Job Posting: Post-doc Environmental Humanities of Extraction in Africa

We would like to share the following job opportunity at the University of Groningen.

Job description

Specialty areas: literary analysis, ethnomusicology, contemporary history, African history, environmental history

Applications are invited for a 2.5 years (30 months) postdoctoral research position within the AFREXTRACT project Environmental Histories of Resource Extraction in Africa: Understanding Cultural and Political Responses to Environmental Transformation, financed by the European Research Council (ERC) and led by dr Iva Peša (see:

Through a comparative study of three African localities of resource extraction (oil drilling in Nigeria; copper mining in Zambia; gold mining in South Africa), focusing on the period 1950-2020, this project aims to analyse and explain the diversity of cultural responses to environmental transformation. The postdoctoral researcher will focus on literary and musical production (novels, poems, songs) to gain insights into popular understandings of environmental change caused by mining and oil extraction. This postdoctoral project will involve research stays in all three countries (c. 6 months in total).

A rich corpus of literary and musical production has engaged with the environmental changes caused by mining and oil drilling. The novels and poetry by Tanure Ojaide, Helon Habila, Peter Abrahams, Mongane Wally Serote, and Mukuka Chipanta, and the music of Fela Kuti, Rikki Ililonga, and Ladysmith Black Mambazo are prominent examples. Why did some of these works depict extraction as relatively unremarkable, while others condemned its effects as ‘ecocide’? This project aims to historicise cultural production and to understand why people reacted differently to environmental change. The postdoctoral researcher will be part of a larger team (PI, two PhD students, and one postdoctoral researcher on political ecology), collaborating closely with the Universities of Port Harcourt, Copperbelt University, the University of Pretoria, and local partners.

This postdoctoral project offers a unique opportunity to work in an international research environment as well as to acquire valuable teaching experience (should the candidate be interested). In addition, the postdoctoral researcher will collaborate with the other team members to organise conferences and workshops, and to plan outreach activities.

For additional queries regarding the project and if you would like to get access to the full project proposal, please get in touch with the project’s PI, dr Iva Peša:

For details and additional information, see:

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