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Applications invited for a full-time PhD position in literary studies

  • October 26, 2021

Vacancy for Academic Staff

Department: Linguistics and Literary Studies

Research Centre: Centre for Literary and Intermedial Crossings

The Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB), Faculty of Languages and Humanities, Department of Linguistics and Literary Studies, is looking for a four-year full-time PhD researcher in the fields of literary and genre theory, contemporary Black British literature, and postcolonial studies as part of an FWO-funded research project under the supervision of Prof. dr. Janine Hauthal. The aim of this project is to understand the political, cultural, and aesthetic dynamics of genre evolution today in and through the Black British literary field.

View the PDF file of the vacancy.

1 – The project

The PhD researcher will be embedded in the FWO junior fundamental research project “Self-Reflexivity and Generic Change in 21st-Century Black British Women’s Literature (G038921N). Conceptualizing metafiction as a catalyst for generic change, the project explores how postmillennial self-reflexive fiction by British women of African and African-Caribbean descent broadens Black British literature’s subject matter, revitalizes existing genres through variation, hybridization, and mixing, and leads to the creation of new subgenres. Tracing this alternative self-reflexive tradition, the project will not just revise histories of Black British literature but also existing theories of metafiction, which have predominantly focussed on white male writers. A detailed description of the project is available upon request.


2 – Position description

We offer a four-year full-time PhD position (subject to annual positive evaluation). The successful candidate will be affiliated with VUB’s research centre CLIC – Centre for Literary and Intermedial Crossings ( and will be supported by two supervisors at VUB as well as by three external senior advisors at universities in Belgium, Germany, and the UK. Within the overarching project, the PhD candidate is expected to develop and carry out his/her/their own line of research, leading to a PhD dissertation. He/she/they are expected to present at national and international workshops and conferences and to publish both single-authored and co-authored articles in peer-reviewed journals. The successful candidate will conduct two research stays abroad with the project’s senior advisors (in the UK and Germany). Further responsibilities include conference and workshop organization, assistance in public dissemination activities, and active membership of CLIC.


3 – Profile

  • You hold a master’s degree in (literature in) English, comparative literature, literary studies, or postcolonial literary studies (or a comparable degree) or you will have obtained it by the start date of this position.
  • You can demonstrate excellent study results. Previous academic experience (publications, presentations, student jobs etc.) will be considered an asset.
  • You are an enthusiastic researcher, capable of conducting research both independently and in a team.
  • You are well-versed in literary as well as cultural analysis, have a passion for theory-driven work and an interest in the nexus of race, gender, and genre.
  • You act with attention to quality, integrity, and cooperation.
  • You are willing to occasionally conduct research abroad (in the UK and Germany) and to communicate your research to both academic and lay audiences.
  • You have near-native English-language skills (oral and written) at an academic level and good time management and planning skills, with the ability to meet tight deadlines.
  • You have a good working knowledge of Microsoft Word and PowerPoint.
  • Additional skills and experience with website design and content management systems as well as with social media are a plus.


4 – Offer

  • We offer a four-year full-time doctoral position (requiring enrolment as a doctoral student at VUB), subject to an annual positive evaluation.
  • The planned starting date is 1 January 2022, or as soon as possible after this date.
  • Depending on age, professional experience, and family status, you will receive a salary in one of the grades defined by the government. The monthly salary (before tax) varies from € 2404.82 to € 2890.78 (EU staff) / € 2193.61 to € 2636.89 (non-EU staff). In addition, you are provided with an office space and work laptop, library access, social and health benefits, and free access to public transport for your commute to campus. Extra funding to attend international conference travel, buy research literature and pay for academic memberships etc. will be available to you.
  • The successful candidate will participate in the faculty’s doctoral training programme and will be offered various opportunities to advance his/her/their career.
  • As an employee of the VUB, you will work in a dynamic, diverse, and multilingual environment. For this function, the VUB’s Brussels Humanities, Sciences & Engineering Campus (Etterbeek) will serve as your home base. Our campus is a green oasis in the capital city of Flanders, Belgium, and Europe, and boasts an excellent restaurant and extensive sport facilities. It is within easy reach (twenty minutes by public transport) of the city centre of Brussels, with all its opportunities and possibilities. Childcare facilities are to be found within walking distance.
  • For more information on what it is like to work at the VUB, go to


5 – Wish to apply?

  • Applications should include (in one PDF file): (1) a cover/motivation letter, (2) your academic CV with details about your Bachelor and Master qualifications (including grades or marks) and your previous academic experience, (3) a short exposé on your previous experience and the relevance it may bear to the advertised position, (4) a writing sample (your MA thesis, a (published) paper/article), and (5) the names of two referees.
  • Please send your application via e-mail to Prof. dr. Janine Hauthal (; deadline: 9 November 2021 (midnight Brussels time).
  • Shortlisted candidates will be notified by 12 November 2021 and interviewed between 16 and 18 November 2021 on the Humanities Campus of Vrije Universiteit Brussels (or online). Please indicate your availability in your cover letter.

If you have any questions about the research position or the overarching FWO project, please contact Prof. dr. Janine Hauthal at