ESIL Interest Group History of International Law

ESIL Interest Group History of International Law

dinsdag 16 maart 2021

JOB OFFER: 3 PhD Students (m/f/d) (Dr. Inge VAN HULLE, Legal Connectivities and Colonial Cultures in Africa; Frankfurt: MPILHLT, DEADLINE 1 MAY 2021)

(image source: MPI for Legal History and Legal Theory)

Project description:

The legal history of colonialism has for a long time been embedded in the paradigm of the nation state, where the focus lies on investigating the history of individual colonies within a single colonial or national legal tradition. State-centrism in colonial legal history means that the colonies and metropole are often separated from developments that took place on a regional or international level. However, insights from global history, histoire croisée and entangled history, have illustrated the impact on historical developments of the movement and the spatial interconnectedness of people, goods and ideas. This project starts from the premise that the same may be said for the movement of legal concepts and ideas in and about Africa during the colonial period of the late nineteenth- and twentieth centuries. The project maps the connectivities of legal developments in colonial Africa across the local, regional and international level by identifying normative exchanges, for example, between international treaty- and diplomatic negotiations, lobby groups, colonial governments and local actors. Here, the actions of and networks between historical actors who often held plural and conflicting allegiances take centre-stage.

Duties and responsibilities:

 Your key responsibility is to develop and complete a doctoral dissertation within the confines of the research group in one of the three themes described above. Doctoral students are expected to publish and disseminate their research findings in close co-operation with the other members of the research group.

Your profile:

A university degree in law, humanities or social sciences that has been completed with above-average success is required. You have an excellent command of English, both spoken and written and are proficient in either French or German. Knowledge of African languages is not a requirement but will be considered as an asset. Your curriculum vitae shows the potential to conduct research at an internationally high level. You work meticulously and are able to handle deadlines. You work independently and have a strong interest in interdisciplinary, archival and comparative work. You have the ability to play an active collaborative role in the research group.


The PhD positions (39 hours per week) are paid the equivalent of 65% of the German Civil Service Collective Agreement (TVöD Bund), level E13, and are primarily intended to enable the preparation of a doctoral thesis. The positions are fixed-term appointments for three years; in exceptional cases, a position can be extended for one additional year. The Max Planck Society is committed to increasing the number of individuals with disabilities in its workforce and therefore encourages applications from such individuals. Furthermore, the Max Planck Society seeks to increase the number of women in those areas where they are underrepresented and therefore explicitly encourages women to apply. The Max Planck Society strives for gender equality and diversity. We welcome applications from all backgrounds.

 Application process:

 Your application must be submitted online via the link below by the closing date of May 1, 2021. Please forward your application documents to your indicated reviewers. If you are shortlisted, we will request a review. If your application is convincing, we will invite you to a selection interview.

The application should be in English or German and should contain the following documents:

  • Names and addresses (by post and electronically) of three researchers who have agreed to issue you with a letter of reference
  • Detailed CV containing a list of any publications you might have
  • Copies of your school leaver’s certificate and degree certificate
  • Preliminary research project (up to five pages) fitting within one of the three themes; Cover letter naming your research project and explaining to what extent your profile meets the selection criteria
  • Written sample of approx. 20 printed pages (e.g. master thesis sample, journal articles, book chapters, etc.)


Informal enquiries may be directed to Dr. I. Van Hulle ( For questions as to the terms and conditions of employment please contact Ms. Anna Heym (

Link to application here