Institute of Advanced Studies (IAS)


JOB OPPORTUNITY: IAS Quirk Postdoctoral Fellowships: Languages of the Anthropocene

5 May 2023

The Institute of Advanced Studies is seeking to appoint two one-year Postdoctoral Fellows to work on interdisciplinary projects relevant to the theme Languages of the Anthropocene on an appointment of 12 months to begin on 1 October 2023. Apply by 4 June 2023.

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The IAS Quirk Postdoctoral Fellowships are funded from the generous bequest of Professor the Lord Charles Randolph Quirk, 1920-2017, linguist and life peer, who began his academic career as a lecturer at UCL and was Professor here from 1960 to 1981. Professor Quirk was renowned for his pioneering Survey of English Usage, which resulted in a series of publications that became standard works of reference, both on the English language itself and on how to approach the study of linguistic form and usage. Professor Quirk’s endowment is to support ‘humanistic scholarship’ in the fields of language and literature, broadly conceived.

In the spirit of his wide-ranging intellectual outlook, we have chosen Languages of the Anthropocene as the research theme for the fellowships. We take the contested term ‘Anthropocene’ as the marker for a series of conversations and disputes about the climate emergency, the condition of being human, and humankind’s relations with other species. For the purposes of these fellowships, the Anthropocene is conceived broadly in chronological terms to include investigations of the ancient and medieval worlds as well as the early modern and modern topics that have to date received the most attention. We are also keen to encourage research on any geographical regions of the world, especially work from a comparative perspective.

The IAS invites proposals for research projects on any of the wide range of linguistic questions relating to the Anthropocene, such as communication, translation, story-telling, conceptualisation and categorisation. The purpose of the IAS Quirk fellowships in Languages of the Anthropocene is to stimulate cross-disciplinary exchange in this field, to break down intellectual silos, democratise debate, and decolonise categories and concepts. We welcome applications from early-career academics pursuing humanistic scholarship in language and literature, including the history of language, the history of concepts, intellectual history, literary history, discourse analysis, translation, the teaching of language and literature, questions of accessibility, and bilingualism and multilingualism. Appropriate methodologies include cultural and historical inquiry, genre and discourse theory, transhistorical and transcultural comparison, translation theory, linguistic and socio-linguistic analysis, philosophy of language and digital humanities. You are invited to propose a one-year project relevant to Languages of the Anthropocene, specifying how your research question arises from your disciplinary roots and how the project’s intellectual agenda will be extended by cross-disciplinary working.

The Postdoctoral Fellows will be provided with mentoring and training by IAS academic staff both to develop their Languages of the Anthropocene project and to help them to prepare publications from their PhD and to make a successful transition from PhD to postdoctoral research.  Each Fellow will carry out an individual project, but they will benefit from working together and the IAS Directors will arrange for reading groups and other joint activities as appropriate. The Fellows will also be asked to co-convene a research cluster to draw on the expertise of the many UCL colleagues with interests in this field.

These Fellowships are open to candidates with a completed PhD in a relevant field of humanistic scholarship, awarded no more than 24 months before 1 October 2023.

Find out more, download the job description and apply hereClosing Date: 4 June 2023