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PostDoc for the Servus Project

Posted 27 Jan 2024
Work experience
1 to 3 years
Full-time / part-time
Job function
Degree level
Required language
Dutch (Fluent)
15 Mar 2024 23:00

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  • working on a cutting-edge project that substantially connects critiques on slavery and colonialism, researching and employing law in action, legal doctrine and political theory?
  • visiting crucial sites for important historical developments, organizing conferences and seminars, and discovering and studying new and novel archival material?
  • being a part of interdisciplinary research networks, sharing and disseminating knowledge, and developing tools to make a difference in society?

Then the job of Postdoctoral researcher at the NWO-funded Servus-project at the Amsterdam Law School and the Paul Scholten Centre for Jurisprudence of the University of Amsterdam is perfect for you as a highly versatile professional.

What does this job entail?

  • Visit archives on the American continent, and locate, categorize, analyze, edit and translate sources central to the Servus-project;
  • Present research results at national and international conferences, workshops and journals;
  • Become an active member of the research community and to collaborate with other researchers, both within and outside the Paul Scholten Centre for Jurisprudence (PSC) at the Amsterdam Law School;
  • Assist in teaching activities or supervising master and PhD students.

What do you have to offer?

The project ‘Servus. The reception of Roman law outside of Europe’ funded by the Dutch Institute for Scientific Research (NWO) is a Medium-sized Social Sciences and Humanities-project (SSH M) with a run-time of five years in total. The project concerns the transfer to, application and ‘reception’ of Roman legal texts pertaining to slaves and slavery in three erstwhile colonies: Surinam, Virginia and Chile. The projects contends that developments in these three territories are representative of larger legal-historical tendencies in the Americas as a whole, spanning a time-period between the 15th and the 19th century. Concretely, the research thus entails looking at specific forms of the application of certain complexes of Roman legal texts in these erstwhile colonies ‘on the ground’, meaning in in day-to-day (legal) practice. To be clear, although the texts in question are about the enslaved and slavery, their application in the erstwhile colonies covered other categories such as serfs, servants, indigenous peoples, forced labourers and prisoners of war.

Your tasks as a PostDoc will concretely consist of visiting archives on the American continent, searching for, selecting, transcribing, and/or editing archival sources, presenting these at international conferences and other fora, publishing a number of articles and/or other scientific contributions of a high standard, and aiding in composing a textbook based on the archival sources found. Leading principles of the Servus-project are ‘Decolonising the legal-historical curriculum and research agenda’ and combining ‘progressive and trail-blazing education and research – for stronger legal institutions, solutions to social problems, and a better and juster society’.

In addition, you have:

  • A PhD degree in legal history, political science, political history, history and/or (Latin) American studies;
  • An interest in colonial law, colonial history, or colonial politics, and how these still determine societal circumstances nowadays;
  • A mastery of Dutch, English, Latin and/or Spanish, with the ability to read documents from the early modern period from a variety of sources;
  • A personal and/or intellectual background in the territories central to the project, or generally from outside of Western Europe;
  • Ability to interact not only with scholars from your own field, but also from adjacent scientific branches.

What can we offer you?

We offer an employment contract for 12 months, preferably starting on 1 June 2024. If you prove to be a good match for the job, then an extension is possible. The employment contract is for 32-38 hours a week.

Your salary, depending on your relevant experience on commencement of the employment contract, ranges between € 4332 to € 5929 gross per month on the basis of a full working week of 38 hours. This sum does not include the 8% holiday allowance and the 8.3% year-end allowance. The Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities (CAO NU) is applicable.

About us

The Paul Scholten Centre for Jurisprudence (PSC, is the research context in which the Servus-project will be carried out. The PSC is the research hub for legal philosophy, legal history and (doctrinally oriented) legal sociology at the Amsterdam Law School. The research is substantively connected by a shared interest in the problem of the ‘law in contexts’ of the researchers. The famous jurist and professor Paul Scholten (1875-1946) is the name giver of the centre.

Central to the works of Scholten is the ‘jurist’s conscience’: a jurist, whether he or she is a lawyer, judge or MP, on the one hand is obligated to respect the system of the law, but may on the other hand not be blind to societal needs and moral issues. Finding a balance between both is the most important task of the members of the PSC.

The Amsterdam Law School is the Faculty of Law of the University of Amsterdam. At the Amsterdam Law School, top-level researchers collaborate in (inter)national, mostly socially engaged projects. The research covers themes in areas such as sustainability, health, labor, digitalization and crime, focused in several research centres such as the PSC.

The University of Amsterdam is the largest university in the Netherlands, with the broadest spectrum of degree programmes. It is an intellectual hub with 42,000 students, 6,000 employees and 3,000 doctoral students who are all committed to a culture of inquiring minds.

Want to know more about our organisation? Read more about working at the University of Amsterdam.

Any questions?

If you have any questions about the position, please contact (during office hours):

Jacob Giltaij:



Job application

If you feel the profile fits you, and you are interested in the job, we look forward to receiving your application letter and CV. You can apply online via the link below. We will accept applications until March 15 2024.

There will be two rounds of application interviews, on 28 and 29 March 2024.

The UvA is an equal-opportunity employer. We prioritize diversity and are committed to creating an inclusive environment for everyone. We value a spirit of enquiry and perseverance, provide the space to keep asking questions, and promote a culture of curiosity and creativity.

No agencies please.

The University of Amsterdam is one of the largest comprehensive universities in Europe. With some 40,000 students, 6,000 staff, 3,000 PhD candidates, and an annual budget of more than 850 million euros, it is also one of Amsterdam’s biggest employers.
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