies in the application only.

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