The Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology is one of the world’s leading centres for research in
social anthropology. Common to all research projects at the Max Planck Institute is the comparative
analysis of social change; it is primarily in this domain that its researchers contribute to
anthropological theory, though many programmes also have applied significance and political
The Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology has the opportunity to offer 2 PhD grants starting 1st of October 2014 (or as soon as possible thereafter), within the Research Group
“Connectivity in Motion: Port Cities of the Indian Ocean” Headed by Prof. Dr. Burkhard Schnepel (MPI-Fellow)
The Research Group examines the socio-cultural and historical dimensions of movements across the
Indian Ocean. Several paradigmatic port cities of the Indian Ocean are taken as empirical starting
points for social anthropological and ethnohistorical research. The Research Group is guided by the
theorem of connectivity in motion”. Hence, it studies the manifold linkages and networks across the
Indian Ocean, focusing on the maritime movements of human beings, material objects, ideas,
religions, languages, political systems and technologies through which alone such connections come to
life. Taking the Indian Ocean as a frame of reference and applying a transregional perspective on
“connectivity in motion” also seeks to achieve new insights in the problematic of globalization. It adds
historical depth to and “re-orients” common views of globalization, as it is concerned not only with
earlier, but also with eastern and southern forms of globalization.
For further information on the programme, see:
Essential Duties & Responsibilities
We expect successful candidates to conduct intensive ethnohistorical research in one or more port
cities of the Indian Ocean of their own choices, preferably at the East African Coast or in
Good field research skills, the ability and willingness to work in a team, communication skills with
good and written English are required. As a rule dissertations will be written in English. Acquisition of
German language is encouraged and assisted by the MPI.
The curriculum will take place in Halle/Saale and the group will work together also in Halle/Saale.
The PhD grants offered here will be awarded for three years, with the possibility of two six-month
extensions. The grants are not taxed and they are free from social security stipulations.
The Max Planck Society strives to employ more persons with disabilities and explicitly encourages
applications. Furthermore, the Max Planck Society is committed to raising the proportion of women in
underrepresented fields; we thus explicitly encourage applications by women.