Post-doc: Narrating the Mesh: Ecology and the Non-Human in Contemporary Fiction and Oral Storytelling



Job description

Ghent, Belgium

→   Apply before 01/11/2020 23:59 (Brussels Time)
→   Faculty of Arts and Philosophy
→  Department: LW07 – Letterkunde
→  Occupancy rate:100%
→  Number of positions: 1
→  Type of employment: Contract of limited duration
→  Term of assignment: 14 months
→  Wage scale:  PD1 to PD4 (doctoral degree)
→  Required diploma: PhD


Ghent University is a world of its own. Employing more than 8,000 people, it is actively involved in education and research, management and administration, as well as technical and social service provision on a daily basis. It is one of the largest, most exciting employers in the area and offers great career opportunities. With its 11 faculties and more than 80 departments offering state-of-the-art study programmes grounded in research in a wide range of academic fields, Ghent University is a logical choice for its staff and students.


  • 100% of your assignment will be spent on academic research.
  • You will work within the ERC-funded project “Narrating the Mesh” (NARMESH in short), which is a multidisciplinary research project interrogating contemporary narrative and its potential for staging, challenging, and expanding the human imagination of the nonhuman. Currently, the team includes the PI (Marco Caracciolo), a post-doc (Susannah Crockford), and two PhD researchers (Shannon Lambert and Gry Ulstein). You are encouraged to visit our website for further details on the project.
  • You will focus on the psychological and ideological effects of engaging with literary narratives that centre on the climate crisis. The main question is in what way, and along what route, such narratives can affect audiences’ attitudes toward ecological issues.
  • You will be responsible for carrying out one or more empirical studies on reader response and literary meaning-making, particularly with regard to the interpretation of contemporary fictional narratives that stage the climate crisis (including, but not limited to, so-called climate fiction). Examples of such narratives include Amitav Ghosh’s The Hungry Tide, Dale Pendell’s The Great Bay, Lauren Groff’s short stories, and Jeanette Winterson’s The Stone Gods. The details and exact goals of the studies will be defined in collaboration with the other team members.


  • You hold a thesis-based doctorate in one of the following fields: social or environmental psychology, education, sociology, or empirical literary studies.
  • You have specific expertise in quantitative and experimental methods.
  • Ideally, you will also have an interest in—and basic knowledge of—the key questions and methods of literary scholarship.


  • We offer you a contract with a maximum term of 14 months.
  • Your contract will start on 1/12/2020 at the earliest.
  • Your remuneration will be determined by salary scale PD1. Click here for more information about our salary scales.
  • All Ghent University staff members enjoy a number of benefits, such as a wide range of training and education opportunities, 35 days of holiday leave (on an annual basis for a full-time job) supplemented by annual fixed bridge days, a bicycle allowance and eco vouchers. Click here for a complete overview of all the staff benefits (in Dutch).

How to apply

Apply online through the e-recruitment system We do not accept late applications or applications that are not submitted through the online system.

Your application must include the following documents:

  • In the field ‘CV’: your CV and an overview of your study results (merged into one pdf file)
  • In the field ‘Cover letter’: your application letter in pdf format. The letter (maximum 2,000 words) should detail (1) how your expertise and past work contribute to the overall goals of NARMESH; (2) how you would go about studying the impact of reading fiction on environmental attitudes in contexts such as education, discussion groups, and climate change communication
  • In the field ‘Diploma’: a transcript of your PhD degree. If you have a foreign diploma in a language other than our national languages (Dutch, French or German) or English, please add a translation in one of the mentioned languages.

Note that the maximum file size for each field is 10 MB.

As Ghent University maintains an equal opportunities and diversity policy, everyone is encouraged to apply for this position.


For more information about this vacancy, please contact Prof. Marco Caracciolo ([email protected]). Important: do NOT send your application by email, but apply online.

Ghent University, abbreviated to UGent, is one of the major universities in the Dutch-speaking region of Europe. It distinguishes itself as a socially committed and pluralistic university in a broad international perspective.